April Fools: Helium beers, self-filling cans and fake lawsuits highlight annual brewery jokes
Craft breweries and related companies love April Fool's Day and each year, they skewer their fans, their competitors, big breweries and themselves with jokes. But these breweries are also innovators, and a couple of years ago, one of these jokes actually became reality when Wynkoop Brewing produced Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, a beer made with bull testicles -- it will be re-released today, by the way.
The creative force behind that joke, Marty Jones, is back this year with one for Cask Brewing Systems, which makes canning lines. But there are other funny pranks out there as well. Check out a few of the press releases on the following pages.
(Calgary, Alberta) - On April 1, Cask Brewing Systems, the North American creator of the first microcanning equipment and a leading innovator in canned craft beer, is announcing the release of its new Self-Refilling Beer Can (SRBC). The SRBC is a unique Cask invention that enables consumers to refill empty beer cans with the beer that was originally packaged in the SRBC. The can has the potential to significantly change the canned craft beer segment.
"We've been providing innovative equipment to craft brewers since the 1980s," says Cask president and founder Peter Love. "We've also been helping craft canners since 2002. But this may be the most innovative thing we've ever done."
"For years," Love says, "we've touted the fact that aluminum cans are infinitely recyclable. Now we can say they are infinitely refillable."
The can was developed at Cask's brewing research laboratory with the help of Professor Phelyx, a Denver, Colorado microcanning scientist. "This can has incredible benefits for craft brewers," Phelyx says. "The Self-Refilling Beer Can allows breweries to increase their beer production without having to actually produce more beer."
To create the SRBC, Phelyx and Cask experts first created a unique resealing mechanism called the Lid Occlusion Lock (LOL) that reseals an opened can when the consumer gently rubs the can's opening with their finger.
Once the lid is resealed, the beer drinker then lightly shakes the can to activate the In-Can Brewing System (ICBS) that then "rebrews" the original beer that was packaged in the can. "Perfecting the ICBS was the crucial step in creating the Self-Refilling Beer Can," Phelyx notes. "Once we were able to make that work, the Self-Refilling Beer Can went from a dream to a reality."
In addition to providing a lifetime of craft beer to consumers, the SRBC has other benefits. "It will quickly shrink the packaging costs for our customers," says Cask's Jamie Gordon, "and eliminate any waste from dented cans prior to filling. It could eliminate the need for beer can recycling, too."
The initial response from retailers to the SRBC has not been favorable. "The lost sales alone would be devastating to my industry," says Ron Vaughn, of Denver, Colorado's Argonaut Wine & Liquor. "We don't want to see it in the market."
To address these concerns, Cask is developing a royalty system that will compensate retailers for any losses from the SRBC. Cask officials are releasing the first samples of the SRBC to the craft brewing industry on Tuesday, April 1. Cask officials are not divulging the price of the cans.
Cask Brewing Systems invented the beer industry's first microcanning equipment in 2002. Cask now supplies a range of affordable, compact, high-performance canning systems to small-scale breweries and packagers worldwide.
Cask has installed over 300 canning lines in 20 countries, and is the official supplier of Ball Corporation printed aluminum cans for its Cask customers.
DURANGO, Colo., (Apr. 1, 2014) -- The craft beer industry has recently been rocked by in-fighting over trademarks--and the lack thereof--and it appears that Ska Brewing and Oskar Blues Brewery are the latest two who will be fighting it out over a name.
"We wanted to get out in front of this with a press release because we know it's going to shock a lot of people," said Ska President and Co-Founder Dave Thibodeau. "People think of our two breweries as being very close, but just because we've partnered with them on a lot of things doesn't mean we're going to roll over when they infringe on our rights."
According to Thibodeau, the spat centers on Oskar Blues' use of the word 'ska' within their name. "They're using our whole name. It's right in the middle of their name, like we wouldn't notice as long as they put an 'O' at the beginning and an 'R' at the end. Well, we've noticed now."
Thibodeau says he and his business partners were sitting around one day drinking Dale's Pale Ale, Oskar Blues' popular canned pale ale, when they realized what was going on.
"Once we figured out what those guys had done, we didn't want to let another day pass without paying some lawyers," said Thibodeau. "Obviously bringing lawyers in immediately is the only way to resolve any conflict, so we hired a bunch of them. Hopefully they did too."
According to Oskar Blues spokesperson Chad Melis, there is no copyright infringement. "What is a 'ska'?" said Melis. "Is that an acronym? What does it even stand for? First they copy our whole canning idea, then they make an IPA that's as tasty as ours, and now this? It's reebdonkulous."
Still, both breweries say that the legal spat won't cool their widely-known bromance.
"That's what we got the lawyers for," said Thibodeau. "I'm going up there next week to hang out. If I can cross the 'ska' out of their name anywhere I will, but yeah, we've got some rides and other fun stuff planned. You can't let this legal stuff get in the way of a good time."
ESCONDIDO, CA (April 1, 2014) - This is what happens when a beer-obsessed scientist has free rein to create beers that push the boundaries of the craft beer industry and science alike--a beer infused with helium. Wait, what? Is that even possible? Yep. And not only did Stone Brewing Co. do it first, we did it with a cream ale and double dry-hopped it to add that extra tropical, bitter goodness one would expect of a lupulin-obsessed craft brewery. Mind blown! Starting today, Stone Stochasticity Project Cr(He)am Ale with Helium is available in 16-ounce cans at retailers, restaurants and bars in select markets nationwide.
The beer is the brainchild of Stone Quality Assurance Supervisor Rick Blankemeier. He came up with the idea for a helium-infused beer after playing around with nitro beers and thought, "What would happen if helium was added to a beer?" The idea was presented to Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele, who at first assumed it couldn't be done. After a brief science lesson from Rick, Mitch decided it was worth a try and the beer would be perfect for the Stone Stochasticity Project.
"I think Mitch thought I had been drinking too much of the beer when I went to him with my idea of a helium ale," said Blankemeier. "I'm really pleased with this beer. The hop aroma punches you in the nose and there is a slight tingle in the back of the throat that is unique to this brew. The ale provides the drinker with a distinctive sensory experience."
"This beer is tasty and very strange, but in a good way," explains Steele. "I've never experienced the tingly feeling in the back of my throat that the helium addition provides. I think our fans are really going to like this, and we look forward to brewing other unique beers for the Stochasticity Project."
Despite its unique and unexpected ingredient, Stone Stochasticity Project Cr(He)am Ale with Helium is an easy-drinking session beer with light notes of toast and an effervescent floral, spicy, and strong hop character from the addition of Helga hops. Helium is introduced to the beer via a widget that activates when the can is opened, streaming helium into the beer. The result is a very smooth mouth-feel and a tickle that produces a curious effect on the drinker, unlike any other beer.
Stone Stochasticity Project Cr(He)am Ale with Helium is a refreshing beer meant to be enjoyed fresh or within 90 days to maximize the robust hop flavors and aromas. While only available for a limited time, fans will find this beer to have an everlasting effect on their palates...and psyche.
Stone Stochasticity Project Cr(He)am Ale with Helium Quick Facts Name: Stone Stochasticity Project Cr(He)am Ale with Helium URL: http://www.stochasticity.com/beers/crheam Stats: 4.1% ABV, 75 IBUs Availability: Limited 16-ounce cans, beginning April 1 Hops Bill: Willamette and Fuggles, dry-hopped with Helga Special addition: Helium Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, and WA
This fake announcement was produced by the craftcans.com website, which cover the canned craft beer industry. They do a joke every year.
MillerCoors today said it had received approval from the TTB for labeling of 16 oz. cans of Coors Light HELIO which will feature an industry first liquid helium insert, similar to the widgets found in cans of Guinness. While the helium apparently has no affect on the pitch of the drinker's voice, it does however provide a smoother, lighter drinking experience. Read the press release below for more.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The coldest light beer in America just got a little bit lighter! We're proud to announce the newest member of the Coors Light family, Coors Light HELIO! This unique product features a patented liquid helium dispension system that provides unrivaled smoothness. Your favorite light beer just got lighter...and a whole lot smoother!
"This is cutting edge. This product is going to revolutionize the industry and provide consumers with an futuristic drinking experience. Helium, even moreso than nitrogen, when injected into beer in liquid form provides an incredibly smooth pour and creamy, silky mouthfeel. A lot of time when into the technology of these cans and we're proud to say we're the first to provide this exciting experience to the American beer drinker!" said Len McDonell, Vice President & Chief Brand Manager of MillerCoors. "This is the type of new product development that is important to us as a company."
Cans of helium-enriched Coors Light HELIO feature a patented state-of-the-art capsule filled with liquid helium. When a can is opened the liquid helium is released and the gas is introduced into the beer. The non-toxic gas then creates bubbles in the beer that are microscopic in size and which give the beer a very noticeable smoothness.
"Coors Light HELIO is really something special. Beer drinkers looking for a unique product should look no further. You've never had a beer with a taste this smooth or light.," McDonell also said.
If you're wondering about sounding like a chipmunk while drinking Coors Light HELIO, worry not. Helium in its liquid form injected into beer will not have the same effect as when the it is inhaled.
"This is the same Coors Light you know and love, but now lighter than air - almost! Just in time for summer, Coors Light HELIO is the full-flavored lighter light beer!" McDonell added.
About MillerCoors Built on a foundation of great beer brands and more than 288 years of brewing heritage, MillerCoors continues the commitment of its founders to brew the highest quality beers. MillerCoors is the second largest beer company in America, capturing nearly 30 percent of U.S. beer sales. Led by two of the best-selling beers in the industry, MillerCoors has a broad portfolio of highly complementary brands across every major industry segment. Miller Lite is the great tasting beer that established the American light beer category in 1975, and Coors Light is the brand that introduced consumers to refreshment as cold as the Rockies. Blah, blah, blah...you get the picture...
Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan
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