International Beer Day

Today is International Beer Day (the site was down last I checked so here’s the wiki article). My favorite beer is Fat Tire. I like New Belgium both as a company and because they make lots of good brews. I also enjoy all the local breweries here, and going to local breweries when I’m on the road.

If you’re a fan of craft beer and microbreweries as opposed to say Bud Light or Coors, you should say a little thank you to Jimmy Carter. Carter could very well be the hero of International Beer Day.

To make a long story short, prohibition led to the dismantling of many small breweries around the nation. When prohibition was lifted, government tightly regulated the market, and small scale producers were essentially shut out of the beer market altogether. Regulations imposed at the time greatly benefited the large beer makers. In 1979, Carter deregulated the beer industry, opening the market back up to craft brewers. As the chart below illustrates, this had a really amazing effect on the beer industry:

 

US_Brewery_Count_Biodesic-thumb-400x339

 

That’s the number of large and small-scale breweries in the US. You can see how the large brewers continued to consolidate and grow and absorb more and more market share right up to the point where Carter deregulated the industry.

Obviously not all deregulation is going to work this way, nor are all matters of regulation as relatively unimportant as beer. But this is a good example of how regulation can crowd out small businesses and local economies in favor of big corporations with ties to powerful legislators. If anything, it should be a reminder that regulation in and of itself is pretty meaningless. While requiring offshore drilling rigs to be equipped with some form of safety mechanism to prevent massive oil spills makes a great deal of sense, many regulations are actually written by the special interests who stand to gain most from their implementation, either by gaining special legal perks or by crowding out competition.

Maybe instead of using regulation or deregulation as starting points, we should look at ways to create more transparency in Washington and more oversight of the regulators themselves. I’m not sure how to close the many revolving doors between industry and Washington, D.C. I’m not sure it’s even possible. But when I talk about limiting government, this is partly what I mean – limiting the way that government and special interests (including powerful corporations) work together at the expense of the rest of the country.

*fixed the typo at the top

** ok NOW I fixed the typo (I hope)

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164 replies
  1. 1
    N M says:

    James Fallows has a lot of good articles and blog posts about “the revolving door” especially as it concerns DoD if you search his blog and article history at the Atlantic.

  2. 2
    Marc says:

    I think this post merits the creation of a new tag, a label of honor and distinction:

    “White Jimmy Carter”

  3. 3
  4. 4
    Zed says:

    Matthew Yglesias has made something of a habit of arguing this very point, especially in the field of local zoning regulations and how they serve established interests of current business owners. In particular, here in Chicago, it is nearly impossible to get a liquor license. This strengthens the hand of established bars and restaurants, and makes the barrier to entry that much higher. BYOB exceptions made a big impact, but the problems still persist.

  5. 5
    Jim Pharo says:

    I’m curious to know what kind of regulations were repealed by Carter…anyone?

    As for greater transparency/oversight, I like the strategy of electing politicians that depend on grass-roots money…

  6. 6
    numbskull says:

    Maybe instead of using regulation or deregulation as starting points…

    Who does that?

  7. 7
    angler says:

    Fat Tire is good stuff. Plus New Belgium is run by Democrats. Carter is the deux ex machina.

  8. 8
    The Sphynx says:

    My Senator just introduced a bill to cut the excise tax on small breweries from 7 to 3.50 a barrel! And he doesn’t even drink! yay beer

  9. 9
    jacy says:

    Best beer I had lately: Corsendonk Abbey Pale Ale from Belgium.

    As for the argument, it strikes me not so much as a regulation/deregulation problem as much as do-whatever-makes-big-business-happy problem.

    The Bush the Younger tenure showed what happens when you run around deregulating things in the name of “free markets.” Too often government regulations are thrown up as the boogeyman for small business. Sure we need smart regulation, but you’re not going get that when more than half the players are dishonest brokers using “regulation” as a fear-mongering tactic while allowing any corporation with enough weight to basically do whatever the hell they want to circumvent anything that’s put in place, or to bend legislation to suit their whims.

  10. 10

    You must be the alleged Erik. Welcome aboard.

    Re: regulations, etc.

    By now, “regulation” versus “deregulation” have a lot of emotional baggage attached to them. Maybe we need new words or something.

    More likely, we need to realize the regulation is only a tool [and so is deregulation] to be used to better meet our wants and needs. Deregulation is not a diety and regulation is not a demon. Or vice versa. They are tools.

    What do we do with tools? We use them when we think we need them and let them lie idle when we think we don’t need them. Maybe we could do the same thing with regulations.

  11. 11
    Tom Hilton says:

    Never understood the Fat Tire love; it always seemed kind of insipid to me. My current favorite is Brother Thelonius.

    One of the key moments in the modern history of craft beer came in 1982, when California rescinded its prohibition on brewpubs (Tom Hayden was sponsor, IIRC). That’s what made really small-scale breweries potentially profitable, and I’m not sure the 1979 deregulation would have had as happy results without it.

  12. 12
    Simp says:

    Hair of the Dog’s “Blue Dot” FTW(http://www.hairofthedog.com/) If Portland is beer nirvana, then the Horse Brass pub is Beer Mecca (http://www.horsebrass.com/)

  13. 13
    NonyNony says:

    This doesn’t sound right to me – I thought that the bill that Carter signed just overturned the Federal rules against homebrewing beer for personal consumption, not deregulation of breweries. Because I’m fairly certain that breweries are still regulated by the ATF.

    Not to downplay what Carter did – by allowing hobbyists to dabble in alcohol production the industry was revitalized, as many of these folks decided to take the plunge and open small craft breweries. But I don’t recall any stories about “heavy regulation” in the beer industry being the cause of consolidation. The story I heard was that it was mostly Prohibition (which shut down established brewers) combined with American attitudes in the middle of the century towards mass production (brand names good! Local labels bad! Which is how Wonder Bread became what good mothers fed their children) and corporate acquisition that led to the consolidation of the beer industry into a handful of brewers.

  14. 14
    Tracy says:

    The beer of choice for me right now is Bell’s Oberon. One of the perks of living in the Midwest.

  15. 15
    ornery curmudgeon says:

    “I’m not sure how to close the many revolving doors between industry and Washington, D.C.”

    Public funding of elections

    “But when I talk about limiting government, this is partly what I mean – limiting the way that government and special interests (including powerful corporations) work together at the expense of the rest of the country.”

    Oh, so you’re a liberal progressive.

    Why are you claiming to be a con, btw? I know there are many imaginary positions conservatives loudly take that sound strong and principled, but if you’ve been watching you realize that’s only vaporous bullcrap, so what’s the deal … the media convinced you liberals are weak and naive?

  16. 16
    mistermix says:

    Transparency and regulatory oversight are good, but we also need to have a serious conversation about the kinds of markets where more regulation makes sense.

    Our public conversation about monopolies/duopolies/etc is terrible. Government needs either regulate these markets if monopolies are inevitable, or de-regulate them if the monopoly is artificial and created by insider-written laws.

    Instead, we always hear bleating about “free markets” whenever someone suggests that monopolies need to be broken up or regulated.

  17. 17
    MikeJ says:

    Maybe instead of using regulation or deregulation as starting points,

    Only idiots would do this. Regulations don’t exist to punish people. Regulations exist because somebody n the past has done something that is at least potentially harmful, and collectively people didn’t want them to do it.

    Every regulation, from those about selling lead toys to children to those about full disclosure to your stockholders, exist because somebody wanted to make an extra buck by killing or swindling somebody else. Nobody sat down and said, “we should come up with some more regulations just for the hell of it.”

  18. 18
    twiffer says:

    if forced to choose a favorite brew, i’d probably go with fullers ESB. currently have dogfishhead 60min IPA in the fridge (being summer and all, when my ipa craving peaks).

    and, while not a beer, i highly (and i mean highly) recommend woodchuck summer cider. that stuff is freaking awesome.

    also, when i read this:

    But when I talk about limiting government, this is partly what I mean – limiting the way that government and special interests (including powerful corporations) work together at the expense of the rest of the country.

    well, sure, i agree. but that’s not limiting government. that’s limiting corruption.

  19. 19
    Tom Hilton says:

    @NonyNony:

    The story I heard was that it was mostly Prohibition (which shut down established brewers) combined with American attitudes in the middle of the century towards mass production (brand names good! Local labels bad! Which is how Wonder Bread became what good mothers fed their children) and corporate acquisition that led to the consolidation of the beer industry into a handful of brewers.

    That’s what I’ve heard, plus that beer-drinking tastes were formed by the insipid shit they allowed soldiers to drink during WWII. Which makes sense, and dovetails nicely with the dates in that graph, although I don’t know if it’s ever been verified (or could be).

  20. 20

    […] taken over GOP and the right. But E.D. Kain has been added to the roster at Balloon-Juice.com, and here he makes a terrific point: Today is International Beer Day (the site was down last I checked so […]

  21. 21
    hope says:

    shiner bock
    carib

  22. 22
    AnnaN says:

    Well crap. Your personal viewpoints on abortion not withstanding, I have to commend your taste in beer. Although my favorite New Belgium brew is and will always be 1554.

  23. 23
    geg6 says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    THIS.

    @NonyNony:

    And THIS.

    That said, I can totally get behind any movement anyone wants to start to declare International (or just National, for all those xenophobes on the right) Beer Day a national holiday. I think that’s an issue where we can all reach across the aisle and make David Broder’s day.

  24. 24

    jimmy carter also re-legalized homebrewing, and for that alone the man deserves to go to Heaven (if such a place exists).

    thanks to Jimmy, I can legally make my own ale at home. It’s too hot to brew this month, but by september I’ll be back in action.

  25. 25
    dan says:

    The industry is still “regulated.” You can’t have mouse turds in the beer. Well, a certain small amount is allowed. Expecially in Redhook’s Mouse Turd Brown Ale. But my larger point (or my lager point) is . . .

  26. 26
    srv says:

    Libertarians for regulating transparency. Wow.

    Libertarianism would do absolutely nothing to prevent regulatory capture or monopolies.

    It’s like people who think we could have won Vietnam. Ask them how. Other than “bombing them back the stone age,” there’s no there-there. How many decades can grown men masturbate to a theory and not have really worked out any of the details?

  27. 27
    Jay B. says:

    I agree with Tom Hilton about Fat Tire — bland-ass Bass from Colorado (and I loathe Bass) — but, but, but! New Belgium does a very good IPA that’s now available, Ranger, and a solid Wheat (Oranic Wit? I can’t remember).

    They also brew one of the best, if not the best, beer I’ve ever had. I don’t even think they bottle it. It’s called Belgo. It’s a “Belgian-style IPA”. It’s just amazing. The waitress at the restaurant said we were drinking out of one of three barrels in California. Amazing. Hoppy, complex, slight honey/orange with a huge finish. Big nose. Just an absolute knockout.

  28. 28
    geg6 says:

    @twiffer:

    well, sure, i agree. but that’s not limiting government. that’s limiting corruption.

    Hah! Yes, exactly.

  29. 29
    Aet says:

    Regulations can not only be written to serve business interests, they can also be written only to serve _specific_ business interests. If you see a trend towards greater and greater consolidation, its safe to assume that the regulations in effect are written such that they benefit the largest businesses in the industry.

  30. 30
    Cackalacka says:

    First off, welcome to the juice, Erik. Ironically, I had unsubscribed to your feed a week before your old digs went under.

    Had enjoyed it, but had to streamline the g-reader as I’ve got a life to lead. This is fortuitous, and I am willing to give your writing a second chance. You seem like a thoughtful person, a species of which does not seem to exist on the red side of the spectrum. Hopefully you’ll come to understand that womb-boogers aren’t chattel slaves. Damn son, what Ta-Nehisi did to you has got to leave a mental welt.

    That said, “unimportant as beer.”

    You had me, then you lost me, again.

  31. 31
    handy says:

    Yes, I agree–the regulation/deregulation discussion is a classic canard. But to echo numbskull’s question, who needs this kind of advice? It seems to come from a classic right-wing fantasy about liberals, that they all get together in their secret meetings and talk about the regulation they would like to unleash on the world.

  32. 32
    TheF79 says:

    Of course, New Belgium and Fat Tire are closely tied to biking, and biking in Colorado is a UN plot – ergo the UN wants you to drink New Belgium beers. It’s much easier to steal your precious bodily fluids if you’re pissing every 30 minutes.

  33. 33
    Josh James says:

    And for that matter … why are boxers required to wear gloves in boxing matches?

    And what’s with the guy separating them when they clinch, or stopping the fight when one guy is knocked out? A referee? Isn’t he just squashing the free flowing ebb of the fight?

    For that matter, why can’t they hit below the belt if they want to? And why only use fists, shouldn’t a free market allow one fighter to bring an automatic weapon if he wants to?

    Why all these rules? Come on, must we always have regulations? Isn’t it more fair just to let them kill each other in whatever manner they choose? That’s the free market, baby!

  34. 34
    suzanne says:

    We’ve got a great local brewery called Four Peaks. Makers of 8th Street Ale, Kiltlifter, and a delicious Peach, which is so, so delicious in the dry desert summer.

    I also love Alaskan Amber. (Hey, SOMETHING good came out of the state.)

    I’m five months pregnant, and I want to relax with a beer so bad. Damnit.

  35. 35
    Kevin Phillips Bong says:

    Anyone seriously interested in brewing should tour the New Belgium facility in Fort Collins. It’s technologically state of the art, environmentally sound, has highly enlightened personnel management and puts out a good product. Fascinating stuff, even for a relatively inexperienced beer consumer like myself.

  36. 36
    georgia pig says:

    You may be overstating Carter’s role in the rise of craft beers, but that’s beside the point. When you say something like “Maybe instead of using regulation or deregulation as starting points, we should look at ways to create more transparency in Washington and more oversight of the regulators themselves,” I hope you’re talking to your conservative and libertarian friends, or else you tred perilously close to the kind of implied false equivalence that pisses liberals off. The only liberals I know that have a reflexive love of regulation for the sake of regulation are the liberal bogeymen in Sarah Palin speeches. Your case itself proves the level of right wing bullshittery in this area, Jimmy Carter and a Democratic Congress deregulated the beer industry and, more significantly, the airline industry. I dare say that most improvements to regulatory structures have occurred under Democrats (or the now extinct species of liberal Republicans) because, despite their numerous failings, they still have at least some obeisance to the concept that the government should actually work, not drown in a bathtub.

    The people who use “regulation or deregulation as a starting point” are by and large Gingrich-era Republicans and libertarians. Republicans are just big hypocrites, because they’re just fine regulating a woman’s uterus or tapping your phone calls, and they don’t miss opportunities to turn regulations into money funnels for connected interests (e.g., the Medicare prescription drug benefit). Most libertarians I’ve ever known tend to retreat to fantasies of an unregulated state of nature, which is easy to do when you don’t ever win any elections.

  37. 37
    Josh James says:

    Not only that, who was the genius who forced the poor embattled Coca Cola company to remove cocaine from their soda product back in the day? How dare they stifle the market, if folks didn’t want to be addicted to cocaine, they wouldn’t buy it! That’s the free market, it regulates itself even when it comes to substance abuse, we all know that!

  38. 38
    TD says:

    I think it was Billy Carter that got our microbrews back in business.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrF7IQcKsFg

  39. 39
    NonyNony says:

    @Tom Hilton:

    That’s what I’ve heard, plus that beer-drinking tastes were formed by the insipid shit they allowed soldiers to drink during WWII.

    Maybe. But I think the bland tastes of the generation that fought WWII were part of the trend towards national brand named products from large corporations rather than locally produced products from small businesses. The story is the same from the 40s on – small local producers getting displaced by larger corporations like Hostess, McDonald’s, Wonder – and it had already started before that in the cola industry with Coke and Pepsi bottled products grabbing the market away from smaller local soda producers. They either muscled out their local competition, acquired them, or co-opted them to bake their branded recipes. And where you get that kind of growth you get blandness because the guys at the top are trying to find a lowest common denominator product that will work in every market.

    Actually, looking at the soft drink industry might be a good comparison for the relative effects of regulation here. Despite prohibition – which was a boon for the non-alcoholic soft drink industry – by the 70s there were only a handful of companies producing soft drinks. Just like with beer. So I’m dubious that regulation was that much of a big bogeyman.

  40. 40
    Swellsman says:

    Yeah, I’m a big fan of Fat Tire too.

    Also, a week or so ago I caught part of a radio interview with someone who had written a book about deregulation, and I thought he made a pretty good point. After discussing the deregulation of the airlines, and how it led to greater competition and decreased fairs, he pointed out that not all deregulation is the same.

    Specifically, he pointed out that the deregulation that occurred with respect to the airlines was a type of economic deregulation; the government had artificially limited the manner and means by which airlines could expand and operate. When these “economic regulations” were mostly scrapped, market forces were allowed to operate, competition increased, and prices were driven down.

    But there are a whole host of other types of regulations — like safety regulations, or workplace regulations — that are “economic” only in the sense that they do tend to add costs to the products or services being provided. But because they add these costs to all members of the industry (all food producers, for example, have to comply with the same regulations; all offices must meet the same OSHA requirements), they are not “economic” regulations in the sense that they distort market forces themselves.

    And these types of regulations tend to be all for the good. A mother walking down the grocery aisle searching for peanut butter that gives her the most bank for her buck doesn’t have any way to know that the cheaper peanut butter is cheaper because the producer hasn’t engaged in proper santitary conditions and thus the peanut butter she is buying contains salmonella. It is only because we have safety regulations that require that certain precautions take place that she is able to trust that the peanut butter she is buying isn’t cheap because it is, y’know, poisonous.

    In short, I thought this was a great distinction to start with whenever people get into discussions of “government regulation” and what constitutes “over-regulation.” If the regulation in question is economic — in the sense that it distorts normal competitive market forces — than we might be a little more skeptical that it is in place for a valid reason.

    On the other hand, if the regulation is one that deals with safety, or health, or equal protection under the laws (ADA regulations, for example), then perhaps we should start with the presumption that the regulation was probably passed for a good reason, and we should be wary about casting it aside and thereby making it easier for the regulated industries to do something that might be great for their bottom line, but bad for society as a whole.

  41. 41
    ABS says:

    One of the good things to come out of Alaska is the Alaskan Brewing Company in Juenau, particularly their smoked porter. Unfortunately you cant get it past Wyoming and I live in NYC. Have found it in Las Vegas and SF tho.

  42. 42
    drew42 says:

    Maybe instead of using regulation or deregulation as starting points, we should look at ways to create more transparency in Washington and more oversight of the regulators themselves.

    Well, yeah. I think we liberals have been thinking along these lines, all along.

    But the way we say it is: Government isn’t the problem — the problems are caused by corruption, corporate shills and anti-government Grover Norquist types who have been given positions of authority in our government.

    If the people working throughout regulatory agenecies believe in good governement, then the result will be quality regulation and oversight.

  43. 43
    Tom Hilton says:

    @Jay B.: Good to know. I’ve kind of avoided their other products because of Fat Tire, but the Belgo sounds good.

  44. 44
    drew42 says:

    Oh, and the Greatest Beer in the Free World in My Opinion, is Cascazilla, by Ithaca Beer Company.

    But I’m regionally biased.

  45. 45
    Morbo says:

    @Tracy: Damn straight. Can you get Two Hearted in your location? 7%, hoyeah.

    It’s not just Bell’s of course. Get yourself some Short’s (esp. Huma) if you can. Get anything from Michigan really.

  46. 46
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Craft beers have indeed exploded. On the other hand, mid-sized regional breweries have practically disappeared, at least they have in my part of the country. Anybody else from the great northwest remember Ranier, Olympia, Lucky, etc? Some are gone, some still exist as brands but with much more limited distribution. Your choice nowadays is basically between the mass-market beers and craft/imports. Not that I particularly miss Lucky Lager, but the rebuses were fun.

  47. 47
    Trevor B says:

    The other side of the modern debate, is federal deregulation has led to local monopolies in the beer distribution industries. This local regulation, makes it very very hard to enter the beer industry, and when you do you are often beholden to a local distributor that makes 99% of its money from selling Inbev-Budweiser beer. To solve this problem, a national set of laws on alchohol and alchohol distribution needs to be created, or in other words more regulation. for more information on this check out the movie Beer Wars really educational

  48. 48
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    Great Lakes Brewing. ESPECIALLY the Christmas ale (which goes damn quick).

    Currently totally hooked on Troegs’ Troegenator double bock. IN fact, since tomorrow is payday; and today IS International Beer day, a stop at the local purveyor of fine beers and ales is in order.

  49. 49
    Sloegin says:

    @NonyNony: This.

  50. 50
    TheF79 says:

    On the deregulation versus regulation false dichotomy. I think most people here would agree that regulation in the presence of market failure is typically a good thing, and regulation in the absence of market failure is typically a bad thing. Thus, we can be in favor of one type of regulation, while not liking another type of regulation.

    For libertarian and business-school economist types, market failure simply does not exist. Ergo, for them, there’s no reason to ever be in favor of regulation, and deregulation is necessarily a good thing.

    If you pretend that things like externalities, public goods, common property, market power, and asymmetric information simply do not exist (or are something that liberals made up to sieze power and create teh sozhulizm), then it’s easy to state that “regulation bad, deregulation good.”

  51. 51
    drew42 says:

    This may or may not be a minor point, but I don’t think the beer industry is a good example of regulation vs. deregulation.

    Beer is essentially a luxury product. So the supply/demand issues, threat of corruption, etc. aren’t the same as for healthcare and energy.

  52. 52
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    Rock Art’s Vermonster for me, please.

  53. 53
    elm says:

    @numbskull: Neoliberal economic policy heavily emphasizes deregulation. It’s fair to say that that school of thought takes deregulation as its starting point.

    What doesn’t exist is a “more regulation = more better” philosophy of comparable influence. Any suggestion to the contrary is a false equivalence.

    georgia pig said it better.

  54. 54
    R-Jud says:

    @suzanne:

    I’m five months pregnant, and I want to relax with a beer so bad. Damnit.

    I had one beer with a meal on Fridays while I was pregnant with the blessing of my doc. If you’re low-risk, it should be fine.

    Speaking of beer, I’m about to have a Hoegaarden wheat beer with my curry. Yum.

  55. 55
    Michael D. says:

    I couldn’t get past the first sentence. Fat Tire? Really?

    I like Fat Tire, too. But favorite? Have you tried other beer? Anything from Unibroue? Anything from outside the U.S.? Ommegang if you like to try decent American beer.

    Or are you just talking “regular American brews?”

    Sorry. I really shouldn’t judge tastes. I am somewhat of a beer snob. If you like something, you like it. I have a friend that brings Michelob Ultra to parties.

    He’s still my friend. I guess.

  56. 56
    JohnR says:

    I’m more a beer-schlub than a beer-snob, which I’ve found is a great help when trying new beers. Since my palate is proudly unselective, things like Schmaltz Brewery’s He’Brew ‘Messiah Bold’ taste just fine to me, and I always feel a little holier-than-thou when I have a bottle. There are lots of mini-brews on the market any more, and I’m really not crazy about trying too much new stuff unless it’s local or I find myself in a position where there’s no alternative. I like Philadelphia’s Victory Brewing beers, and several of the local brews are pretty good (I’m partial to DeGroen’s and Clipper City, more or less), but one of my long-time favorites has been Haffenreffer Private Stock from the great Boston brewing family (yeah, yeah, it’s technically a ‘malt liquor’, but I like to think of it as a ‘particularly refreshing beer’). Unfortunately it’s hard to find now that I’m out of New England, but I make do – Mickey’s and Colt45 are palatable enough on occasion.
    I’m glad to know that old Jimmeh did some good; I must have missed the deregulation when it happened, although I do have fond memories of Billy (Billy Beer was pretty foul, though).

  57. 57
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    @Michael D.: Oh, man– Unibroue and Ommegang in the same sentence? Dude, you raaawwwwwkkkk!

  58. 58
    Corner Stone says:

    @mistermix:

    Instead, we always hear bleating about “free markets” whenever someone suggests that monopolies need to be broken up or regulated.

    As I suggested in the “Intro” thread, Mr. Kain is imbued with a lot of talking points that have no definitional meaning, but rather are epithets for very disturbing goals of the right wing.
    ISTM that he hasn’t actually thought through any of his positions but has relied on a kind of sound byte mentality to move forward through life.

  59. 59
    blogbytom says:

    Oh, man, can we just talk about good beers? The guy early in the thread who mentioned the Horse Brass in Portland, OR knows his stuff. When I lived in Portland, I went there once or twice a month. Before the smoking ban in Oregon, it was a dank, stinky English pub with a shit-ton of good beers, local and international. After the smoking ban, it just smelled less bad (And I say this as a smoker).

    Ninkasi breweries based out of Eugene, OR makes some terrific beers, which, alas, they don’t distribute far and wide yet. Terminal Gravity makes the best IPA I’ve ever had. Rogue breweries always has something tasty in the works (and their brewpubs on the coast and in Portland have awe-inspiring tap-lists). I guess I could just go on and on about all of the great beers in the Pacific Northwest, but that’d make me nostalgic. And sad.

    Maybe I’ll have a beer.

  60. 60
    Paul in KY says:

    @Tracy: Damn good beer. Had some recently.

  61. 61
    Corner Stone says:

    @MikeJ:

    Every regulation, from those about selling lead toys to children to those about full disclosure to your stockholders, exist because somebody wanted to make an extra buck by killing or swindling somebody else.

    Or more precisely regulations exist because somebody would rather make a dollar extra than caring if someone is killed or swindled.
    They probably don’t want those deaths as they want captured consumers and their rent. They just don’t give a shit if it happens.

  62. 62
    flukebucket says:

    What made Milwaukee famous has made a fool out of me.

  63. 63
    dhd says:

    Legalization of home brewing, which also happened at about the same time, in 1978, probably had a lot to do with it, too. An awful lot of craft brewers (maybe most of them) started out as home brewers.

    If you look at it that way it becomes less of an objective lesson about the benefits of deregulation (although in general I’m in favor of breaking up oligopolies and lowering the barriers to starting small businesses…) and more of a lesson about the evils of prohibition.

  64. 64
    ericvsthem says:

    I’m drinking Bell’s Oberon as well. You can buy it by the case in Pennsylvania (or by the 6 pack at pizza stores for the price you’d spend for a bottle at a bar.. fucking PA blue laws). Anyway, excellent summer beer.

    ..of course, you may not be able to buy other brews by Bell’s in PA because of the bullshit registration regulations and the scarcity of distributors that will carry microbrews. By law, brewers may not sell beer directly to bars or wholesalers; the transaction must go through licensed regional distributors, many of which are controlled by large macrobreweries that may or may not agree to distribute craft brews.

    Of course, lobbyists for the beer industry (ie. macrobreweries) have a vested interest in keeping these prohibition-era regulations in place as they make it very expensive and difficult for small breweries to expand distribution nationally.

    The documentary “Beer Wars” explains this in much more detail. Go watch it.

    Last year, a few bars in Philadelphia were fined by the state of Pennsylvania for selling draft craft beers that were unregistered. Some anonymous person (probably another bar owner or a distributor for a major beer company) complained to the state police and the bars were raided and subsequently fined.

  65. 65
  66. 66
    JBerardi says:

    Obviously not all deregulation is going to work this way, nor are all matters of regulation as relatively unimportant as beer. But this is a good example of how regulation can crowd out small businesses and local economies in favor of big corporations with ties to powerful legislators.

    Ever hear the saying “practice makes perfect, but only if you practice perfectly”? Regulations are a necessity if you want free, fair, open markets, but they have to be GOOD regulations (with effective enforcement). It’s not about regulation versus deregulation, it’s about good policy versus bad policy.

    Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale is the best thing brewed in America today, BTW. Serious west coast hops, dark, roasted malts, dry as a bone. Awesome.

  67. 67
    Roger Moore says:

    @MikeJ:

    Every regulation, from those about selling lead toys to children to those about full disclosure to your stockholders, exist because somebody wanted to make an extra buck by killing or swindling somebody else.

    I’m not sure that this is quite 100% true. There are some regulations that were created corruptly to protect powerful interests. That said, it’s a good first pass assumption to believe that regulations were created to prevent real abuses. Equally important, those were almost always real abuses that happened even though the invisible hand is supposed to punish people who cheat their customers. You’d think that kind of thing would have put a stake through the heart of libertarianism, but I guess that wishful thinking and greed know no bounds.

    One thing I will say, though, is that regulations can and do outlive their original purpose. I’m not talking about situations where the regulated industry claims to have learned its lesson to the point of being able to self-regulate, but the smaller set of cases where the original situation has changed enough that the danger the original regulation was intended to prevent doesn’t really apply anymore. I think it’s important to actively seek out that kind of regulation and take it off the books.

  68. 68
    gyma says:

    Erik,

    Are you in Ft. Collins?

  69. 69
    Corner Stone says:

    @georgia pig:

    The people who use “regulation or deregulation as a starting point” are by and large Gingrich-era Republicans and libertarians. Republicans are just big hypocrites, because they’re just fine regulating a woman’s uterus or tapping your phone calls, and they don’t miss opportunities to turn regulations into money funnels for connected interests (e.g., the Medicare prescription drug benefit). Most libertarians I’ve ever known tend to retreat to fantasies of an unregulated state of nature, which is easy to do when you don’t ever win any elections.

    Damn. This just had to be said another time.

  70. 70
    LanceThruster says:

    A toast to the right honorable James Earl!

    “Here’s to alcohol: the source of, and answer to, all of life’s problems.” ~ Homer Simpson

  71. 71
    JBerardi says:

    Oh yeah, and speaking of regulation and beer, isn’t it about time that brewers (well, all alcohol producers, really) were required to list their ingredients and nutritional values like every other food and drink item is required to? Southern Tier flavors their beers and lies about it on their labels (yeah, there’s nothing but pumpkin in the Pum-King ale. Bullshit), and it pisses me off. I’m sure others do it as well, and it’s not right. If it goes in your body, they need to disclose exactly what’s in it.

  72. 72
    Ripley says:

    Libertarian gets me drunk on good beer, tries to convince me to swallow his throbbing free-market deregulation. I feel all dirty.

  73. 73
    HyperIon says:

    @R-Jud wrote:

    I’m about to have a Hoegaarden wheat beer

    hey, i had my first taste of that in june while i was in Bruges. not a bad wheat beer but IMO Leavenworth’s hefe is better. And they have a nice dunkel-weizen. the Hoegaarden was not as chewy as i like my wheat beers.

  74. 74
    Corner Stone says:

    @JBerardi:

    I’m sure others do it as well, and it’s not right. If it goes in your body, they need to disclose exactly what’s in it.

    But that would cause my Apricot Ale to go up $.15 a bottle! To hell with that!

  75. 75
    patroclus says:

    This post makes some good points – about Carter and regulation and deregulation. But unless and until the lying smearing Republicans stop lying and smearing, there really isn’t much of a point to discussing things calmly and intelligently. The lying smearing Republicans hate Hispanics, gays, women and, of course, African Americans, and want to deny them all of them constitutional rights. Regulation/deregulation of beer is really a small point when it comes to dealing with the lying smearing Republicans.

  76. 76
    Rake says:

    @Jay B.:

    Belgo IPA was just released in 22 oz bottles as part of NB’s Lips of Faith series.

  77. 77
    NobodySpecial says:

    You know, there’s an anecdote in Studs Terkel’s The Good War about government regulation. It concerns a government official presenting a regulation to a group of businessmen, who immediately started bitching about how onerous the regulations were.

    The official’s essential reply was this: We could write a regulation that would be incredibly simple and fit on a quarter page, but businessmen spend more effort and money trying to find a way to get around regulation than they’d probably lose just following the regulation. Therefore, the legislation grows to fill the loopholes they’re ALWAYS trying to pick in legislation.

  78. 78
    jrg says:

    Regulating microbreweries is like killing a fly with a bazooka. Oh, wait, that’s financial reform. Never mind.

  79. 79

    […] E.D. Kain informs me that today is International Beer Day and that, If you’re a fan of craft beer and microbreweries as opposed to say Bud Light or Coors, you should say a little thank you to Jimmy Carter. Carter could very well be the hero of International Beer Day. […]

  80. 80
    eric k says:

    Saw an interesting documentary a couple weeks ago called “the Beer Wars” It wasn’t great, a little too much filler and fluff, but about 30 minutes or so of interesting content in a 90 minute doc isn’t too bad.

    The issue with Beer regulation is all about the distribution. After Prohibition they had to compromise somewhat to keep the anti demon rum types from opposing it too much. The deal was that distribution had to be separate from sales or production. Why you have all those beer distributors (like where Cindy McCain’s family got rich) The reality has evolved to where the “independence” is a crock and most of the big distributors have exclusive deals with one of the two big brewers (Bud or Coors/Miller) In most areas you have big distributors for each of them and then a smaller distributor or two who carries everyone else. Most of the time it also means the micro’s have to do deals with the big 2 for distribution. So when you see a Bud truck also delivering Widmer it is because Widmer had to do a deal with Bud to get distribution.

    The lobbying group who claims they are all about protecting the interests of brewers against so called “neo prohibitionists” is actually a scam that is really a front for the big 2 protecting their monopoly distribution system. The people they call “neo prohibitionists” are of course nothing of the sort, they are actually groups trying to open the distribution system so there is fair competition.

  81. 81
    JB says:

    Now, they need to make it legal for me to ship a bottle of my home brew to friends, and to make it easier for local breweries to sell their beer to potential customers.

    I recommend the documentary Beer Wars, which is on the Netflix watch me now – still several prohibition-era rules need to be looked at.

  82. 82
    JG says:

    @blogbytom: I was going to comment to simply say: NINKASI. All the time. Every beer they make, so far as I’ve tried, although I’m partial to the Tricerahops Double and Total Domination IPA. I went to law school in Eugene and had some of their first bataches. God do I miss it.

    I also do like McMenamin’s Ruby when I go to one of their ubiquitous NW pubs…although the Horse Brass is far superior. Rogue is decent, as are Steelhead and Laurelwood. Oregon truly is Beervana – check out the Oregon Brewer’s Guild site for a beer trail and other important info such as how to become a SNOB (Supporter of Native Oregon Beer).

  83. 83
    srv says:

    @Michael D.: I have yet to meet a libertarian who had good taste. They used to have their meetings at Opal Divine’s in Austin, and my memory was they were getting Fat Tire or Shiner pitchers.

    And beer is Tim F.’s domain. I finally got to have Dogfish on tap, we don’t get that in the west. And everywhere I went in the midwest last month didn’t have Bells.

  84. 84
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    limiting the way that government and special interests (including powerful corporations) work together at the expense of the rest of the country.

    I’m a little confused. Are you saying that “deregulation” is a path to breaking a possibly dysfunctional bond between government and corporations? That somehow regulation is a culprit? That blurb about regulation getting in the way of small business is either a gaffe, a dog whistle, or a blatant attempt at Republicany word-shape-shifting designed to confuse people into supporting shitty policy.

    Let’s be clear, and by that I mean, you be clear: There are two kinds of regulation. Good, and bad. Period.

    Good regulation is the necessary and proper kind, and amount. It enforces rules of service, conduct, behavior, and limits, that serve the interests of commerce but more importantly serve the interests of the public. Public safety, public health, public financial security, and so forth. Regulation is there to make sure the airlines operate safely, the mining companies look after the health and safety of their workers and after the environment … etc. We cannot be modulating that kind of regulation to please the interests of capitalism. Capitalism has to operated within the frameworks of proper regulation and make its profits within those frameworks. Period. Nothing else is acceptable, unless Massey Energy and British Petroleum and Valujet are the new models for American business.

    Don’t play with the words, and try to have cake and eat it too. There is no free lunch in the regulation business. Government has the duty to do this right. And “right” means that safety and the public interest come first, not almost first or sometimes first. And if business cannot prosper in that framework, then some other model of business is needed. Otherwise we devolve into a second rate country where snakeoil salesmen and greedy industrialists just fuck everyone over and piss on our legs and tell us its raining.

    You know, like Republicans do. That’s why we hate Republicans around here. Because they play word games and lie and cheat and steal.

  85. 85
    taylormattd says:

    First of all, for every dumb example you find about how glorious deregulation benefitted us all, you will find two or three recessions, depressions, frauds, swindles, explosions, environmental disasters, or deaths caused by deregulation. So give it a rest.

    Second, regarding your “let’s have more transparency” thing. Good luck with that. Your buddies the conservatives are very opposed to such things.

  86. 86
    Ash Can says:

    Fat Tire is a pleasant enough beer, but it doesn’t hold a candle to any of the goodies made by Bell’s, Sprecher, or Three Floyds.

  87. 87

    @patroclus:

    lying smearing Republicans

    It seems that way sometimes. But it probably isn’t so. There are probably lots of people who consider themselves Republican and try to be truthful people.

    What to do? Wait for the honest Republicans to call out the liars? Or create a stereotype of the lying smearing Republicans and go on with life?

  88. 88
    suzanne says:

    @R-Jud:

    I had one beer with a meal on Fridays while I was pregnant with the blessing of my doc. If you’re low-risk, it should be fine.

    Sadly, I’m not low-risk. :( I’m epileptic. So I gotta be extra-careful. Blar.

    I was in Munich last year right before Oktoberfest. Damn, those weissbiers were delicious. Franziskaner’s not bad, either.

  89. 89
    numbskull says:

    @elm: Exactly. John told us to be nice to Erik. I don’t know who Erik is, but I’m assuming he’s the E.D. of this post. So, I asked the question to see if he could answer and thus have a self-enlightenment moment.

    Seems like not.

  90. 90
    Cain says:

    @dhd:

    Legalization of home brewing, which also happened at about the same time, in 1978, probably had a lot to do with it, too. An awful lot of craft brewers (maybe most of them) started out as home brewers.

    Someone was telling me that in oregon they are prohibiting the transportation of homebrews. You can only consume it at home. Basically the liquor council decided to re-interpret the rules to allow that. That’s just plain wrong.

    cain

  91. 91
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    There are probably lots of people who consider themselves Republican and try to be truthful people.

    The evidence for this is rather lacking these days.

    How does a party maintain its integrity when it appears to be acting as paid apologists for the BPs and Massey Energies of the world, and caters to voters who think that the president is not a US citizen, and that the earth is 6000 years old?

    If Republicans are going to pretned to be truthful people, they better start doing a better imitation of people who respect the truth. Making speeches about how tax cuts create jobs and pay for themselves in the budget process, about death panels, about phony immigration threats … tend to disprove what you are asserting. When Republicans stop lying through their teeth every day of the week, then talk about the truthful people they are. Until then, that’s just ad copy.

  92. 92
    Jim Pharo says:

    @DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective:

    That’s why we hate Republicans around here.

    Speak for yourself, bub. I’m VERY interested in hearing from Republicans who can engage in meaningful discussion about their views. I want no part of the arrogance that characterizes most of the GOP leaders that all “Dimmocrats” are tax-lovers, or whatever.

    I’m with Barry from DC on this: we need good ideas from any corner, and I’m not prepared to accept that there are simply no decent Republicans left (though as a species they do seem rather thin on the ground). That’s why it’s important to seek out and listen to Republican voices that are prepared to pitch in with legitimate good ideas. Hell, our just-passed HCR is basically a GOP bill…

  93. 93
    Sentient Puddle says:

    I don’t think Fat Tire is a particularly exceptional beer, but I still find it quite drinkable. And besides that, it holds a special place in my heart.

    Back when I was in college, I hated beer. All I knew of beer was the Coors Light/Bud swill, so of course, I wondered why anyone would want to drink that shit. One of my roommates during this time was a craft beer fiend, and one night basically kept shoving a Fat Tire in front of me trying to pressure me to drink it. I finally gave in, and thought “Hey, this isn’t that bad.” So Fat Tire gets points in my book for making me not hate beer.

    Not sure what I’d classify as my favorite, but if we’re talking the New Belgium brews, I’m all about the Abbey.

  94. 94
    numbskull says:

    @DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective: My hero for the day.

    Of course, an endorsement from me is usually the kiss of death, but still, great rant.

  95. 95
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    @numbskull:

    an endorsement from me is usually the kiss of death

    As is an endorsement of me. Heh.

  96. 96
    numbskull says:

    @Jim Pharo:

    Hell, our just-passed HCR is basically a GOP bill…

    Wow, you win the “just shot myself in the foot” award today!

    You are correct, HCR is basically a mid-90s GOP bill. ALL THE REALLY SUCKY PARTS.

    And all the really good parts that got left on the cutting room floor? How do you think that happened? Who is standing there with the scissors?

    There are NO good ideas from Republicans these days. NONE. You can believe in all the pixie dust you want, but nah gah happen.

  97. 97
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    @Jim Pharo:

    Sorry, your blurb is not convincing. The GOP and its crazy followers are setting new standards every damned day for hypocrisy, demagoguery, dishonesty, greed, and self interest.

    I am not interested in parsing out the occasional sane and true things they say and holding them up as examples of how good they really are or how worthy of our attention they can be. They need to start acting like responsible citizens, and then I will treat them as such. Not until. And when I say responsible citizens, I am talking about their representatives in the highest offices in the land. These people apparently will deliberately fuck the country and the people to set themselves up for political advantage. Don’t lecture me on how I should treat them with respect or listen to them. Fuck them, very much, and the horses they stole and rode in on.

    Do not piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining, because I will get in your face and call you out every time. Cut the crap.

  98. 98
    Jonathan says:

    …nor are all matters of regulation as relatively unimportant as beer.

    Bite your tongue, Kain!

  99. 99
    randiego says:

    Pliny the Elder IIPA, from Russian River Brewing, California.

    Nectar of the gods, and at 10% AC, not dissimilar to a tranquilizer dart in effect.

  100. 100
    jrg says:

    That’s why it’s important to seek out and listen to Republican voices that are prepared to pitch in with legitimate good ideas.

    That’s funny – most of the Republicans I’ve spoken with who have good ideas are really just very confused Democrats, who are scared shitless of being called liberal.

    My brother-in-law, for example, claims he is “a somewhat conservative centrist”. He spent an hour extolling the virtues of information symmetry in health and fiscal decisions, as described in “Nudge” . I’m not sure if he understands that printing the ingredients in food is a form of government regulation. I’m also not sure if he understands what is meant when people say they are for regulation – he seems to believe that people want regulation for regulation’s sake, because they hate private industry or something.

  101. 101
    PanAmerican says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    They were all over the country. What’s left of Pabst owns a bunch of classic labels that Miller contract brews. Even post war American Lagers had a hair-on-yer balls hoppyness that doesn’t exist today.

    The brewers that “won” did so with light weight swill, ruthlessly pounding down production costs, volume and marketing everyone else into oblivion.

    If Ale production had the same characteristics as Lager would there be a craft market?

  102. 102
    Busta says:

    If you really want to get a good picture of how regulation kills the beer industry, come to Ontario. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario controls all beer and liquor sales here – if they don’t want to sell your product, it doesn’t get sold. As a result the craft beer industry in Canada’s largest province is paltry compared to Quebec and British Columbia. That’s not to say we don’t have some fine craft brewers – Chruch Key is one – but nothing like the scale we could have.

  103. 103
    Mike Lamb says:

    @randiego:

    I’ve been looking for that Pliny the Elder. Can’t seem to locate it in PHX.

    Current Faves:

    Lagunitas Lucky 13
    Odell’s Bourbon Barrell Stout
    Northcoast Old Rasputin
    Stone Black IPA

    Also enjoy most of Goose Island’s offerings, although they are pricey.

  104. 104
    R-Jud says:

    @suzanne: Bah! That’s a pain in the neck. I hope you’re enjoying your pregnancy in spite of having some additional concerns.

    We’re making plans to move back to the U.S. next year. We should probably get a beer tour of the Continent in before we leave the UK.

  105. 105
    numbskull says:

    Bridgeport IPA and Hops Czar.

  106. 106

    @ericvsthem:

    actually, most of them WERE registered, but the PLBC wrote the names incorrectly. And at least two of the beers, which were meant to be cellared (ie, stored for a few years like wine), had been duly registered at the time of purchase, but during the cellaring period the breweries that produced them went out of business and no longer existed. That, the PLCB, was the same as having an unregistered beer.

    Pennsylvania is, without a doubt, the stupidest fucking place I have ever lived. I’m sure Texas is worse, but my god, severely retarded baboons could run this state with more skill than the people at the helm now.

  107. 107
    IM says:

    Budweiser is of course the best beer!

    I am talking about the real Budweiser of course. generally the best beer is from the czech republic.

    Regulation: A assertion, not proven. The number of breweries did shrunk quite about here in Germany in the last 20 years. Why? You can’´t blame prohibition and there did not change anything in regulation.

    The usual explanation:

    You are either:

    1) big with a national brand,: economics of scale

    2) Very small with a local brand: : Your hometown and 30 kilometers or so.

    3) In between

    The middling breweries in between vanished.

  108. 108
    moe99 says:

    As someone who has lived in Belgium and the US, the best beer I have ever had is made in Washington state by Mac N Jack’s. African Amber. They don’t bottle it. But you can go to the brewery with your own container and take some home or find a bar that serves it on tap. Ambrosia of the gods.

  109. 109

    […] E.D. Kain explains: To make a long story short, prohibition led to the dismantling of many small breweries around the nation. When prohibition was lifted, government tightly regulated the market, and small scale producers were essentially shut out of the beer market altogether. Regulations imposed at the time greatly benefited the large beer makers. In 1979, Carter deregulated the beer industry, opening  back up to craft brewers. As the chart below illustrates, this had a really amazing effect on the beer industry: […]

  110. 110
    IM says:

    Apropos regulation: The popular theory is still that regulation – namely the Reinheitsgebot – made german beer so special. True or not, the german brewing industry turned this regulation into a marketing advantage.

  111. 111
    Martin says:

    ‘Regulation’ is a sufficiently broad term that it masks both good and bad activities.

    Regulation as oversight is, most generally, desirable (having regular inspections of breweries, for example).

    Regulation as control is, most generally, undesirable (preventing breweries from opening, controlling the price of their product, and within reason controlling where their product can be bought and sold).

    Unfortunately, ‘regulation’ has become a blunt weapon between left and right, where the right instinctively attack any and all regulation as an offront to the free market, giving the appearance that they want a western Somalia and calling anything that even has a blush of oversight a ‘death panel’. Of course, the Dems regularly fall for the bait, so I’m not too surprised the GOP still does it.

    At an individual level, I know of almost no Republicans that have a view of regulation that matches the rhetoric, so in some ways the complaints that the left overgeneralizes are fair. But they want their cake and eat it too – they want to be recognized for having ideas that nobody ever hears and not be recognized for the crazy shit that their leaders talk about on tv. So I make no excuses for applying the loudest and broadest voices to the general conservative populace. When Code Pink get the same audience as Rush Limbaugh, the right is free to return the courtesy.

  112. 112
    flukebucket says:

    @Jim Pharo:

    Hell, our just-passed HCR is basically a GOP bill…

    That didn’t get any GOP votes.

  113. 113
    Seitz says:

    Stone Brewing, Bell’s, Three Floyd’s, and for Chicago North Siders, Half Acre. For my money, those are the best breweries in the country. Founders, Great Lakes, Bear Republic and Southern Tier are all about notch down from there in my opinion, but also very good.

    And because my brother went to Chico State, I’m a bit based, but for a macro-micro, Sierra Nevada is really turning out a quality product right now. Their Torpedo is every bit as good as Stone’s IPA or Bell’s Two Hearted. Their Glissade seasonal earlier this year was fantastic.

    Goose Island should also be commended on doing some really interesting things right now. Their Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout is one of the highest rated beers on Beer Advocate (good luck finding any, though), and I can’t wait until their Vanilla Bean Stout comes out later this year. Their collection of Belgian style ales is phenomenal as well. I’ve got five bottles of the coffee stout in my closet, and they should be aging nicely, right alongside the four bottle of Three Floyd’s Dark Lord that I picked up this year. Dark Lord Day is a must for craft beer lovers, assuming that they can still hold without burning down the surrounding neighborhood.

  114. 114
    Jim Pharo says:

    @DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective:

    From your tone it seems you may not know many Republicans. I think it’s helpful to distinguish between the almost-uniformly nuts leadership of that party and the millions of GOP’ers who also are appalled at Palin for VP…they exist, and they are a growth opportunity for OUR party…let’s treat them with the same openness we show anyone else.

    While it may be that 20-30% of our fellow Americans are bat-shit crazy, there’s another 20-30% who are GOP’ers and NOT bat-shit crazy.

  115. 115
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    @PanAmerican:

    In my part of the country if you were a starving college student in the early 80s and only had $3 in your wallet you had a choice between a couple of bottles of San Miguel (or whatever), a six pack of Bud/Miller/Coors (you’d probably need a little change to cover the tax), or a six pack from a fairly wide selection of regional brewers, and you might even get a few cents in change back. None of the latter could hold up next to a modern microbrew but some of them were distinctly better than the big three to my palate.

    Since everybody is listing their favorites I’ll give mine; just about anything in the Rogue line, especially Dead Guy Ale and Brutal Bitter.

  116. 116
    ThresherK says:

    I don’t know that my freedom to buy a microbrew at a store which also sells Bud is the same as allowing one airline carrier to destroy every other carrier at the airport 8 miles from my house. Being free to drive 200 miles to where another airco has its monopoly isn’t quite the rewarding experience libertarians brag about.

    +1 for categorizing useful deregulation as opposed to the kind that sucks and which we already have enough of.

    “Market deregulation” like “tax cuts” and “privatization” are things which I think have been largely overused for the
    last quarter century. I don’t have a reflexive hate of each, but I’m wary of anyone who thinks we can squeeze a lot of
    good out of doing more of each of these. Special circumstances, yes, but that’s not what the right wing is talking about.

    PS For DickSpud and Jim Pharo:

    Decent Republicans v. crazed wingnut Republicans should be a THEM problem. How about we not make it into an WE
    (left-wing, Democrats’, all America’s, or Mainstream Media) problem any more than it already is? Take the good ideas from R’s, yes, no matter if they’re all Eisenhower’s. And if the normal R’s want to take back the good name of the party, fine. If they want to go all Crist or Jeffords on the GOP, fine, too.

  117. 117
    gene108 says:

    I’d throw telecom deregulation as a net gain for consumers. Prices went down and service went up.

    Does anyone want to return to the days of “Ma’ Bell”?

  118. 118

    @Jim Pharo:

    You have a point. It often looks like the entire party has run away, not only from sanity but from sane people. We could use some of the sane people to work with us to tackle some of the problems that lie ahead of us.

  119. 119
    Anat Baron says:

    Jimmy Carter legalized home brewing. That in turn led to small brewers experimenting with different types of beers than the traditional lagers made by the big beer companies.
    These home brewers in turn dent pro and started what were then called micro breweries.
    Real regulation of the beer industry hasn’t changed much since post prohibition days.
    My film Beer Wars describes the challenges small brewers face in the shadow of the big boys.

  120. 120
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    From your tone it seems you may not know many Republicans. I think it’s helpful to distinguish between the almost-uniformly nuts leadership of that party and the millions of GOP’ers who also are appalled at Palin for VP…they exist

    Don’t fuck with me man. You can’t tell anything about me by a “tone” except what my current tone is. You know that and I know it, so cut the crap.

    I know as many Republicans as anyone else does. I do not share your view that anything like most of them is a demographic of sane, honest, rational people. No doubt a good many are.

    Fine. Let those people stand up and take back their party. Otherwise, they are laying down with dogs, and will have to endure the flea bath. They cannot hang with crazy people, willfully ignorant people, liars, and thieves, and say nothing and do nothing to push back on them, and expect me to treat them as other than the crazy,ignorant, lying, dishonest people they hang with.

    Let them save their party, that is not my job.

  121. 121
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    From your tone it seems you may not know many Republicans. I think it’s helpful to distinguish between the almost-uniformly nuts leadership of that party and the millions of GOP’ers who also are appalled at Palin for VP…they exist

    Don’t screw with me man. You can’t tell anything about me by a “tone” except what my current tone is. You know that and I know it, so cut the crap.

    I know as many Republicans as anyone else does. I do not share your view that anything like most of them is a demographic of sane, honest, rational people. No doubt a good many are.

    Fine. Let those people stand up and take back their party. Otherwise, they are laying down with dogs, and will have to endure the flea bath. They cannot hang with crazy people, willfully ignorant people, liars, and thieves, and say nothing and do nothing to push back on them, and expect me to treat them as other than the crazy,ignorant, lying, dishonest people they hang with.

    Let them save their party, that is not my job.

    ( if this post duplicates, then FYWP)

  122. 122
    les says:

    Rogue Chocolate Stout.

    Maybe instead of using regulation or deregulation as starting points

    The only people I’m aware of who use that starting point are liberpublicans, or whatever you want to call them, who start from the premise that regulation is per se bad. If you actually want a discussion: name the regulation/area of conduct; state the subject/issue currently or to be regulated; define the problem with the issue or current regulation; offer the solution.

    And the next time a republican or libertarian or glibertarian does that, it’ll be the first time in my current memory.

  123. 123
    les says:

    @gene108:

    I’d throw telecom deregulation as a net gain for consumers. Prices went down and service went up.

    Does anyone want to return to the days of “Ma’ Bell”?

    If memory serves, we got rid of Ma Bell as a result of years of government litigation enforcing laws and regulations, not from deregulation.

  124. 124
    agorabum says:

    @Mike Lamb: Good call on the North Coast. I like all of theirs, but Old Stock is my favorite.

  125. 125
    Adam Lang says:

    I have another idea.

    Maybe instead of using regulation or deregulation as starting points, we should look at ways to create more transparency in Washington and more oversight of the regulators themselves.

    How about, instead, we look at ways to create more transparency into business and more oversight (not regulation, but actual oversight: SEEING what they’re doing wrong, and then regulating THAT) of businesses themselves?

    “The problem is, we don’t fully understand what needs to be regulated. This means that we need to study regulators.” That’s like saying, “The problem is, our oursourced manufacturer doesn’t understand what we need them to make, because we aren’t willing to tell them enough information about the product to manufacture it. Clearly, we need to study the manufacturer some more, and find out why they are unable to manufacture things for us without us giving them enough information to do so.”

  126. 126
    jman says:

    But when I talk about limiting government, this is partly what I mean – limiting the way that government and special interests (including powerful corporations) work together at the expense of the rest of the country.

    So ED Kain, lets say for the hell of it that we can discuss what makes for acceptable regulation and unacceptable regulation. What is the the other part of what you mean when you talk about limiting government?

  127. 127
    Tom Hilton says:

    @agorabum: Brother Thelonius (a Belgian ale, 9%) is my favorite North Coast brew.

    Incidentally, last time I was up there (been a few years) they had great fish & chips.

  128. 128
    Gus says:

    Surly Furious. That’s the shit if you’re a hop-hound. It’s got great balance, though, not just a hop tea. Tons of malt tons of hops, really a big beer. Also New Glarus Moon Man. I think Fat Tire is New Belgium’s worst beer, but of course that’s just my taste. I’ve been drinking a lot of their Mothership Wit this summer. Very refreshing. Also agree on the Bell’s Oberon (and New Glarus’ Dancing Man). So much good beer, so little time.

  129. 129
    JBerardi says:

    @Corner Stone:

    But that would cause my Apricot Ale to go up $.15 a bottle! To hell with that!

    I suspect you’re being facetious, but it wouldn’t cost anything. I mean, breweries are already printing labels for their stuff, and I suspect that most of them, you know, write their recipes down somewhere… just put it on the label.

    All food is not beer, but all beer is food.

  130. 130
    Corner Stone says:

    @JBerardi: Not facetious more like ridiculous.
    And what would make you believe the label? Do you believe the labels on food now?

  131. 131
    JBerardi says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Oh God, here we go. Why shouldn’t I believe what the FDA mandated nutritional information on food?

  132. 132
    Corner Stone says:

    @JBerardi: Sheesh, you probably believe the Sec State of HI that Obama’s birth certificate is real!
    Some people will believe any damn thing they are told.

  133. 133
    JBerardi says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Well, I don’t believe that Southern Tier doesn’t artificially flavor their beers, that’s for sure. The Pum King and the Creme Brulee stout are particularly bad offenders.

  134. 134
    Keith G says:

    WTF?

    I have been waiting for another beer thread (after many, many months) so I could compare notes on some new ales I have tried and you post a “beer as an example of the wonder of a free market” thread in the middle of a week day?

    How about ejecting the polemics and just start a thoughtful yet entertaining thread about beer and ale as an experience to be savored and not a example of the glories of a deregulated market.

  135. 135
    Corner Stone says:

    @JBerardi:

    Creme Brulee stout

    ?
    I am officially scared now.

  136. 136
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G: It’s becoming quite obvious that Mr. Kain just can’t fucking help himself. He’s had a chance to post a few things now, and with absolutely no reason he has decided to fuck it up in ways large and small.
    I’m calling it an experimental DougJ spoof at this point. It’s pretty damn blatant.

  137. 137
    DaveInOz says:

    You can’t beat Little Creatures Pale Ale, brewed in Fremantle, Western Australia. In fact, you can’t beat drinking Little Creatures Pale Ale while sitting in the Little Creatures Brewery looking out over Fremantle harbour (excuse the English/Australian spelling).

    I read last week while buying some at a local bottle shop that it was voted best beer in the world by BBC Good Food magazine a few years ago.

  138. 138
    chuckl says:

    HR 1337 was sponsored by the great Sen. Alan Cranston of California to essentially close a loophole in the 21st Amendment that provided for home making of wine but because of a stenographers error left out making beer at home. Carter signed it, but it was Cranstons bill. Meanwhile there’s legislation now being proposed in San Francisco by neo prohibitionists the Marin Institute to add a tax to all alcohol sold in the city, thereby penalizing law-abiding, healthy drinkers for the overindulgence of some. Ideally the Marin Institute would like to bring back Prohibition, but lacking that is intent on penalizing retailers and drinking establishments. Just like Prohibition, people who are pushing for this misguided legislation are a lot more vocal and better organized than the opposition.

  139. 139
    JBerardi says:

    @Corner Stone:

    http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/3818/43687

    Amazingly, the beer gets good reviews. I found it sickeningly sweet, and full of powerful, simple flavors that you’re just not going to derive from aging the beer on vanilla beans or whatever it is they claim.

  140. 140
    AZrider says:

    Suzanne –don’t know if you’re still on this really long thread. Four Peak Hefeweizen and Peach Ale are really great. I was in Maine and had some nice Sea Dog Blueberry ale. Surprised no one has mentioned the true mentor of microbreweries: Fritz Maytag, who resurrected the Anchor Brewery in San Francisco. Maybe like Mondavi, who got the California wineries in competition with French wines, Maytag had faith in the local microbreweries and kept a tradition alive. Coors, Budweiser, etc. tried to kill the local brew business in the 80s. I don’t know how much Carter did, but it was the microbrew enthusiasts who made this whole thing explode in the 90s. And today we’ve got great beers from coast to coast.

  141. 141
    Corner Stone says:

    @JBerardi: Well, I love creme brulee (best ever at Emeril’s restaurant in NOLA before Katrina), and I am huge into stout (Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout if I’m buying at Specs), so maybe they are onto something.

  142. 142
    dhd says:

    @Busta: The problem in Ontario is not the LCBO per se, but rather Brewer’s Retail, which operates the Beer Store (yes, Americans, they really have conveyor belts that they send out cases of beer on like in Strange Brew).

    It’s what could best be described as a government-mandated cartel – it’s the only store allowed to sell beer in Ontario aside from the LCBO and individual breweries, and it’s owned and operated by the major breweries…

    On the other hand the fact that the bottles are all reusable is pretty cool.

  143. 143

    […] above blockquote and chart come from an E.D. Kain link in Chait’s […]

  144. 144
    E.D. Kain says:

    Fat Tire may not be the best beer I’ve ever had but it’s a consistent one – something I can always turn to. Thus – my favorite.

    And I never meant to imply that beer was unimportant. For that I apologize. It is almost as important – almost – as massive oil spills.

    Oh and I’m not in Ft. Collins. But I’ve been there!

  145. 145
    EDr says:

    Linky no worky. You got to include the “http://” part or links will be interpreted as relative to the current page.

    International Beer Day
    International Beer Day on Wikipedia

  146. 146

    Mr. Kain: do you have links to Congressional bills or Executive orders that you could reference as to the ‘de-regulation’ of the brewing industry during President Jimmy Carter’s term of office? If so, please post them, because this might make for a great story, but I do not believe it to be true.

    Carter did NOT deregulate the brewing industry.

    What he did do was to sign a law which permitted untaxed homebrewing (up 200 gallons per year) at the federal level. States were still free to prohibit homebrewing within their jurisdictions. Many of the early pioneers of the ‘micro-brewing’ movement began as homebrewers, a salubrious effect of the legalization, for which we do owe President Carter (and the legislators) a debt of gratitude.

  147. 147
    Roy says:

    The law is question is Public Law 95-458

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/.....m&

    Codified in 26 USC 5042

  148. 148
    Tom Hilton says:

    In 1979, Carter deregulated the beer industry, opening the market back up to craft brewers.

    Can anyone tell me what legislation this was? I’ve been Googling various word combinations and can’t find it. I do find tons of references to the legalization of homebrewing, and tons of references to…this post. What I’m looking for is the ‘deregulation’ Mr. Kain refers to here.

    Anyone?

  149. 149
    Linden Buckingham says:

    Yes, it is my joy to live eight blocks away from the Fat Tire magic (New Belgium). A couple times a month, a fragrant breeze reminds my nose and beckons my taste buds. Again, I’m wearing the suds mustache amongst those bicycle parts (in the tasting room). Yum!

  150. 150
    voidn says:

    So thats why everyone drinks piss beer. Great post.

  151. 151

    […] source here is E.D. Kain, of the "glibertarian"-baiting Balloon Juice. Kain, who is on the side of angels here, nonetheless […]

  152. 152

    […] Kain reports that we have Jimmy Carter to thank for America’s booming beer industry: To make a long story short, prohibition led to the dismantling of many small breweries around the […]

  153. 153
    Wade Galde says:

    Well said, although, to be honest, your definition of “limiting government” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. I really like your definition and, as a fierce liberal, would love to see a significant decline of lobbyists and special interest groups in Washington. Not sure if it would change much, though, as I firmly believe 90% of Senators and Representatives will always vote for themselves over the American people.

  154. 154
    maus says:

    @Tom Hilton: http://beerdorks.com/articles.php?article_id=46

    Twenty nine years ago today, October 14th, 1978, House Resolution 1377 (Senate Amendment 3534) was signed and put into effect by President Jimmy Carter. The great thing about this wasn’t that the House of Representatives and the President could actually agree on something, but that this repealed a somewhat shady law prohibiting home brewing. This law legalized the tax exempt home brewing of beer by persons 21 and older in amounts of 100 gallons per year (200 per household). This came 45 years after the repeal of Prohibition. In 1933 Congress had actually wanted to legalize home brewing, but a typo left a legal “loophole” when the drafter forgot to include “and/or beer” to a phrase that legalized winemaking at home. There was some immediate support for rectifying this, but lobby from commercial brewers and the ATF (so they could prosecute moonshiners before they actually started distilling) killed the movement.

  155. 155

    […] with admiration, our 39th president’s role in reviving America’s brewing industry. As noted yesterday on the Balloon Juice site and graciously mentioned by too many readers to ignore. Plus the Atlantic […]

  156. 156
    E.D. Kain says:

    Allowing home brewers to craft their own brews knocked down some serious barriers to entry, allowing hobbyists to start brewing in earnest and leading directly to the microbrew movement. That’s opening up a market.

  157. 157

    […] Jimmy Carter for. Garbage men do more for me than he ever did (am i joking?). Well, E.D. Kain finds one reason to thank the man: Carter’s 1979 deregulation of the beer industry which opened the market to […]

  158. 158
    T.J. says:

    Nice to see Mr. Carter get credit for something positive instead of usually being blamed for all manner of other ills. My personal fave everyday drinking beer – as opposed to special occasion beer – is the classic, and oldest, American Brewer – Yuengling. A brewery that survived prohibition and still makes a fine lager – that is perfectly drinkable and goes well with summer heat and chinese/indian food. Their porter is also tasty as is their Black and Tan. They don’t aspire to be the best beer within their categories but they do provide the best tasting beer at their price point by a long shot. A case of long-necks is usually only $16-18 depending on where you buy. How much will a case of most craft brews set you back? $25 or $30 or $34?

    Now Yuengling isn’t suited to all occasions and I certainly have many beers – some mentioned above – which I prefer if I intend to savor the beer on a cool fall evening, but I find myself increasingly reaching for a Yuengling – America’s oldest brewery. And a beer that can be hard to get if you aren’t near Pennsylvania. I have a friend transport several cases to me periodically – probably breaking a few interstate commerce clause laws in the process. Maybe Obama will legalize home distilling, one can only hope.

  159. 159

    My response is here.

    In short: Unless Kain can show specifically what bill in question Carter supposedly signed that “deregulated the beer industry,” all of you have wasted untold electrons and keystrokes on a false premise.

    Carter did NOTHING to deregulate commercial brewing. His actions may have spurred in part the renaissance of commercial craft beer by instigating a demand for better quality and the means to experiment, but nothing about creating a microbrewery was illegal before Carter’s action.

  160. 160

    […] Jimmy Carter lagde grunden til USA’s ølrevolution. International Beer Day (Balloon […]

  161. 161

    […] But blogger E.D. Kain dove in and looked at the numbers.  What did he find?  That Jimmy Carter may be responsible for the craft beer movement of […]

  162. 162

    […] Think, Say, Write, Or Prevent Myself From Scoffing At — Thank God For Jimmy Carter I did not know this — it was during the Carter Administration that the beer industry was deregulated.  The chart […]

  163. 163

    @E.D. Kain: All that changes is market demand for better quality beer. It changed the marketplace, but that marketplace change was driven by consumer choice, not by government regulation.

    Let’s use another example: Let’s say the Feds make it optional for states to register or license electric vehicles, and/or exempts them from taxes. All of a sudden, lots of people will be interested in electric vehicles, and may be getting them, and maybe some big manufacturers might start building and offering them.

    That is still not “deregulating the auto industry.”

    There was nothing in Federal government regulations that prevented anyone from starting up a microbrewery before Carter signed that bill. Carter is not responsible for those thousands of brewpubs and microbreweries.

    Once again, review the facts:
    http://beerinbaltimore.blogspo.....arter.html

  164. 164

    […] August 11, 2010 The New Republic's Jonathan Chait responds to my response to his reaction of this beer-deregulation post with a sneery little bit entitled "Libertarian Time Travel Could Have Saved Jimmy Carter." Chait's […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] August 11, 2010 The New Republic's Jonathan Chait responds to my response to his reaction of this beer-deregulation post with a sneery little bit entitled "Libertarian Time Travel Could Have Saved Jimmy Carter." Chait's […]

  2. […] Think, Say, Write, Or Prevent Myself From Scoffing At — Thank God For Jimmy Carter I did not know this — it was during the Carter Administration that the beer industry was deregulated.  The chart […]

  3. […] But blogger E.D. Kain dove in and looked at the numbers.  What did he find?  That Jimmy Carter may be responsible for the craft beer movement of […]

  4. […] Jimmy Carter lagde grunden til USA’s ølrevolution. International Beer Day (Balloon […]

  5. […] Jimmy Carter for. Garbage men do more for me than he ever did (am i joking?). Well, E.D. Kain finds one reason to thank the man: Carter’s 1979 deregulation of the beer industry which opened the market to […]

  6. […] with admiration, our 39th president’s role in reviving America’s brewing industry. As noted yesterday on the Balloon Juice site and graciously mentioned by too many readers to ignore. Plus the Atlantic […]

  7. […] Kain reports that we have Jimmy Carter to thank for America’s booming beer industry: To make a long story short, prohibition led to the dismantling of many small breweries around the […]

  8. […] source here is E.D. Kain, of the "glibertarian"-baiting Balloon Juice. Kain, who is on the side of angels here, nonetheless […]

  9. […] above blockquote and chart come from an E.D. Kain link in Chait’s […]

  10. […] E.D. Kain explains: To make a long story short, prohibition led to the dismantling of many small breweries around the nation. When prohibition was lifted, government tightly regulated the market, and small scale producers were essentially shut out of the beer market altogether. Regulations imposed at the time greatly benefited the large beer makers. In 1979, Carter deregulated the beer industry, opening  back up to craft brewers. As the chart below illustrates, this had a really amazing effect on the beer industry: […]

  11. […] E.D. Kain informs me that today is International Beer Day and that, If you’re a fan of craft beer and microbreweries as opposed to say Bud Light or Coors, you should say a little thank you to Jimmy Carter. Carter could very well be the hero of International Beer Day. […]

  12. […] taken over GOP and the right. But E.D. Kain has been added to the roster at Balloon-Juice.com, and here he makes a terrific point: Today is International Beer Day (the site was down last I checked so […]

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