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Beer Blast: The inside Story of the Brewing Industry's Bizarre Battles for Your Money Paperback – 1 Jun 1998
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A member of the Van Munching brewing dynasty offers stories about the personalities, feuds, fads, and follies of the beer business.
From the Inside Flap
enerable American industry, once was dominated by family-owned firms serving a loyal clientele. In the late 1970s, however, the conglomerates got involved, and the beer wars erupted. In Beer Blast, a veteran of the beer wars (from the famous Van Munching clan, importers of Heineken) shares his wealth of colorful, often amazing stories about the personalities, battles, and follies of the beer biz.
From the Hardcover edition.
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So much writing about beer is either of the trivializing wink-and-nudge variety (the kind of writing you'd never seen applied to wine, I might add), or, in the case of my segment of the business - microbrewing - uncritical cheerleading, which itself tends to be trivializing and, frankly, boring, too. "Beer Blast" is neither boring nor trivializing. I'd recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in beer.
Smuttynose Brewing Company
When I saw a book about indescretion in the American Brewing Industry... well, I chocked it up as just another dissatisfied customer. Just another guy who was irritated at the brewing industry... fed up with the same boring stuff from mega-breweries, year after year. Another guy... well... like me. This assumption turned out to be wrong, but I still liked the book.
Two points were evident as I began reading Beer Blast : The Inside Story of the Brewing Industry's Bizarre Battles To Get Your Money by Philip Van Munching. Van Munching has been around the brewing industry his entire life and he isn't afraid to tell you about the seedy side. Also, he's a very entertaining writer. Along with his worldly understanding and privy information, Van Munching has a rare wit and sarcastic edge to his writing. Like a seasoned ringleader, he calls out the clowns and narrates their escapades and foolhardy, cutthroat behavior. He spotlights the circus that is the modern American brewing industry and makes it more exposed than Pee-Wee Herman in an adult movie theater. Once in a while he takes a covert jab at the typical American beer drinker for empowering these brew-twits to begin with, but it's all done with a wink and a nod, and is not to be taken too seriously.
Of course I can't be completely positive about anything. Ol' Phil is more than marginally partial to Heineken and it shows in an ugly, stagnant way. He and his family are responsible for bringing that particular Dutch swill to America... a crime our country's legal system has no applicable sentance to serve him. He amusingly admits that corn meal is used in brewing Heineken, but then goes on to rail about how Jim Koch was wrong for saying they brew Heineken with adjuncts. What is Corn Meal if it isn't an adjunct? I laughed. He also says that the purpose of the Reinheitsgebot German Purity Law was to keep foreign beer out of Germany. Well, not if the foreign beer avoided brewing with cheaper, barley expanding adjuncts! Like say, oh... for example... corn meal like is used in brewing HEINEKEN.
Despite this, and though I'm sure the stories he tells are embellished for the sake of entertainment, at the core, there is the undeniable truth that brewing companies are selling an image, and what you are buying is a beer. They simply think that you aren't smart enough to know the difference and with most American beer drinkers, they are right.
The quality games and propaganda wars American brewing companies have been waging with each other for years are enough to fill a book, so I'm not surprised that someone did write a book about it. What did surprise me was how intriguing a read it really was.
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