Friday, July 03, 2015

An interview with Houndmouth (band and beer).

My idols have tended to be musicians and creative artists, and so it's highly flattering to be name-dropped and referenced in an interview with our hometown band.

Houndmouth Performs Live at KROQ + Interview with Nicole Alvarez

Recently I was reminded that Houndmouth's Matt Myers studied philosophy at IU Southeast, stopping short of a major, but giving us something in common.

Meanwhile, if ever there might be the chance to can an NABC beer, I believe Houndmouth Ale would be the best choice, especially in summer.

But I'm on leave of absence, so we'll just have to see, won't we?

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Hoosier brewers and brewer peeps, read this: "New Indiana Laws in a Nutshell."

Numerous legal changes took effect on Wednesday, July 1, and you need to know about them. Some are quite clear, while others will require clarification. You may need to chat with your regional ATC officers; NABC's ATC branch is located in Seymour, and the people there have always been straightforward and helpful with me.


New Laws in a Nutshell

PLEASE READ FIRST: This is not intended as legal advice, nor as a thorough analysis of the new laws. Every fact situation is unique and application of any law can hinge on a small detail. Enforcement may differ in the various excise regions. Always check with your attorney for counsel on how statutes and administrative rules affect your business.

It was a big year at the State House. We had an ambitious agenda and achieved most of our goals. New laws went into effect on July 1, 2015. Here is a brief introduction to the final legislation.


Senate Enrolled Act 297

Holder of Small Brewer permit may produce up to 90,000 barrels annually for sale or distribution within Indiana.

  • If brewery has more than one location and/or permit, the 90,000 limit applies to the aggregate.

Brewery may self-distribute up to 30,000 barrels annually.

  • The 30,000 limit applies to aggregate. Whether a brewery has one location of ten, it may only self-distribute 30,000 bbls.


House Enrolled Act 1053

A brewery and winery, properly permitted, occupying the same building may serve from a common service bar without separation.

House Enrolled Act 1311

Tasting rooms with Small Brewer permit must have food available for on-site consumption, but may fulfill the food requirement in one or more of the following ways:

  • Food truck at or near the premises;

  • Menus available for customers to order from restaurants that will deliver to the premises; or

  • Food prepared onsite.


  • If using restaurant delivery option, make the menus obvious and have a solid agreement in place with the restaurant(s).

  • This section does NOT apply to restaurant permits (Beer & Wine RR or 3-way).

  • Use good faith. Don’t stretch the rules.


Beer may be stored or conditioned in a non-permit building that is owned or leased by the permit holder.

  • The term “by the permit holder” means the name on the permit, e.g., “XYZ Brewery.” This does not mean that John X, President of XYZ Brewery can store the beer in his home garage.

  • Excise is taking a very hard line on this. “Store or condition” means exactly that and nothing more. Beer cannot be sold or served at a non-permit building, and cannot be delivered to any buyer or distributor from a non-permit building.

  • Best practice: get your building permitted to avoid problems and heightened scrutiny. If it is on your property, you can probably amend your floor plan to include it. If at a separate address, get a new permit.

Local government (town, city, county, township) may not enact laws or rules that would change the scope of any alcoholic beverage permits. The ATC has exclusive authority over permit issues (subject only to legislative changes or judicial action).

  • This provision is in a section on alcoholic beverage permits and it only applies to permits.

Provides that beer served at a fest or fair is not considered “food” and not subject to oversight or regulation by the local health department.


  • This language ONLY applies to festivals and fairs. Do not take this language out of context. It does NOT prevent the local health department from visiting or inspecting your brewery.

  • However, a brewery that provides food in any fashion—including garnishes, fruit or condiments—will be subject to local health regulation.

  • DO NOT serve fruit, peppers, garnishes, munchies or any type of food product at a fest or fair unless you get a food permit. Bad idea.

Modifies “ownership” language of preexisting requirement that applicant for distiller’s permit must have held a permit for at least three years. Previously required 100% same ownership in distillery as brewery, now need a minimum of 50%.

This section mirrors a pre-existing winery provision that allows wineries to sell bottles at festivals, with certain stipulations. Although the language refers to “trade show” and “exposition” Excise calls these “festival days.” 

  • Brewery may use up to 45 days per year to participate in festivals where it will sell packaged beer.

  • You must notify your local excise officer (email or telephone call should suffice). Advance contact is mandatory. NOTE: Indiana Excise does not currently allow growlers under this section. See note, below.

  • Each “day” used will last for entire calendar day and could include participation in more than one event on same date.

  • Those wishing to sell carryout beer must be in separate area of festival with other permittees using a festival day. From this area, breweries can offer tastings as well as selling carryout (package goods).

  • If you organize a local festival, you will still need a temp permit for the fest. If you choose to allow breweries to sell carryout, you will need to put those breweries in a separate area. Each brewery in that area will need to use one of their festival days and give proper notice to Excise.


  • Proceed with CAUTION. Excise is not yet sure how to interpret this language. They are fine with carryout bottles and cans, but NOT growlers. The issue is still being discussed. Until growlers are officially authorized for festival carryout, do not rely on this statutory language to sell growlers outside your brewery.

  • As always, use good faith and good judgment when dealing with Excise. Contact your officer early to ensure you and he/she have the same understanding of the new provision.

  • DO NOT expect to sell take-home products at Guild festivals. Our fests are sampling-only events. You will be notified if this policy ever changes.

  • The Guild is working with the ATC to iron out the logistics of this new law. Again, proceed with caution.

House Enrolled Act 1542

Upon final approval of the Commission, a letter of authority shall be issued and the permittee may operate fully until actual permit is received.

Application for a temp beer permit must be made at least 5 days prior to event.

Notice of each function may be given at least 48 hours prior to use (previously 15 days).


Final Note: Remember, this is not an exhaustive review of alcoholic beverage legislation. Use the links to look at the full bills, remembering that new language (in bold) applies only to a specific section or sub-section of the code. Specific questions affecting your brewery should be directed to your attorney. General questions can, of course, be sent to the Guild (directed to Lee). We will try to help!

Lee A. Smith, Executive Director

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What does it mean to be a member of the Brewers of Indiana Guild?

Brewers and brewery owners, please take heed. The Brewers of Indiana Guild isn't perfect, but we've accomplished quite a lot in recent years. There are no dues, and this is rare. To make it work, you need to be involved. Collective action is how we've achieved what we have. Combined efforts reduce the heaviness of the lift for everyone.

Read up. Questions? Let em know. I'll answer them, or direct you to someone who can.


Thoughts on Membership

Whether it is a club, a gym, a union or a professional association, generally we buy memberships in order to receive special “members only” benefits.

Prospective members should have three questions:
  1. Does this organization reflect my values?
  2. What does it cost?
  3. What will I get?

Your Values, Your Guild

The Brewers of Indiana Guild is a trade association whose sole purpose is to serve the best interest of Indiana’s craft breweries. We advocate throughout the year to make our state a place where the brewing industry grows in numbers and popularity, to give each individual brewery the best chance for success and profitability.

For the last 15 years your Guild has strategized and fought to make Indiana the fertile ground for craft breweries that it is today. The Guild is respected at the Indiana State House, at the Brewers Association, and by other guilds throughout the country.

“Cost” of Guild Membership

We are proud to be one of the only guilds in the country that does not charge dues. Other guilds require member breweries to pay annual dues ranging from nominal to significant. Some are flat-rate, and some are based on production volume. Our border states illustrate the variants seen around the country: 
  • Illinois: $250 to $1,500, based on volume
  • Kentucky: $200/year, flat-rate
  • Michigan: $250/year, flat-rate
  • Ohio: $500 to $12,000, based on volume

You “pay” for your Guild membership in the following ways:
  • Festival Participation. 
    Our Guild is funded by three highly successful festivals. These aren’t just fun PR events, they are fund-raisers, providing 99% of the Guild’s operating budget. 
  • Involvement. 
    Be as involved as you can be. At the very least, this means opening and reading emails from the Guild, and attending the Annual Meeting. Those who can dedicate significant time and energy should consider serving on a committee or running for a board position.
  • Legislative Support.
    Attend the annual legislative reception. Say YES when we ask for beer and volunteers for legislative events. We support candidates who support our industry, regardless of party or other platforms.

Benefits of Membership

As a member of Brewers of Indiana Guild, you receive the following:
  • Representative Government.
    Your current Board consists of 14 directors, representing large, medium and nano breweries from all over the state, brewpubs and production breweries alike. Anyone willing to commit the time and energy can run for a board position.
  • Professional staff. Three full-time staff members manage communications, member relations, festivals and all day-to-day business of the Guild, as directed by the Board. You may only see us at festivals, but we are here, working for you, year-round. (Read more about us in last month's member memo.)
  • Drink Indiana Beer.
    Our state-wide campaign keeps beer enthusiasts informed about Indiana’s beer industry and brings new people into our circle. We maintain a constant social media presence, work with traditional and new-age media, and collaborate with businesses and organizations to spread the gospel about craft beer in Indiana. As a member, your brewery is featured on our fabulous website. You may also use the “Drink Indiana Beer” logo on your website or promotional items.
  • Tomlinson Tap Room.
    The Guild is part-owner of Tom Tap, a beer bar at the historic Indianapolis City Market. Its sole purpose is to showcase Indiana beer. Tom Tap will buy and serve your beer whether you distribute or not. No other guild in the country has anything like this. We. Own. A. Beer. Bar. 
  • Active Lobby.
    Our Government Relations committee works with a professional lobbyist. This partnership has delivered some great legislation in recent years, while defending attacks on existing benefits: exclusive rights to fill growlers and to sell carryout beer on Sunday; and self-distribution (up to 30,000 bbls annually). The 2015 session raised the annual barrel cap to 90,000 and eased food service requirements for tasting rooms, among other wins. 
  • Education.
    The first Indiana Craft Brewers Conference was a sellout and a smashing success. This will be an annual event. Between conferences, the Guild hopes to initiate other programs to support new brewers and help all breweries maintain the highest professional standards. 
  • Purdue Partnership.
    After two-plus years of development, collaboration with Purdue University’s renowned Agriculture School is about to bear fruit. An internship program will allow breweries to interview and hire students from the Fermentation Sciences program. Additionally, we are partially funding a new staff position at Purdue, a biochemist who will be available to consult with breweries on bacterial issues and product testing/analysis.
  • Networking.
    The above-named benefits are all important, but in the end, one of the best things you can get from your Guild is the opportunity to meet and befriend your peers. Some of the most valuable “lessons” at the Brewers Conference were gained at the social events, one-on-one, beer in hand. 

Enjoy your membership.

Use your membership.

Value your membership.

Lee Smith
Executive Director
Brewers of Indiana Guild

Monday, June 29, 2015

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 11: My Franz Ferdinand obsession takes root.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 11: My Franz Ferdinand obsession takes root.

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

(Eleventh in a series chronicling my travel year 1985)

The Habsburg dynasty reigned in various European configurations and locales from the 1400s through its finale in 1918, famously stockpiling its geographical components through strategic marriage ceremonies more often than armed conflict.

There’s something to admire in wedding banquets as opposed to bloodletting, although unfortunately, hard-learned lessons were forgotten in the very end.

At the dawn of the 20th century, the Habsburg Empire had been rebranded as Austria-Hungary, and occupied a large chunk of Central Europe – from the Alps to what is now Belarus and the Ukraine, and from Poland to the Adriatic.

The empire was populated by numerous ethnic groups speaking just as many languages, representing most major religions and a few minor ones, and held together largely by a steadily eroding inertia, otherwise known as “divine right” in the person of the venerable emperor, Franz Joseph, who was 84 years old in 1914 and had ruled since 1848.

His own son having committed suicide, Franz Joseph’s heir was his nephew, Franz Ferdinand – and Franz Ferdinand was a complicated individual.

The history of the Habsburgs was a major reason for my visit to Vienna in 1985, with the single most important objective being the city’s military history museum, appropriately located in a complex of 19th-century buildings called the Arsenal. I wanted to learn more about Franz Ferdinand’s life, and chose to begin with his death.

Upon arrival in Vienna, and after the cursory stowing of gear at the Hostel Ruthensteiner and a quick coffee, the Arsenal was my opening afternoon attraction. Happily for an inexperienced tourist often too disorganized to eat, the museum boasted a small, efficient canteen operated by its citizen support arm.

The counter was manned by an elderly mustachioed gentleman who served fat local sausages with a roll and mustard, accompanied by a blue collar Schwecator lager, and all of it available at a very reasonable price. Restored to metabolic equilibrium, it was off to the exhibits.

First came the obligatory suits of armor and medieval skull-busters, followed by racks of muskets, Napoleonic-era uniforms and affiliated ephemera. Modern times drew steadily closer, and then I spotted the relics that occasioned my visit: Franz Ferdinand’s blood-stained tunic, the restored Gräf & Stift automobile in which he rode to his murder in Sarajevo in 1914, and numerous facsimiles of photographs taken before and after the assassination.

This was one of the images, and it triggered a lasting personal obsession.

Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie are shown exiting the town hall in Sarajevo. In little more than ten minutes, they’ll be dead, dispatched by two improbably well-placed gunshots from a youthful terrorist, Gavrilo Princip.

When the photo was taken, the Archduke’s visit to Sarajevo already had careened far off the rails. It was about to get even worse, with misfortune ranging far beyond the shortened lives of the royal couple, to victims all over the world about to be claimed in an unprecedented conflagration.


The Archduke Franz Ferdinand comes to us as a blunt, obnoxious, violent and generally unlikable human being, who in his spare time enjoyed slaughtering wildlife under the flimsy guise of hunting.

But had Sigmund Freud been asked, the Viennese doctor surely would have pointed to deeper currents. While not exactly enlightened, Franz Ferdinand’s views on the future of the empire were not in sync with those of his uncle’s conservative coterie. He had his own ideas and advisers, and chafed at waiting his turn, at least in part because of an under-appreciated aspect of his character.

Improbably, Franz Ferdinand was a closeted romantic, and he did something decidedly uncommon among his royal brethren: He fell madly in love, and remained just as madly in love, with a woman of minor nobility who was decreed by the hidebound royal court as inadequately marriageable for Franz Ferdinand -- and so of course, he married her anyway.

Doing so triggered sanctions from Franz Ferdinand’s own family. He was humiliatingly compelled to endure a morganatic marriage, renouncing the path of succession for his two young children, and explicitly acknowledging that Sophie could not participate in the intensively choreographed trappings of royal life.

To the otherwise indefensible Franz Ferdinand, a perfect family man at home, dynastic protocol became a daily slight – an unceasing and mocking suggestion that his beloved did not even exist. It isn’t surprising that he nursed a smoldering grudge.

In 1914, Franz Ferdinand had the chance to attend military maneuvers in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a disputed region of mixed ethnicity once occupied by the Ottoman Turks, and recently annexed by Austria-Hungary to the growing dissatisfaction of the neighboring Kingdom of Serbia, where there existed a body of opinion that all Serbs should be united under Serbian rule.

In such a highly charged atmosphere, the war games seemed a provocation to many people in the region. It was not necessary for Franz Ferdinand to make the trip, but (of course) he did.

Among the reasons for Franz Ferdinand’s decision was this: As defined geographically by the royal court protocol the heir so detested, Bosnia-Herzegovina was outside the reach of official mandated etiquette. It was a veritable loophole, allowing a pleasure trip on company expense, and a chance for the heir to treat his wife to perks otherwise denied her. No doubt he chortled at the turnabout, and her servants began filling crates.

Meanwhile, the background meant nothing to a young group of nationalistic Bosnian revolutionary conspirators, who were being trained and financed by the Black Hand, a covert group of Serbian army officers. As the days passed prior to Franz Ferdinand’s arrival in Sarajevo, a motley crew of inflamed and malnourished terrorists plotted a tragicomic ambush of the Archduke.


As Franz Ferdinand’s motorcade rolled through Sarajevo, one of the inexperienced terrorists managed to keep his wits and toss a bomb, albeit inexpertly. It bounced off the hood of the Archduke’s car and ignited atop the vehicle behind it, injuring a subaltern.

The bomb thrower sought first to drown himself, jumping from an adjacent bridge into the knee-deep river; thwarted, he then tried to ingest poison that wasn't poisonous enough. He was quickly arrested and the group dissolved in panic, with Princip – a true believer if ever there was one – adjourning to the curb outside a coffee house to morosely consider the failures of the botched performance.

But he kept his gun safely in his pocket.

Meanwhile, in spite of the bomb attempt and further warnings that security could not be guaranteed, the supremely annoyed Archduke elected to finish his official visit at Sarajevo's town hall, where his epic tirade ended only after soothing words from the always helpful Sophie.

Hence, the photo: A bedecked Austrian royal, veins still visibly bursting, descends the stairs while local minor officials in vests and fezes offer tepid and embarrassed salutes. The fear in their eyes is palpable even in ancient black and white. A bad moon is about to rise, and they all seem to know it.

Confusingly, the motorcade resumed. Although Franz Ferdinand’s staff had altered the return route to make it safer, the changes were not communicated to the drivers. The Archduke’s Gräf & Stift made a wrong turn, and its driver was told to halt.

The car stopped on the street directly outside the coffee shop where Princip now emerged to find his original target, seated and stock still only 20 feet away, as though serenely posing in the crosshairs. He fired just two shots, each inexplicably perfect, and within moments both heir and wife were gone.

The Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination provided the pretext for European hawks to settle accounts. Six weeks after his death, Austria-Hungary invaded Serbia as a heavy favorite, but was mauled repeatedly by the outnumbered Serbs until Germany came to the rescue. Meanwhile, general conflict had erupted throughout Europe, the consequences of which endure a century later.

In retrospect, irony abounds. Franz Ferdinand may have been an unsympathetic, disagreeable figure, and yet his genuine love for his wife was in part responsible for their passing.

Moreover, he understood perfectly what so many of his royal compatriots did not: Austria-Hungary was not at all equipped to fight a modern, industrial war. Counter-intuitively, the first casualty of war was a prime voice for peace.

Soon millions of others would perish, although initially, only two funerals were required. In death as in life, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary went his own cantankerous way, albeit with a little “help” from his royal family.

That’s because as noted previously, Franz Ferdinand’s final resting place is not among the Habsburg bloodlines deep within Vienna’s Kaisergruft. Protocol forbade the presence of Sophie in the crypt, so Franz Ferdinand’s testament called for the couple’s burial at his family’s castle in Artstetten, a half-day’s bicycle ride up the Danube from Vienna.

In 1985, I was just getting to know Franz Ferdinand’s story. By 2003, almost two decades later, I’d visited several other places connected to Franz Ferdinand: His chateau in Benesov, Czech Republic; the official residence at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna; and Sarajevo, where I followed the motorcade route and saw the scene of the crime.

In 2003 a friend and I bicycled to Artstetten. As we were leaving, I mentioned to the gift shop attendant that in 1985, I’d gone to Vienna looking for Franz Ferdinand, only to find he wasn’t there, which was the reason I’d finally made it to Artstetten. There was no public access to the final resting place of the Habsburg heir and his wife, and I didn’t ask.

She handed me the key, anyway.

I had my moments with them, alone.



The PC: Euro ’85, Part 10: Habsburgs, history and sausages in Vienna.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 9 … Milan, Venice and a farewell to Northern Italy.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 8 … Pecetto idyll, with a Parisian chaser.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 7 … An eventful detour to Pecetto.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 6 … When in Rome, critical mass.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 5 … From Istanbul to Rome, with Greece in between.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 4 … With Hassan in Pithion.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 3 … Growing up in Greece.

The PC: Euro '85, Part 2 ... Hitting the ground crawling in Luxembourg.

The PC: Euro ’85, Part 1 … Where it all began.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Next stop: Kampot-infused Imperial Stout.

That's right, there certainly are beer and breweries in Cambodia. None of them appear to be using the Kampot pepper ... but give it time.

The foodie traveller in ... southern Cambodia, by Liz Boulter (The Guardian)

Cambodia’s Kampot pepper is among the world’s best but it was nearly lost forever under the Khmer Rouge regime. Luckily a few farmers kept their cultivation skills alive and today there is demand from across the world.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

"Kentuckiana breweries on track to double in 2015."

Some folks don't like "Kentuckiana," although it never has bothered me. The alternative, "Indiyucky", has its own issues.

There's lots of information here, so take a look.

I'm by no means "close" to any of these projects, apart from physical proximity to Floyd County Brewing, and drinking beers with Rick Stidham of Akasha now and then. However, it seems that they're all proceeding along a sustainable course, i.e., not positing sales to Alaska and Luxembourg just yet. I judge this to be a good omen, and wish them the best.

Kentuckiana breweries on track to double in 2015, by Bailey Loosemore (The Courier-Journal)

From the core of downtown Louisville, locally made craft beer is spreading.

No longer is the artisanal beverage restricted to a few select neighborhoods. With one new brewery already opened this year, one rebranded and six more on the way — in some areas traditionally lacking their own craft beer spot — the industry seems to be on a delicious mission to take over Kentuckiana.

For years, Louisville and Southern Indiana's local beer scenes stalled with only a handful of established breweries catering to the craft crowd. But between 2010 and 2014, six breweries opened to pick up the slack, and the total number of breweries is now on track to double in the area by the end of 2015 — mimicking a national trend.

According to the Brewers Association, nearly 3,500 craft breweries were operating nationally in 2014 — an about 125 percent increase over the 1,500 breweries operating in 2008.