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13th June 2010
Not that we hibernate 3/4 of the year, but it’s true — Milwaukee comes alive during the summer. Today is the 34th Annual Locust Street Days, always a fun, neighborhood festival with great bands, kids activities, and lots of people out for a good time in the sun. Can’t find Sprecher on the street? Stop into the Tracks or Linnemans. If you’re not down at the Lakefront but you like really amazing aerial feats, you might want to get yourself there quickly because the truly mind (and ear) blowing Air and Water Show is happening as I type. Check out the website, and then go see it for yourself: http://www.milwaukeeairshow.com/.
Now I need to step back in time. On Friday night Randy and I attended the annual Greg (GB #85) and Nicole Jennings party benefiting Habitat for Humanity at Merrill Hills Country Club. ( I’m proud to say Sprecher was the official beer that evening. ) Several hundred party guests along with 50 or so Green Bay Packers such as Jennings, Jermichael Finley, AJ Hawk, Nick Barnett, Nick Collins, Aaron Rogers, Josh Sitton, Patrick Williams, etc., appeared to really enjoy the event which included dinner, a live auction, music and fireworks.
Far from being aloof, all the Packers I spoke with were really gracious. Honestly, if you’re a Packer fan, the $100 ticket price is a small fee, especially since 100% of the proceeds are donated to Habitat. I took a few photos, most of which look better on my phone, but here are a couple:
I’m always struck by how different football players look w/o their gear on. Jermichael Finley is very tall; it would be hard to mistake him for anything but a professional athlete. Same with Josh Sitton who’s not exceptionally tall, but he’s certainly solid. But that’s not always the case. From the photos above you can tell Jennings and Collins are about the same height as Randy. In fact, it would be easy to mistake them for just another party guest. Quick Quiz — if the photos weren’t labeled, could you figure out who is the brewmaster and who the pro football player ?
24th November 2009
On Saturday the Green Bay Packers held Football 101 “for the ladies.” Or, technically, “An NFL Workcamp for Women.” This annual ritual takes place on the first day of deer hunting season in Wisconsin. From what I understand, the training camp has taken place for a few years with variations on the theme: introduce women to life in pro football so they gain a greater appreciation for the game. The largest attendance ever, more than 400 women showed up to get some inside tips. In terms of fashion, it was a sea of Packer gear. Ka-ching — royalties galore.
The afternoon started with host Jesse Garcia (WTMJ 4) warming up the crowd before linebacker Brady Poppinga conducted Q & A with wives of some of the players and coaches. Qs included: What is the most romantic thing your husband’s ever done? Does your husband help around the house? How did you meet your husband? Standard girl chat, really, but interesting not only because of the public forum, but also because Poppinga’s wife was one of the respondents. We learned that these big guys are pretty much like guys. Mason Crosby said “I love you” in Chinese at the end of his wedding vows, which blew his wife away because she had no idea how he learned it and she majored in Chinese in college. We also learned that there are a few things these guys won’t do around the house, like take the laundry upstairs, because they “can’t risk injury,” wink, wink.
Harry Sydney, who played with San Fran and GB and has 3 Super Bowl rings, came and gave a very sophisticated Xs and Os talk. But he did so in response to audience questions, e.g., What’s the difference between a skinny post and a rail post?
Finally, all 400+ attendees marched off to the Don Hutson Center for indoor drills — running through obstacles, throwing, kicking, causing and recovering a fumble — much like the NFL combine, wink, wink. Several Packers were on hand to coach the gals: Brett Swain #16, Jeremy Kampinos #7, Jeremy Thompson #99, Korey Hall #35, Josh Sitton #71, and LB Coach Kevin Greene. Big thumbs up to all for their patience and their encouraging words such as, “Pretty Good,” and “Alright.”
In between all my huffing and puffing (yeah, right), I took a few photos of the guys but they’re a bit large so I need to work on scaling them down. Stay tuned. They’ll either appear here or on Sprecher’s facebook page.
14th October 2009
Big day in Madison yesterday, at least for proponents and opponents of WI Bill 287 which proposes to raise the state beer tax on the producers from $2/barrel to $10/barrel. Yowza! A 400% increase before the product reaches the consumer. Imagine with the distributors and retailers taking their necessary mark-ups how much that will end up costing the responsible consumer. Why raise the tax? Well, it hasn’t been raised in 40 years and the income will be a good revenue source for increased law enforcement and substance abuse programs. Or so the proponents’ logic goes. Those in the industry arguing against this hike don’t disagree that substance abuse and drunk driving are bad things. However, many Wisconsin breweries and retailers, especially smaller businesses, realize the multiplier effect of this tax on the consumer and the cost of beer shipped out of state – which will now be doubly taxed, first in Wisconsin then in the state where it’s going – and remain concerned that such a drastic increase in the tax will put Wisconsin produced beers at a competitive disadvantage. As proposed, WI Assembly Bill 287 will result in numerous negative impacts including more Wisconsin-based job losses. To learn more, check out this article in the Isthmus: http://www.isthmus.com/daily/article.php?article=27156, and www.jsonline.com.
18th August 2009
Jason Wilde kicks of the 2nd annual Football and Sprecher Beer mini-camp tomorrow evening at 6:00pm. If anyone has the inside scoop, it’s Packers beat reporter and WKLH personality, Jason Wilde. Cost: $15. A portion of the proceeds goes to Milwaukee Achiever Literacy Services.
Other Speakers: NFL and Big Ten Referee Bill Carollo (8/26), TBA (9/2), and Grilling expert Lucy Saunders (9/9).
Mini-Camp takes place at Sprecher Brewing Company, 701 W. Glendale Ave, Glendale, WI.
Learn more and pre-register at: www.sprecherbrewery.com.
11th August 2009
Fun! Fun! Fun at the Fair yesterday. It was officially Sprecher Day. So what happened? Twenty-five people grilled their best recipe; amid stiff competition, the top three really deserved their awards. And the grand prize winner – a filet with duxelle sauce – well, it is a winner. Stay tuned, we’ll have the recipes on the website very soon.
Kids loved the games, the partner business coupons on our wall of coupons disappeared quickly (don’t worry; they’ll reappear on our website), many people had their photo taken with Rooty or the Sprecher Race Car, and the weather was great so the mood was right for perhaps the most popular event on the Central Mall — the Sheboygan brat eating contest. Crowds cheered as 15 people tried to outdo each other. Our winner ate a total of 8 brats, or 2lbs worth! Only in Wisconsin? I wonder. This guy could go on to become a national champion.
06th August 2009
August 10th is Sprecher Day & WKLH at State Fair! Meet folks from Sprecher, WKLH. Rooty, Race Car Driver Lyle Nowak and many more will be on hand during the fun and games on the Central Mall. Kids will have a blast! Brewing demonstration by the Wisconsin Brewers Guild. Visit the Wall of Coupons, watch as the Grilling with Beer contestants cook their best recipes, and put your name in for the Sheboygan Brat Eating Contest. The winner gets his/her name on a keg trophy. Visit www.sprecherbrewery.com for more details, admission discount coupons and more.
23rd July 2009
Check out the Thursday Trivia Night at the Highland House, 12741 N. Port Washington Rd., Mequon, WI. You may learn some fun facts you didn’t know; whether you can remember them is the real challenge.
23rd June 2009
No kidding! On Saturday President Obama stopped by The Dairy Godmother in Fairfax, Virginia with daughters Malia and Sasha and his requisite cadre of bodyguards. Owned by Waukesha native Liz Davis, the store sells frozen custard and other wonderful things from Wisconsin, including Sprecher Root Beer. According to an article in the Milwaukee Journal today (www.jsonline.com), while the president and his daughters indulged in frozen custard “Obama’s personal aide Reggie Love bought a four pack of Sprecher Root Beer.”
10th June 2009
Join us at the brewery on Sunday when we’ll have one of our famous summer tailgate parties. Enjoy some grilled sausages and dogs, play some bung hole toss, take a tour, sip some great beer and soda, and enter to win prizes. Doors open at 11am. Sprecher Brewery is located at 701 W. Glendale Ave, Glendale, WI, just north of the city of Milwaukee.
01st June 2009
Is Sprecher Brewing Company, along with members of the Wisconsin brewing industry, the Wisconsin Grocers Association, the Tavern League – which represents 5,000 bars and liquor stores - right to oppose the current beer tax increase propsal now in the legislature?
Wisconsin will have a $6.6 billion budget shortfall this year so to some in the legislature it makes sense that they raise taxes and cut services wherever possible, even though people are losing jobs, businesses and homes. Theoretically, increased tax revenue along with cuts in public spending will result in a decreased budget shortfall and all will be well. But generating operating revenue by increasing taxes at a time when people’s incomes are diminishing seems chimerical, a reactive grasping at straws more than anything. Be that as it may, doing something is far better than doing nothing. Best if it’s the right something.
Rep. Terese Berceau and Sen. Fred Risser, both Madison Democrats, proposed a beer tax increase from $2 to $10 per barrel to help fight drunken driving and treat alcohol addiction and mental illness. The beer tax has not been raised since 1969 and is currently the 3rd lowest in the nation. According to a May 15 article in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Berceau said her plan would raise tax on a 6-pack from 3.6 cents to 18 cents. Overall, it would cost beer drinkers $40 million to $48 million.” Sounds like a lot of money for worthwhile programs, but one must question whether Rep. Berceau’s estimate of the cost to the consumer is accurate.
In other words, if the barrel tax begins at the breweries, the multiplier effect will kick in and an additional fee will be added at each stop along the way (distributor, retailer) so the final cost to the consumer ends up being significantly higher. Potentially, this means more tax revenue and more funds for worthwhile programs all things being equal. But all things are not equal at present. We’ve gone from an economy where a significant majority of the population felt flush to one where a significant majority is counting every dollar and saving rather than spending. The net effect is less consumers and higher unemployment, evidenced by the recent waves of layoffs as well as stores, restaurants and bars closing due to lack of business.
Personally, I question whether now is the right time to raise the beer tax. What do you think?