Weekly Mix Pack: Drought, Jobs, and Seasonal Creep

By Brett Vanderbrook - Six fresh stories for you to crack open and enjoy!

As I was traveling through New Jersey last week, I stopped at a Wegmans and couldn't help but notice that the store already had its pumpkin beers on display. I rolled my eyes as it was still only July, and I'm just not ready for pumpkin pie in a glass yet. However, as we'll read this week, there's a perfectly logical explanation as to why they're available so early, and why the fault lies entirely with us, the consumers. Interest piqued? Keep reading!

1. U.S. Beer Industry Brews $253 Billion in Economic Activity
We all know that craft beer has exploded in the past few decades, which is great for those of us who love good beer. But it's also great for the economy, as a new report finds that the beer industry contributes $252.6 Billion (the equivalent of 1.5% of the US GDP,) and employs 1.75 million people. Beer: the jobmaker!

2. Washington's 'Severe Drought' Could Threaten Hops
The Pacific Northwest is the largest hop growing region on earth. Its warm, wet climate is perfect for hops. However, this year has seen unseasonably high temperatures and a notable lack of rain for the area, neither of which bode well for the little green flowers. The worst news is that it could mean a significant price increase for hops, which would likely be passed on to consumers.

3. Not Your Father's Root Beer: My Strange Visit to Small Town Brewery
Everyone seems to be fixated on Not Your Father's Root Beer. Beer nerds are skeptical of the claim that it's actually beer, as many believe it to be a "malt beverage" akin to Mike's Hard Lemonade, but discovering the true story behind the root beer and its ties to Pabst has been difficult. Here is one man's account of visiting Small Town Brewery in suburban Chicago, where Not Your Father's Root Beer was born.

4. Three Cheers for Three-Tier and Your Craft Beer Distributor
Depending on who you talk to, you might hear strong opinions for or against the three-tiered system. Set in place after prohibition to prevent monopolies, it does create its fair share of road blocks. However, the flip side is the protection it offers by assuring that large brewers can't sell directly to merchants and undercut small breweries. Read on and decide for yourself!

5. The Secrets to Living to 110 Might Be Whiskey and Beer
Ask Agnes Fenton from Englewood, NJ, who just celebrated her 110th birthday, what the secret to long life is, and she won't give you any spiel about diet or exercise. No, for this supercentenarian, it was Miller High Life and Johnny Walker Blue, of which she daily consumed 3 cans and a shot respectively. We might reach for a different kind of beer, but it's hard not to be impressed!

6. It's Not Too Early for Pumpkin Beers
Just like Christmas decorations the day after Halloween, pumpkin beers seem to find their way on to store shelves earlier and earlier every year. And before you bemoan the breweries for "seasonal creep," read this article which makes a very fair point about the absurdly short window in which pumpkin beers are popular, and why it just makes good business sense to start selling them before summer ends.

We'll leave pumpkin beers on the back burner for now, because today is #IPADay! And now that we know about the drought in the Yakima Valley, perhaps it would be wise to stock up. We're thinking about our friends at 47 Hops who must be feeling the heat right now, figuratively and literally! Check out the episode from season two, and have a great week!

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

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