America still #1 in something that really matters

Americans can buy a beer with less work than it takes in any other country in the world. This is part of a general trend that we get more bang for our bucks, or as Goethe said “Amerika, du hast es besser.”

So maybe we have to put up with liberals and Obama's failures, but we can still drink beer cheaper.

These may be some dispute about the quality of American beer. Budweiser is still the most popular beer. Of course, you know that when the man down the street took some Budweiser to the chemist to be tested, he was told his horse had diabetes. But things have been improving. We have some wonderful craft beers today, beers and ales for every taste. On the mass market, I still have some fondness for Coors. This is no beer to drink when you are relaxing at home, but it is great when working on a hot day.

The second cheapest place to drink beer is the Czech Republic and Prague is the best city for beer drinkers, even better than Munich. They have a great beer called Pilsner Urquell. You can get it in the U.S., but it is much better on tap in its home city. They also have a beer called Velvet, which I have seen nowhere else. The flavor is not remarkable, but it has a bubbly smoothness that fits the name It is like drinking Guinness that tastes good.

My favorite beer is Henninger, which you get in Frankfurt AM. All German beers are good. German beers used to be subject to the Reinheitsgebot or purity law that allowed the use of only water, barley and hops. They didn't know about yeast in 1487, so that was not included. They just took some leftover from each batch of beer and added it. Yeast was just a lucky accident of ancient history. Imagine the guy who thought his grains were ruined by the rain only to find the liquid much better than the soaked grain that went into it. EU regulations put an end to the law, although many brewers still adhere to it.

Beer is actually good food, sort of like corn flakes in a can, if you drink in moderation. If I ever opened a bar, that is the name I would give it - Moderation - and all customers could always drink in Moderation. In the Middle Ages, even children drank beer instead of water, which was almost always too full of sewage for healthy drinking. Brewing killed the germs. You can make beer out of almost anything; you just shouldn't. American Budweiser (there is a much better Czech beer with the same name) is made with rice, so does not qualify as beer under the old German law.

The Belgians make all sorts of weird beers, many with fruit flavors served in funny glasses. If you go to Brussels, you have to drink Kriek lambic, a kind or cherry beer. Well, I am not sure you can call it beer, but it is good to try it.

My grandfather was a brewer who worked for Schlitz and I come from a long line of drunks nigh onto the Middle Ages, so I feel qualified to talk about beer. Schlitz is the beer that made Milwaukee famous when Joseph Schlitz sent wagonloads of beer to Chicago after the great fire of 1871. He understood that what you really need when your house has turned to ashes is good beer. Schlitz is a tragedy. In 1970 it was one of the world's most successful brewers. Ten years later, it was gone, acquired by Stroh's. You can still buy something called Schlitz, but only the name remains. What happened is they tried to cut the brewing process time. Beer making is an art. They pushed it. I remember that Schlitz on tap was really good, but in cans and bottles it was horse piss, albeit ice cold horse piss. They lost the trust and patronage of big beer drinkers and paid the price. The market will do that to you.

Posted by Christine & John at September 24, 2012 9:47 PM
Comment #353679

C&J, I daresay you don’t know where your so-called beer comes from. I know I shouldn’t end a sentence with ‘from’ but, after a couple of beers it feels ok to do it.

But, all, or part of your beer may be produced outside the US. Same for these home grown malt, ale, beer breweries. How can you be sure the water Bud uses is not imported and so on - - -

Recently a company tried to market peeled bananas placed on a styro foam tray covered with a clear shrink wrap.

I always thought a beer company would be the first $1T company since there is a good mark up on water and oats, etc. But, it appears apple will beat them to a $T with the new iPhone. I believe the price to produce and market one is $208 and they are selling for something like $500/ea. Thar’s gold in them one’s and zero’s!!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 24, 2012 10:21 PM
Comment #353683


I know where lots of beers come from because I have seen the places where they are made. If you point is that beer making is internationalized, however, you are right. Budweiser, the king of American beers, is owned by Ambev, currently mostly controlled by Brazilians. Miller Special Draft and Pilsner Urquell are part of SAB (South African Breweries).

I know this probably bothers a anti-corporatist like you, but it doesn’t bother me very much. They still make the stuff in the same way. In fact quality has improved. If you want to smaller brewers, there are lots of choices from among the micro-brewers.

The modern world has provided us lots of choices, sometimes maybe too many that it is hard to choose and we blame the providers.

Posted by: C&J at September 25, 2012 5:54 AM
Comment #353685

C&J: “Americans can buy a beer with less work than it takes in any other country in the world.”

Unless of course you’re at a sporting event. I saw my Dodgers lose to the Giants in San Francisco a few weeks back and beer is nearly $10 a plastic cup. Crazy. Anchor Steam is their favorite beer there but I’m not much of a beer drinker.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at September 25, 2012 8:35 AM
Comment #353688

C&J, I think it does help to know what one is ingesting.
Seems everything I drink, eat or wear is produced in Benton, Arkansas. But, on to other things - - -

I thought I was a ‘great communicator’ but seems I failed. Corporations are fine, a necessary part of modernity. No where will you find I’ve blogged that corporations are, in general , disdained, has no place, etc.

Like one loves their wife, often that comes with some desirable modifications. Same with corp’s.


should not be too big to fail
should be subject to anti-trust and gov’t regulation
Should not be used as a financial instrument to influence political campaigns
should not exist in perpetuity but for the good of the community
as an artificial entity, should not be given rights as persons
and so on - - -

Are you alright with tax havens? Would you drink to that?

Some corporations have remained in the US even though they could improve their bottom line by relocating.

Then, you have Apple, coming up on being the first $1T company while the workers burn their dorms over working conditions.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 25, 2012 3:47 PM
Comment #353689

I grew up in Waupaca County Wisconsin and had/have many relatives who live in Chippewa Falls with both sets of grandparents having dairy herds on farms near the city. We would usually visit them and our other relatives once a year, usually during hay-bailing season.

Every single person I knew, kids included, drank Leinenkugel beer. It was and still is the best beer I have ever tasted. We affectionately called it Leine’s. It was on tap at all the taverns in the area.

After a day riding the hay wagon or up in the hay mow nothing tasted better than an ice cold Leine’s. The beer was cooled in the large water tanks where they also kept the milk cool in large cans until the milk truck picked it up. The water in the tanks came from very deep wells with pumps powered by a huge windmill.

What great memories. Following is a little history about this brewery.

When Jacob Leinenkugel first came to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, in 1866, he found wide rivers, lush forests, clean water. And 2500 thirsty lumberjacks. As the son of a German brew master and brother to two others, Jacob knew an opportunity when he saw one. So he and business partner John Miller set to work building the Spring Brewery. The name held the secret of their rich, tasty product—the pure water that flowed from the Big Eddy Spring. Neither acidic nor alkaline, the water was perfect for brewing full-bodied beer. And, in 1867, the first batch of Leinenkugel’s beer was born.

Within thirteen years, Jacob and his crew were handcrafting 1800 barrels of Leinie’s per year to meet the growing thirst for quality beer in the Chippewa Valley. By 1890 he had expanded the renamed Jacob Leinenkugel’s Spring Brewery to include a new brew house, three-story malt house and a barn to house the teams of horses that drew the Leinie’s delivery wagons. After Jacob’s death in 1899, son Matt stepped in as the second-generation Leinenkugel to oversee the precious family heritage that is Leinenkugel’s beer.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 25, 2012 4:56 PM
Comment #353691


They always rip you off at sporting events. It is part of the charm of the game.


Actually nothing you wear or use is produced in Benton, Arkansas. Walmart is distributor, not a manufacturer.

Re Tax havens - I am okay with that. We should reform our tax system so that we make tax havens unprofitable. Until then…


Leine’s is actually a lot like Coors in that it is light and good to drink when it is hot.

Posted by: C&J at September 25, 2012 8:38 PM
Comment #353723

Explain yore selves, C&J. It’s been 30 years I’ve been hearing about swiss, cayman, Bermuda, other tax havens. Are you prepared to wait ‘til hell freezes over’ for a little reform?

Harold Meyerson opined in today’s WaPo that wealth redistribution has been from the middle class to the wealthy since Regan and Bush cut taxes and set capital gains so low.

Also, “market rules since Regan have consistently depressed the share of middle class income.” Markets redistribute wealth from mfctring to finance, Main St to Wall St, and from workers to shareholders.

He relates that the only time in history US history when workers substantially benefited from productivity gains ‘was the three decades following WWII, when median household income and productivity gains both increased by 102 percent.” He points out that Economic Policy Institute data shows that in 1955 the wealthiest 10% received 33 % of the nation’s personal income. In 2007, they received 50%. Further, he relates that while median household income has fallen to 1990 levels, income of the wealthiest 400 rose by $200B.

So, that’s been the trend for 25-30 years, C&J. Should we be willing to hang out and wait for the Corpocracy to pick us up, dust us off and so on - - -

What are we talking about here, koolaid or beer??

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 26, 2012 8:35 PM
Comment #353725


Median income in the U.S. rose by around 30% from 1982-2007. Median is not the average, as you know. It is the midpoint, so if median rose at least half of American improved. This is neither stagnation nor all the gains going to the richest.

“Tax havens” are harder to use than people think. The U.S. charges taxes on income earned in the U.S. You cannot avoid that tax by going to a tax haven.

Posted by: C&J at September 26, 2012 8:59 PM
Comment #353749

If you say so, C&J

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 27, 2012 4:50 PM
Comment #353755


The starting definition:

“Tax shelters are countries with corporate tax rates much lower than those of the U.S., which make them popular for U.S. businesses looking to lower their tax bills.”

Everyplace in the world has tax rates lower than the U.S. So when any firm places operations anywhere but the U.S. you could call it a tax haven.

Posted by: C&J at September 27, 2012 6:09 PM
Comment #353756


To be accurate, all developed countries …

Posted by: C&J at September 27, 2012 6:09 PM
Comment #353757

One more thing:

A: In most cases it stays there. Companies can avoid paying taxes on overseas profits indefinitely, as long as they don’t bring it back to the U.S.

“They never bring the profits back, or if they do, they only bring a very small amount back,” said Amy Mathias, an analyst with the investment adviser, Washington Research Group. Most companies use the money to build new facilities, hire more workers and expand business overseas.

So what you have here is a firm making profits in a foreign country, paying taxes there and reinvesting there.

If a European firm makes and sells products in the U.S. and then invests in the U.S., you would say the U.S. is being used in the same way.

All this sounds very nefarious, but it actually very simple and open.

You would do the same.

Posted by: C&J at September 27, 2012 6:14 PM
Comment #353777

Roy is right. C&J is dishonest, most especially when it comes to the economy and when talking about the efficacy of trickle down (that simply does not flush).

The best beer made in America all come from micro breweries. Highest quality ingredients, often locally grown, crafted and made with lots of love.

Americans since prohibition have been drinking mostly lager, but I find it watery, often very bitter, and rather thin and tasteless. In fact, before I had micro brewed beer, I thought I “wasn’t much of a beer drinker.” But in fact, I’m just not much of a lager drinker.

There are many other beers besides lager, and American micro breweries are very aware of this fact. I think of it like comparing the difference between the product that the Wonder Bread corporation makes, and actual Bread that is good to eat. You know, something made with whole grain flour and other fresh ingredients, along with real skill and caring.

I find many kinds of beer delicious — just depends on what kind of weather we’re having. I like a good porter or stout or red ales in the fall and winter. I like pale ales, hefeweizen and fruity Belgian-style lambics in the summer and spring. I have discovered that I happen to really love the flavor of Cascade Hops — great hops, with a slight flowery hint, but not at all overwhelming. To know what I mean by that, there is one beer that is fairly widely available across America where you can taste the delight of Cascade Hops: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. If you get a chance, check that out.

We have several good micro breweries here in the Bay Area. I like Pyramid Micro Brews a lot. They’re located right here in Berkeley — and they have a good brew pub/restaurant too.

Giant Corporate Beer tastes like corporate crap. It’s extraordinarily shoddy stuff. The mentality of corporate-style capitalism permeates, poisons, and ruins the flavor of damn near everything, in my view.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 28, 2012 3:26 AM
Comment #353795


I have always been honest with you. Sorry if you lack the capacity to understand that people can disagree with you and still be intelligent and honest.

You can continue to write here, if you wish. You should show a bit more respect since you depend on us, however, but I guess that is too much to ask.

Posted by: C&J at September 28, 2012 6:35 PM
Comment #355914

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Comment #357289

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