The Basics of Home Brewing

 

If you are a beer lover, you may have considered brewing beer at the comfort of your home. It’s not only economical; it’s also a great hobby that you could share with your friends. And by the end of your project, you’ll be welcomed with a cold glass of your very own beer.

Purchase a starter kit

As you begin to explore the art of brewing beer, getting a starting kit would be your best option. This kit contains all the supplies and equipments which are needed for home brewing, plus, detailed instructions also come with the package. This is especially recommended for beginners as you’ll be provided with everything you need for this project.

Prepare the ingredients

Surprisingly, beer involves a simple process. It’s basically just water with malt.

Most of the time, the ingredients needed in brewing are included in the home brew starter kit. As you master the art of brewing beer, you can start experimenting and add in hops, grains and malts. These could provide an added flavor to your beer.

Brewing the beer

Brewing beer is easy, especially if you’re using a starter kit. Follow these steps and start brewing your own beer.

Brewing – This process takes about 2 hours.

Start off by cleaning and sterilizing your equipments. Dissolve the brew in 2 to 4 liters of hot water then add in 1 Kg of dextrose or sugar. Then, put 10 liters of cold water in the fermenter, add the hot mixture and mix it well.

Top it up to 23 liters. When the temperature reaches below 30°, sprinkle it with brewer’s yeast.

Fermenting – This process takes about a week

This is where the magic happens! After adding the yeast, you can now seal the fermenter. Remember to partially fill the airlock with boiled, cooled water.

Allow the brew to ferment for a week, letting it stay at about 20 to 22°. Once you notice that the brew clears and the airlock stops bubbling, set aside for 48 hours. After this, you beer is ready for bottling.

Bottling

Make sure to sterilize all the caps and bottles. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar to each bottle. Fill the bottles, leaving 40mm from the top.

Cover the bottles and tilt each bottle for a few times in order to dissolve the sugar. Keep them in a warm place for about 5 days, then transfer them to a cooler place and let it stay for another 5 days. Leave it alone for another week. After this, you are free to enjoy your very own beer.

12 Ways to Market Your Beer Event with Social Media

12 Ways to Market Your Event With Social Media

Whether you’re planning a real-world event (like a “largely publicized craft beer event”) or a local event (like a “street fair or in-the-park beer social”), social media can be an inexpensive, cost-effective way to build buzz, fill seats, and turn a one-off gathering into a recurring event.

The trick is to know which social media tools to use and when to use them.  This article contains 12 useful social media tips designed to help your events shine.

Before Your Event

The first step is to make people aware of your event, to mark it on their calendar, and to

register. Here’s the game plan:

#1: Market Your Event Through Twitter

There are many ways in which you can use Twitter to raise awareness. Many conferences and events have their own hashtags, such as #smss10 or #metweetup. There’s no magic to creating one—just start using a hashtag in all your related tweets and encourage other people to do the same when talking about your event.

To encourage people to tweet out your hashtag and spread the word, sweeten the deal with a free pass, door prize or other giveaway for one lucky hashtag-er.

If your event is large enough, give it its own Twitter account such as @Blogworld or @socialmediaFTW, which serves as a customer service “hotline”and adds credibility to the event.

Mix up your event tweets by varying the message.

Mix up your beer event tweets by varying the message.

Constantly tweeting that your event is coming will annoy some of your followers, so mix it up: use tweets to announce new sponsors, special guests, an open bar, secret after-party, or to ask questions that might help shape the event.

Finally, ask for people to share your event with the simple phrase, “Please RT!” You’ll be amazed at the results. Just don’t overdo it; you don’t want to look desperate, do you?

#2: Market Your Event Through Facebook

Certainly you can update your status with news of your event, but don’t overlook Facebook events, which Facebook guru Mari Smith calls “one of the most powerful tools on the platform.”

A page for your event attracts fans.

I’ve found success by first creating a page for the event, and then creating a “Facebook Event” from that. This is especially helpful if you have a recurring event, such as an annual conference or a tweetup, as it helps build a fan base over time.

A page for your event attracts fans.

Other benefits of creating a Facebook page include:

  • You can add a “Like Box” to your website, blog or other web presence to promote your clambake.
  • You can invite fans as well as friends to the March on Washington.
  • You can take out targeted Facebook ads to reach people outside your network who would be interested in your Save the Whales Sit-In.

#3: Market Your Event Through LinkedIn

Promote business functions with LinkedIn Events to reach your professional network. As Lewis Howes points out in his excellent post, Top 5 Ways to Market Your Business with LinkedIn, “once someone RSVPs to your event, it shows up on the home profile of everyone that person is connected to, spreading the message for you.”

It’s simple and straightforward to create an event on LinkedIn. Once you’ve completed that task, it’s just as easy to invite up to 50 people from your LinkedIn network. It also shows up in the events search.

#4: Market Your Event Through Your Blog

Whether through an existing blog or a blog created specifically for your gathering, be sure to create posts announcing the event, calls for presenters, and sponsorship opportunities. Follow up with guest posts from presenters who should welcome the opportunity to reach a wider audience (and steal people who might have attended competing events!).

#5: Other Places to Market Online

There are plenty of online calendars, and you should list your event in any that seem appropriate.

Local papers, TV channels and radio stations’ websites often host a calendar of events that offer free postings. Tweetvite is a site for promoting and learning about tweetups, and Eventful is one of many sites where you can list all types of gatherings.

#6: Event Marketing and Registration Tools

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when handling online registration for your event. Constant Contact is a highly popular tool for the social media crowd sourcing and email reach and registration.

With these tools you can create and market your event, and even collect payments with registration. Registration forms appear on the event marketing company’s site and can be embedded into your website or blog.

Sharing tools let attendees post to Facebook and Twitter, which builds buzz and generates more registrations.

During Your Event

Just because your event has started doesn’t mean the marketing has ended! If you’re promoting an all-day affair of beer nirvana in the park, people will be milling in and out all day. Keep the excitement and foot traffic high by leveraging social media well into the night.

#7: Foursquare and Gowalla

Events on Foursquare will encourage attendees to share.

It costs nothing to create an event in Foursquare or Gowalla, and attendees who are hip to location-based apps will want to check in to your event for the extra points!

Since many people link their Foursquare and Gowalla activity to Twitter and Facebook, check-ins reach well beyond early adopters of location-based apps.

Events on Foursquare will encourage attendees to share.

You can greatly increase the number of check-ins by adding signs and table-top displays reminding people to check in, and even sweeten the deal with a giveaway or random drawing.

#8: Use Those Hashtags!

Hashtags make your event more findable, searchable and memorable.

People will tweet out memorable lines from your event, so make sure everyone knows the Twitter hashtag: put it in your literature, on name tags, and announce it during your keynote.

Hashtags make your event more findable, searchable and memorable.

#9: Live Blogging

If you’re putting on a conference, it might be worthwhile to have someone “live blog” the sessions. Instead of just taking notes, have them take notes straight into a blog post and publish it as soon as the session ends.

#10: A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Although Twitpics and iPhone photos are great and shareable, hire a photographer for the day. If you can’t afford one, consider an in-kind trade of a free pass. Make sure you come to an agreement on who owns the photos and how they can be used online to promote this and future events.

#11: Thoughts on Video

There are so many ways to use video at your event: quick interviews with attendees and speakers on Flip cams, recorded sessions, or live streaming the event with UStream.tv.

#12: After Your Event

After the glow of a successful comic book convention, bean supper or Tri for a Cure fades, it’s time to get back to work.

Create a blog post of your reflections on how the event went, what you learned, and even how the next one could rock even harder.  Ask for feedback and suggestions in the comments field. Post something similar to your Facebook page and encourage fans and friends to leave comments there as well.

Upload your photos to Flickr and other photo sharing sites and be sure to give them appropriate titles, descriptions and tags. Use the Creative Commons license to let them be shared as far and wide as possible.

After you’ve finished uploading your photos to Facebook be sure to tag everyone you know and ask them to “fill in the blanks” by tagging anyone else. This can have a viral effect as people love seeing photos of themselves and their friends, driving them all back to your Facebook page.

Post video to YouTube, Facebook and other video sharing sites. Ask your presenters to share their slides on Slideshare, again with appropriate tags, titles and links.

Wrapping Up

Undoubtedly, there are more sites and techniques to promote your event through social media. What platforms do you use, what techniques have proven especially effective, and how did you generate excitement and fill the seats at your last event?

Cirqle Media and Brewing-A-Brand have tools and support that can take your event to a new level.  If you have a beer event in the works or a 2nd annual that needs more lift – send us a note and will provide some ideas and marketing support that will get your vendors, sponsors and attendees talking about your event for years to come.

Contributing Writer Rich Brooks and Our Marketing Team

The 20 Craft Breweries Taking Over America

The number of craft beer makers in America is growing at record speed. More than 400 new craft breweries opened their doors in 2012, according to the Brewer’s Association. Craft brewers still make up only 6.5% of the total beer market. But enthusiasts are confident that number will continue to grow. This past week, the Brewers Association released its list of the top craft breweries in 2012, based on sales volume. We put together some information on the top 20, which beer lovers should keep on their radar. Share some of your favorite breweries with us in the comments section below.

20. Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Location: Paso Robles, Calif.

About: The brewery was founded in 1996 by a pair of brothers-in-law. It’s now a four-time World Beer Cup champion.

Beer buzz: Firestone Walker’s Parabola Imperial Stout is coming out this month. The beer is a doozy at 13 percent alcohol by volume and is noted for its “bold bourbon, espresso and tobacco aromas.”

19. Great Lakes Brewing Company

Location: Cleveland, Ohio

About: The brewery was founded in 1998 by Daniel and Patrick Conway. It jumped from producing 1,000 barrels of beer its first year to 125,000 barrels annually today.

Beer buzz: The company’s Burning River Pale Ale has won a gold medal at the World Beer Championships eight times. The name hails from the infamous 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River.

18. Long Trail Brewing Co.

Location: Bridgewater Corners, Vt.

About: The brewery got its start in 1989 in the basement of a woolen mill. It’s focused on environmentalism and gives its used grain and hops as a feed supplement to local dairy cows.

Beer buzz: The company has an interesting story behind its 5.5 percent Pumpkin Pale Ale: “During colonial times malted barley would be in short supply so the colonial brewers would use a wide assortment of whatever organic ingredient was handy. Pumpkin was in abundance so it was one of the most common of the random ingredients.”

17. New Glarus Brewing Co.

Location: New Glarus, Wisc.

About: This small-town brewery is owned by Dan and Deborah Clarey. Deborah is noted as the first woman to found and operate a brewery in the U.S.

Beer buzz: The beer’s year-round Spotted Cow Ale showcases Wisconsin’s farmers with “a hint of corn.” Some of its best pairings are noted as steak, bacon and eggs and cheese curds.

16. Alaskan Brewing Co.

Location: Juneau, Alaska

About: The brewery was founded by Marcy and Geoff Larson in 1986, Juneau’s first brewery since Prohibition. The website says its beer still have many aspects of the beers brewed during the Gold Rush era.

Beer buzz: Alaskan’s seasonal Smoked Porter is known for the smoke in its bottles, which allows the beers to age much like wine. After being kept in the bottle for three or four years, it’s said to have “sherry, currant, raisin, and toffee-like nuances.”

 

15. Shipyard Brewing Co.

Location: Portland, Maine

About: The brewery was founded in the 1990s by Fred Forsley and Alan Pugsley. It’s one of New England’s largest microbreweries.

Beer buzz: Shipyard is best known for its Pumpkinhead Pale Ale. Last July, the company started brewing the ale at a second location in Memphis to help it meet the high demand. The fall brew is now packaged in cans as well.

14. Abita Brewing Co.

Location: Abita Springs, La.

About: In 1986, this brewery got its start outside of New Orleans. It now brews more than 151,000 barrels of beer and 9,100 barrels of root beer.

Beer buzz: Abita generated some attention last summer when it started packaging its beers in cans, a tactic most craft brewers don’t yet use. The company also came out with a new 4.4 percent summer brew this season, Lemon Wheat.

13. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Location: Milton, Del.

About: Dogfish Head got its start in 1995 by Sam Calagione, named after a city in Maine. The company, which also makes spirits, produces mainly “extreme” beers that often have quirky flavors and are highly alcoholic.

Beer buzz: One of Dogfish’s most notorious brews is its 90-Minute IPA. The beer is 9 percent alcohol by volume and is continuously hopped for a strong IPA flavor.

 

12. Boulevard Brewing Co.

Location: Kansas City, Mo.

About: Boulevard’s first beers were brewed in 1989 by John McDonald and delivered to a local restaurant in the back of a pickup truck. Now, the company distributes its beers in 24 states and is the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest.

Beer buzz: The company recently paired with Farmland Foods to create a new beer brat. The sausages are made using Boulevard’s Pale Ale and Unfiltered Wheat beers and will be available inside the Kansas City Royals stadium.

11. Brooklyn Brewery

Location: Brooklyn, N.Y.

About: The brewery was founded by 1988 by Steve Hindy and Tom Potter. It recently doubled its capacity and is expanding even further this year.

Beer buzz: The brewery’s Brooklyn Blast! IPA uses both English and American hops. According to its website, “Minerally hop bitterness is followed by a shock wave of flavor and aroma. You won’t even know what hit you.”

10. Stone Brewing Co.

Location: Escondido, Calif.

About: Stone Brewing was founded in 1996 in Southern California. Its CEO Greg Koch and President Steve Wagner describe themselves on its website with the taglines “Fizzy yellow beer is for wussies!” and “High priest of yeast.”

Beer buzz: The company’s Arrogant Bastard Ale gets a lot of attention, and the company likes to brag about it. Its described online as an “unprecedented and uncompromising celebration of intensity.”

9. Harpoon Brewery

Location: Boston, Mass.

About: Harpoon opened its doors in 1986, run by college friends Rich Doyle and Dan Kenary. At the time, it was the first brewery to operate in Boston in more than 25 years.

Beer buzz: The company’s strongest beer is the Imperial IPA, at 10 percent alcohol by volume. Its brewed with pale and caramel malts and is said to “pack a whallop.”

8. Matt Brewing Co.

Location: Utica, N.Y.

About: This company has been in business for more than a century. It was founded by a German immigrant and is currently run by family descendants, Nick and Fred Matt. Their main label is the Saranac line of beers.

Beer buzz: The Saranac White IPA is one of the brewery’s core beers. It gives a twist on a typical IPA with hints of orange peel, wheat malt, oats and coriander.

7. Bell’s Brewery, Inc.

Location: Galesburg, Mich.

About: Larry Bell founded Bell’s in 1985. According the website, his first batches were brewed in a 15-gallon soup kettle and self-delivered by employees. Now, the company brews more than 500,000 gallons of beer each year.

Beer buzz: The company’s fruity Oberon Ale is one of its most well-known, coming out during the spring and summer. The brewery also produces an exclusive “remarkably drinkable” double IPA in the winter called Hopslam, which packs a punch at 10 percent alcohol by volume.

6. Lagunitas Brewing Co.

Location: Petaluma, Calif.

About: The company was founded by a team of brew fans from across the nation in the mid-1990s. Its owned by Tony Magee and now also operates a brewery in Chicago.

Beer buzz: Lagunitas’ brews are known for their tongue-in-cheek descriptions. The company’s Maximus IPA contains “flavor so hoppy it threatens to remove the enamel from one’s teeth.”

5. Deschutes Brewery

Location: Bend, Ore.

About: Deschutes got its start in 1988 by Gary Fish. The company encourages the public to drop by the breweries in Bend and Portland to meet the “beer-obsessed folks” behind the brews.

Beer buzz: The Mirror Pond Pale Ale earned a gold medal at this year’s International Brewing Awards. The beer is the company’s recommended starter for beer beginners and is known for being brewed “unmistakably right.”

4. The Gambrinus Co.

Location: San Antonio, Texas

About: The company started as a beer importer when it was founded in 1986 by Carlos Alvarez. It now owns craft breweries including craft breweries including Trumer Brauerei Brewery and BridgePort Brewing Company.

Beer buzz: BridgePort’s Blue Heron Pale Ale was named for Portland’s official bird. It ranks high on maltiness and low on hoppiness.

3. New Belgium Brewing Co.

Location: Fort Collins, Colo.

About: New Belgium got its start in Jeff Lebesch’s basement in 1989 with his Abbey and Fat Tire beers. Lebesch no longer works at the company, but the craft brewery continues to be successful.

Beer buzz: Fat Tire, an amber ale, remains one of the brewery’s most famous beers. It has sweet and caramel malts and a “flash of fresh hop bitterness.”

2. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Location: Chico, Calif.

About: Ken Grossman founded Sierra Nevada in 1979 near his favorite hiking grounds. He started with the Sierra Nevada Stout, which has kept the same basic recipe since.

Beer buzz: The company releases speciality Beer Camp brews each year. The beers are developed during a literal “beer camp” by some of Sierra Nevada’s biggest fans and released as solely on-tap specialties.

1. Boston Beer Co.

Location: Boston, Mass.

About: Boston Brewing is most famous for being the creator of Samuel Adams. The beer was first released in 1985 by Jim Koch, who came from a family of five generations of brewmasters.

Beer buzz: The company’s most famous brew remains the Samuel Adams Boston Lager. But it has a fleet of more than 20 other beers, including the Grumpy Monk Belgian IPA and Blueberry Hill Lager.

Craft Brew Continues to Surge

Craft brewing continues to surge, producing 15% more beer and $1.5 billion more sales.

Craft brewing is clearly outpacing the rest of the beer market, producing 15 percent more beer in 2012 than the year before while the total U.S. beer market grew by only 1 percent, according to the annual report released today by the Brewers Association.

In total, craft brewers produced 13.2 million barrels in 2012, a 1.8 million barrel increase from 2011.

Craft breweries now make up 6.5 percent volume of the total beer market, up from 5.7 percent the year before. And craft beer also makes up 10.2 percent of the total U.S. beer market for a total of $10.2 billion in sales, up from $8.7 billion in 2011 or a 17 percent increase.

“Beer is a $99 billion industry to which craft brewers are making a significant contribution, with retail sales share hitting double digits for the first time in 2012,” said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association in a press release. “Small and independent brewers are consistently innovating and producing high quality, flavor-forward craft brewed beer. Americans are not only responding to greater access to these products, but also to the stories and people behind them.”

The industry defines a craft brewer as being small, independent, and traditional.

Specifically, the craft brewery’s annual production must be less than 6 million barrels and at least 75 percent of the brewery should be owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is themselves a craft brewer.

In 2012, there was an 18 percent increase in the number of U.S. operating breweries, with the total count reaching 2,403. The count includes 409 new brewery openings and only 43 closings. Small breweries created an estimated 4,857 more jobs during the year, employing 108,440 workers, compared to 103,583 the year prior.

“On average, we are seeing slightly more than one craft brewery per day opening somewhere in the U.S., and we anticipate even more in the coming year. There is clearly a thirst in the marketplace for craft brewed beer, as indicated by the continued growth year after year,” added Gatza. “These small breweries are doing great things for their local communities, the greater community of craft brewers, our food arts culture and the overall economy.”

The Brewers Association said it won’t have state-specific statistics until May.

Beer Sales Back On Top

After Long Downturn, Beer Sales Are Back

Helped by Craft Brews, Shipments in the U.S. Are Up so Far in 2012, Breaking a Three-Year Decline

Shipments of Americans’ long-standing go-to alcoholic drink are rising for the first time since 2008 in another sign that consumers—particularly young men—are slowly but surely emerging from the recession.

Much of the rebound is being driven by small-batch “craft” brewers, reflecting shifting tastes and forcing dominant players Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI.BR) and MillerCoors LLC (TAP) to increasingly borrow from upstarts’ playbooks. Big brewers also are rolling out alternative malt beverages after liquor companies swiped drinkers.

Beer shipments in the U.S. rose 1.9% to 141.4 million barrels in the first eight months of 2012 after falling three straight years, according to the Beer Institute, an industry group. Beer sales had fallen 1.5% in 2011.

Beer has struggled in recent years partly because its key customers, blue-collar males in their 20s, were battered by an economic downturn that hammered industries such as construction.

“If they’re hit, we’re hit disproportionately,” said David Almeida, vice president of sales at AB InBev’s U.S. unit, which has nearly a 50% market share, much of it on the back of its Budweiser and Bud Light brands.

Job numbers are still much worse than before the downturn, but improving. The unemployment rate for males 20 to 24 years old stood at 15.2% in August. The rate for men 25 to 34 fell to 8.3% in August, from 11.7% in 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To see the correlation, look at beer sales in North Dakota, where an energy-sector boom is fueling lots of blue-collar jobs. The state’s overall unemployment rate is 3%, the lowest in the country. Beer shipments in North Dakota are up 18% through August.

Americans are branching out from traditional American lager to sample ales, porters and wheat beers from fast-growing small brewers.

The number of breweries in the U.S. topped 2,000 earlier this year for the first time since the late 19th century and another 1,300 are in planning stages, according to the Brewers Association, which represents craft brewers.

Craft beer sales rose 12% in volume terms to 6 million barrels in the first half of 2012, according to the Brewers Association, which represents craft brewers. The association estimated craft beer represented 6% of U.S. beer market by volume and 9% in dollar terms last year.

Lagunitas Brewing Co. more than doubled its brewery’s capacity in Petaluma, Calif. to 600,000 barrels after completing a $19 million expansion this spring.

Its sales are up about 40% this year and the company is spending another $25 million to convert a 300,000 square foot steel fabrication plant in Chicago into a second brewery scheduled to open next year. Its top seller is a hop-heavy India pale ale, a category often called IPA.

“There’s a shift in the palate,” said Tony Magee, founder and part owner of Lagunitas, which began brewing in 1993. IPAs, for instance, are heavier and more bitter.

Even the White House is getting into the act after President Barack Obama bought a home-brewing kit last year. Staffers have made honey brown ale, honey porter and honey blonde, sourced from a beehive on the property. It is believed to be the first time alcohol has been brewed or distilled inside the White House.

The move to craft-style beers could limit consumption even though it lifts profits in the $100 billion beer industry. In addition to charging higher prices, many specialty brews have a heavier taste and higher alcohol content than mainstream beers, making them less likely to be guzzled in rapid-fire.

MillerCoors is posting healthy growth in its biggest-selling brand, Coors Light. But it also has broadened distribution of small brands such as Henry Weinhard’s, a Northwest brewer it owns, to tap growing thirst for IPAs and other niche beers. It recently rolled out Redd’s, an apple-flavored ale, and Coco Breve, a malt beverage containing coconut water, in some markets.

“I think it’s woken up a lot of folks who have not considered beer and is bringing them into the category,” said Tom Long, chief executive at MillerCoors, which controls about a quarter of the U.S. market and still derives the bulk of its sales from Miller and Coors lagers.

Shipments of AB InBev’s Bud Light, the country’s top-selling beer brand, are rising for the first time in four years, lifted by the launch of Bud Light Platinum and Bud Light Lime-A-Rita to compete against liquor. Platinum is sweeter and has higher alcohol content than regular Bud Light. Lime-A-Rita tastes more like a margarita than a beer.

Big brewers are increasingly working the craft-beer craze. Anheuser-Busch’s Goose Island (acquired last year) and Shock Top are both posting double-digit growth.

At MillerCoors, Blue Moon and Leinenkugel’s are also posting double-digit growth.

Courtesy of Mike Esterl | The Wall Street Journal