Archive : Month

Royal Caribbean Sails Into Beer Sales

POSTED ON May 28th  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

Cruise ships aren’t generally known as great beer destinations, and that potential point of differentiation in beverage service is something that helped steer Royal Caribbean International’s 22 luxury ships toward a well-developed brew program. Their efforts toward changing those vessels into brew-friendly ships are responsible for the line taking home the 2013 VIBE Vista award for Best Hotel, Cruise Line or Casino Operators beer program.

royal caribbeanBob Midyette, director of fleet beverage operations for Royal Caribbean International, heads up the beer program that focuses on providing an experience that rivals land based operations and offering a significant selection of beer styles from all over the world, as well as a highly trained staff aimed at increasing beer sales. Royal’s beer program is tied in with the cruise line’s overall beverage program objectives that include creating a memorable experience, quality selections, a variety of options and exceptional service.

Last year in particular, Royal worked diligently to elevate their beer program by adding a number of craft beers from small U.S. breweries as well as additional international selections. “We’ve worked really hard to create a world-class program,” says Midyette. “Our beverage menu features a great breadth of selections including draft and bottled selections and our English Pub concept located on the majority of our ships offers the ultimate beer drinking experience including special beer events and tastings.”

Slater’s 50/50 Gives New Meaning to “Burger Combo”

POSTED ON May 17th  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

Slater’s 50/50 has been upfront about being over-the-top since Scott Slater and Chef Brad Lyons opened the first in Anaheim Hills, Calif., in 2009. Known for its 50/50 burger patty made from equal parts ground beef and ground bacon and for its 100 beer taps, Slater’s 50/50 is nationally recognized for its creative Burgers of the Month. April’s selection was the $13.95 Resurrection Lamb Burger, a patty of ground lamb mixed with ground beef topped with a spread of goat cheese and candied pecans, light-amber honey, baby greens and sliced Granny Smith apples. A sixth Slater’s 50/50 opens next month in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. spoke with Co-founder Scott Slater about his concept.


Slater’s 50/50′s current Burger of the Month, The Buffalo Buffalo Burger.

So what bar were you in when you had the epiphany that a 50/50 beef/bacon burger would work?
Actually I was tailgating at a San Diego Chargers game and the conversation was about bacon being the best thing you can put on your tongue. I was a little hung-over, and what’s better when you’re hung-over than bacon and a burger? When you’re tailgating, it’s early in the morning but you’ve got a grill so I asked a butcher to make up 50/50 bacon/burger patties.

This was before the first Slater’s?
Oh yeah. That was in college.

So you carried around this wild idea for a while. And then you had another crazy idea: Get into the competitive burger restaurant business.
That was four years ago. The “better burger” business as we know it now was just coming together. The Counter was still new. I wanted an idea that wouldn’t go out of style and burgers, bacon and beer will always be popular.

But really there’s always been “better burgers.” Before me the Islands, Red Robins and Ruby’s Diners were the better burgers. The restaurant business always tries to continuously do things better. I consider Slater’s to be part of a new generation of burger concepts with better food, better service and better techniques that are coming through. In 10 years there’ll be another revolution probably and I’ll want to be part of it.

Right now we’re just trying to take burgers, bacon and beer to the next level and I’m good with that.

The Ultimate Summer Beer Guide: 7 Great New Lagers

POSTED ON May 15th  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

A cold one on a hot day never goes out of style—but the experience is continually improving. And this season, aficionados have a lot of reasons to toast. Here are 7 great new lagers we’ve come across:

Samuel Adams Double Agent IPL
After nearly three decades, the venerable Boston brewery keeps rolling out innovations like this IPL—India pale lager—that combines the piney, grapefruit-driven DNA of an IPA with a colder fermentation process for a smooth, hop-forward hybrid with a crisp finish.

ultimate summer beer guide961 beer lager
When you think of craft beer, the Middle East rarely comes to mind. But Mazen Hajjar, a former investment banker from Lebanon, is altering perceptions with his award-winning brewery named after the nation’s calling code. Cascade hops give this gently sweet, golden-hued lager its floral aroma.

Anchor California Lager
This tribute to California’s first lager (brewed in 1876) is crafted with native barley and floral, spicy Cluster hops—a favored ingredient for 19th-century brewers. The golden result is crowned by billowy foam and delivers a lingering bitterness often lacking in modern lagers.

New Belgium Shift Pale Lager
Inspired by workers sharing after-hours beers, the Colorado brewery’s canned thirst quencher has a tropical profile. Its Nelson Sauvin hops, which come from New Zealand, supply notes of lychee and mango; Cascade hops add a kiss of citrus.

Flying Dog UnderDog Atlantic Lager
This light, biscuity thirst slayer was devised as an antidote to humid East Coast summers. Wheat creates the smooth mouthfeel, Goldings hops from England provide a grassy, floral bouquet, and rye dries out the finish.

Ballast Point Longfin Lager
San Diego–based Ballast Point shows a deft hand with this clean-drinking take on Germany’s classic Munich helles (meaning “bright” or “light”). Snappy and grassy, it has a slightly sweet, bready flavor.

Saranac Dry Hop Lager
To give this medium-bodied lager its intense aromatics, the upstate–New York brewery turned to dry hopping, in which flavorful flowers like tangy Taurus and citrusy Opal hops are added after fermentation.

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America’s Best Beer Cities

POSTED ON May 14th  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

Self-proclaimed “beer nerd” Lynn Stachnick loves to visit Portland, ME, to sample the local craft brews. She and her husband even have a beer city bucket list, with San Diego near the top.

Deschutes Brewery Public House, NW 11th Ave., Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, USA“Ballast Point Brewing has an India Pale Lager I’ve read about and most likelywill never find in the Northeast,” says the Massachusetts-based brand manager. “What would be greaterthan drinking beer, going to the beach, and eating fish tacos in between?”

Travel + Leisure readers would drink to that. Both Portland and San Diego placed among America’s top 10 microbrew destinations, according to the America’s Favorite Cities survey. Readers rated 35 major cities for features such as food trucks, friendly locals, and microbrews, a category that reflects a growing trend. As of 2012, there were more than 2,300 operating craft breweries (those making fewer than 6 million barrels a year) in the U.S., according to the American Brewers Association—the highest number since the late 19th century.

Across the best beer cities, we found plenty of brewery tours, hop-infused festivals, and brewpubs catering to local tastes, from lower-gluten brews in Denver to caffeinated beer in San Francisco—one of the top three beer destinations recommended by Tom Acitelli, author of The Audacity of Hops. (His other favorites, Asheville, NC, and Vermont, were out of the running in our big-city-focused survey.)

Hotels in these cities are increasingly catering to beer lovers, too. In San Diego—where the local craft beer industry now contributes more to the economy than its famed Comic-Con convention—the Hotel Solamar has started craft beer happy hours. And in No. 1 beer city Portland, OR, the Hotel Jupiter offers a package that sets guests up with a loaner bike and a guide to nearby breweries and micropubs.

The Stachnicks might be game for that. Before tackling San Diego, Lynn and her husband are heading to the Pacific Northwest to sample the region’s beers.

“You learn about the art of beer by visiting the breweries and speaking with the people who make it happen,” she says. “I’m a firm believer that the best way to travel is to live and breathe as the locals do.”

Stella Artois Hops on the Cider Bandwagon

POSTED ON May 14th  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

The Stella Artois family is getting larger. But this time around you can the leave the beer chalice on the shelf.

Anheuser-Busch Inbev (Euronext Brussels: ABI-BE) is rolling out a brand extension, Stella Artois Cidre, hoping the beer brand’s premium name recognition can set the new release apart from the crowd in one of the fastest-growing beverage categories in the country.

stella ciderWhile hard cider is often seen as beer’s smaller-in-market-size and sweeter tasting cousin, that’s not the play Anheuser-Busch is making here. Cidre (pronounced CEE-dra) is aimed at the white wine drinker and Stella Artois recommends this beverage be served in a white wine glass.

“We did some research and about three quarters of the volume that we tested with Cidre would be coming outside of the beer category,” said Rick Oleshak, director of Stella Artois in United States. “So maybe 26 or 27 percent of volume could potentially come from within the beer space, but everything else would be coming heavily within wine, and even some, within liquor and spirits.”

Described as a “crisp, distinctive European cider,” which uses hand-picked apples from North and South America, Cidre is Anheuser-Busch’s second entry into the cider category following the launch of Michelob Ultra Light Cider last May.

Success in the fast growing hard cider category is key for Anheuser-Busch, which reported a 4.1 percent drop in beer sales to U.S. retailers for the first quarter ending in March, and it saw global beer volume decline by 4.1 percent.

Cider, meanwhile, shows no sign of slowing down. In the four-week period ending March 17, U.S. cider sales surged 110 percent compared to the same time period a year ago, according to research firm Symphony IRI. While still accounting for less than one percent of U.S. beer sales, hard cider sales grew nearly 85 percent at chain and convenience stores last year versus 2011.

The growth has many players entering the cider space, including MillerCoors (TAP),which acquired the Crispin Cider brand last year; Boston Beer (SAM), which has had success with its Angry Orchard brand; and Craft Brew Alliance (BREW), which launched Square Mile Cider last month.

American Craft Beer Week

POSTED ON May 13th  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

Big Week Toasts Small Breweries Across All 50 States

ACBW13For the eighth consecutive year, the Brewers Association has declared American Craft Beer Week® (ACBW), a celebration of U.S. craft brewers across the country. Last year, ACBW was celebrated by breweries, brewpubs and retailers in all 50 states with over 1,300 official events. More than 35,000 beer lovers (now up to more than 45,000) were part of the Facebook community alone, undoubtedly making 2012 the largest celebration of ACBW yet.

From May 13-May 19, the tradition will continue and ACBW will provide an opportunity for small and independent brewers, craft beer enthusiasts and the community of better beer retailers to celebrate the ever advancing beer culture here in the U.S. Events will include exclusive brewery tours, special beer releases, multi-course food and pairing dinners, collaboration beers, retail promotions and much more.

While there are an estimated 50 state and regional beer weeks throughout the year, ACBW celebrates the amalgamation of these events, offering craft beer fans everywhere options to learn about, enjoy and share the beverage they love. This comes at a time when America’s craft beer industry is thriving, with over 2,300 small and independent breweries responsible for not only advancing the food arts world, but pouring money into the economy via tourism and jobs while creating an overall vibrant craft beer scene nationwide. America’s craft brewers are certainly something to celebrate.

Visit the official American Craft Beer Week events calendar, for a full list of local celebrations in all 50 states.

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PRESS RELEASE: Glacier Design Systems, Inc. Announces Partnership with Slater’s 50/50

POSTED ON May 10th  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA – May 10, 2013 – Glacier Design Systems, Inc., one of the fastest-growing draught beer equipment distribution and service companies in the United States according to Forbes Magazine, recently announced their partnership with well-known restaurant chain-let Slater’s 50/50. With multiple restaurants across Southern California, Glacier Design Systems, Inc. was honored to be chosen as the ‘Certified Beer Service and Installation Company’ for all Slater’s 50/50 locations.

slater logoFounded in 2009, Slater’s 50/50 has won a number of awards and accolades including “Best Burger” by The Orange County Register, OC Weekly and FOX 5 San Diego as well as “Best New Restaurant” by San Diego Magazine. Being that each location has over 100 beers on tap, Slater’s 50/50 required a dependable and notable company to manage their draught beer systems.

“We were looking for a dependable company who could evaluate our beer system needs, both current maintenance and future projects,” stated Brad Lyons, Slater’s 50/50 Senior Vice President and Executive Chef. “We chose to work with Glacier Design Systems, Inc. because of their professionalism and ability to not only meet but exceed Slater’s 50/50’s expectations in a beer systems partner.”

With an established reputation for innovative draught beer system design and installation, Glacier Design Systems, Inc. was awarded the job. One key factor in this new partnership was Glacier Design System’s ability to provide in-house service to all current and future Slater’s 50/50 locations.

“Glacier Design System’s is excited and proud to be part of the uncompromising Slater’s 50/50 team,” explained Glacier Design Systems, Inc. Account Executive, Bill Schilling Jr. “We look forward to assisting them in reaching their nationwide growth goal.”

For the latest news and announcements connect with Glacier Design Systems, Inc. on Facebook (, Twitter (@GlacierDsgn) and

To learn more about Slater’s 50/50, visit


8 Best Beer Towns in the USA

POSTED ON May 7th  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

The history of beer in the United States is a rich one dating back to the colonies, when soldiers were paid in spruce beer and cider. From there beer weathered a Revolution, Prohibition and a right turn at Albuquerque before positively exploding with deregulation of the industry through the early 1980s.

130503105537-usa-beer-bend-horizontal-galleryEver since, Americans have been sampling, celebrating and sophisticating the unofficial national beverage in ways previously unimaginable, and it seems nearly every town’s gotten into the act.

But not all cities are carbonated equal. Some have begun to take beer personally, innovating its craft and consumption and throwing festivals to honor the finest ales and lagers — creating a blueprint for the rest of the country to follow. Still others have been doing this all along.

This is the story of those towns, the top eight cities in America for beer explorers.

We’ve scored each out of 10 for history, breweries, bars and events, and would like to think every one of you will read the whole piece quietly, captions and all, nodding sagely as the indisputable truth of every line hits home.

1. Portland, Oregon

History: 6
Breweries: 10
Bars: 10
Events: 7

Portland boasts more breweries (52) than any city in the world. It’s also America’s largest craft brewing market, with 69 breweries in the greater metro area, owing to state sales regulations that favor consumer tastes over discounts and kickbacks, allowing small brewers to compete with mass marketers.

But the Rose City isn’t just about quantity. PDX is where you’ll find Hopworks Urban Brewery, Alameda Brewing Company, Cascade Brewing, and family-owned Hair Of The Dog, all nationally renowned for their care and creativity.

Fairs like The Oregon Brewer’s Festival, the Portland International Beer Festival, and Portland Beer Week — America’s first organic beer festival — ensure that beer spirit in the city runs high all year, while Biketobeerfest celebrates two things exalted by the region: bikes and beer. Portland is also home to five of Draft magazine’s top 100 craft bars — Saraveza Bottle Shop & Pasty Tavern, Horse Brass Pub, Apex, Bailey’s Tap Room, and Belmont Station.

Top draws: Hopworks Urban Crosstown Pale, Deschutes Hop Trip Ale

Landry’s, Inc. Moving More Aggressively into Hospitality

POSTED ON May 3rd  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

Jeff Cantwell

The name changes tell the company’s story: in 1980 it began as Landry’s Seafood House Restaurant, but as it acquired other dining chains, it became Landry’s Restaurants, Inc., then later Landry’s, Inc. Today, the company owns and operates dozens of well-known brands in the restaurant industry, including Morton’s the Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick’s, and Rainforest Cafe, but it is now also making a name for itself in the hospitality and gaming industry, most recently with its development of new Golden Nugget casino locations in Biloxi, Mississippi, and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Jeff Cantwell, Landry’s senior vice president of development, shares how his department has changed with the company’s growth—and how its current strategies have assisted that growth.

Click here to read the full interview.

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Brewery Expansions Worth Watching

POSTED ON May 1st  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

Draft Magazine provides a list of new brewery production facilities slated to open in the near future. Add to that the number of on-site expansions at big and small breweries alike and it’s staggering—especially when placed next to the escalating number of new breweries opening across the country.


New Belgium’s proposed brewery design in Asheville, N.C.

I sat down with Larry Bell earlier this year when he was visiting Phoenix to watch his beloved Chicago Cubs at Spring Training. While I wanted to keep the conversation focused on his ties to baseball (like the fact that he plans to attend every home game at Wrigley Field next year), our chat did venture into some beer-related topics. As we were wrapping up the Q&A, Bell hinted at a pretty big development in the works. He couldn’t divulge the secret, but he did tell me that it was related to an upcoming trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The secret: Bell’s recently announced it’s building a new brewery, called Upper Hand Brewery, in Escanaba, Mich. The brewery should be up and running in about 18 months. On a side note, Bell’s is also opening a bar in the Grand Rapids airport.

While this isn’t one of the biggest craft brewery expansions (and, of course, it’s the development of an entirely different brand, not a new Bell’s production facility) it’s still another one to add to the growing list of big name breweries building new facilities.

Here are some of the new production facilities slated to open:

* Lagunitas in Chicago, opening late 2013
* Sierra Nevada in Asheville, N.C., opening 2014
* Urban Chestnut in St. Louis, opening 2014
* New Belgium in Asheville, N.C., opening 2015
* Green Flash in Virginia Beach, Va., opening 2015
* Anchor Brewing in San Francisco, opening 2016

Now, that’s just a short list of some of the bigger brands in craft beer (or, soon to be, like Urban Chestnut). There are plenty more happening on a local level: For instance, here in the Phoenix area, Four Peaks recently opened a new production facility and SanTan’s new facility is slated to open in May. Add to that the number of on-site expansions at big and small breweries alike and it’s staggering—especially when placed next to the escalating number of new breweries opening across the country.

Doom and gloom aside (for now), it’s pretty remarkable.

Which expansions have you the most excited?

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