Belgians drink less beerAnheuser-Busch InBev plans to eliminate nearly 20% of its jobs in Belgium because of a decline in sales there. Belgian consumption fell 20% from 2000 through 2008 and continued to fall in 2009. Beer consumption has fallen in all major markets except for Latin America. Supposedly alcohol consumption has shifted to wine and spirits. For more, see here.
Beer Wars (film)
The website blog of US News & World Report provides an interview between beer historian Amy Mittelman and film director Anat Baron here. It also offers an unenthusiastic review of the film (Beer Wars) by Amy Mittelman here. Anat Baron, herself a teetotaler, focuses on craft brewers, specifically Rhonda Kallman who created the caffeinated beer Moonshot and Sam Calagione of rapidly growing Dogfish Head Brewery.
Noncommercial alcohol as a problem
The International Center for Alcohol Policies recently released a report, Noncommercial Alcohol in Three Regions, that looks at central and eastern Europe (such as Belarus and Ukraine), subsaharan Africa (such as Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe), and South Asia (such as Sri Lanka). For more, see here. The report defines noncommercial alcohol as "traditional beverages produced for home consumption or limited local trade and counterfeit or unregistered products."
Difference between ales and lager beer and other brewing terminology
For the distinction between ales and lager beer and other brewing terminology, see here.
Pale ales, porters and stouts are ales, as are many--perhaps most--microbrewery beers. The big three American breweries produce variants on American lager, itself a variant on German lager. Ales are produced by yeast fermenting at room temperature resulting in a more complex drink, often fruity, than lagers that are produced by fermentation under refrigerated temperatures and are characterized by a "clean" or simple taste. Brwerpubs earn at least half their income from food sales. Microbreweries produce fewer than 15,000 barrels or 30,000 kegs a year. (Another definition, not in this article, says under two million barrels, obviously a lot more!) Craft breweries aren't defined by size. They brew more than a single beer style and typically avoid corn, rice, and other non-malt sugars. (In practice, microbrewery and craft brewery tend to be used as synonyms.) The only uniquely American beer is California Common, sometimes called steam beer, a hybrid of lager and ale styles.
Pint of beer in Britain to cost four pounds?
The director of communications at the British Beer and Pub Association warned that in the coming year the price of beer could almost double to about four pounds (US$8) for a pint. For details, see here.
Baltic and ex-USSR attitudes toward alcohol (article)
Therese C. Reitan, "Democracy in a Battle: Attitudes toward Alcohol Regulation in the Post-Communist Baltic Sea Region," Journal of Baltic Studies 34/2 (Summer 2003): 131-158.
Illicit alcohol 'piped into EU'
BBC News reported in December 2004 that residents of rural Lithuania appear to have found an ingenious way to get round sharply rising alcohol prices. Border guards have unearthed a 3km pipeline used for smuggling liquor from neighbouring Belarus where it can be purchased much more cheaply. A guards' spokesman said it was the fourth such pipeline to be found, but that this one was of record length. Find the full story here.