Bay Area wine, spirits and beer events: Jan. 20 and beyond – The Mercury News

Paws & Pours: This special edition of Winter Cocktails of the Farmers Market includes a walk-around tasting, with vegetarian bites and refreshments inspired by seasonal produce, in the Grand Hall at San Francisco’s Ferry Building. You’ll also have the chance to cuddle with some pups in a dog-petting enclosure hosted by the San Francisco SPCA. Tickets are $60-$150 and include three full-sized signature cocktails and unlimited sample-size drinks plus hors d’oeuvres. 5:30-8 p.m. Jan. 31. Ferry Building, San Francisco.

Yountville International Short Film Festival: This inaugural cinema celebration includes more than 75 short films, culinary events and film and wine pairings with Jessup Cellars Napa Valley at multiple venues all within walking distance of each other. Feb. 8-11. $25-$199.

Bacon and Beer Classic: Sample more than 100 craft beers and ciders, munch bacon-infused dishes such as bacon calzones, compete in a bacon-eating contest, enjoy a blind beer taste test and more. Two sessions: 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. Feb. 24. Levi’s Stadium, 4900 Marie P. Bartolo Way, Santa Clara. $69-$125.

Sonoma Valley Delicious: Sonoma Valley and Vista California have teamed up to celebrate all things epicurean. Through Jan. 31, visitors can enjoy prix-fixe menus, special food and wine pairings, signature dishes and cocktails, and more at Sonoma Valley restaurants, tasting rooms and wineries.

Better Together: Spend a fun afternoon with someone special enjoying delicious chocolate treats paired with Wente Vineyards wines. 1-3 p.m. Feb.10. The Event Center, 5050 Arroyo Road, Livermore. $30-$60. Reservations required.

Viva Amore: Rock Wall Wine Company will transform into a land of romance filled with wine, food and music. Admission includes a wine glass, three tastings paired with chocolate and entertainment. Wine by the glass, non-alcoholic beverages and food will be available for an additional charge. 7-11 p.m. Feb. 10. Rock Wall Wine Company, 2301 Monarch

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Moustache Brewing Rides Craft Beer Boom – Long Island Press

Lauri Spitz and her husband Matt are the force behind Moustache Brewing Co. (Rashed Mian/Long Island Press)

The craft beer industry on Long Island is frothing over, with eight breweries opening new tasting rooms last year and another 10 more breweries announcing plans to open tasting rooms in 2018. That would bring the total number of local craft breweries with tasting rooms to 40, which is remarkable considering that in 2012 there were just nine.

Nowhere on LI has this growth been more apparent than in Riverhead, which is home to five breweries with another three planning to open this year. One of the fastest growing is Moustache Brewing Co., which first opened on Hallett Avenue in 2014.

“We are close to the downtown area and want to support local businesses in Riverhead,” says Lauri Spitz, who co-founded Moustache with her husband, Matthew.

The couple started homebrewing in 2005 and were active members of Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME), one of Long Island’s three homebrew clubs. After deciding to turn their passion into a business, they became licensed as a New York State farm brewery in 2012 and launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $30,000.

This seed money helped Moustache build their first one-barrel brewing system, which was expanded to a seven-barrel system in 2016. They’ve since garnered rave reviews for a wide variety of flavorful and memorably named beers. One of those beers is Dexterity Issues, a super hoppy double IPA brewed to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, a cause Lauri and Matt support since Matt was diagnosed with MS a few years ago.

The popularity of canned craft beer also helped power the growth of Moustache, with favorites like Lawn, a cream ale, Keep off the Grass, a wet hopped cream ale,

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One idea to cut down on straws: Drink beer instead of soda – Los Angeles Times

To the editor: The first thing in the Los Angeles Times’ editorial that caught my eye was the 500 million straws allegedly discarded by Americans per day. I’m sure conservationists’ hearts are in the right place, but that equals two straws for every man, woman and child in the country per day. That seems high. (“Half a billion plastic straws are used and discarded every day. What an unacceptable waste,” editorial, Jan. 16)

But there is a problem with straws, and I have a partial solution: Require every establishment that sells food to also sell beer. Many people would prefer to have their burger or burrito with a beer rather than a soft drink, if only it were available.

The merchants would benefit from the higher prices, the legislators would get to pass a law, and it’s a good bet none of those customers would request straws. It’s a win-win solution.

Art Klimeck, San Pedro


To the editor: I have occasionally thought about researching the question of when the pernicious practice of putting straws in water glasses began in L.A. restaurants, and why.

When a server brings a glass of water to me that has a plastic cylinder protruding, I always put the straw to the side as unneeded, unwarranted and unwelcome. Finally, I have the support of a major metropolitan newspaper.

Andrew Rubin, Los Angeles


To the editor: Remember paper straws? So let’s stop using and manufacturing plastic straws, and return to paper straws.

There may be environmental issues with the manufacture of paper straws — certainly there are issues with the production of plastic straws — but at least paper straws will disintegrate in the environment faster than the plastic ones.

Jan Rasmussen, Lakewood

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook

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Crowded craft beer field poses challenges – Crain's Cleveland Business

As the craft brewing industry matures like a rich stout, enjoying steady and stable growth over the past several years, the surging number of players and brands in the market is creating some fresh challenges for brewers thirsting for growth.

With the market becoming increasingly crowded, some have wondered whether there’s a craft beer bubble ready to burst. We’re not there yet, as the consensus in the brewing sector is that there’s still room to grow both in Ohio and across the country.

But the sector is, undeniably, increasingly saturated. And while the craft beer world is generally brotherly and supportive of its myriad fellow brewers, a crowded market is making it more difficult for even established brands to get the tap and shelf space they desire to move product and flourish.

“If you really want to get large and, honestly, make a lot of money in the business, distribution is really the route you have to go,” said Shaun Yasaki, founder of Cleveland’s Noble Beast Brewing Co., which opened last May.

While Noble Beast is not yet a year old, Yasaki, who’s comfortable with the business’ size at the moment, is nonetheless debating whether he’d work with an external distributor — which, per industry standards, takes at least about a 30% cut from the brewers — or distribute on his own, which invites its own layer of complexities and startup costs for such things as sales teams and trucks.

According to The Brewers Association trade group, the number of breweries in the U.S. has increased every year since 2005, reaching 5,301 in 2016 (the most recent year for data). That’s a 266% increase from the 1,447 breweries operating in 2005.

The Brewers Association counted 177 breweries in Ohio in 2016, but there are 275 in the state today, according

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New tax bill will provides boost to booming beer industry – Washington Times

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) – A piece of legislation passed by Congress last month as part of the federal tax reform plan is poised to benefit beer brewers across Montana.

The rule, dubbed the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, will cut in half the excise tax levied on each barrel of beer craft brewers produce.

It applies to the first 60,000 barrels of beer produced by brewers who make fewer than 2 million barrels annually, criteria that encompass every brewer in Montana. No brewer in the Flathead Valley makes anywhere close to 60,000 barrels, so every barrel produced locally will see the excise tax lowered $7 to $3.50.

The rule is providing extra funds for a burgeoning industry, allowing brewers to put more money into capital investments or marketing campaigns.

It is also sparking controversy, and at least one local brewer thinks subsidizing an already booming industry while some federal programs are facing cuts should not be applauded.

Marcus Duffey is the general manager at Great Northern Brewing Company in Whitefish and also sits on the board of the Montana Brewer’s Association. He said after the bill passed, members of the Montana Brewers Association got on a conference call and the reactions were all over the board.

“There were guys saying they were ashamed that we got this as part of this bigger bill and there were guys saying I’m thrilled with this, its great,” Duffey said.

He projects Great Northern will produce about 7,000 barrels of beer in 2018, which should translate to approximately $24,500 of savings. He said that is roughly the size of their current marketing budget, and while he isn’t sure what precisely those extra funds would be used for, he would love to see that increased or even doubled.

“Those are real dollars that

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