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I have kids. We love amusement parks. And sometimes, there’s alcohol at them. After visiting an Universal Hollywood with the kiddos again a couple weekends ago, being teased about the beer selection at most of those this past weekend when out with my cousin and Disneyland mentioning they’re redoing Ariel’s Grotto (I’ve eaten there. I have a daughter.) into a bar, here’s my loose, informal...
I have kids. We love amusement parks. And sometimes, there’s alcohol at them.
After visiting an Universal Hollywood with the kiddos again a couple weekends ago, being teased about the beer selection at most of those this past weekend when out with my cousin and Disneyland mentioning they’re redoing Ariel’s Grotto (I’ve eaten there. I have a daughter.) into a bar, here’s my loose, informal rankings on best of the parks to drink in.
*Note: I’m not including six flags or train towns or those others that may serve beer but I haven’t enjoyed any there and there’s so many versions of these across the country I don’t want to judge all based on one. And, I don’t believe Hollywood Studios had Baseline bar when I was there, nor any alcohol, so I drank nothing before riding on the one that had the Alien thing or Indiana Jones stunt show.
- Seaworld (San Diego)
This was about 6 years ago and I barely remember it, but it was just stumbling into a stand that sold beer. And it was a prop counter over a kegerator. Honestly, I’m pretty sure it was Karl Strauss (this was before Untappd for me), but it was not very memorable and I just randomly found it and was unclear about whether I could bring it into the show so I downed it quick, which those that know me know that means slow, and went in. And it was the only kiosk I noticed the rest of the day. And I’m including it because unlike Six Flags, I’m likely not ever going to another.
Again, I know there’s going to be a bar welcoming people to Pixar Pier, but last year and the Taste of California booths, or I believe it was only one booth, had beer. And it was craft (I tried to find it on untappd but didn’t). However, before that it was the same deal, a slightly bigger stand than Seaworld that sold Karl Strauss beers. But I know this will be the one jumping up the list soon.
- Universal Studios Los Angeles
They’ve got macros and Florida Beer Company brews masquerading as Harry Potter Beers or Duff. But it’s fun to pretend. Imagination helps here. Still, they’ve got tons and tons of the popular convenience store brands. And it’s fun to have beers then run up that mountain of stairs from the bottom level to the main level. And if you’re walking through city walk, you’ll pass KARL STRAUSS.
- Universal Studios Orlando
They also have all those macros and Florida Beer company, but they also had at least 1 craft brew there (CB Craft was the one I had there). And they might have had more in the monsters café or other spots. But they also have Cigar City right outside in their city walk. That’s a plus.
There isn’t much here to choose from in terms of locations, with the Knight’s Table restaurant being the one with the best selection aside from the hotel bar and restaurant that is right outside the park. But they sure embrace their San Diego-ness (Carlsbad, I know) with Stone and some other locals. There was even a 21st Amendment there. None of the rides is very intense, so this is a good location for drinking because kids can do it all pretty much on their own while you drink and relax.
They also embrace their San Diego-ness…with KARL STRAUSS!!! Well, and some others, but they have beer everywhere. Since it’s a place without rides except the overhead gondola thingy, it’s a perfect place for drinking. And they know it. Stone, Ballast, Mission, they’ve got a good selection and it’s not limited to eateries. They’ve got kiosks everywhere. And sometimes, it helps to have a beer when you’re walking around everywhere trying to not be sad about the animals.
I think we all knew this one. Drink around the world without leaving the park people. Just don’t do it before Mission Space.
I wonder how other people that write about beer handle this problem. Or if they even have the same problem I have. Here’s how it usually goes: Have an idea to write about something related to beer. To do so, enjoy a beer while writing. Eventually, after a beer or thoughts of a second, interest begins to wane in a continuance of writing. The written...
I wonder how other people that write about beer handle this problem. Or if they even have the same problem I have. Here’s how it usually goes:
Have an idea to write about something related to beer. To do so, enjoy a beer while writing. Eventually, after a beer or thoughts of a second, interest begins to wane in a continuance of writing. The written piece then is either paused until beer is finished and another day beings the ambition to complete the piece or I run to the finish with an influence of alcohol in my words.
See the last blog entry as a prime example. Something I began to write immediately at the end of that day of the Germany-France friendly. And it too three tries and some beers before I just decided to finish it off. The end of that post can be read in the voice of a drunk old man in a bar ranting about soccer and remembering every now and then to drink more of that warm beer in his hand.
So I decided to write this one while at work and quickly finish it. As I’ve been known to enjoy a tasty beer while at work sometimes.
I was out with coworkers this week for lunch. And a beer, because a beer at lunch often makes me happier to return to work after. The Germany-France friendly was on. It was already 0-1 France when we were seated before halftime and as much as I tried to stay involved in the conversations I still kept looking up every time some fast motion would...
Lately, the soccer world around me has had enough ups and down that a good beer is exactly what I need to enjoy it all and ride it out. Aside from kid stuff, I can say that much of the fun started with finding out too late that San Francisco had a professional team over the summer of this year up through watching a USWNT match in person last weekend. And sure, that Germany-England match Tuesday, but the biggest excitement there may have been the fashion show of the new 2018 World Cup kits with the funky font since it was a friendly and more so just getting another run in before winter hibernation.
I guess it was just a standing 8. So to update the previous post, Speakeasy has scaled back a bunch but will continue brewing. Maybe they’re stretching to try to get some acquisition or some other mothership to lead distribution, etc. I do hope this means that they will focus on the beer itself. There’s a lot they can do to make a mark with...
I guess it was just a standing 8. So to update the previous post, Speakeasy has scaled back a bunch but will continue brewing. Maybe they’re stretching to try to get some acquisition or some other mothership to lead distribution, etc. I do hope this means that they will focus on the beer itself. There’s a lot they can do to make a mark with the character of their beer itself. So I hope they focus on living up something more than their website says and aim for “great beer” with less distractions.
Last week, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers ceased operations. It was a surprise to the Bay Area beer drinking community. Overall, it really shouldn’t have been. The craft beer business should not be considered “small” or “niche” anymore. Billion dollar acquisitions will do that. Speakeasy has a long, solid history of beer making starting in 1997. They have brewed a good, diverse lineup of beers under...
Last week, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers ceased operations. It was a surprise to the Bay Area beer drinking community. Overall, it really shouldn’t have been. The craft beer business should not be considered “small” or “niche” anymore. Billion dollar acquisitions will do that.
Speakeasy has a long, solid history of beer making starting in 1997. They have brewed a good, diverse lineup of beers under a creative theme. Moved to a bigger location and opened a taproom in 2011. A new brewhouse and ramped up production in 2015. And now, a possible permanent pause.
This may seem counter intuitive to the rise in the craft beer market, but despite those big buy outs the business slowed in 2016. Combine that with the attention craft brewers are getting and the sheet number of “new” or “hot” brewers that arrived during that recent bubble and some of the older craft brewers that previously had solid financial backing may see those investor looking elsewhere.
Speakeasy in San Francisco isn’t the only one. URBM St. and Twisted Manzanita in the San Diego Area closed recently – a region that is a beer mecca and about as friendly a competitive market could be. The Northwest lost 6 well known ones. Even back east, nostalgic “firsts” like Triangle have to close. It can all be blamed somewhat on more competition, but it isn’t all at the consumer level.
In my many years working in tech, it is much easier to see there. There are very few competitors within specific categories, but the differentiators have to be distinct between them. And that’s not for the customer to notice, but for the investors. A prospect in tech may go completely against logic and buy something. They may care less about the technology and more about the people behind it. It may just be a “rack fill” buy. But the firms backing these tech companies and their solutions are the truly discriminate consumers. They will look at the whole package and want to see what stands out and what can be molded to stand above.
Here’s where I feel most breweries that have been around for 8 plus years will feel the pinch. There are more new kids on the block for investors to take their money to. If your plan 5 years ago didn’t happen completely to their liking, the investors can just bet on the next brewer that was at the same place your outfit was when it was rolling out that 5 year plan.
Speakeasy was found around San Francisco, in pizza parlors and even at the ballpark, where it seemed to get just as many craft beer buys as Racer 5 when I was in the buying lines. Outside of SF, they were harder to find. Their taproom was also quite an investment financially and for a 3rd street corridor area that wasn’t quite growing so much in their spot, especially when they’re far enough off the main Muni line that driving still made the most sense for people and driving and taprooms aren’t always the best choice. And they were still chugging along with a new release coming soon after their shut down. So it must have still been a bit of a surprise.
Speakeasy put out solid beers. But maybe they’ll be better known as being a perfect example of the craft beer boom and what happens to those that were ahead of the curve and didn’t make it.
The beer business story heading into the Super Bowl this year is all about Budweiser. As you likely already know, it’s not about the beer, but the statement made by one of their commercials. Of course, there are very likely to be other commercials in their portfolio with crass humor, talking animals or celebrities. The marketing department at Anheuser-Busch gets the most our of their...
The beer business story heading into the Super Bowl this year is all about Budweiser. As you likely already know, it’s not about the beer, but the statement made by one of their commercials. Of course, there are very likely to be other commercials in their portfolio with crass humor, talking animals or celebrities. The marketing department at Anheuser-Busch gets the most our of their budget allocation from the mothership. And the commercial itself is a huge uppercut from an underdog challenger, which is an unusual position for the giant known as Budweiser. But the champ here is the one in the White House and all his fans, who were previously the underdog as well.
Wait, maybe I should have used a football analogy, like last place team with a 2nd string quarterback against a top ranked defense that completes a deep post pattern to an undrafted wide out on the first set of downs in a game. Hope that was Super Bowl-ish enough.
With AB getting bought by InBev, there is an association of America’s Beer now being run by Belgians. But AB is very independent of InBev, with operations really being autonomous and more supply chain, brand proliferation and volume based cost incentives really being the overall impact. Bud really should still be identified as America’s beer in the same way Fiat Chrysler should still be considered part of the American Big Three and not an Italian run Dutch conglomerate.
But craft beer really is taking up shelf and tap space, digging into the pockets of America’s beer. That’s one of the reasons they’ve been buying up some craft breweries. And with the trend of craft beer often being identified as “local”, and with the US being as divided about their home territories as much as it is today, America just isn’t local enough. Even naming your beer “America” isn’t going to work.
This brings us to a great entry into the category in their commercial portfolio of the nostalgic and heart string tugging offerings, which usually involved a man’s relationship with a horse. This time, they tried to bring the point home of this supposed foreign beer company taking over America’s beer with a fictitious representation of how Adolphus Busch arrived from Germany and met Eberhard Anheuser.
This could be called out as alternative facts or just plain based on true events, but it is a valiant ploy to just say that people will persevere against all odds when they have the initiative to make good beer. How AB InBev will continue to come from the outside to America to keep making good beer in the country it started in.
It is said this commercial was made and approved well before Trump won. And it’s story is just as much about defying what would be foreign interest beer by making and accepting something as your own. People only latched on to the one line spoken by a character in a commercial passing by the main protagonist. And everything is now politicized. Stances must be taken. People’s own opinions must be applied. So it’s time to boycott America’s beer because of outsiders pushing their agenda on tried and true Americans.
It’s beer people. Enjoy it. If there will be a Corona beer commercial shown during the Super Bowl will there be the same backlash with the current white house stance against Mexico? Wait, Corona is Modelo and Constellation that’s run by AB InBev. Maybe people will just drink Coors. Right, their part of SABMiller that is now part of AB InBev. I guess it’s craft beer time for everyone with the inevitable boycot on all AB InBev beers. If only someone did the research to support their political stances.
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