Posts Tagged ‘Beeronomics’


I love beer!

August 13, 2010

I haven’t written a post in a while – I’ve had some beery ideas but then I get too lazy to bother writing a full post – this is usually after sampling a couple of my latest home brews and wasting time on Facebook. So anyway, here’s a summary of some beer stuff I love.

  • I love vouchers – the perfect birthday present. As a result I now have Pete Brown’s ‘Man Walks Into A Pub’. A while back I got his ‘Three Sheets To The Wind’, which was a great read on global beer culture so I’m looking forward to getting into this one. I also have a spend up at McCashin’s pending thanks to my sister – they’re now making beer and I had a couple of samples of their lager trials last time I visited. Also on the cards is a visit to Founder’s as I recently won their e-newsletter beer quiz. You can sign up for this on their website. It’s their 10th Anniversary and have some celebratory brews coming out. I’ve tried and enjoyed the Blonde, plus a barrel-aged Stout is also now also available.
  • I love all-grain home brewing. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the use of a friend’s all-grain gear for the past few months and popped out five brews – all rather good if I do say so myself. It’s a bit hard to go back to malt kits after that so I’m investing in my own gear which should be up and running soon. Just in time for the SOBA 2010 Homebrewing Competition, which begs the question is – is the World ready for Wrecking Ball Pale Ale or Pacific Gem Golden Ale?
  • I love local beer. I don’t buy that liberal, middle-class guilt that buying local is the solution to the World’s social and environmental problems but I’m quite happy to celebrate good quality, local beer. For the past month, the Moutere Inn and the Free House have had only local beers on tap as part of the Nelson Ecofest Challenge. While it might be a dubious decision to allow in riff-raff from Marlborough, I’m prepared to be flexible considering the calibre of beers coming out of the Renaissance Brewery. I managed a trip over there recently and had a great hand-pumped Elemental Porter and some delicious pizza from the Dodson Street Bistro. Last night, I picked up a bottle of the 2010 batch of 8 Wired’s Hopwired (contract brewed at Renaissance) and am prepared to say that this is the best beer I’ve ever had (yes, it’s true)! I was a bit apprehensive as the bottle I picked up last year didn’t compare to the freshness of the pint I had from the pub. However, it’s hot off the bottling line and just as good at the moment – I just can’t get enough of the amazing Nelson Sauvin and Motueka hops. Brewer Søren reports that this year’s crop of NZ hops are a little different from last year’s and I picked up similarities to the 2010 Sauvin flowers I’ve used in my home brew. The Moutere Inn and Townshend Brewery are also holding an IPA challenge on 19th August featuring three versions of Townshend’s JCIPA on hand pump- the favourite one will go on to be brewed as a springtime release.
  • I love contract brewing. Hopwired is proof of the great things NZ’s contract brewers can achieve and Yeastie Boys discuss this successful business model further here on their blog. Of course, Yeastie Boys have been up to great things themselves lately – their ‘Return to Magenta’ Belgian Pale Ale impressed me greatly – it doesn’t get much better than enjoying a pint of this on a clear and warm autumn day, sitting outdoors at the Moutere Inn while taking a day off work. There was also the battle of the NZ and US pale ales – Motueka Monster vs Yakima Monster. Eric at Offsetting Behaviour puts an economic spin on the discussion here. I like the idea of micro economics, as in micro-brewing far more than Alan Bolland and his weapons of macro destruction!




Beers of our Lives

July 30, 2009

The Law Commission have now released their review of the Regulatory Framework for the Sale and Supply of Liquor – titled Alcohol In Our Lives. The full 279 page report is here.

I’ve had a bit of a read and looking at the press release talking points, things don’t look too bad – probably because they don’t mention excise increases. They instead mention a possible ‘tax reduction’ for low alcohol beers, though increases are discussed in the full report.

Looking at the following graph, you can see that beer consumption has been in steady decline since the mid-eighties, only starting to pick up a little in the last year – no doubt driven by the increasing popularity of craft and ‘premuim’ beer as regular sales have been flat.


The next graph shows the alcohol content of beer consumed – you can see the effect of the increasing popularity of ‘premium’ beers at 5% abv over traditional NZ beer at 4%. The Law Commission tend to want to make a bigger deal out of this than required by referring to the increase in consumption of higher alcohol beer several times. The growth is in 5% beer – 1 percent higher than average and the norm in most of the world. God knows what they think of wine at 13%.


Anyway, this doesn’t indicate that people are looking to get more wasted – on the contrary it shows that people are becoming more interested in nicer, global beer styles and probably picking quality over quantity. So it is odd that they see a progressive excise tax to encourage the consumption of lower abv beer as a positive solution in this context. People are voluntary choosing to buy more expensive alcohol so why interfere with this?

Have a look at the report yourself. They’re encouraging public feedback via their forum


Eternal Sunshine of the Puritanical Mind

June 17, 2009

Eric Crampton has the latest on his fisking of the BERL research being used by the Law Commission to recommend an increase in excise duty. Along with researcher Matt Burgess, Eric provides a comprehensive re-working of BERL’s figures, the way it should be done. Those boys deserve a pint. There’s also a discussion thread on the issue at Kiwiblog (Warning: includes some comments along the lines of ‘I would love to just ban alcohol altogether’).

Tomorrow night on TVNZ 7 you can watch a Made in NZ documentary called Great Kiwi Pubs. The blurb reads: They’ve been plagued by fire, chastised by puritans, and neutered by prohibition but a few of the Good Ol’ Kiwi Pubs are still standing.’ Thursday 18 June, 10:10 pm


Beers for the budget

May 28, 2009

The 2009 budget has been delivered and it’s pretty grim. But that is absolutely no reason to curb your beer appreciation. Now that we’re all doomed financially – here’s 5 tips to survive the recession:

1. Specials: With the range of beer now available in Supermarkets and their penchant for discounts there is absolutely no need to pay full price for beer. The puritans may finger-wag but simply follow the specials each week and save yourself piles of cash. It’s also a good incentive to try something new, rather than your regular favourite. My best deal in the past 12 months would have to be Hofbräu Münchner Weisse for $2 per 500ml bottle which was on special for several months at the local New World. I also kept the bottles for my next tip.

2. Home brew: Yes, that filthy stuff your Grandpappy used to brew during the last depression. However, it’s an obvious progression that a beer fan will want to have a go at producing their favourite drop and it can be a big money saver. At the basic level, you can be producing your own tasty brew for an investment of $100 – $150 on equipment and then $15+ on ingredients thereafter. Of course, you do get what you pay for so for $15 you’re likely to be drinking watery cat pee. For a good basic brew, get a can or two of Mac’s Pale Ale, throw in some hops and you can’t go wrong.

3. Beer as food: Who needs to spend money on food when you have beer – everyone will have heard of the nourishing qualities of Guinness and the accompanying Guinness baby the next morning. Milk Stout used to be given to nursing mothers. Then there’s stout with actual food in it, as in Three Boys Oyster Stout, packed full of real Bluff Oysters. Treat yourself and the Misses to a nice beer meal out at the local pub – she’ll thank you for it.

4. The rigger: Another classic from your Grandfather’s day, the glass half-G (maybe that’s a flagon but whatever). Now we have cheap, plastic versions far less likely to break when you trip over the curb on your way home from the pub. Forget aluminium or glass six packs and their asset inflated prices. Get a cheap 2 litre refill of beer from your local pub or bottle store. Brewpubs will often provide you with the same quantity of fresh, great quality beer at around the same price as a six pack of mainsteam fizz (and much cheaper than buying their product by the bottle).

5. Forget all of the above: start a confidence-lead recovery, avoid the paradox of thrift – go ape-shit and buy any and every expensive beer you can find! Keep craft brewers the world over in employment. Perhaps some imported Belgian Lambic as suggested in Geoff Grigg’s latest column. You could die tomorrow so why not enjoy life to the full. Best example to show your disdain for cheap beer – Green Man’s organic 14.6% Enrico’s Cure – at least $30 per bottle.

And because it’s NZ music month, I better finish with an appropriate song:



May 7, 2009

First there was Economics, then Freakonomics, then ‘(insert your favourite word here)onomics’ so naturally I bring you beeronomics – the study of the beer economy.

Until the dream of free beer is realised, beer is going to me cost money – fair enough, I’m happy to pay for someone to produce my beer. Then there’s GST, which I’m happy enough to pay until the day all taxes and death are abolished. But on top of that do-gooder politicians and lawyers want me to cover the costs others impose of society because they can’t handle their booze.

Well, this is where my problems start. It’s a fair enough assumption that there are a significant amount of problems relating to alcohol abuse in this country – but as politicians strive to be seen to being doing something, anything about this – a whole raft of bad legislation is sure to follow, that will do little to solve the problem and unfairly punish non-problem drinkers.

Instead of continuing my rant I’ll link to useful pieces others have already written about the problems associated with the Law Commissions’ analysis and proposals.

Real life economist and obvious beer fan, Eric Crampton’s extensive analysis of the issue can be found on his blog here.

The Real Beer NZ Blog has a spirited post titled Dear “Sir” Geoffrey. Eric responds to some of the assumptions here.

Further in the study of Political Beerconomy, my friend Brad Taylor has a piece titled Bootleggers and Baptists which links to a post at the Visible Hand in Economics where Matt Nolan asks Why are they making my beer more expensive?

After all that reading you’ll probably be ready for a beer.