Archive for the ‘malt beverage’ Category
Way back in mid-December of 2012 I would have considered this Shelton Brothers COLA to be, perhaps, an aberration. But upon checking it again, today, I see a few more COLAs with the same word — arguably in need of the fig leafs above.
It is hard to believe that the government did not see the word at issue. On the above-linked COLA it appears no less than three times. This may signal that, as social mores liberalize and budgets shrink, the government has bigger (or fewer) fish to fry. Clearly, it signals that Daniel Shelton does not mind pushing the envelope, or many. The Amherst College magazine unabashedly explains that, after graduating from Amherst, Shelton:
went to a prestigious law school … then clerked for a judge (on a tropical Pacific isle, of all places) and finally secured a position at a venerable firm in Washington, D.C. (but convinced Shea & Gardner that he needed to spend a year bumming around Africa before starting.) … “My Amherst education has not been wasted at all. I use it more in this business than I ever did in lawyering. I never was completely comfortable with the idea of being a lawyer, anyway.”
This creaky old regulation still prohibits any beer labeling that is “obscene or indecent.” At this rate, however, it is difficult or uncomfortable to imagine something that goes too far — or too far for Dan. Many thanks to Mark for showing me these labels.
What is it about beer that encourages people to say things — they would never want to say on cheese or ketchup labels? In the latest skirmish, an Oklahoma brewer came out with Nobama Beer during the past few weeks.
It appears that TTB was not too fond of this brand name, at least at first. But then Huebert Brewing Company, their lawyer, and the local NBC affiliate went on the offensive, to push the label through, as shown in this video. I must admit, I did not expect to see a TV news story about the finer points of TTB Form 5100.31, Exemptions from Label Approval, or TTB’s renowned beer label reviewer (the one person that has reviewed and approved the label for just about every beer currently available in the US). The first video shows that TTB at first allowed the beer only within Oklahoma, but the above approval, and this later video, shows that TTB shortly thereafter felt compelled to allow it more widely.
TTB announced a big policy change — about gluten free — just before the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
For many years before the announcement, plenty of companies have tried to make “gluten free” claims, but we still didn’t see any approved TTB labels referring to “gluten free.” A few weeks back, we thought we had one, when we heard a lot of buzz about Omission beer as above. But alas, even the Omission label has had a big omission when it comes to this particular claim.
All this is about to change in a big way, as result of this TTB Ruling, released late last week. As a result, we may begin to see various gluten free claims on TTB labels in the very near future.
To show the earlier TTB policy, a fairly recent TTB rejection is here, and it may help explain why Widmer did not come out and say it louder or earlier. TTB’s caution may well have been justified; Brewbound has explained: “The release of Omission Beer comes just a few months after a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research found that eight commercial beers currently labeled as ‘gluten-free’ contained as much gluten as regular beer.”
Brewbound further explained that there are plenty of other beers that seek to minimize or eliminate gluten, but most of the others (such as this Bard’s Tale) are made with sorghum as a substitute for malted barley:
Ordinarily a new product release wouldn’t be so newsworthy but the launch of Omission marks the first time a U.S. craft brewer has been able to produce a gluten-free beer while still using malted barley in the brew process.
In the same article, the beer company’s CEO explains:
Omission beer is brewed with malted barley, but we’ve developed a proprietary process to reduce the gluten levels to well below the internationally accepted gluten-free standard of 20 parts per million of gluten. We are currently working with the TTB and the FDA to update the definition of the term ‘gluten-free.’… The inspiration behind Omission beers was personal. I am a 12-year celiac, our brewmaster’s wife is a celiac, as are several other members of our team. … We’re also going to talk about the extensive testing that Omission beers go through to ensure that every batch of Omission beer is well below the international gluten-free standard of 20 ppm. In fact, each bottle of Omission Beer caries a date stamp connecting the brew to its specific batch. Consumers can visit www.OmissionTests.com, type in the date code stamped on their bottle, and see that beers’ test results. … An estimated three million Americans have celiac disease.
Even though there is little to no gluten talk on Omission’s approved label (so far), there is plenty of gluten talk on the brand’s website. For example, the FAQ says “Is Omission beer gluten free? According to federal guidelines, we aren’t legally allowed to claim that Omission beer is gluten-free outside of Oregon … . While the FDA proposed to define the term ‘gluten free,’” that definition has not been formally adopted … .”
As a result of TTB Ruling 2012-2, look for Widmer and many others to push much further toward gluten free claims in the near future.
Because the term “Molotov Cocktail” has been so widely used (for at least 70 years), I would have expected somebody to grab onto it and apply it to alcohol beverages sooner. It was not until July of 2011 that somebody grabbed onto it, as in the case of Evil Twin Brewing above. In this case the name relates to the “explosive” and “arrogant” amount of hops in this beer. A few years earlier, Molotov Hoptail had roughly the same idea. Hoptail gets extra points because the brewpub is just down the street and a delightful addition to the neighborhood.
I probably would have expected the term to get applied to something more akin to a traditional “cocktail” and less akin to a traditional beer. But perhaps TTB would have been concerned about the use of cocktail-type language on a spirit that is other than a “recognized cocktail.” TTB has various rules about recognized cocktails, such as pre-mixed margaritas, daiquiris and the like. For example, the BAM says a daiquiri must contain rum and lime, and a margarita must contain Tequila, triple sec and citrus. A few of these cocktails are vaguely reminiscent of the above, at least as to sound: Black Russian, White Russian, Brandy Alexander, Bloody Mary.
Has anyone tried these and lived to tell about it? Some people prefer the organic or biodynamic, Others, apparently, lean toward the toxic or deadly. It is nice to see TTB giving consumers some credit for being able to put things in context, and for recognizing that nobody will force them to buy either one of these products (unlike, say, health insurance or government).
Toxic Sludge is an ale made by Blue Point Brewing Company of Patchogue, New York. Jersey’s Toxic Waste, by contrast, is a distilled spirits specialty made by Strong Spirits, Inc., along with Line Brands of Long Branch, New Jersey. Michael Kanbar, of Strong, explains that Strong Spirits “is a contract bottling facility located in Bardstown, Kentucky, ‘The Distilling Capital of the World,’ and does both small and large runs and can handle specialty packaging projects.”