Sprecher Brewings and Doings

30th October 2009

The weekend is fast approaching, so we must cheer: High School playoffs; the Badgers (On Wisconsin!); and the Packers (dunh, dunh, da…Go Pack Go!).   Our friends at ESPN 540 are covering all the Homestead Highlanders Division 1 playoff games (with a little support from Sprecher) since Homestead won’t be able to play any games on their home field (paperwork snafu).  For those of you not near a radio during game time, here’s a hint:  you can get the playoff Sprecher tour special (buy 1 get 1 free) by calling 414.964.2739 and saying the magic words: “Division 1 Playoffs!” when you make your tour reservations.

Indeed, it’s Halloween weekend.  Ghosts and goblins of all ages are welcome to take the extra scary tours, full of treats; no tricks.  Sprecher is a Halloween Safe Spot again this year. P.S. It’s officially trick or treat in Glendale 1-4pm on Saturday so you can score some extra candy from the neighbors when you visit the brewery.

Football, Halloween, Fall…its time for some great beers that compliment the sports, weather, foods and smells of the season.  Recently bottled: Sprecher Dopple Bock.  If you like a smooth lager with suggestions of caramel and dark roasted malts, try this divine beverage in a snifter or wine glass.  At 8.0% ABV, this is a great beer for lingering over.  Serve it at 50-60 degrees for maximum aromatics and flavor.  Great match for steaks and stews, or after dinner dark chocolates.  Also available: Bourbon Barrel Aged Dopple Bock…total treat.

Not seen since the 90s, but back in the bottle now: Sprecher Dunkle Weizen.  Note the intriguing spelling.  That’s the only thing that’s a wee bit different.  That and the fact it’s available in a 12oz bottle in the Sprecher Gift Shop.  This is the same classic dark roasted malt ale that is the ultimate session beer for this time of year.  4.65% ABV, serve at 45-50 degrees.  Drink with good friends and great food.

WI Assembly Bill 287

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.

Tax the Abusers, Not the Producers or Responsible Consumers!

On Tuesday, October 13th at 10am, there will be a hearing at the State Capitol regarding Wisconsin Assembly Bill 287.  This bill increases the tax on a barrel of beer from $2 to $10!  The bill states that the 400% increase in taxes will fund drunk driving law enforcement and alcohol and drug abuse treatment programs.  It does not address negative ramifications from the increase, including a multiplier effect that reaches the end consumer, loss of jobs (at breweries, suppliers, taverns, stores), nor does it justify why punishing the majority is good for the minority.

We at Sprecher steadfastly advocate responsible consumption of any alcoholic beverage.  We do not feel that any Wisconsin brewery, retailer or  responsible consumer should be subject to increased taxation simply because some consumers act irresponsibly.  Increasing the tax on the product will not decrease irresponsible behavior by abusers.  Instead, increase the penalties on abusers who drive under the influence.  Make them pay for their mistakes and use that money to pay for increased law enforcement and treatment programs.

Contact your representative and express your point of view.  Join the rally against WI Assembly Bill 287 outside the capitol, 9:00am, October 13th.  Contact your friends and encourage them to express their opinion.

Posted by Anne Sprecher

Sprecher Brewings & Doings

07th October 2009

Happy, happy, happy!  Sprecher now has a facebook page.  Become a fan, it’s easy.  Just sign up on our website:  www.sprecherbrewery.com.

No doubt about it, fall is here.   I think the weatherman’s having a hard time admitting it.  Today’s predicted high: 64F.  Not even close.  Glad it’s sunny out.  Another consolation, the trees are turning.

Have you ever noticed when the weather turns cold people get very interested in gastronomy?  For all your gourmets and gourmands, there are plenty of delicious events on the immediate horizon in Milwaukee.

This Saturday, October 10, stop by the Beer Appreciation Panel at Wisconsin Wine and Dine (Midwest Express Center) featuring Lucy Saunders, author, Grilling with Beer; Adrienne Pierluissi, Sugar Maple; and Anne Sprecher.  Sample and stimulating discussion, 12:45pm-1:30pm, at the Libations stage.  The whole event should be really fun.  Great chefs, demos, beer and wine samples all day Saturday and Sunday.  Visit http://www.jsonline.com/general/47060672.html to learn more and purchase tickets.

Monday night is not usually date night, but you might want to make an exception this Monday, October 12th, and head over to Dream Dance Steak restaurant at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino.  Chef Jason Gorman is pulling out all the stops — a 5-course Sprecher Beer Dinner featuring his signature award-winning New Wisconsin Cuisine paired with 5 special Sprecher beers. (See menu at: www.sprecherbrewery.com) Randy Sprecher will be on hand to discuss the beers and pairings.  Only $60 plus gratuity.   Contact Dream Dance Steak to make your reservation, 414.847.7883.

Cheers!

Our Milwaukee

21st August 2009

Last night I went to a networking meeting for Our Milwaukee, a group of locally-owned businesses that support “buying local” whenever possible.  Milwaukee has a fascinating group of local businesses, including Alterra and Stone Creek Coffee, Rishi Tea, Gearge Watts China and Gifts, Beans & Barley, Outpost,  Sprecher and Lakefront breweries, Stan’s Bootery and many more that are listed at:  www.ourmilwaukee.net.   The hit last night was a fabulous presentation of beautiful and tasty gourmet chocolates from Indulgence Chocolatiers owned by Julie Waterman (www.indulgencechocalatiers.com).  Visit the website and you’ll have a feast for the eyes.

If you have a locally owned business or know someone in Milwaukee who does, visit the Our Milwaukee site, www.ourmilwaukee.net, to learn more about this great group of locally owned entrepreneurial businesses.

Cheers,

Anne

p.s. Randy and I will be sampling Sprecher beers in Chicago this evening and tomorrow afternoon.  Visit us at Sam’s on Macey (Sat. 1-4), Armonetti’s on N. Western St (Sat 1-4), Warehouse Liquors (5-8 tonight), and Printers Row (5-8 tonight).

Jason Wilde Rocks!

20th August 2009

Jason Wilde was the kick-off speaker for Sprecher’s 2nd annual pre-season football and craft beer mini-camp, and he rocked.  Those attending were treated to a brewery tour by Randy Sprecher, and then an hour and a half person to person discussion with Jason, who spoke about the state of the team, flip flop Farve, Ted Thompson, and many other subjects.  Gracious and well informed, Jason was a star, as was his lovely and expectant wife, Paula.

Everyone found the evening to be beyond expectations.  Three sessions remain.  Next week it’s Bill Carollo, former  NFL ref (#63), and current head of the Big Ten officials.  If you want to know what officiating’s all about, come to Sprecher next Wednesday at 6pm. Visit www.sprecherbrewery.com to pre-register.

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.

Sprecher and State Fair

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.

The 2009 U. S. Beer Open Championship results are in and Sprecher won 5 gold medals (Winter Brew, Oktoberfest, Black Bavarian, Mai Bock and Generation Porter), 2 Silver (Pipers Scotch Ale, Sprecher Light), 1 Bronze (Abbey Triple), and #2 Top Ten Brewing Company.  Check it out at: usopenbeer.com.

Wisconsin Beer Tax

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?

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