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BYO News Page

Updated May 28, 2020

Homebrew News

Working Together For Everyone

The current COVID-19 crisis can seem overwhelming at times. But despite all the pain and hardships that folks are going through, there are some bright spots that are sometimes not always reported. One such bright spot is the number of breweries, wineries, and distilleries that are mobilizing to craft sanitizer solution and hand sanitizers in order to help meet the growing demands for these products. Across the country, winemakers and brewers are creating the “wash” that the distillers can then concentrate through the distillation process to create an ethanol solution strong enough to kill the virus (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 60% ethanol for disinfection from SARS-CoV-2 virus). It’s heart-warming to know that our friends in the alcohol industry are giving back in the best way they can in these challenging times. We at BYO magazine salute all those that are devoting their time and valuable resources towards this magnanimous effort.

Crowler Shortage

In case you haven’t heard, Crowler cans (32 oz. size) are temporarily out of stock at many suppliers in the US due to the rapid increase in sales of to-go packaging of beer. We asked Jake Sinkler at Oktober Can Seamers about this major dilemma and he gave us an update from what they are hearing and seeing, since a large number of small-scale breweries are depending on this format of packaging to keep revenue coming in and beer going out during this time of to-go and delivery sales during stay-at-home orders across the nation.:

We typically sell Crowler cans, but have sold out for the moment. We have an order placed that is (as far as we know) set to arrive in early April, but also we have a ton of 24 oz. cans and other sizes. The Crowler can  is great, but there are plenty of ways to keep selling beer to-go.

We have plenty of inventory to build new seamers for customers, and have ordered new parts to keep up with the increased demand. If a brewery is struggling to find Crowler cans, we sell additional tooling sets for our Model 7 can seamers so they can swap their Model 7 – G (Crowler Seamer) to seam a different size and keep on selling.

We don’t want to pretend to be the experts on taproom profitability, especially during a strange time like this. We’ve been seeing a lot of breweries partnering with delivery services to boost take-away sales, and offering specials for customers who come in and grab beer. Really we’ve just been trying to do our part to keep buying as much beer as possible and get as many seamers into the wild as we can.

Canning your beer is really simple, we have videos on our website to show you how to do it: https://oktoberdesign.com/info/. My best advice is to CO2 purge, bottom fill, cap on foam, and don’t do any ‘extra credit;’ each operation only needs to be run once. We use a beer gun, which is super helpful.

I think that it’s important to point out that we’re here to help. We know that to-go sales are imperative right now, and we’ve heard from our customers that our seamers are helping them pull through. Let us know what you need and we will try our best to make that happen for you.”

2019 Beer Sales

After combing through several annual sales reports, 2019 overall beer production in the USA remained fairly flat, while craft beer sales continued its modest growth according to a report put out by the IRI (Information Resources Incorporated) market research team. According to the IWSR (International Wine and Spirits Record) research group, when digging into the various segments, craft beer saw an estimated 4.1% increase. Macro beer sales on the other hand saw a 3.6% decline. The flavored malt beverages category, which includes hard seltzers, grew by roughly 43% in 2019. Non-alcoholic and very low alcohol beers grew by an estimated 6.6%. Ciders saw a slight decline, down 3.8% in 2019.

In other news from Brewbound.com, overall canned beer sales continue to make gains over bottles and draft in both off-premise (stores) and on-premise (at breweries and taproom) sales of beer. According to their report, cans gained 2 percentage points in off-premise sales, to 64% of sales, and 6 percentage points of on-premise sales, up to 42% in 2019. According to the Brewer’s Association (BA), in the craft beer segment bottles now account for 53% of overall sales while cans account for the other 47%. The BA’s economist Bart Watson expects craft can sales to exceed bottle sales for the first time ever in 2020.

Drunken Gorillas?

A story that was featured in the publication Popular Mechanics struck our fancy, about a new book that Oxford University is publishing titled Humans and Alcohol: A long and social affair, which theorizes why humans can process alcohol. According to the book our ancestors, the great apes of Africa, would end up eating fruit that had fallen to the floor of the forest to meet the high demands of their daily caloric intake. Often these fruits would have started undergoing alcoholic fermentation. Our ancestors needed the energy found in the fruit and the researchers claim the fallen fruit were often the same alcoholic strength as a common small beer, about 1–4% ABV. So if only the apes that could tolerate the alcohol in the fallen fruits survived . . . well, that’s natural selection! To read more about the upcoming book: www.popularmechanics.com/science/animals/a30139147/drunk-gorillas-alcohol-tolerance/

2019 North American Hop Harvest

Photo courtesy of Yakima Chief Hops

As the 2019 Northern American hop pellets hit the marketplace, we thought folks should know how the harvest fared. According to a report put out by BSG CraftBrewing, a cool and wet fall throughout the Pacific Northwest region of the United States delayed bine growth and stunted newly planted crops. Despite the challenges, the remainder of the growing season was favorable leading to a “good to very good year with decent returns on both oil and alpha.” Crosby Hop Farm reported one of the strongest harvests of Centennial in terms of both quantity and quality, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re a fan.


What’s New

The Spike Solo

Designed to be compact and turnkey, the Solo is a great way to brew all-grain with minimal space requirements. An optional steam condenser lid is designed to fit all sizes of the Solo, making it convenient for brewing indoors without ventilation requirements. Each Solo is fabricated at Spike Brewing’s shop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin using high- quality materials and components. Initially available with a 20-gallon (76-L) brewpot size, capable of brewing 5–10 gallons (19–38 L) and requiring a 240V outlet. Plans are to release a 15-gallon (57-L) and a 10-gallon (28-L) brewpot version capable of brewing 2.5–5 gallons (9.5–19 L) and 2.5 gallons (9.5 L) respectively. The 10-gallon (28 L) version will only require a 120V outlet. For more, check out https://spikebrewing.com/pages/ebiab

KOMOS® V2 Kegerator

The new KOMOS V2 Kegerator builds upon the original model, but with several notable upgrades. First it sports a faster cooling capacity and more energy efficient operation as well. The redesigned interior can now hold up to four 5-gallon (19-L) kegs at one time. Added features like the Duotight fittings allow for easy changeovers of kegs or for cleaning while the EVABarrier draft lines are a double-walled tubing offering protection against oxidation, CO2 loss, and microbial growth. Also included are stainless steel Intertap forward-sealing faucets, stainless steel tower, digital controller, stainless steel door, stainless steel floor, rolling casters, tower cooling fan, and KOMOS CO2 regulator. Learn more at https://www.morebeer.com/products/komos-g2-kegerator-stainless-tower-intertap-ss-faucet.html

WildBrew™ Philly Sour

In collaboration with the University of the Sciences (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Lallemand Brewing is proud to introduce its first non-Saccharomyces yeast in dry form. Isolated from nature by Dr. Matthew Farber and his research team, this yeast is able to produce both lactic acid and ethanol during primary fermentation. Determined to be of the genus Lachancea, the species is defined as new and the use of the product in sour beer production is patent pending. It will produce sour beer in 7–10 days at 77 °F (25 °C). The acidity produced is described as subtle and smooth with flavor notes of red apple, peach, and honeydew melon. Philly sour is recommended at a pitch rate of 50–100 g per hL (2–4 g per gallon) of wort, which is sufficient to achieve a minimum of 2.5–5 million viable cells/mL and is available in 500-g and 11-g sachets. Learn more at lallemandbrewing.com

The Grainfather G70

For those folks who would like to brew bigger batches but want all the convenience of an all-in-one brew system, your prayers have been answered. The new G70 unit allows batch sizes just over ½ bbl (16 gal/60 L) with a conical base for maximum brewhouse efficiency from an all-in-one brew unit. The mash can contain upwards of 37.5 lbs. (17 kg) and contains a counter-flow heat exchanger. LCD controller mounts to the system magnetically for ease of use and the Grainfather app allows you to brew remotely or track fermentation. For more information, visit https://grainfather.com/grainfather-g70/

Geared MM-3Pro

Monster Brewing Hardware is happy to announce their newest mill, the Geared MM-3Pro. The new mill has added 2-in. (5 cm) gears made of 1215 steel to the end of the top two rollers. The top gap is fixed at 0.070 in. (1.8 mm) with an adjustable gap of 0.028-in. (0.7 mm) up to 0.055 in. (1.4 mm) between the top drive roller and the bottom third roller that are all induction hardened steel. This mill is available with a keyed ½-in. drive shaft for direct drive with their ½-horsepower, 240-rpm gear motor. This is available as an individual mill, individual motor, or combined as a kit. To learn more, see https://www.monsterbrewinghardware.com/stor/pc/home.asp

The Everything Label

A new reusable label from Noontime Labels is perfect for homebrewers. Made of a flexible plastic that won’t rip or tear, you can take it off one bottle and place it on another. The adhesive makes it semi-permanent and easily removable when needed. The label remains securely attached during long soaks in the cooler or when cellaring, but peels right off when ready. No water or scrubbing required for removal, and the label is washable. You can leave the label on the bottle, wash, and sanitize as usual, then reuse the labeled bottle as is. It’s a gloss finish and permanent markers can be removed with rubbing alcohol. Learn more at www.noontimelabels.com

BrewEssence Sensory Training Kits

Liquid-format sensory compounds that mix instantly with beer offering accurate concentrations that can be easily dosed during sensory training. Using sealed glass ampules, the BrewEssence products have excellent shelf life with little loss of concentration over time. Currently there are six distinct kits available, including basic off-flavors, fermentation, brewhouse, draught, expanded off-flavors, and comprehensive. Kits start at $79.99 and are exclusively available at MoreBeer.com

Lallemand WildBrew™ Helveticus Pitch

A ready-to-use dried strain of Lactobacillus helveticus specifically selected for its ability to produce a wide range of sour beer styles. The Helveticus Pitch is noted to produce intense citrus characteristics at warmer temperatures and can bring wort pH all the way down to 3.0. Optimal growth for beer occurs at 100 to 113 °F (38 to 45 °C) with the Helveticus Pitch and can be completed within 2 days (typically 24 to 36 hours). One 10-g sachet can be utilized for up to 1 hL (26 gallons) of wort. https://www.lallemandbrewing.com/en/united-states/product-details/wildbrew-helveticus-pitch/

Barth-Haas Group Incognito™

If you have ever worked with hop extracts, you understand the viscosity of these extracts can be a challenge. The Barth-Haas group went back to the drawing board and came up with a new variety-
specific hop concentrate they’ve named Incognito™, which is flowable at room temperature. It is currently available in Citra®, Mosaic®, Ekuanot™, Sabro™, and HBC 472 varieties and is a 100% all-natural hop product. Currently they come in 2- and 10-kg packaging, and dosing rate is recommended at 59–235 g/bbl or 2–7.6 g/gal. Maximum efficacy of the product is achieved when mixing Incognito™ with hot wort prior to or directly to the whirlpool. https://www.johnihaas.com/incognito/


Upcoming Events

November 6 & 7, 2020 — BYO NanoCon • San Diego, California

The landscape for small-scale breweries has radically changed in the last few months. It is more important than ever to invest in better understanding the new brewing business landscape and how to best rebuild – or launch – your small brewery in this new reality. As a result, don’t miss this targeted conference for anyone running (or thinking about starting) a small-scale craft brewery. Learn more at https://byo.com/nanocon/2020-nanocon/

POSTPONED UNTIL 2021 — BYO Boot Camps
2017 BYO Boot Camp - Indianapolis, IN

Due to concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak, this event has been postponed. The BYO Boot Camp will now be held March 25–27, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.

Featuring an expanded itinerary with three full days of learning, two full days of small-class workshops plus a new full day of brewing seminars featuring all our expert speakers! For more information: https://byo.com/byo-boot-camps/