Six Pack: Beer Buzz of the Week

Six items that have consumers buzzing in the world of beer, wine and spirits as we head into the weekend.

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1. New York Gives Brewers Reason to Raise a Pint: After a much-publicized court battle removed a tax break given to New York-based breweries, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York state legislature have given it back. The tax exemptions are expected to save breweries $10,000 to $1 million per year depending on sales. The craft beer industry in New York State is estimated to have doubled over the last 10 years and provides an estimated 3,000 jobs.

2. Motorhead beer: The band Motorhead has been living the Rock 'n Rock Roll lifestyle since its founding in 1975. Now they are giving their fans a chance to sip the rock-star lifestyle. The group has released their own beer, called “Bastards Lager” in Sweden. No word on a global rollout, though the band’s website says the beer is “at this moment only available in the Swedish market.” The beer is actually a follow-up to Motorhead Shiraz, which the band released last year and which they say has sold more than 250 million bottles.

3. Bad Times For Bad Ass Beer: The guys form Motorhead aren’t the only rockers with a side gig in the alcohol business. In 2009, Kid Rock unveiled Bad Ass Beer, which was contract brewed in his home state of Michigan. Unfortunately the brewer that made Kid Rock’s beer has been evicted from its brewing facility. The artist’s website says a search is underway for a new brewer and it's hoped production will resume later this summer.

4. First LGBT-Marketed Brewery Opens in San Diego: With over 2,000 breweries in operation in the United States, craft brewers are looking for ways to differentiate themselves. To that end, a San Diego-based brewer is marketing itself as the first lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brewery. Hillcrest Brewing says that while other breweries are owned and operated by gays and lesbians, they are the first to openly market themselves in that manner. Their slogan? “We’re here, we’re queer and we love beer.”

5. French Wine as Investment Fund: As Europe struggles to contain its financial crisis, many investors are looking for alternative places to put their money. A French asset management company has createda wine fund, where high-end wines are bought, stored in caves and resold at a later date. The fund is the first wine fund regulated by French authorities and requires a $37,000 minimum to invest, with a one year lock-up.

In the latest move by an alcohol company to woo millennial consumers, Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines is rolling out three new wine brands aimed at the nearly 80 million consumers born between 1980 and 1995. With the unconventional names of Stark Raving, Butterfly Kiss and Rose'N'Blum and nontraditional packaging, Diageo hopes the wines will appeal to wine drinkers who are “less influenced by wine traditions and "rules.”

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