Le Tour de France

Congratulations to Carlos Sastre, the winner of this year’s Tour de France. He and his Team CSC rode him to victory perfectly, with The Schleck brothers leading the way.

He shared the podium with Cadel Evans, who took second place for the second straight year, and Bernhard Kohl in third. Special mention to Christian Vandevelde from Chicago who came in fifth place, his best Tour finish ever.

The Tour de France is an amazing visual spectacle, you don’t have to watch the riders or even listen to the announcers to enjoy the show. The helicopters and motorcycle cameras will show you the French countryside in the best travelogue style.

So what does this have to do with fermentation? France is much better known for wine than beer and the grape harvest is coming up here rather quickly. Now is the time to make sure you have all your equipment in order and review your notes and prepare.

Published in: on July 30, 2008 at 11:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

American Pride

We always say that brewing is a gateway to whole cultures and something just happened in the brewing world that has worldwide ramifications.

First we have the United States losing the currency war to the euro. There is a currency war on now, right? War on Currency just like we have the other successful wars: The War on Cancer, The War on Drugs, the War on Immigrants, War on the Middle Class. What this means in the microeconomic sense is items imported from Europe cost us more money and those bastards are buying up all our hops.

They also are now taking holiday all over the United States. Sit outside Ti Couz for a meal and listen to representatives of all of Europe pass by, happily spending their superior euros in our wonderful city. English is almost a second language right now in San Francisco. Luckily they do mostly have an understanding of the English language thanks to their schooling system and their collective agreement that it is good to look beyond your own border.

Not us, we spend money building a wall to keep out immigrants from “south of the border” and even employ those same “illegals” as they are now commonly called, to build the fence. What’s the time frame on this “illegals” business anyway? Are we talking a few years or a couple generations? Our language is full of derogatory slander from throughout the history of this country where the latest wave of immigrants were demonized and had names attached during that phase that stuck, at least briefly when viewed through the lens of history. We won’t get into specifics here.

Partly as a result of our weak dollar, American companies are looking like very attractive investments with European companies that are successful and have an economic advantage based on the exchange rate. Well which symbol of all things American, what absolute icon of all that it means to be an American in these turbulent times, what Fortune 500 company with generations of political clout has fallen victim to this cruel cruel exportation of the capitalist free market structure?

Anheuser-Busch has been purchased by InBev of Belgium. Never mind Belgium has about 45 residents, all much richer than you right now! Okay that was an exaggeration. The correct number of residents is 10.4 million. At the selling price of U.S. $52 Billion that is $5 million per resident. Okay so that’s not actually how it shakes out. As a public company, Anheuser-Busch is owned by shareholders and controlled by the largest of those shareholders as well as the board of directors.

When the largest shareholder says it’s time to sell and can get enough votes then it’s time to sell. Say goodbye to any sentimental attachment and welcome the new management. No emotions, it’s just business, right? The mischievous free market playing around. Walk into any bar in the world and puff up your chest and be proud and loudly order yourself a Belg.

Published in: on July 28, 2008 at 2:04 am  Comments (1)