Beer Capital of the World?
I have always thought that this recognition belongs to Munich, where that endless beer-drinking frenzy called Oktoberfest started, or to the southern part of Mexico where cerveza is downed like water by those energetic and fun-loving muchachos y muchachas. Or even the Philippines, where every other Tom, Dick and a cousin revere San Mig or Red Horse like a demigod.
However, just recently, I learned that Milwaukee (in Wisconsin, USA) is considered by many as “the beer capital of the world” because of its booming beer industry, wearing such tagline proudly, like a laurel wreath on its head. The city is home to America’s largest brewers – Miller, Blatz, Pabst and Schlitz –which represent one of Wisconsin’s top revenue and employment generating industries. The remarkable strength of its brewing industry is made more significant by the combination of unique and unusual factors.
First, Milwaukee is very near a beer-consuming mega city, Chicago, with its year-round daily need of hundreds of dozens of the brew, and this sale posts big profits as the supply is easily shipped over Lake Michigan, through inexpensive freight charges. Also, Milwaukee’s small population forces the brewing companies to focus their sales efforts to the rest of the country and to the major cities of the world – wider exposure, bigger revenues! But the main reasons for the industry’s success are the sound business sense and vision of the men who started these breweries.
One such person was Fredrick Miller who emigrated from Germany to the US and is the father of the highly successful Miller Brewing Company. He not only had a deep understanding of brewing, he also had a strong work ethic and an instinctive nose for quality. He was able to pass on these desirable character traits to the later generations of Millers. The company continues to produce fine lager beer using the German brewing method, at its original site that is still in use today, making it the oldest functioning brewery in the US.
The brewery’s premium brand, Miller Genuine Draft, is now most sought-after. Why, what goes into it? Water, barley, malt, yeast and hops (the seed cones which give beer the bitter, tangy flavor), all go through the process of wort production (the mashing process that produces liquid), followed by fermentation, maturation, cold filtration and, finally, aseptic filling. The beer is never exposed to any form of heat treatment, so this locks in the many subtle flavors that make it smooth to drink and preserves its brewery-fresh taste.
Here in the Philippines, PhilPacific Beverage Imports Inc., headed by Luigi Nuñez brings in Miller Beer. Nuñez has observed that there is now an increasing local demand for premium beers and wants to be a major player here. The high-end Miller Genuine Draft is being imported from Miller’s brewery in Italy and has been making a big splash at premium, high-energy events in our social horizon.
The local brand ambassador, international DJ Mikhail Schemm, has declared that the beer’s commitment to pushing boundaries and exploring fun and exciting opportunities alongside Manila’s key music influences, is expected to yield new and impressive events and experiences. We’ll watch out for those!
Meantime, I have this nagging thought – is Milwaukee really the beer capital of the world? I’m sure I will be faced with tons of dissenting opinions if I officially make such a declaration. So, lest I be burdened by a controversy, I’ll just conduct an easy man-on-the-street interview of renowned beer lovers in my vast circle of friends. With the refreshingly cold brew in hand, they’ll probably be too lazy to think beyond the confines of their situational myopia and will be one in saying that, wherever there’s easy access to a cold six-pack, that’s “the beer capital” of THEIR world! Nobody can contest that, right?
YOUR MONDAY CHUCKLE:
Through the pitch-black night, the captain sees a light dead ahead on a collision course with his ship. He sends a signal: “Change your course 10 degrees east.” The light signals back: “Change yours, 10 degrees west.” Angry, the captain sends: “I’m a Navy captain! Change your course, sir!” “I’m a seaman, second class, change your course, sir,” comes the reply. Now the captain is furious. “I’m a battleship! I’m NOT changing course!” Then came the last reply. “I’m a lighthouse. Your call.”
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