The Beer Chronicles

All about beer

2011 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,400 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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January 2, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Posted in Beer Ads

Oktoberfest – Lost and Found

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Every year more and more visitors turn up at the Oktoberfest and amazing things get lost and found. In the two week festival, 6.9 million visitors had some 7.5 million litres of beer. But what is more entertaining is the list of lost items – which makes up an interesting read always.

Below is an Info-graphic of the items deposited in the lost & found office, for the last 5 years. Click on image for a larger version 🙂

This year (2011) the authorities received:
1 live, eight-centimeter-long grasshopper
1 Viking helmet
1 Denture
2 crutches,
1 electric wheelchair (just how?)
1 rucksack containing two foldable camping chairs
1 case full of musical notes
1,300 items of clothing
520 wallets
over 1,000 identity cards
390 mobile phones
370 pairs of eyeglasses (wow!!)
90 cameras
80 items of jewellery and watches
425 keys

The http://www.muenchen.de/ website says that, what is not claimed gets auctioned. Now who would want a set of dentures, I wonder 🙂
Info-graphic Design – Arjun Kariyal

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October 31, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Posted in Beer Facts, Beer News

Tagged with ,

The Great Beer Dream – Microbrewery

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Times are changing. Many people are becoming adventorous and doing things that they have wanted to do. In the last few months I have met a few well to do professionals, people who are just starting out and people on cross-roads of their respective careers. The thread which connected them all was:

1. They want to become an entrepreneur
2. They want to set up a microbrewery/brewpub

People are now more aware of craft beer, microbrewery and beerpub, mostly because of their extensive travel around the globe and the web. With the government relaxing its norms and policies, a few states in India have opened up licences to set up new breweries/ brewubs. And I am sure in times to come, practically every state in India would have its licences

Craft beer is a luxury when compared with regular beer but it is a luxury that people can afford. It is a small and niche industry but globally it has a loyal customer base. The fact that it is largely unexplored in the Indian market, makes it a good business opportunity.

Most often when a new brewery/ bewpub opens up, they strive to create their own edge by brewing that special recipe and building up their customer base. This also becomes the key differentiator and indicator of growth. In a way it is good, because everybody is alert and wants to be ahead of the competition. The game also become challenging because the quantities produced is miniscule compared to a large brewery. Also the ingedients used/ flavours produced are exotic. Besides the regular Ale, Lager we now have choices between Coffee, Chocolate , Champagne…you name it and the flavour is there.

Unlike the West, where there are a lot of home brewers, organised platforms and courses available before someone moves on to start their own brewpub, India is still a growing market. Some entrepreneurs who are new to the area seek guidance/ mentoring from consultants, trade suppliers, brewery manufacturers, brewmasters and industry experts. It is a good idea to have all the cost and time approximations before one starts, otherwise there may be disappointments later.

In my next post I will put up a sample business plan, which will help entrepreneurs do the numbers 🙂

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September 14, 2011 at 9:46 pm

The Lager Yeast

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About 600 years ago, the German lager was born, but it is a mystery how the yeast (responsible for making lager) which originated in Agentina, traveled to Europe. Lager was invented around the same time, when Columbus set sail, could it be him?

Since the 1980’s, geneticists have known that the lager is made of of S.pastorianus which in turn was a hybrid of two yeast species – S. cerevisiae (used in making ales, wines and bread) and another unidentified organism. For many decades, this unidentified organism had baffled scientists. Now in the last five years a scientific team has discoered, identified and named the organism – Saccharomysces eubayanus. The yeast is said to be 99.5% identical to the non-ale portion of the lager genome.

This orange colored yeast was found in galls on southern beech trees in Patagonia, Argentina. The galls are used to make a fermenented beverage by the natives.

The scientists believe that the organism found its way to Europe and hybridized with the domestic yeast used to brew ale, creating an organism that can ferment at the lower temperatures used to make lager.

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August 31, 2011 at 5:15 pm

How Big Should A Brewery Be?

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Continuing on my previous post about  competion analysis and knowing what kind of beer (Lager, Ale and/or own beer) will be served, it becomes important to answer – how big should the brewery be?

While setting up a microbrewery one should always allow room for future expansion. We know that the single most expensive part in the functioning of a brewpub will be the equipment itself and it will not be possible to keep changing the equiment frequently. Most brewpubs brew in seven or ten barrel batches, depending on the location, the size of the premises and what they are serving. Most brewpub start-up systems go with a seven barrel system. This will suffice for medium sized, retail only brewpubs. If it is an ambitious project, then one must consider upwards of ten barrel systems. Also while designing a brewpub, one must remember that the brewery system will occupy approx 1000 square feet (for a seven barrel brewery) plus another 1000-1500 square feet for operations. A larger brewery system will take up more space.

However much that we desire, it will be impossible to brew round-the-clock. As an entrepreneur one must keep in mind that there would be at least 15 days total production time for ales and about 21 days for  normal lagers. Add to this the number of different types of beers you wish to sell, you can then decide the volume you need to brew each week. Initially I would suggest few brews per week and gradually increasing it.

This way you will have an idea about the possible demand, capacity to brew and can then work out the brewlength depending upon the hours you wish. Ideally two to three brews per week is very much doable, keeping in mind that one would require time at the start & end of the week for activities like warm up, cleaning, maintainence and some time for the inevitable breakdowns. If you are doing less than two brews/week then you are surely oversized and if you are doing more than three brews/week then you are undersized, keeping in mind the expansion.

A good consultant should help you estimate the annual production, identify and install the right brewery equipment for your brewpub.

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August 11, 2011 at 8:55 pm

What Beer Are You Serving?

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The other day I was with a gentleman, who is in the process of setting up a microbrewery/ brewpub. While a lot of detailing was in place about the location, feel of the interiors, licencing, identifying prospect places to buy their equipment from, it seemed few measures had been taken to identify the brews that would eventually be served at the brewpub.

The kind of resources that we have today, makes it possible to have 16 billion different brews. I was reading that there are about 150 varieties of malt extracts, 15 specialty grains, 25 hops, and 32 yeast varieties which are available to the brewer today. Given this fact, it is important to consider what brew is being served to the customer.

A good way to launch a brewpub is to get the brewing licence for a good international brand and introduce the flavours to the local market, or brew your own. While a good consultant should help you achieve the former, a good brewmaster would be able to deliver a good brew based on resources available, taste and likeability factor by the customers.

While personal choice is important when considering what to serve like a stout, a lager, an ale or even flavored beer like strawberry, cranberry and so on, one must also think on the following while answering what to brew?

Competition: You may be the first to open a brewpub in a city, or setting up in a place, where a brewpub already exists. So what would differentiate you? It will be wise to peep into the neighborhood taverns, pubs, restrobars, brewpubs and profile the place vis-a-vis menu, seating, entertainment options, theme etc. Doing this successfully will give you a heads-up in doing your own brewpub and also understanding what kind of brew your customers would like and what kind of food can be paired along with it.

Clientele: Once you have got a hang of what your competition offers or doesnot offer, profiling customers is the next thing to realise your brew potential. Are you targetting the absolute beer enthusiasts, the young college going crowd, working professionals, creative people or a mix of all. Once you have identified the kind of clientle which will be walking into your brewpub it would be easier for you to identify the right brew to be served. You can perhaps engage your prospect clientele with a survey about their liking or if there is a possibility to do small tasting sessions with select group of people. This will give you deep insights about their preferences and willingness to experiment. I had done an earlier post on the types of Beer available. You may find it useful here.

Having answered “What Beer are you Serving?” it will also lead you to asking, “How big should your Brewery be? What is the capacity of equipment’s that one should order etc.  Since it will be a bit of lengthy post,  I will take it up next 🙂

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August 1, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Great British Beer Festival

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It was in 1975 when the first Beer Festival was held in London. 34 years on, this years GBBF (Great British Beer Festival) is bing held between Aug 02 and 06, at Earl’s court London.

The festival is often dubbed as the “biggest pub in the world” with 450 beers  participating from British breweries and som 200 beers participating from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Czech and even the USA

2010 saw approx 67000 visitors to the festival with approx 75 pints poured per minute, thats a whopping 200,000 pints sold.

The festival is organised by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale). While CAMRA promotes good-quality real ale and pubs and has systematically left out good hand crafted beers from the festival, there has been much debate about inclusion of craft beers. However this year will see the inclusion of craft beer at the venue.

This round goes to the beer lover. May the best Beer win 😀

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July 25, 2011 at 6:31 pm