There are more than 58 million Instagrams tagged #beer to date. Reddit’s r/beerporn, a community dedicated to sharing envy-inducing beer snaps, currently has more than 74,000 subscribers.
These platforms are relatively new, but the phenomenon — drinking something awesome, wanting to capture its image — is not. Drinkers were immortalizing their boss pours long before smartphones or social networks existed. In fact, the practice is almost as old as photography itself.
The first known photo of people enjoying a beer is believed to have been taken in Scotland in 1844, just 18 years after Joseph Nicéphore Niépce took the world’s first photograph. Scottish photographers Robert Adamson and David Octavius Hill captured and produced the image.
The photo shows three figures enjoying a beer in an Edinburgh pub. Hill is the happy-looking man seen leaning on the right. James Ballantine, a writer, stained-glass artist, and son of an Edinburgh brewer, is the grinning figure on the left. A man named Dr. George Bell sits between the pair, gazing thoughtfully into the lens.
What are they drinking? According to a caption accompanying a copy of the photo in Edinburgh’s National Portrait Gallery, the trio sipped three glasses of Edinburgh ale, “a potent fluid, which almost glued the lips of the drinker together.”
As for the #properglassware, those are “ale flutes.” Popularized in the mid-18th century, these vessels were favored over tankards and mugs because the clear glass displayed the high quality of its contents. They’re noticeably smaller than the glasses we currently serve beer in, due to the potency of Edinburgh ale.
The photo seems to catch the drinkers casually enjoying the moment. It’s a stark departure from the rigid poses common to early photography. Given the extended exposure times necessary for early photography, however, chances are the seemingly candid moment was staged. Some things never change.
Any world traveler worth their salt will tell you that it is imperative to learn a few key words and phrases when adventuring to other countries. Sure, saying please and thank you or being able to ask where the restroom is are extremely important things to know, but we think above everything else it’s important to know how to properly celebrate in each language.
That’s why we’re absolutely obsessed with these Cheers Around The World shirts. Ready to go in nine different languages, these graphic t-shirts showcase how to say (and pronounce!) “Cheers” in different languages.
They’re a must have for all travel lovers and those who just can’t quite get over the fact they’re not in Venice shouting “Salute!” during aperitivo hour anymore.
But considering that now is the season of gifts, these fine reads can also help you cross some people off your holiday shopping list. So below, you’ll find 12 new gift-worthy books that deserve a place on every drinker’s bookshelf—even if that drinker is you.
Sother Teague, beverage director at NYC’s Amor Y Amargo, stamps his personality onto every page of this energetic tour through spirit categories and cocktails old and new—including the one pictured at top. The recipes it contains are accessible enough for greenhorn drinkers to attempt, but feature twists that will capture the imagination of seasoned bar hands too. BUY NOW
It was only a matter of time before the budding Aviary empire found its way into print, and its 440 glossy pages are as close to art-book territory as it gets. The book covers 115 cocktail recipes, including 20 recipes from bar-within-a-bar The Office. BUY NOW
This tribute to women behind the stick comes from Misty Kalkofen and Kirsten Amann, two Boston-area bartenders and cocktail writers. The duo’s volume collects recipes from female mixologists across the world, accompanied by toasts to great (yet not always known) women throughout history. BUY NOW
In her latest book, prolific drinks writer Kara Newman covers more than 40 cocktails to close out the evening. You know the kind—those drinks that taste best when the sun’s down, whether you’re hoping to end a meal, drift off to sleep, or keep the night going until the next morning. Classics like the Brandy Alexander are featured alongside original concoctions, and it’s all contained in a very gift-friendly package, complete with gold foil accents. BUY NOW
We don’t care that it was technically published in late-2017, because Meehan’s Bartender Manual—pitched as a modern update to Jerry Thomas’s The Bar-Tenders Guide—is one of the best books about making, serving, and consuming drinks. The book’s intended audience is those who work in or operate bars (for instance, there’s a 42-page chapter on bar design), but laypeople who take the dive will never look at a bar the same way again. BUY NOW
The ascendance of the low-ABV cocktail continues with Aperitif by Kate Hawkings, which details the history of the pre-meal cocktail and includes 50 recipes to craft your own. The author also looks at the science of why these drinks work so well as appetizers, explores everything from amaro and Campari to classic spritzes, and provides serving suggestions for each kind of booze. BUY NOW
This memento mori from Antwerp-based sommelier Jurgen Lijcops is light on prose but heavy on eye candy. Gorgeous photos of glitzy bars from Venice to Mumbai may have you working on your bucket list—or lingering over the coffee table. It’s not all glam, however: you’ll also find a smattering of cocktail recipes accompanied by similarly beautiful photography. BUY NOW
Whether you’ve got a bottle of Nikka 21 stashed away or just picked up your first bottle of Suntory Toki, you’ll find something new in Japan-based journalist Brian Ashcroft’s tour through Japanese whisky. In addition to covering the industry’s history and methodology, the work also features first-hand accounts from its major figures and newly translated scorings from whisky blogger Yuji Kawasaki. BUY NOW
Anyone who’s ever passed a night at the weird and wonderful Portland Hunt + Alpine Club can try bottling the Maine-meets-Scandinavia magic at home, thanks to this new release from owners Andrew and Briana Volk. It’s as much a cocktail book as it is a cookbook, covering everything from their signature Espresso Martini to gravlax, plus digressions on oyster pairing, bonfire building, and—of course—Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy. BUY NOW
Since The Joy of Mixology’s 2003 publication, the cocktail world has passed through what feels like several epochs. The golden-fingered Gary Regan has updated his now-classic text accordingly, revising existing recipes, adding new ones, and opining on what’s happened since the craft cocktail movement reached critical mass. BUY NOW
The Death & Co. team returned to print with Cocktail Codex, a graph-heavy volume organized around “root cocktails” and their variations. For instance, flip to a page about the Old-Fashioned, and you’ll find a visual connecting it to more than three dozen cocktails, plus the page numbers where you can find each recipe. BUY NOW
Michael Foley is a Catholic theologian at Baylor University, which happens to be a dry school. Understandably, he escapes all that piety by heading off campus to research and write about drinking. His first work matched up drinks to all the major saints and liturgical seasons. His newest book, Drinking with Saint Nick, pairs drinks (beer, wine, and spirits) with every day of the advent calendar, the 12 days of Christmas, and even the Epiphany season. Take the Smoking Rosemary Old-Fashioned, which he suggests for December 18, the traditional Feast of the Expectation of the Virgin Mary in Spain. It’s a cocktail made with Redemption Rye (for a little extra deliverance) and a flamed sprig of dried rosemary. — Jeff Dufour BUY NOW
Eric Twardzik Eric Twardzik is a Boston-based freelance writer that’s traveled the world in search of good drinks. A former editor for UrbanDaddy, Eric writes about drinks, food, and travel for a variety of publications including Bevvy, Boston.com, and The Food Lens. He once scoured Italy in search of the perfect Negroni, and he’s never met a fernet he didn’t like.
Chinese consumers will soon be able to buy more imported beer and sparkling wine through e-commerce platforms, as China introduces an expanded list of tariff-free goods to boost cross-border imports.
Starting from 1 January, consumers in China will be allowed to spend up to RMB 26,000 (US$3,773) a year on an expanded list of imported goods that are exempted from the 14% import tariff, up from the previous RMB 20,000 cap.
The single transaction limit has also been raised from RMB 2,000 to RMB 5,000 (US$725) from goods ranging from baby formula to beer, sparkling wine, and wine, according to the list released by the Ministry of Finance in late November.
The new policy was introduced shortly after Chinese president Xi Jinping pledged to boost the country’s overall imports at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, as the country looks to transform from an export-driven growth model to focus more on imports.
The list was first introduced in 2016 to boost cross-border trade, and the newly introduced list further included 63 product items that the government describes to enjoy “mass demand”.
Malt beer and sparkling wines are among the 63 new additions.
The products on the list would enjoy zero-tariff policy and faster customs clearance, according to the government.
For instance, through regular channels, imported wines will be levied close to 50% of taxes (excise tax, VAT and import tariff), but goods imported from outside of mainland China through e-commerce channels are only subject to 20.2% of taxes*, less than half the rate of regular taxes.
This is the latest policy announced by the government to stimulate imports and domestic consumption, following its earlier decision to drop VAT tax from 17% to 16%.
The country’s biggest e-commerce company, Alibaba, just announced its plan to bring in US$200 billion worth of imports into the country by 2023.
Cross-border e-commece, however, only accounts for a small portion of China’s overall retail sales market. According to customs data, the total value of cross-border e-commerce transactions amounted to RMB 56.59 billion (US$8.21 billion), while the country’s retail sales market is valued at RMB 36 trillion (US$5.22 trillion).
“The increase in the single transaction limit is meaningful for high-value products”, Citic Securities wrote in a research note following the announcement, however they “account only for a small part of cross-border e-commerce”.
The world shelled out $661 billion for beer last year. Behemoth breweries dominated sales, with the 50 biggest brewing companies accounting for nearly half of global beer consumption in 2017.
This year’s list of top-ranking beers, based on 2017 sales, is similar to last year’s results, with a few key changes.
Three of the top 10 best-sellers are American brands you’ve likely heard of (and drank plenty of), while four are Chinese beers largely unknown in the U.S. You may not have sipped, or even seen, a majority of the millions of hectoliters of beer sold around the world in 2017.
Here are the top 10 best-selling beers in the world for 2017.
Corona was the top beer import in the U.S. in 2017. With an estimated 28.8 million hectoliters sold worldwide, this clear-bottled beer leads the charge of Mexican beers around the world.
Yanjing recently reported nearly 9 percent growth in revenue year-over-year, reaching $850 million in 2018. The successful brand will likely hold its place on this list for years to come.
Harbin shipped an estimated 29.9 million hectoliters of beer in 2017. Claiming to be China’s oldest brewery, this massive brand is among the Anheuser-Busch InBev fleet.
This Netherlands-based brewer made many headlines over the last year. The brand bought British cult brewer Beavertown, launched a THC-infused sparkling water, Hi-Fi Hops, via its subsidiary Lagunitas Brewing, and sealed a $300 million deal with China’s biggest brewery. It also sold an estimated 34.3 million hectoliters of beer last year.
With an estimated 35.1 million hectoliters of beer sold in 2017, this AB InBev-owned brand primarily produced in Brazil remained in the top five for another year.
4. Bud Light
America’s No. 1 light lager of choice didn’t even make bronze worldwide. But its estimated 44.8 million hectoliters sold in 2017 still earns it a top five spot in global beer sales.
This stellar seller from China sold an estimated 49 million hectoliters of beer in 2017.
“Bud Heavy” may be less popular than its little brother Stateside, but the “King of Beers” reigns around the world. Beer drinkers bought an estimated 49.2 million hectoliters of Budweiser.
Snow holds down the top spot for another year. It sold an estimated, and astounding, 101.2 million hectoliters of beer last year, beating out runner-up Bud by more than double the volume. Not bad for a brew you’ve likely never had a sip of – Snow is only sold in China.
Think you know your international beer brands? Test your global beer knowledge with this quiz.
As you may recall from high school chemistry class, alcoholic fermentation is the conversion of sugars (like glucose, fructose, and sucrose) into ethanol (alcohol) and carbon dioxide. Or, put simply, without sugar we wouldn’t have booze.
The ability to calculate sugar levels in a liquid, such as grape must or a wort, allows winemakers and brewers to calculate what its alcohol content will be after fermentation. This calculation is an important part of winemaking and brewing, and can affect decisions made in the vineyard, winery, and brewery.
There are a number of ways to measure sugar levels, one of which is by measuring its Brix value.
What is Brix?
A Brix value, expressed as degrees Brix (°Bx), is the number of grams of sucrose present per 100 grams of liquid. The value is measured on a scale of one to 100 and is used to calculate an approximate potential alcohol content by multiplying by 0.59. So, if a pre-fermented liquid measures 23 °Bx, its potential alcohol content will be approximately 13.6 percent ABV.
The potential alcohol content is only an approximate value because there are other factors in the brewing and winemaking processes that influence fermentation’s efficiency. In reality, the conversion factor of degrees Brix to potential alcohol ABV ranges from 0.55 to 0.65.
How is it measured?
Brix can be measured using two different instruments: A refractometer or a hydrometer.
A refractometer determines degrees Brix by measuring the refraction of light passing through a liquid sample. Liquids containing sugar are denser than water and cause greater refraction as light passes through. The instrument compares this to the refraction of light through water and provides a Brix value.
Refractometers are the preferred tool of winemakers in the vineyard as they offer results from a very small sample size (i.e., the juice from just one crushed grape).
Hydrometers are used before and after fermentation in both winemaking and brewing. They calculate a liquid’s sugar level by measuring its relative density. The instrument utilizes a weighted, floating glass tube that is placed inside a calibrated test tube containing the liquid sample.
The test tube is calibrated to measure the amount of liquid displaced, and from that, determine how much sugar is present.
With both refractometers and hydrometers, adjustments must be made to the calculations depending on the temperature of the sample.
Why do we measure Brix?
Calculating the potential alcoholic strength of a beverage is useful to winemakers and brewers for a number of reasons.
For winemakers, being able to measure the Brix value of grapes in the vineyard helps determine when to begin harvesting. As grapes ripen, their sugar levels increase. The Brix value can therefore be used to identify when the optimum desired ripeness has been reached and show that it’s time to start harvesting.
In the winery, measuring the alcoholic potential of grape must helps winemakers determine whether they need to chaptalize (add sugar) in order to reach the minimum alcohol level defined by the region or appellation’s laws.
Brewers take sample readings before, during, and after fermentation as this allows them to monitor many things, including mash efficiency, whether the brew is hitting recipe targets, the progress of fermentation, and when fermentation has finished.
In practice, brewers prefer to take Plato or specific gravity measurements, rather than Brix, both of which are often also commonly offered by refractometers and hydrometers. But in essence, all three are used to calculate the same thing, potential alcohol content. Should a brewer take a Brix measurement, it can easily be converted to Plato or specific gravity using simple calculations.
Photo Credit: The World’s 50 Best Bars / Facebook.com
At London’s Roundhouse on Wednesday, the 10th annual World’s 50 Best Bars awards ceremony revealed the top drinking destinations for 2018. The high-caliber event, organized by William Reed Business Media and sponsored by Perrier, has taken place annually since 2009.
Topping the list as the best bar in the world is Dandelyan, which worked its way up from the number 50 spot in 2015. Located in the Mondrian London, the swanky cocktail bar is famously helmed by Ryan Chetiyawardana, otherwise known as Mr. Lyon, London’s most revered bartender.
London’s American Bar took second place; while Manhattan, of Singapore, took third place. The U.S. made it into the top five with the NoMad, of New York, at number four; followed by another London hotel bar, Connaught Bar, at number five.