• iDigitalTimes: A Bar Trivia Revolution Is Being Led By a Legendary Game Designer Who Wants Drunk People To Feel Smart

    iDigitalTimes: A Bar Trivia Revolution Is Being Led By a Legendary Game Designer Who Wants Drunk People To Feel Smart

    Industry Updates

    How do you balance social play with hyper-competitive teams of regulars there to flex trivia muscles? Koster came up with solutions rooted in rigorous design.

    Source: iDigitaltimes.com
    By Andre Whalen

    You may be familiar with the many downsides of bar trivia. The trivia itself can be too hard or too easy. One team usually dominates; fun if it's your team, not so much if it's not. Being on a small team up against the entire law firm of Bro, Boaster & Toodrunk can keep you on edge. The chicken wings might not be spicy enough. We spoke with Raph Koster, one of the design minds behind Star Wars Galaxies and the author of A Theory of Fun for Game Design, about his recent work reinventing bar trivia.

    Koster Has Better Ideas than College Humor for Fixing Bar Trivia

    If you've ever been to a Buffalo Wild Wings or bar venue with tablet-enabled bar trivia, then you've played a Buzztime Entertainment game. Bar trivia is meant to be unobtrusive, more social enhancer than central event. But the balance and careful design Koster put into Buzztime's Jackpot Trivia expose the universal principles in game design that unite the immersive MMORPG and the as yet un-acronymed “slapping buttons to prove your smart without distracting too much from the riotous social pleasures of beer.” For Koster, the problems that arise in bar trivia interactions are similar to our interactions with virtual worlds.

    “Whether or not a game happens around a tabletop or on the court or field of a sport or entirely inside a computer, the overall patterns are the same,” Koster told iDigitalTimes. “I don't think it makes a real difference whether you're in the ‘real world' or not. What all games have in common is that they create a little bubble separate from the world. It's perfectly fine for two people to beat each other up… inside the bubble of the game.”

    What is Fun (Other than Drinking)?

    Of course, it begins with fun. But the nature of fun itself is far from obvious.

    For Koster “fun comes from mastering problems.” But while we typically think of mastering problems as work, Koster believes it's integral to satisfying recreation.

    “We spend most of our time operating on reflexes that we've built up, that we don't think about,” he said. “You need to build up a pretty large library of that kind of thing in order to function. Play is the way you do it. Fun is the brain's reward for building up these schemas.”

    Part of this satisfaction comes from making decisions. This has a number of design implications, with Koster offering up this example from Jackpot Trivia: “When you decided to allocate your chips across your guess in Jackpot Trivia you've got 4 possible answers. But we intentionally gave you an odd number of chips. So you can't split them evenly. To split them evenly allows you not to make a decision.”

    But how do you balance social play with hyper-competitive teams of regulars there to flex trivia muscles? Koster came up with solutions rooted in rigorous design.

    Balancing Bar Trivia

    First, there's voting for categories, which can “level the playing field against expert geographers or historians.” Koster offered up the example of a kid voting for “Pokémon or Disney trivia,” empowering players with decisions that can steer play.

    The other main component is a kind of “alternate game,” where teams can wager on answers, allowing players to invest in confident solutions and hedge against trivia they're not so certain about.

    Sure, it's just bar trivia, but the empirical rigor that goes into it is astonishing. Koster knew they had struck the proper balance “when we were able to run thousands of Monte Carlo simulations with simulated players of various levels of expertise, and get out consistent results: a true know-it-all generally still wins, but good strategy play can outweigh knowledge to some degree, and all races tend to be tight.”

    Bringing the design principles of MMORPGs and other virtual communities can enrich seemingly simple social interactions as bar trivia. “A huge value of games has been about connecting people,” Koster said. Game rules can smooth that process. And just like in the current minimalist obsession with “disappearing design,” creating a better bar trivia can begin “fulfilling the actual promise of what games can be.”

    The post iDigitalTimes: A Bar Trivia Revolution Is Being Led By a Legendary Game Designer Who Wants Drunk People To Feel Smart appeared first on Bar Entertainment System | Bar Trivia Games | Buzztime.

  • Tommyknocker Brewery Goes International With First Branded American Craft Beer Bar In Europe

    Craft Beer

    Idaho Springs, Colo…Tommyknocker Brewery & Pub, maker of numerous award-winning American craft ales and lagers has partnered with Finnish investor group Captol Invest to launch The Tommyknocker Craft Beer Bar in a fashionable section of downtown Helsinki.

    After shipping more than 2,200 gallons of its signature quaffs, including TKB's all natural Root Beer, Brewmaster and Director of Brewery Operations Steve Indrehus traveled to Finland for the March grand opening.

    “It's fun for a little Idaho Springs brewery to do something global,” said Indrehus. “I think part of the draw for them is our distinctive Colorado mountain town image and drinkable American-style products.”

    To make the two-year project come to fruition, Tommyknocker and Captol Invest embarked on a business model collaboration that began with a visit from the Finnish group in 2013 and has culminated in the launch of the Helsinki Tommyknocker craft beer bar. And according to Indreus, the future looks bright:
    • The first weeks have been so successful that talks of opening a second location by the end of the calendar year are already under way for another location in the Scandinavian region and possibly one on a cruise ship.
    • Tommyknocker and the Finnish investor group's own craft brewery, Mallaskoski, are working out the details of collaborating on some new craft beer creations in the near future that are planned to be distributed in Finland and parts of North America.

    About Tommyknocker Brewery & Pub
    Tommyknocker Brewery & Pub is an American craft brewery and restaurant located in Idaho Springs, Colo., just 30 miles west of Denver right off Interstate 70. Founded in 1994, Tommyknocker has won more than100 medals from a multitude of local, national and international competitions, including 17 Great American Beer Festival medals.

    Using pure Rocky Mountain snow melt, the finest malted barley, high quality hops and our exclusive strains of yeast, Tommyknocker beers are sold in 18 state. Executive Chef Brian Omerod has created a food menu of perfect pairings to complement their list of award-winning beers. Known for their jumbo chicken wings, the menu also includes all-natural, never-frozen Angus beef with fresh baked brioche buns, as well as buffalo, elk, lamb and duck.
    www.tommyknocker.com
    https://www.facebook.com/TommyknockerCraftBeerBar?fref=photo

    Tommyknocker Brewery & Pub, based in Idaho Springs, Colorado and maker of numerous award-winning American craft ales and lagers, has partnered with Finnish investor group Captol Invest to launch The Tommyknocker Craft Beer Bar in a fashionable section of downtown Helsinki in Finland. Pictured left to right are: Heinrik Larkio, TKB Finland brand manager; Steve Indrehus, TKB director of operations, and Teemu Lehto, president of Captol Invest. The venture has been so successful that talks of opening a second location by the end of the calendar year are already under way for another location in the Scandinavian region and possibly one on a cruise ship.

    The post Tommyknocker Brewery Goes International With First Branded American Craft Beer Bar In Europe appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • Old Town Brewing and Maletis Beverage Partner to Expand Brewery Operations

    Old Town Brewing and Maletis Beverage Partner to Expand Brewery Operations

    Craft Beer


    Portland, Ore. – (April 22, 2015) Old Town Brewing ® (OTB®), a locally owned and operated Portland brewery, announced today its partnership with Oregon distributor, Maletis Beverage. Joining the well-known distributors roster will bring OTB's award winning beers to bars, restaurants and retail locations throughout the Portland market starting in May. In anticipation of increased demand, the brewery is expanding its operations to include five additional 15 BBL fermenters and three 21 BBL brite tanks, more than doubling the brewery's production ability.

    “Joining forces with a respected distributor like Maletis Beverage is an incredible opportunity for us to share Old Town® beers across the region, and we couldn't be more thrilled,” said Adam Milne, owner of Old Town Brewing. “This is a real turning point for our brewery, and we're excited to see what the future will bring.”


    While self-distributing, OTB focused its efforts on perfecting sessionable, craft beer that reflects the unique city of Portland and its people. This labor of love brought the brewery an unprecedented four national and international awards since they began brewing in late 2011 – two from the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) ® and two from the World Beer Cup®.

    “Maletis is excited to add Old Town Brewing to our craft beer offerings,” said Rob Maletis, owner of Maletis Beverage. “OTB has a unique history within the Portland beer market and the team is well known and respected in the local and national craft beer community. We're looking forward to supporting the brewery's continued growth across the Pacific Northwest.”

    When owner Adam Milne decided to transform what was Old Town's second location into a brewery in 2011, his vision was to create a different beer drinking experience for Portland's enthusiastic craft beer community, one that encompassed the city's unconventional flare and cultured history. OTB's use of locally sourced ingredients and flavors and delivery of craft beer by bike perfectly captures the spirit of Portland.

    “Old town is a reflection of its surroundings,” Milne added. “We live in a community fueled by the energy of the most creative and adventurous people, and we try to capture that energy into every beer we brew.”

    Old Town Brewing Taster Tray Press Pic

    About Old Town Brewing Co.
    Old Town Brewing (OTB) opened in northeast Portland, Ore., in 2011 with an emphasis on crafting its beer to reflect the spirit, values, history and personality of Portland and the Northwest. OTB is the first brewery in the country to deliver beer and pizza by bike straight to consumers, rain or shine. Reclaimed materials were extensively incorporated into the design of the LEED Gold brewery, evoking an atmosphere of Northwest authenticity and sustainability.

    Owner Adam Milne opened OTB to complement his Old Town Pizza® location in Portland's historic Old Town neighborhood. A devoted Old Town Pizza customer since celebrating his ninth birthday at the restaurant, Milne purchased Old Town Pizza from the original owners, the Accuardi family, in 2003. For more information visit www.otbrewing.com and www.oldtownpizza.com.

    Old Town Brewing Awards to date:
    GABF 2014, Silver, Sun Dazed, German-Style Kölsch category
    GABF 2013, Gold, Cents and Sensibility, Fresh Hop category
    World Beer Cup 2014, Sun Dazed, German-Style Kölsch category
    World Beer Cup 2014, Bronze, Paulie's Not Irish Red, Irish Style Red Ale category

    About Maletis Beverage
    Maletis Beverage is a fourth generation family owned and operated beverage distributorship servicing the greater Portland and Southwest Washington area. The company was recently honored with the Craft Beer Distributor Recognition Award by the Brewers Association, which recognizes beer distributors that go above and beyond to market, promote and sell craft beer. Founded in 1935, Maletis Beverage is proudly celebrating its 80th anniversary.

  • Louisiana: Where Craft Beer and Food Collide

    Louisiana: Where Craft Beer and Food Collide

    Craft Beer

    In Louisiana, people love to drink beer—the state is ranked 11th in the country for beer consumed per capita, and the bon temps roulez and laissez faire attitude leads to plenty of beer consumption during football games, at crawfish boils, at music festivals, while watching parades, and any day ending in “y,” really.

    However, the local craft brewing scene has struggled to keep pace with the demand for beer—Louisiana ranks 50th in number of craft breweries per capita. The scene is growing steadily, with breweries opening throughout the state, their number doubling from six in 2010 to 15 in 2015.

    What craft brewers in Louisiana have learned is, that the way to attract locals from the macrobrews they previously only had access to, to the locally crafted beer offered in more and more places, is to connect them to Louisiana's singular cuisine and overall obsession with good food.

    Louisiana food culture highlights local ingredients like seafood from the Gulf of Mexico, rice and vegetable crops harvested year round. Bayou Teche Brewing founder Karlos Knott says of the area's culinary scene, “The food is amazing here. It is one of the most important pieces of the Cajun and Creole culture. Cooking and eating are important ways we Cajuns communicate. Like our music, we feel that our cuisine is a higher form of expression.”

    According to David Blossman, president of Abita Brewing Co., the state's oldest and largest brewery, “Our beers were designed from the beginning to pair well with our culture. Culinary pairing is important, but it is just one aspect. Abita beers pair well with the way we love to live in Louisiana and all of our social occasions.”

    Bayou Teche, Abita, NOLA Brewing, and other local breweries have created beer that complement Louisiana dishes, showing diners how well the beer and food can work together. Beer dinners and pairings, as well as local chefs working with beer as an ingredient in great food, have become critical in exposing craft beer newcomers in the region to the vast array of flavors beer brings to the table.

    “Beer dinners allow us to speak to Cajuns and Creoles in their own language–food,” Knott says. “Once you can talk about your beers in food terms, and then show how to pair locally crafted beer with locally sourced and prepared courses, well, you have them hooked.”

    Bayou Teche has been aggressive in promoting its beer as part of the Cajun culture and lifestyle, brewed to pair with the food, the music, the language, and the way of life. As part of that mission statement, they've held Cajun beer dinners from Bourbon Street to Brooklyn, spreading the word of bold flavors and bonhomie to diners who come for the food, but stay for the beer.

    Louisiana: Where Craft Beer and Food CollideKnott recalls, “One of the nicest compliments we ever got at the brewery was just after we first opened five years ago. An elderly Cajun lady, speaking with a thick French accent called us. She had read on the local newspaper that we crafted beers to pair with Cajun cuisine. So she cooked a Turtle Sauce Piquant for her guests and poured each a glass of our Biere Pale. She was calling us to let us know that even though her Turtle Sauce Piquant was always a hit with her guests, that our Biere Pale made it a remarkable, life-changing meal. If you know anything about older Cajun ladies, they hardly ever attribute an amazing meal to anything other than their cooking skills acquired over a lifetime of practice. That call meant the world to me.”

    Abita has been forging the way of craft beer culture in Louisiana for almost 30 years now, and has been an instrumental part of creating the concept of marrying food and craft beer flavors – famed Louisiana chef Emeril Lagasse is an avowed Abita Turbodog lover, having used the dark brown ale in recipes ranging from gumbo to fried chicken to bisque.

    Blossman notes, “We are very lucky that local chefs from the beginning showcased our beers as ingredients and pairings. It was natural for us to join along with beer dinners. We learned a lot from the chefs and their ideas of pairing.“

    Blossman says that beer dinners have become a huge part of the brewery's identity and DNA over the past twenty years. Blossman says of working with different chefs across the state and country, “hell, we were so inspired by them that we created a cookbook with recipes from our beer dinners.”

    The creativity and fun that craft brewers bring to their beers can be applied to some of its culinary collaboration. Bayou Teche has just announced a collaboration with Dat Dog, a local hot dog chain which features locally sourced ingredients in each of their three New Orleans locations. The beer, called “Dat Beer” is a farmhouse style biere de garde, created specifically to complement Dat Dog's entire menu of brats, sausages, and franks.

    NOLA Brewing has not only done beer dinners around town from fancy to casual, but has created events like beer brunches and has also partnered with the New Orleans chapter of Dinner Lab to bring their beers to people who aren't craft beer drinkers but love to eat great food.

    Louisiana: Where Craft Beer and Food CollideThat intersection between food and beer at NOLA Brewing is personified by NOLA's head brewer, Peter Caddoo. Before he and Kirk Coco opened NOLA Brewing in 2008, Caddoo worked in the kitchens of iconic New Orleans restaurants like Commander's Palace and Ralph's on the Park. Caddoo started working in restaurants in high school, became a Navy cook, and ended up at the Culinary Institute of America, where he became president at the prestigious cooking school's Beer and Ale Society. “Basically, the CIA gave us money to go try different beers every month,” Caddoo says. When homebrewing became legal, in the late 70s, Caddoo and his roommate decided to start making beer.

    After graduating the CIA in 1981, Cadoo came to New Orleans to work in fine dining establishments around the city, homebrewing the whole time. After working at Commander's under Emeril, he says, “chefs could go cook anywhere in the city,” but his food path transitioned to a beer path, when he went to work at Dixie Brewing in 1987. “I left a successful restaurant to go work at a brewery that was basically going out of business,” Caddoo laughs.

    But Caddoo worked at Dixie until 2005, when the brewery closed. He went back to fine dining because, he says, “there wasn't another brewery in town back then.” Three years later, he and ex-Navy officer Kirk Coco founded NOLA Brewing, the city's largest production brewery.

    Caddoo reminisces about bringing test batches to work the brunch shift at Ralph's on the Park, where he and executive chef Chip Flanagan would sample after shift while sitting in City Park. “That was the one reason to work a brunch,” Flanagan says with a laugh.

    Flanagan has been using NOLA's beer in his cooking on a regular basis. “I usually have a keg of Irish Channel Stout in the cooler to cook with – we've used it in a glaze here before, with lamb chops. And I have NOLA Blonde that I use for BBQ shrimp.” That culinary connection has resulted in several beer dinner collaborations between Ralph's on the Park and NOLA Brewing.

    Louisiana has so many stories and traditions wrapped around the food its people cook and eat, and it's a huge benefit to local breweries to hitch their wagon to that. Because freshly brewed beer is flavorful and built to complement the region's dishes, it's the perfect way to appeal to consumers that don't consider themselves to be beer drinkers.

    Knott jokes, “I came to the conclusion that [people who lived in other parts of the country] gravitated to craft beer earlier than we did because they needed to make their meals taste better. Now that we Cajuns and Creoles have caught on to the transformative power of locally crafted beers, well, let's just say our ranking as one of the fattest states is not in jeopardy”


    McGunnigleNora McGunnigle is a freelance beer and food writer living in New Orleans, focusing and the unique food and beer culture of Louisiana and the Gulf region. Her work can be found in Beer Advocate, All About Beer and Louisiana Kitchen and Culture and is a regular contributor to Southern Brew News, Alcohol Professor, Eater NOLA, and the New Orleans alt-weekly, The Gambit. Follow her on Twitter at @noradeirdre and keep up with her work at NOLAbeerblog.com.

    The post Louisiana: Where Craft Beer and Food Collide appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • Louisiana: Where Craft Beer and Food Collide

    Louisiana: Where Craft Beer and Food Collide

    Craft Beer

    In Louisiana, people love to drink beer—the state is ranked 11th in the country for beer consumed per capita, and the bon temps roulez and laissez faire attitude leads to plenty of beer consumption during football games, at crawfish boils, at music festivals, while watching parades, and any day ending in “y,” really.

    However, the local craft brewing scene has struggled to keep pace with the demand for beer—Louisiana ranks 50th in number of craft breweries per capita. The scene is growing steadily, with breweries opening throughout the state, their number doubling from six in 2010 to 15 in 2015.

    What craft brewers in Louisiana have learned is, that the way to attract locals from the macrobrews they previously only had access to, to the locally crafted beer offered in more and more places, is to connect them to Louisiana's singular cuisine and overall obsession with good food.

    Louisiana food culture highlights local ingredients like seafood from the Gulf of Mexico, rice and vegetable crops harvested year round. Bayou Teche Brewing founder Karlos Knott says of the area's culinary scene, “The food is amazing here. It is one of the most important pieces of the Cajun and Creole culture. Cooking and eating are important ways we Cajuns communicate. Like our music, we feel that our cuisine is a higher form of expression.”

    According to David Blossman, president of Abita Brewing Co., the state's oldest and largest brewery, “Our beers were designed from the beginning to pair well with our culture. Culinary pairing is important, but it is just one aspect. Abita beers pair well with the way we love to live in Louisiana and all of our social occasions.”

    Bayou Teche, Abita, NOLA Brewing, and other local breweries have created beer that complement Louisiana dishes, showing diners how well the beer and food can work together. Beer dinners and pairings, as well as local chefs working with beer as an ingredient in great food, have become critical in exposing craft beer newcomers in the region to the vast array of flavors beer brings to the table.

    “Beer dinners allow us to speak to Cajuns and Creoles in their own language–food,” Knott says. “Once you can talk about your beers in food terms, and then show how to pair locally crafted beer with locally sourced and prepared courses, well, you have them hooked.”

    Bayou Teche has been aggressive in promoting its beer as part of the Cajun culture and lifestyle, brewed to pair with the food, the music, the language, and the way of life. As part of that mission statement, they've held Cajun beer dinners from Bourbon Street to Brooklyn, spreading the word of bold flavors and bonhomie to diners who come for the food, but stay for the beer.

    Louisiana: Where Craft Beer and Food CollideKnott recalls, “One of the nicest compliments we ever got at the brewery was just after we first opened five years ago. An elderly Cajun lady, speaking with a thick French accent called us. She had read on the local newspaper that we crafted beers to pair with Cajun cuisine. So she cooked a Turtle Sauce Piquant for her guests and poured each a glass of our Biere Pale. She was calling us to let us know that even though her Turtle Sauce Piquant was always a hit with her guests, that our Biere Pale made it a remarkable, life-changing meal. If you know anything about older Cajun ladies, they hardly ever attribute an amazing meal to anything other than their cooking skills acquired over a lifetime of practice. That call meant the world to me.”

    Abita has been forging the way of craft beer culture in Louisiana for almost 30 years now, and has been an instrumental part of creating the concept of marrying food and craft beer flavors – famed Louisiana chef Emeril Lagasse is an avowed Abita Turbodog lover, having used the dark brown ale in recipes ranging from gumbo to fried chicken to bisque.

    Blossman notes, “We are very lucky that local chefs from the beginning showcased our beers as ingredients and pairings. It was natural for us to join along with beer dinners. We learned a lot from the chefs and their ideas of pairing.“

    Blossman says that beer dinners have become a huge part of the brewery's identity and DNA over the past twenty years. Blossman says of working with different chefs across the state and country, “hell, we were so inspired by them that we created a cookbook with recipes from our beer dinners.”

    The creativity and fun that craft brewers bring to their beers can be applied to some of its culinary collaboration. Bayou Teche has just announced a collaboration with Dat Dog, a local hot dog chain which features locally sourced ingredients in each of their three New Orleans locations. The beer, called “Dat Beer” is a farmhouse style biere de garde, created specifically to complement Dat Dog's entire menu of brats, sausages, and franks.

    NOLA Brewing has not only done beer dinners around town from fancy to casual, but has created events like beer brunches and has also partnered with the New Orleans chapter of Dinner Lab to bring their beers to people who aren't craft beer drinkers but love to eat great food.

    Louisiana: Where Craft Beer and Food CollideThat intersection between food and beer at NOLA Brewing is personified by NOLA's head brewer, Peter Caddoo. Before he and Kirk Coco opened NOLA Brewing in 2008, Caddoo worked in the kitchens of iconic New Orleans restaurants like Commander's Palace and Ralph's on the Park. Caddoo started working in restaurants in high school, became a Navy cook, and ended up at the Culinary Institute of America, where he became president at the prestigious cooking school's Beer and Ale Society. “Basically, the CIA gave us money to go try different beers every month,” Caddoo says. When homebrewing became legal, in the late 70s, Caddoo and his roommate decided to start making beer.

    After graduating the CIA in 1981, Cadoo came to New Orleans to work in fine dining establishments around the city, homebrewing the whole time. After working at Commander's under Emeril, he says, “chefs could go cook anywhere in the city,” but his food path transitioned to a beer path, when he went to work at Dixie Brewing in 1987. “I left a successful restaurant to go work at a brewery that was basically going out of business,” Caddoo laughs.

    But Caddoo worked at Dixie until 2005, when the brewery closed. He went back to fine dining because, he says, “there wasn't another brewery in town back then.” Three years later, he and ex-Navy officer Kirk Coco founded NOLA Brewing, the city's largest production brewery.

    Caddoo reminisces about bringing test batches to work the brunch shift at Ralph's on the Park, where he and executive chef Chip Flanagan would sample after shift while sitting in City Park. “That was the one reason to work a brunch,” Flanagan says with a laugh.

    Flanagan has been using NOLA's beer in his cooking on a regular basis. “I usually have a keg of Irish Channel Stout in the cooler to cook with – we've used it in a glaze here before, with lamb chops. And I have NOLA Blonde that I use for BBQ shrimp.” That culinary connection has resulted in several beer dinner collaborations between Ralph's on the Park and NOLA Brewing.

    Louisiana has so many stories and traditions wrapped around the food its people cook and eat, and it's a huge benefit to local breweries to hitch their wagon to that. Because freshly brewed beer is flavorful and built to complement the region's dishes, it's the perfect way to appeal to consumers that don't consider themselves to be beer drinkers.

    Knott jokes, “I came to the conclusion that [people who lived in other parts of the country] gravitated to craft beer earlier than we did because they needed to make their meals taste better. Now that we Cajuns and Creoles have caught on to the transformative power of locally crafted beers, well, let's just say our ranking as one of the fattest states is not in jeopardy”


    McGunnigleNora McGunnigle is a freelance beer and food writer living in New Orleans, focusing and the unique food and beer culture of Louisiana and the Gulf region. Her work can be found in Beer Advocate, All About Beer and Louisiana Kitchen and Culture and is a regular contributor to Southern Brew News, Alcohol Professor, Eater NOLA, and the New Orleans alt-weekly, The Gambit. Follow her on Twitter at @noradeirdre and keep up with her work at NOLAbeerblog.com.

    The post Louisiana: Where Craft Beer and Food Collide appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • The Challenges Facing Small and Independent Craft Brewers

    The Challenges Facing Small and Independent Craft Brewers

    Craft Beer

    Although the American craft beer industry continues to grow, that growth does not come without its own set of challenges for brewers and brewery owners. Current laws and regulations can make it difficult for small and independent brewery owners to reinvest in their companies, hire new employees and expand their business to keep up with the demand for their beers.

    Luckily for the craft brewers in the U.S., there is a strong voice representing them in Washington D.C., fighting the opposition that limits small and independent brewers' growth

    Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of congress' Small Brew Caucus, has been a major part of the voice on this front. In February of this year, Senator Baldwin introduced the Small Brew Act to help these American businesses, but that's not all that Senator Baldwin is doing. This month, she worked with Wisconsin's Joe Katchever of Perl Street Brewery to better understand all aspects of brewing. Katchevers brewery is a strong part of the local community and is also a strong supporter of lifting the limitations that hinder the growth of craft breweries.

    “All we want to do is get some obstacles out of the way that restrict the growth of our businesses, that were specifically designed to restrict the growth of craft beer by our competition, our international competition. Foreign owned beer companies have kind of put a lot of pressure on policy makers to limit the growth of craft beer,” Katchever said.

    With the work of industry leaders like Katchever and the leadership of Senator Baldwin paving the way, we will continue to see growth in this industry. Follow their progress and read more about their effort to support small and independent craft breweries in “Senator Baldwin visits La Crosse brewery.”

    To learn more about the Small Brew Act and how to quickly connect with your member of congress to show your support, visit BrewersAssociation.org.


    Ben Zeller is a homebrewer, beer and food enthusiast, certified beer server and is the current Craft Beer Program Intern for the Brewers Association. He is also a new father, skier and currently a student at MSUD, anticipating graduation this December. He hopes to learn as much as he can during his time with the BA and continue his career in the craft beer world.

    The post The Challenges Facing Small and Independent Craft Brewers appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • Stone Brewing Co. Releases Stone Ruination Double IPA 2.0

    Stone Brewing Co. Releases Stone Ruination Double IPA 2.0

    Craft Beer

    ESCONDIDO, CA (April 20, 2015) – In June 2002, Stone Brewing Co. introduced the world's first full-time brewed and bottled West Coast double IPA, Stone Ruination IPA. Massively hopped and aggressively bitter, it helped spark the ever-growing desire among legions of craft beer fans for over-the-top hop flavors and aromas. Fast-forward 13 years, new brewing techniques and hops exist to spark inspiration. Stone Co-founders Greg Koch and Steve Wagner decided it was time to utilize this new inspiration and reimagine Stone Ruination IPA. Beginning today, Stone Ruination Double IPA 2.0 will start arriving in 12-ounce six-packs, 22-ounce bottles and on draft at retail outlets, bars and restaurants in markets where Stone beers are sold.

    Hop growers are always developing new and experimental varietals, and Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele incorporated some of the brewing team's favorites while revamping this venerable recipe. Additionally, Steele and company implemented contemporary techniques such as “hop-bursting,” where large late hop additions focus on extracting hop aromas and flavors rather than creating additional bitterness. Hop bursting has proven successful with a number of Stone Brewing's IPA varieties, so it was a no-brainer that this method would be employed along with others (we can't shareeverything) for Stone Ruination Double IPA 2.0.

    “In this case, the exit of one beer and the entrance of a new one is simply a rebirth,” explains Stone CEO and co-founder Greg Koch. “Developing this recipe was a great challenge for Mitch and the brewing team, but it gave us the opportunity to look at some of the knowledge we've acquired from the past 13 years and incorporate it into a beer that originally helped spur a hop revolution. Of course, we made sure to maintain the two most important traits of Stone Ruination IPA. It's massively hoppy and massively bitter!”

    Thanks to a recipe calling for purely pale malt grain, the beer showcases a vibrant hops bill comprising six different varietals. As with the original Stone Ruination IPA, Centennial hops remain the star in both the brewing and dry-hop stages. Magnum and Nugget hops provide a hefty dose of standout bitterness. Citra, Simcoe and Azacca hops, all relative newbies (not to mention some of the most highly sought-after hops on the market), were added to the new recipe to provide the bountiful tropical fruit and resinous pine aromas. Combined, the rich tapestry of hops results in a taste profile rife with citrus, melon and tropical fruit flavors.

    To fully enjoy the copious amounts of hops coaxed, squeezed and packed into this double IPA, it should be consumed by the “enjoy by” date printed on the bottle neck. Stone Ruination Double IPA 2.0 is proof that such a masterful “Liquid Poem to the Glory of the Hop” should not be limited to only a single stanza.

    Stone Ruination Double IPA 2.0 Quick Facts
    Name:
    Stone Ruination Double IPA 2.0
    URL: Stonebrewing.com/Ruin
    Stats: 8.5% ABV, 100+ IBUs
    Availability: 12-ounce bottles in six-packs, 22-ounce bottles and draft, beginning April 20
    Hops Bill: Centennial, Citra, Magnum, Nugget, Simcoe, Azacca
    National Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA and Puerto Rico
    International Distribution (coming soon): Australia; Alberta and British Columbia, Canada; Japan; Singapore; Sweden; and United Kingdom

    Tasting notes, provided by Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele
    Appearance:
    This beer pours clear gold with a cream-colored head.
    Aroma: The hop aromatics of this beer are massively fruity, with tons of melon, tropical fruit and citrus followed by resiny pine notes and a hint of dankness.
    Taste: The balance shifts a bit more toward the taste of the hops, with tropical fruit being more dominant and hints of melon and citrus following closely behind. The pine notes are also intense, and the beer's light malt character allows the bitterness to really stand out.
    Palate: The beer is medium bodied with a dry, substantially citrusy, bitter finish.
    Overall: Modernizing a classic is never easy. This recipe is only partially new, in that we took an original concept and added new elements to keep Stone Ruination Double IPA 2.0 aligned with our tradition. We made an effort to maintain the roots of Stone Ruination IPA by keeping Centennial as a primary hop in the brewhouse and the dry-hop stage, and we added a substantial dose of Simcoe and Citra, along with a new hop variety, Azacca. The result is an intense mix of hop flavors: tropical fruit, citrus, pine, melon and a hint of resiny dankness.

    Suggested pairings, provided by Stone Craft Beer Ambassador “Dr.” Bill Sysak
    Appetizers:
    Coconut shrimp, prosciutto-wrapped melon, ceviche, ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms, chips and guacamole
    Soups & Salads:
    Cheddar soup, Cobb salad, crab and mango salad, Greek salad
    Entrees:
    Mahi-mahi tacos,saag paneer, blackened salmon, Southern fried chicken
    Cheeses:
    Grafton Classic Reserve Cheddar, Maytag Blue, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Sarvecchio Parmesan
    Desserts:
    Carrot cake, crème brulée, lemon bars, ginger snaps
    Cigars:
    Herrera Esteli, Arturo Fuente 8-5-8 Candela, La Flor Dominicana Double Claro No. 42

    The post Stone Brewing Co. Releases Stone Ruination Double IPA 2.0 appeared first on CraftBeer.com.

  • Buzztime Helps Couple Find Love – Man Proposes Over Buzztime Trivia System

    Buzztime Helps Couple Find Love – Man Proposes Over Buzztime Trivia System

    Industry Updates

    An Arizona couple met over Buzztime Trivia. Mike proposed to Monica over the trivia system at their favorite Buzztime location.

    Carlsbad, CA (PRWEB) February 10, 2015

    Love is in the air. Back in December 2013, Mike Zolna, a longtime dedicated player, contacted Buzztime via Facebook for help with a special request. Mike and his girlfriend, Monica, were regulars at the Native New Yorker Tucson where they had met playing Buzztime trivia and now, Mike wanted to propose to Monica via a special message on the Buzztime system.

    Buzztime created a special banner, and Mike popped the question on December 23, 2013. During a regular round of Buzztime trivia, an out-of-the-ordinary message flashed across the screen, with a photo of the couple: “MCubed, Will you marry me? – Zolna.” The message referenced the Buzztime usernames of the couple, the monikers by which they first knew each other before falling in love. Friends and family were on hand to witness the tear-jerking event, with coordination by the Native staff.

    The wedding took place on October 24, 2014, and to help the happy couple celebrate, Buzztime and The Native New Yorker Tuscon organized a special quiz night in their honor. The event on December 11, 2014 was a great success and included a “Newlywed Game”, other romantic-themed quizzes and gift card prizes.

    Congratulations to Mike and Monica on the biggest day of their lives, all starting in a Buzztime trivia location! Bringing people together from all walks of life that wouldn't normally interact is just another benefit of Buzztime that can't be expressed on a balance or a spreadsheet. Buzztime would like to express how grateful we are in playing a small part in the spark that lit the fire of this fairytale modern romance.

    The post Buzztime Helps Couple Find Love – Man Proposes Over Buzztime Trivia System appeared first on Bar Entertainment System | Bar Trivia Games | Buzztime.

  • Forbes: Tabletop Tablet Service — Coming To A Restaurant Near You

    Forbes: Tabletop Tablet Service — Coming To A Restaurant Near You

    Industry Updates

    Vladimir Edelman, chief development officer for tablet entertainment supplier Buzztime, says diners can expect tablets to become more prevalent in chain restaurants, but notes that “joining the crowd” will not be enough for success, he says.

    Source: http://forbes.com
    By Lisa R. Melsted

    If you've eaten at a casual dining restaurant lately, you've likely already seen them—tablet computers that allow diners to order their own food and drinks, play games or jukebox music, and pay their bills, all from the comfort of their own table.

    Over the past year, a number of prominent national restaurant chains have introduced tabletop tablets as part of an effort to enhance customer experience and make service more efficient. Buffalo Wild Wings, for instance, has rolled out tablets for every table at 75 percent of its locations. By the end of this year, they plan to fully implement tablet ordering at over 1,000 branches nationwide.

    Solving customer pain points

    One of the primary drivers for installing tabletop tablets is to lessen so-called “pain points” for customers. Consumer expectations are higher when it comes to turnaround times for service—no one wants to wait 10 minutes to get their check or to place their order. Restaurants are finding that the large majority of guests will opt to pay via tablet if presented with one. Faster payment benefits the restaurants as well—the faster the customer pays, the quicker tables can be turned around, increasing profits.

    Order volume tends to increase with tablet use as well, further boosting the bottom line. When left alone with a tablet featuring tempting pictures of entrees and desserts—and potentially a special offer to try them—people bite. Tips for wait staff have also increased because the systems typically suggest a 15 percent baseline for tips, making for happier servers.

    Better branding

    Vladimir Edeleman, chief development officer for tablet entertainment supplier Buzztime, says diners can expect tablets to become more prevalent in chain restaurants, but notes that “joining the crowd” will not be enough for success, he says.
    Instead, brand differentiation will make the difference. Tablets allow for better customer service and less server time spent running between tables, but also provide a chance to customize the dining experience and allow restaurants to focus on customer experience and ambiance.

    Most customization comes in the form of entertainment (such as games or music) offered on devices. Restaurants get a cut of the revenue collected from the systems.

    Edelman points to Buffalo Wild Wings as an example of a chain focused on consumer entertainment. He says the reason they've been successful as a brand is not just because they sell wings and beer—many restaurants do that—but because they've “pioneered this experiential, casual dining segment.”

    At Buffalo Wild Wings, Buzztime's Beond system, which was developed for use with Samsung Galaxy tablets, helps fill the downtime between ordering and the food's arrival. The option to play trivia with other patrons or placate the kids with games can make a difference for brands looking for new ways to set themselves apart in a crowded market.

    Buzztime works with customers to design tablet menus based on the goals of each brand, says Edelman. Unlike print menus, which can be expensive to revamp, reprint and distribute, tablet menus can be customized on the fly or to reflect brand goals, such as catering or events.

    Menu functionality for Buzztime's Beond tablets can also be integrated with the games, Edelman says. A customer who orders a certain amount of food and drink might “unlock” a portion of a game or get free songs on the jukebox app.

    “If we know that you order Johnny Cash songs every time you come in, we may offer you a free one and then bundle it into the price,” he said. “We look at this as one big ecosystem on our tablet—entertainment and menuing—as one big consumer interaction and then we manage it accordingly and integrate it with whatever brand we deploy with.”

    Better service, better operations

    One of the biggest benefits restaurants have seen is the immediate feedback loop between servers, managers and customers. If guests are unhappy with their service or food, tweaks can be made in the moment, ostensibly preserving the customer experience.

    Edelman says these real-time capabilities will become more important for this sector in the future. By integrating tablet data with corporate marketing or supply chain applications, chains will be able to see even more bottom-line benefits. Analyzing consumption patterns should eventually help restaurants with ordering and managing the supply chain

    “Today they're novelties—but long term, everyone's going to deploy them, and deploying them is just going to become the standard. What will be the difference is what else is on these tablets,” he said.

    For more information on Samsung's solutions, click here.
    Lisa Melsted is a writer and communications consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area. A tech industry veteran with turns in public relations, market research and journalism, she writes about enterprise and B2B technologies and moonlights as a food and profile writer.

    The post Forbes: Tabletop Tablet Service — Coming To A Restaurant Near You appeared first on Bar Entertainment System | Bar Trivia Games | Buzztime.

  • NTN Buzztime to Present at the 27th Annual Roth Conference

    Industry Updates

    CARLSBAD, Calif., February 24, 2014 — NTN Buzztime, Inc. (NYSE MKT: NTN) will present at the 27th Annual ROTH Conference on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, California.

    CEO Ram Krishnan is scheduled to present at 8:30 a.m. PT to discuss the company's strategy. Mr. Krishnan and CFO Allen Wolff will be available for one-on-one meetings throughout the day.

    A webcast of management's presentation will be available live and via replay for a period of 90 days in the investor section of the company's website at www.buzztime.com.

    About Buzztime:
    NTN Buzztime, Inc. (NYSE MKT: NTN) is a leading bar and restaurant social entertainment and integrated marketing platform. Trusted by bars and restaurants in North America since 1985, Buzztime integrates trivia, card and sports games with in- and out-of-venue messaging and communication tools. With over 6 million player registrations on the Buzztime platform and over 60 million games played each year, Buzztime players spread the word and invite friends and family to their favorite Buzztime locations to enjoy evenings of fun and competition. With Buzztime entertainment and marketing solutions, bars and restaurants can turn casual visitors into regulars, and give patrons a reason to stay longer. For the most up-to-date information on NTN Buzztime, please visit http://www.buzztime.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @buzztime.

    IR AGENCY CONTACT:
    Monica Chang/Kirsten Chapman, LHA
    buzztime@lhai.com
    415-433-3777

    The post NTN Buzztime to Present at the 27th Annual Roth Conference appeared first on Bar Entertainment System | Bar Trivia Games | Buzztime.

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