Dec 152015

Hops2In 1949, Albert Jaenick started in the beer industry as an apprentice for a medium size brewery in Berlin.  Three years later he became a trained brewer and maltster. This qualified him to work at multiple breweries in Berlin, Hamburg, Switzerland and Sweden.

Albert continued his education at the VLB, a brewing facility of the Technical University of Berlin.  He earned his Graduate Brew Master degree and continued to study, eventually earning the title of Technical Engineer of Brewing.  This education allowed Albert to join a major German brewery as a quality control engineer and assistant brew master.  While there, he assisted in the modernization of a second brewery facility during its construction.  At the time, one of Albert’s major responsibilities was to purchase hops, and this led to an entirely different career path for the brew master.

In 1966, Albert and his family moved to Yakima, Washington to enlarge and rebuild the first hop extraction company in the world.  This extraction company was co-owned by the Horst family of Germany and Bavaria Brewery of Bogota, Columbia.  The father of Dr. Louis von Horst was the individual who invented the hop extract process and later built the first extraction plant near Berlin.

Albert soon became the technical director at the Yakima plant and later, was promoted to president of the company.  In the ensuing years, Albert, along with the Horst family, opened the Von Horst Company which extracted hops and traded hops, thus making Albert the president of the first company to introduce, produce and sell hops and hops pellets.  Since Albert and his company were in Washington, he had the opportunity to sell hops to a new segment…craft beers.  Now under management of the Hop Union, the Von Horst Company became a major supplier of hops to the craft industry.

After 17 years with Von Horst, Albert left to become President and owner of a new company in Yakima, Fromm Mayer Bass, known as FMB.  Robert Fromm was one of the inventors of hops extraction in Germany with CO2.  After many successful years in hops, Albert and Robert sold FMB.   Albert, however, was not yet done with hops.

With the assistance of his wife, Rosemarie, Albert soon started Jaenicke, Inc.  During this time, he also assisted his close friend Albert Cramer of Warsteiner, and even was elected as a director of the US operation.

After many successful decades in beer, brewing and hops, Albert has finally retired to enjoy his passions:  skiing, tennis, and drinking Warsteiner.

Today’s craft industry should make a toast to Albert and Bert Grant, a former colleague with Albert at the Hop Extraction Corp. in Yakima, who built the first real craft beer brewery in the US in Yakima.

In regard to beer Albert always said that his second favorite beer in the world was Warsteiner.  When asked which is his favorite?  He always stated…free beer!


BBU Honor Roll;

2015 – Albert Jaenicke – Hops

2014 – R.D. Hubbard – Coors Distributor

2013 – George Henricksen – Royal Imports

2012 – Diane Fall – Warsteiner



 Posted by at 7:00 am
Dec 082015

Corona O TannenpalmA recent article in CMO Today, an online section of the WSJ, highlights Corona’s 25th anniversary of the iconic holiday ad “O’ Tannenpalm.” This iconic commercial, which was developed in 1990 by the agency Campbell Mithun Esty, is the longest-running beer ad and the second-longest running holiday ad of any kind, behind Hershey’s famous kiss-bells spot.  Corona is releasing a mini-documentary about the ad to commemorate the 25th anniversary.

According to the article, the most difficult part of creating the ad was finding the right palm tree!  Amazingly the total budget for the ad was less than $50,000 and the brand was not required to pay residual fees because there no actors were used in the spot.

“When brands stick with a piece of advertising for a long period of time, the creative becomes part of the brand equity,” said Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “Over time the spot can take on more and more meaning,” Prof. Calkins said. “People see it, they remember it and all of a sudden it comes a particularly powerful type of communication.”

While Corona celebrates the ad’s 25th anniversary, ABI recently announced that in this year’s upcoming Super Bowl, ABI will not be running any commercials featuring the feel-good Dalmatian dogs which, historically are either the top or one of the top-liked ads in the Super Bowl.

From all indications, ABI seems to have begun to shift their overall view of marketing in the US.  Industry articles and comments from wholesalers highlight statements and actions by the executives of ABI on their direction for the 2016 marketing.  This action, welcomed by all US ABI wholesalers, hopes to stem the dramatic loss of ABI market share and volume, a decline which has been on-going since InBev acquired the company in 2008.

The continued dramatic growth of Corona, now owned by Constellation Brands and under the long-time management of their beer division, Crown, versus the Brazilin owned and managed ABI, brings up the question: why the dramatic different results?

On one hand we have a Mexican brewed beer which is imported by a US company, managed by US executives, owned by the same US company and managed by the same US company whose sales continue to grow at double digit rates.

On the other hand, we have a Brazilian company, run by Brazilian executives, with an iconic American brand with a long and great US history, losing massive volume and market share.  Is it that simple?

Perhaps the better way to answer that is to pose a question to any AB distributor who has both AB and Modelo brands.  Who do you more admire and feel is the better CEO: Carlos Brito or Bill Hackett?  The results of that question would be interesting to see.

With 25 years of growth and success, Corona, which stands behind the iconic ads and marketing theme of the “beach in a bottle,” seems to believe in the simple but effective statement: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!  InBev should have studied that statement closer as most of us will agree that AB was not broken in 2007.

Enjoy the documentary below on the ad, ‘O’ Tannenpalm’ while sipping on a cold Corona.

Enjoy the documentary below on the ad, ‘O’ Tannenpalm’ while sipping on a cold Corona.


Beer Fodder;  The documentary

 Posted by at 7:00 am
Dec 012015

o-CRAFT-BREWERIES-570The culture of Gambrinus began to shift dramatically in the mid-1990s when the company was awarded the importing rights to Moosehead. This occurrence coincided with the dramatic growth of Corona and the grown of Shiner, also held by Gambrinus, outside of the Texas market.  Remember the importer had recently purchased Pete’s and would soon acquire Bridgeport Brewing in Portland.

Gambrinus’ demands on their employees created massive turnover, even to the point that employees celebrating a one year anniversary became an anomaly.  Staff began to feel they were nothing more than disposable assets.  Prospective employees would learn of the culture, often believing they could handle the pressure, however, within six months of hiring on with the company I would often hear: “I had no idea that it is this demanding!”

In the last several months, many longtime beer managers have been terminated by their craft/importing company without cause.  Most have 20+ years of experience in sales, marketing and chains.  Each helped their respective companies with dramatic growth and expansion.  Many of these managers believed they were used by their respective employers, and when the employer felt there was no additional value the manager could provide, they were terminated.

Even more recently, a former national director of chains, now representing brands as a hired gun, was interviewing with an east coast craft that had just expanded into Texas.  Once the company learned she had upcoming appointments with HEB and a large c-store chain, they actually approached her with the promise of a job offer if she could get their beer authorized by both retailers!  Obviously, she declined to do so.

It is puzzling why these companies continue to operate in such a fashion given the growth of crafts and the high demand for qualified key employees.  A cursory look at industry job websites, including Bevforce, reveals how many industry positions are available.

One of the individuals mentioned earlier was hired some years ago by an importer after he, and seven other prospective employees, were called to Washington DC for interviews.  All were given a case study and asked to create a chain presentation in one night.  Each gave their presentation the following morning and this particular individual clearly exhibited the most creativity and experience. The company recognized this individual’s capabilities, hired him and less than two year later, and released him without cause. What will they do now?

The explosion of crafts has created a paradigm in the industry.  This segments growth has two major issues:  quality of the liquid, and quality of the employees these breweries hire.

At some point in the future the craft segment will slow, stop expanding, and the breweries who have either compromised their quality or hired less qualified employees will find themselves in trouble.  Not unlike the Gambrinus castoffs, many of whom of went on to become successful leaders for other beer companies, these people will also move on to greatness.

The truest characteristics of ignorance are vanity, pride and arrogance!



 Posted by at 7:00 am