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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fort George Gets Off its Duff for Summer

Fort George Brewing is expanding its popular Vortex Lineup in cans slated for summer 2016 release. There's going to be more color on store shelves. I'm stepping out of bounds here, posting input without commentary. These guys are okay. Trust me.

From the press release:

[Astoria, Oregon] Five fantastic new twists on Vortex IPA, the popular flagship from Fort George Brewery, launch this summer. After almost seven years of R & D, the owners are finally giving the thumbs up. Way up.

“If I could do twenty Vortexes I would,” said co-owner Chris Nemlowill. “But we settled on these variations so we wouldn’t break the brewery.” Although no more Vortex styles are planned until February 2017, a seasonal variety 24-pack will be on store shelves this winter.

“Sourcing high-quality ingredients, and at these amounts, is a nightmare,” added business partner Jack Harris. “But I have to say, one taste of these new Vortex beverages makes it all worthwhile.”

Look for four-packs of 16-ounce cans in stores soon. Until then, here are the official descriptions from the brewery:

"Tropical Fruit” Flavored Vortex - Musky, soft buttery undertones of papaya with a pineapple punch to the palate. Hand-harvested in Vietnam, the organic fruit ripens in open cargo ships on its trans-Pacific voyage. Brewed with whole fruit in the fermenter, natural flavorings in the bright tank, and up to 10% real fruit juice added to the finished product. Also available pulp-free. 6.5% ABV

Vortexican - Trump couldn’t build a wall high enough to contain this flavor. Brewed with poblano and habanero peppers foraged from the wild fields of Texas and roasted in the Fort George wood-fired oven. IBUs? No idea. But it’s packing over 300,000 Scoville Heat Units. Now that’s a spicy Vortex! 8.3% ABV

Not Your Mother’s Damn Vortex - An herbed/spiced malt beverage just in time for summer. Reminiscent of that classic diet cherry cola you remember as a child, yet smacking enough sass for the big kids. Made with all natural stevia, cherry, and cola flavorings - available starting in June and until Fort George receives a cease and desist letter. 7% ABV

Gluten-Free Non-Alcoholic Vortex - For those teetotalers with gluten sensitivity, Fort George has the perfect beer for you. This non-alcoholic IPA is full-bodied, hop forward, and gut friendly, containing over 15 billion live L. acidophilus & B. bifidum probiotics per 16-ounce serving. Locally sourced sorghum, millet, and corn make it hearty enough for the most seasoned craft beer drinker. How do the brewers do it? Nobody knows. And we aren’t asking. 0.0% ABV

Dirty Vortini - Fort George’s first foray into the canned cocktail space is a doozie. Take two parts Vortex IPA and one part distilled Vortex IPA -- add imported Moroccan Meslalla olives to the bright tank and gently stir in over a gallon of brine per barrel...never shaken. Whole olives are added inline to each can. Watch for pits. 14% ABV

In case you're wondering, which you probably aren't, Fort George is distributed exclusively in the Pacific Northwest. For locations near you, check the Fort George beer finder here.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Spring Beer & Wine Fest Caters to Casual Fans

If you aren't familiar with the past, you might be inclined to assume our current glut of beer festivals is old hat. Not so. The festival scene we live in today wasn't built in a day, a week or a year. It started out rather slowly and took some time to develop. I'll spare you the details.

The Spring Beer & Wine Fest, which happened this past Friday and Saturday, has been around for a long time. It celebrated 22 years this weekend, which puts it's origins in 1994, a time when there was the Oregon Brewers Festival and not much else. My how things have changed.

Strangely enough, I had never attended the SBWF until this  year. There are reasons for everything. Prior to the time I started covering the beer scene in 2010 or so, I paid little attention to indoor events. More recently, I suppose this one simply got lost in the shuffle.

So it was informative to stalk the floor at the Oregon Convention Center. What I found wasn't quite what I expected, but it wasn't all that surprising, either.

In fact, the SBWF isn't a beer or wine festival, per se. Nope. It feels much more like a trade show with beer and wine stations scattered around. In some sense, it was eerily similar to last year's Craft Brewers Conference trade show, held at the same venue,

Entering the hall, I saw no beer. What? Instead, there were myriad vendors hawking a wide variety of goods...clothing, food, services, beer & wine accessories and more. Seeing a lot of vendors at beer festivals has become increasingly common in recent years, but this was crazy. These vendors want access to the beer and wine fan demographic. You might say these beverages are the glue that holds an event like this one together, which isn't such a bad thing.

There were more breweries than wineries in the hall, but the program suggested the number of actual beers and wines were close to the same. The difference was that the wineries brought more than two wines, all served from bottles that I saw. Most of the breweries were pouring two styles from kegs, typical of beer fests.

The brewery lineup was eclectic. It included a number of relatively new and unknown breweries (Ordnance, Krauski's, Pono, Vanguard) along with some that are well-established (Green Flash, 10 Barrel, Goose Island, Lompoc). I can't recall seeing such a bizarre mix of breweries in recent memory, maybe because I rarely go to fests like this one.

That's not the say the beer was bad. Not at all. I tasted 10-15 beers, mostly from newer breweries, and all of them were pretty good. The only beer I dumped wasn't a bad beer at all; I dumped it because there were pieces of hops floating around in the foam. That was a problem for both of this brewery's beers, some kind of filtering issue, I assume. Need to get that fixed.

At the end of the day, the trade show-oriented approach seems to work well. They've got 22 years of proof. It's best-described as a gateway event, designed for folks wanting to explore good beer and wine. The beers and (I suspect) the wines aren't exotic enough to keep hardcore beer geeks and wine snobs interested, but the event is a perfect fit for casual fans.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

10 Barrel Launches Beer with a View

Make no mistake, 10 Barrel's new rooftop patio will be a gigantic hit when the weather eventually decides to cooperate. In peak season, seats on the patio, which sits atop the Pearl District brewpub, will be one of the toughest tickets in town. Trust me.

The 10 Barrel folks invited an eclectic bunch of media folks up to see the new space Monday evening. As fate would have it, the weather sucked badly. It was raining and quite chilly, which put a bit of a damper on the event, despite the complementary food and beer.

Views of the Pearl and West Hills from the rooftop perch are exemplary. That's going to be a nice selling point. One of the hosts reminded us that patios are in 10 Barrel's DNA, as the places in Bend and Boise both have the amenity.

They spared no expense here in Portland. It wasn't mentioned Monday evening, but I seem to recall that putting the patio on top of the pub required costly structural enhancements that delayed the entire project and pushed back the pub's opening.

In fact, it was during the construction delay that 10 Barrel was gobbled up by Anheuser-Busch. That was likely a convenient turn of events because it allowed them to move forward with the project without serious regard for cost. Great problem to have, right?

There are 80 table seats and 8 bar seats on the patio, which comprises a little less than 1,600 square feet. The bar will feature 20 taps pouring essentially the same beers that are being poured downstairs. It's plain to see that they paid attention to fine details with the beer and with the pub, generally. Hey, they could afford to.

As for the beer, you aren't going to find a better beer list in town. Head brewer Whitney Burnside, wooed away from Pelican prior to the AB buyout, is one of the most accomplished brewers in the city. There may be naysayers due to the ownership situation, but that's a crock. The variety of well-made beers here is similar to Breakside, regarded by many geeks as best in the city.

Of course, the elephant in the pub (and on the patio) is Anheuser-Busch. As anyone who stops by here knows, I am not a fan of AB and it's anti-competitive, evil practices. They're buying up craft breweries so they can brew a few key brands in factory breweries and flood the market, the idea being to hurt independent craft brewers in the grocery and convenience store channel.

Their strategy with the pubs is different. With 10 Barrel, a generic name unconnected to place, they will open pubs in key cities. They already have pubs in Bend, Portland and Boise. There's one opening soon in Denver and they hope to open one in San Diego, if opposition doesn't stop them. I think Seattle and the Bay Area will get pubs at some point, and other cities will follow. The big idea is to build brand identity for AB-owned craft brands regionally and nationally. That brand capital will then be used to squeeze craft brewers in stores and on-premise (bars, restaurants, etc.) settings.

The Budweiser folks, despite their money and experience, do not get brewpubs. They bought 10 Barrel, Elysian and others to show them the way. If 10 Barrel Portland is a good example, it appears the pubs will have some level of autonomy. Sure, I've heard stories of micromanaged beer recipes, but the proof is in the (beer) pudding, and Whitney Burnside's pudding is good as gold.

I turned down invitations to 10 Barrel events prior to Monday evening. I did so on principle, Why should I attend an event when I know I can't recommend an AB-owned pub? Some of my peers, evidently oblivious to the concept of principle, claimed I was making assumptions without knowledge. Not at all. My view of 10 Barrel is based strictly on ownership. Nothing more.

I chose to attend Monday evening because I thought it was perhaps time for me to see the sights. A trendy, new rooftop patio seemed like a good reason for a visit. But my opinion of 10 Barrel and Anheuser-Busch wasn't going to change. Zero chance of that.

Along those lines, it's interesting to note a disingenuous statement in the event press release: "10 Barrel Brewing Co. is a Bend, Oregon-based brewery with a simple mindset..." You see the problem, right? 10 Barrel was originally based in Oregon. Today, it's based in St Louis or Belgium or Brazil. Take your pick. But they'd rather obscure that detail. Not the best.

Of course, plenty of people don't care about the ownership situation. They like 10 Barrel and aren't worried that Anheuser-Busch is a threat to independent craft brewers. That's fine. If that's your mindset, by all means jump on the 10 Barrel bandwagon. Enjoy the rooftop patio while you're at it..if you can get a seat up there. It won't be easy once better weather arrives.

But I won't be supporting 10 Barrel. And it isn't personal. As I told a writer friend, I refuse to beat up the pub or disparage the folks who work there, regardless of their position. These people are doing good work. The beer. the food, the space and the service are top notch.

It's the corporate parent I have a problem with. I don't want to give them any of my money, which hardly matters since 10 Barrel is busy enough that they don't and won't need it.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Mastering the Art of Sport Drinking

One of the worst kept secrets in beer is the emergence the specialized, sport drinker. The sport drinker is much more than a legend in his/her own mind. Indeed, these individuals have been instrumental in propping up a new kind of beer establishment.

What is sport drinking? It's the art of collecting as many beer pelts as possible during any and all drinking sessions. Folks engaged in this sport usually don't care about quaffing mass quantities of any particular beer. Instead, they chase smaller servings of many beers.

Even in beer-centric Portland, that represents a fairly dramatic change from earlier times, when folks visited breweries and brewpubs to enjoy a pitcher or pints of a favored beer. There was no real hunt for specialty beers, no desire to seek out variety. People drank what they liked and called it good.

Of course, that scenario is still in play. Plenty of folks go to breweries and brewpubs and drink pitchers and pints in what might be best-described as an entry-level craft beer experience. Because there are more casual beer fans than serious beer geeks, the best breweries and brewpubs continue to flourish.

But the evolving, maturing beer culture is producing a growing number of sport drinkers, who existed in previous times only in small numbers. These folks demand special beers. Local beers, no matter how good, aren't enough. They want stuff from outside the city and state. The result of that growing demand is the eccentric beer bar.

Some of our notable local destinations include APEX, Beermongers, Belmont Station, Baileys/Upper Lip, Bridgetown Beerhouse, The Imperial Bottleshop, Roscoe's and Tin Bucket. But that's only a fraction of the possible list because there are countless places that feature extensive tap lists and don't quite fall into the beer bar category.

"These bars fill an important niche," an industry source tells me. "They showcase beers from far flung breweries like Barley Brown's and Arch Rock, which many Portlanders would never have heard of otherwise. They also provide a sense of what's happening across Oregon without driving to Bend, Hood River, Eugene and the coast."

I have to admit I'm far more likely to visit a beer bar than a brewery. I enjoy the variety. The downside for many is the snobbishness that's sometimes part of the deal. Beer bars can be intimidating places for casual drinkers, which is shameful and needs to change.

By the way, it turns out sport drinking and beer bars are nearly a perfect fit. We just learned via a Brewers Association article that the smaller pours generally preferred by sport drinkers actually deliver higher profits per keg to bars  Go figure.

Where do were go from here? Honestly, who knows. Portland's maturing, evolving beer scene presents creative entrepreneurs with a nearly endless array of opportunities. We've passed the point where you need to own or operate a brewery to tap into the beer economy. There are alternatives.

Those who have mastered or are mastering the art of sport drinking can be proud.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Belmont Station's 19th Anniversary Bash Thursday

Thursday is St. Patty's Day, the universal opportunity to drink too much while celebrating Irish history. Or something like that. Coincidentally, it's also Belmont Station's birthday. And they're having a party featuring some pretty great beers to mark the day. More on that in a bit.

In case you don't know, Belmont Station is the oldest beer bar in Portland. Like the original Bridgeport Brewpub, which set the standard by which all brewpubs here were measured, Belmont Station set the standard for beer bars. Though it wasn't always that.

When it opened in a small space next to the Horse Brass in 1997, Belmont Station was sort of a clearinghouse for novelty items from the UK. They had beer, too, but no bar.

"From what I remember, the Horse Brass used to import eclectic English food items and sell them to customers, in addition to using them in the bar," says Chris Ormand, who joined the Belmont Station crew in 2005 and is currently the beer buyer.

"At some point, the bartenders got tired of taking time away from serving beer to run into the supply room and grab stuff for customers. Someone suggested to Don [Younger] that they take over the empty spot across the hall and use it as a retail outlet. That was the beginning."

I have to admit that I did not frequent that location. I stopped in a few times and found an odd mix of merchandise: pint glasses, tin signs, English candy bars, bar towels, VHS tapes of classic British comedies, etc.. They carried a few hundred bottles of beer. Nothing like now.

"We displayed a bottle of each beer on the shelf with a price tag," Ormand recalls. "The actual beer was stored in giant walk-ins. Customers would make a list of what they wanted and hand it to the cashier, who would retrieve the beer. It wasn't efficient, but the storage conditions were ideal."

New look shelves
By 2006, the old space was getting cramped. The opportunity to move to a larger space a few blocks away presented itself when a gent who owned a convenience store on Stark announced that he wished to retire. That space would become Belmont Station's new home.

"We packed up and moved to Stark in early 2007," Ormand says. "We closed the old location on the last day of 2006 and opened on Stark several days later. The bar needed extra work and didn't actually open until April 2007."

In fact, the biercafe was operated in a haphazard way for several years. They had a limited number of taps and offered a menu of sandwiches made behind the bar. It was wildly inefficient and the place wasn't all that inviting. The biercafe was definitely a work in progress.

I give Lisa Morrison a lot of credit for smoothing things out and shifting things into high gear. She acquired a controlling interest in 2013 and almost immediately dumped the sandwich-making gig. Then she added a food cart and installed additional taps.

Also available
"When I started, my focus was the biercafe, which I always felt was a sort of afterthought," she recalls. "Adding the food cart made it easier for us to focus on what we do best...beer! I like to think our recent "best beer bar" accolades are the result of that sharpening in focus."

Of course, Morrison refuses to accept all the credit. She reminded me that co-owner Carl Singmaster had a role in the decisions and that the staff at the Station contributes a lot to the success it is today. Pretty typical response from someone who is always willing to share kudos.

Anyway, to celebrate 19 years of ecstasy and great beer, each member of the staff picked a beer to share with the public during the party. The beer list, although not quite finalized, is pretty damned stellar and something no self-respecting beer fan will want to miss. It includes:
  • Schlenkerla Helles
  • de Garde Vin Lee
  • Upright Heart's Beat
  • pFriem Flanders Red
  • Piraat Triple Hop
  • Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA
  • Block 15 Intergalactic Hop Shop Imperial IPA
  • Deschutes The Abyss 2015
  • Ecliptic Deimos Imperial Red
  • Ruse Multibeast Brandy Barrel-aged Brett Saison
  • Hair of the Dog Flanders Fred
  • Lagunitas One Hitter Imperial Stout 
  • Fremont BBomb
  • 3 Magnets Hoppy Porter
  • De Garre Tripel
  • Ecliptic/Belmont Station 19th Anniversary Barrel-aged Barleywine
The birthday bash gets underway at 3 p.m. and runs to 11:00. There's a pretty good chance some, perhaps many, of these beers are going to be limited and won't last long. St Patty's Day luck of the Irish isn't going to keep the complete list pouring forever. Arrive early for best results.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

CBA Rides Kona Growth Wave into the Future

Sometimes, perhaps often, it's better to be lucky than good. And maybe the Craft Brew Alliance was lucky when it bought Kona Brewing in 2010. Or maybe that purchase was part of a well-informed, ingenious plan that has worked out especially well for them.

Because it turns out that Kona has stepped to the forefront of the CBA's brand portfolio. After accounting for just 20 percent of CBA sales early on, Kona now accounts for 45 percent of the mix, up 17 percent in volume over the last year. It is the dominant CBA brand.

Recall that, prior to being purchased by the CBA, Kona was contract brewed by Widmer and Redhook for a number of years. Part of this was a tax dodge, a way around Hawaii's draconian tax on empty bottles shipped to the islands. It was also a way to more easily market Kona on the mainland.

With the coming of CBA ownership, Kona gained full access to the Anheuser-Busch distribution network. As you likely know, AB owns roughly a third of the CBA and has worked diligently to market its brands domestically and internationally. For Kona, the arrangement changed everything.

Access to the AB network essentially drove Kona into hyper growth, despite the beers being arguably the softest and least distinctive in the CBA portfolio. The year-round beers include Longboard Island Lager, Big Wave Golden Ale, Fire Rock Pale Ale and Castaway IPA. Nothing too exciting.

One may rightfully wonder how Kona could rise to the top of the CBA heap, which includes some vaguely distinctive Widmer beers, alongside a covey of less than stellar Redhook stuff. The answer, in my mind, is image. Kona is connected to place in much the same way Corona is. Kona is much better beer than Corona, but they both lean heavily on connection to place in their marketing. Constellation will do something similar with Ballast Point.

There's more, of course. These Kona beers, particularly top-selling Longboard and Big Wave, have caught on in a lot of places precisely because they aren't all that distinctive or aggressive. Kona is proof that, when you want to appeal to a broad consumer audience, mundane isn't such a bad thing. And maybe Kona's connection to place works well with drab.

An interesting twist involves where Kona is brewed. Most consumers assume they're drinking a Hawaiian product. That's far less the case than many realize. The bottle tax means bottled Kona is produced on the mainland, even for the Hawaiian market. That's less true with draft beer, at least some of which is produced in Hawaii for that market. The situation may be changing with the expansion of Kona's facility on the Big Island and other developments on the islands.

Regardless, the CBA is hitching its wagon to Kona and counting on the brand to pull it into the future. You can't blame them. When you have a winner, whether you got it by luck or via a proactive plan, you might as well ride it for as long and as far as you can. Kona is the little engine that could...or can, if things work out for the CBA.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Baker's Dozen Fest to Feature Main Food Groups

The 2nd Annual Baker's Dozen Festival will feature three of America's most favored food groups: beer, coffee and donuts. It's happening Saturday at Culmination Brewing and you need to get your ticket now if you hope to attend.

The $24 ticket includes a souvenir tasting glass, samples of 13 coffee-influenced beers and 13 donuts, plus coffee if you need it. It doesn't get much better. They'll also have live music and attendees can purchase house-made breakfast sandwiches and drinks. New this year is a donut decoration station for the kiddies.

The Beer List
Baerlic Primeval Knievel brown
Coalition Morning Sesh session
Culmination Coffee Mild
Deschutes Nitro Baltic Porter
Ecliptic Cosmic coffee IPA
Great Notion Double Stack
Labrewatory Napoleonic
McMenamins Mathonwy's Coffee Stout
Modern Times Black House stout
Melvin Coffee Murphy porter
Old Town Warp Speed coffee pale ale
Stung Caffe mead (Caffe Umbria)
Unicorn/John Lovegrove BadBeard's Coffee Milk Stout

The Donut List
Blue Star Donuts, Raspberry Rosemary,
Coco Donuts, Hole in the Dark, (chocolate cake donut hole with espresso)
Delicious Donuts Apple Fritter, 
Donut Byte Labs, “French Toast” mini doughnut
Donut-o-rama, crème brulee, minis
Joe’s Donuts, Cronut, (Yes, from all the way out in Sandy!!!)
Pip’s Mobile Doughnuts & Chai, Honey & Sea Salt, (Yes, truck on site)
Rocking Frog Café, Cinnamon Cake, 
Staccato Gelato, Ginger-Mead doughnut hole with Stung mead, 
Tonalli’s Doughnuts & Cream, Chocolate Banana Buttermilk Bar, 
Tulip Bakery, Marionberry Fritter

Organizers tell me at least 300 of the 400 available tickets are already sold. The 150 folks who bought tickets at the door last year won't be able to do that this time around. So plan ahead and purchase tickets on the event site here

Update (3/10/16): This event is sold out. There will be no tickets at the door.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Laurelwood Releases Green Elephant Sixers

As it transitions its production brewing program to Full Sail in Hood River, Laurelwood has released Green Elephant IPA in six-packs for the first time. The popular beer had previously been available only on draft and in 22 oz bottles.

Green Elephant will join Laurelwood flagship Workhorse and Free Range Red in bottles and Red Elephant IRA in cans. It represents their second seasonal six-pack, replacing Vinter Warmer, which was available November through February.

Recall my earlier story announcing Laurelwood's move from the CBA's Woodinville facility to Hood River. That change came about because the CBA said it wanted out of the contract brewing business. Subsequently, we learned the Woodinville brewery has been leased to Pabst, which has an option to buy it within three years. 

The move to Full Sail is not quite complete. Laurelwood founder Mike De Kalb expects to be up and running at full speed in Hood River in a few weeks. If you refer to my earlier story, you'll see that timing corresponds with his estimate of spring 2016. But there have been delays

"The transition took a little longer than I had hoped, largely because we were waiting for TTB approval," De Kalb said. "But it's going well and I expect we'll be fully brewing in Hood River by the beginning of April."

So where are the current six-packs of Green Elephant coming from? Sometimes you do what you have to to hold onto precious shelf space in key accounts.

"These first two six-pack batches of Green Elephant were brewed at our Portland brewery and bottled by a mobile bottler," De Kalb said. "We did it to keep our seasonal six-pack slot in area Fred Meyer stores. That beer will just barely keep those stores supplied for a month."

Fans can expect to see the beer at Freddy's in coming days, but probably not anywhere else for a few weeks. They brewed a double batch of Workhorse and Green Elephant this past week at Full Sail. That beer will be bottled in two weeks and will help fully fill the supply pipeline.

Green Elephant IPA, if you don't know, has been a favorite of hopheads since it appeared in 2003. It features brilliant pine, floral and citrus hop notes. It may be the first of a number of special releases in 2016, as the Full Sail arrangement gains momentum.

“We have some exciting releases planned this year and Laurelwood fans can expect to see more of our beer in six-packs,” marketing director James Buxman said in a press release announcing the Green Elephant launch.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Messing with the OLCC's Chunk of Cheese

As a  youngster, my dad constantly reminded me that any job worth doing was worth doing right. He was an old school pain in the ass that way. His thinking typically came into play when we were working on a project where shortcuts would cheapen or ruin the completed task.

I was reminded of that ancient thinking as I looked at some OLCC numbers the other day. The task at hand was a look at which breweries showed the greatest year over year sales increase for 2015. An industry contact provided me with a comparative spreadsheet, so my job was pretty simple.

As I've mentioned before when referencing OLCC beer reports, they provide a woefully insufficient peek at what's happening in the industry. These reports, which track taxable barrels on a monthly basis, are like a chunk of Swiss cheese...full of holes.

The reports track barrels produced and sold in Oregon. Beer produced here and exported out-of-state isn't tracked. Beer produced outside Oregon and brought in also isn't tracked, although taxes are paid on those barrels by distributors.

In fact, distributors pay the bulk of barrel taxes in the state. "It's a lot easier for the state to collect taxes from 20 or 30 distributors than it is for them to track more than 200 breweries," an industry source says. "Breweries pay the taxes on beer they sell in their pubs or self-distribute. Otherwise, it's generally the distributor paying."

One of the interesting things that jumps out in the December 2015 report (these reports are always a few months behind) is that the Craft Brew Alliance (Widmer, Kona, Redhook) sold only 72 barrels in Oregon during the month. That's a 32,000 barrel decrease from 2014. What?

I figured this must be related to the renovation of brewing facilities here in Portland. Not exactly, apparently. A Widmer source says they now transfer their beer to offsite storage before it goes to distributors. But the OLCC only tracks beer that does directly from brewery to distributor. Beer that goes from offsite storage to distributors isn't tracked. 

Does anyone think that beer isn't taxed? Please. There's no way the state isn't collecting tax on that beer. The fact that it doesn't show up in OLCC reports is mesmerizing. Perhaps it's just an accounting glitch that will eventually be resolved. Perhaps the missing beer will show up in 2016 reports. For now, it's just another hole in that chunk of cheese. 

Then there's the case of 10 Barrel. At the end of 2014, 10 Barrel was fifth on the list of Oregon breweries by taxable barrels. Fast forward to December 2015 and 10 Barrel isn't even on the report. Nope. Backtracking, you discover the brewery dropped off OLCC reports in October. What?

It's easy to speculate. Did 10 Barrel drop from the reports due to the ownership change? If so, why aren't those barrels counted as Anheuser-Busch barrels? That beer is brewed and a lot of it is sold in Oregon, after all. Someone is paying the barrel taxes. Where are the numbers?

I should mention that yesterday's call to the OLCC requesting clarification of the 10 Barrel issue has not been returned. Not only do they publish incomplete, insufficient reports, they evidently can't be bothered give timely answers to legitimate questions about why some things are missing. 

Come on, folks. You've got a job to do. How about doing it right?