Archive for July 15th, 2008

by jhwygirl

The Good Gov reminded Anheuser-Busch of its commitments to Montana barley producers last week after hearing word that Belgian Brewer InBev was seeking to purchase the long-standing American brewer.

His concerns were spot-on, as InBev “acquired” Anheuser-Busch yesterday. Was it hostile?

Maybe not.

The beer market is, apparently, hot. What it looks like is that in the end, InBev gave them a $52,000,000 offer they couldn’t refuse.

Or maybe it was that extra $5.

Montana is the U.S.’s 3rd larger producer of barley – the main ingredient in beer, for those of you not in the know – and we provide 1/4th of the barley for Anheuser-Busch. Many farmers sign commitment contracts, agreeing to hold their best for A-B.

Anheuser is the largest buyer of Montana barley.

Anheuser has significant investments in Montana – not to mention significant payrolls: Between just Conrad, Sidney and Fairfield (the Barley Capital of the World), A-B has a payroll of $1,000,000.

Come to think of it, farmer Senator Jon Tester is a barley man.

Jon, it appears, as been paying attention too: While the deal still needs approval by both InBev and A-B stockholders along with review from U.S. and European Union antitrust regulators, both Jon and Senator Clair McCaskill (D-MO) – my pick for Obama’s Vice-Presidential choice, incidentally – have said that the deal is going to receive congressional scrutiny if needed.

InBev CEO Carlos Brito doesn’t expect any problems.

St. Louis, on the other hand, is feeling screwed.

Local brew pubs here in Montana might want to kick in….I know that some do NOT use Montana malt barley. Dare I say Canadian? Don’t know why, but you’d think they could find reason to do so, for a batch or two. US made? Avoid all that non-eco-friendly transportation of barley and hops?

Then again, maybe it’s because the Montana producers reserve their best stuff for A-B.

Which leads me to hops….

Hops (beer’s second ingredient) is an entirely different story here in Montana. Montana doesn’t even rank as a hops producer, that I could find. Actually, I do know some guys that have one growing on the back porch…..

Only Washington, Oregon and Idaho produce significant amounts of hops, (74%, 16%, 10%, respectively). Maybe we don’t have the proper type of soils and precipitation? I’m familiar with the hops-growing area in Idaho, and it’s darn similar to Montana’s barley land.

Maybe in the interest of diversification (didn’t I read something about Schweitzer and mint and toothpaste?) we should start growing some hops right here in Montana, and then someone can open a Beer Montana ala Wheat Montana.

Wouldn’t that be neat?

by Pete Talbot

As reported by the Missoulian’s Keila Szpaller, city council conservatives are all aflutter over a recent post on the list serve called MissoulaGov. The first thing to note is this is not an organ of Missoula’s city government but a private list serve created by Ward 3’s Bob Jaffe to keep citizens informed on Missoula City Council issues.

Ward 1’s Jason Weiner Wiener wrote the most recent post as Jaffe was out of town. Wiener revealed how committees would be run if the conservatives were in the majority (which they happened to be on the Public Safety and Health Committee because a bunch of committee members were out of town for work, vacations, etc.). From Wiener’s report:

“With the self-style conservative minority firmly in control of the votes, I’d venture to guess we got a taste of their governing style.”

That style included questioning contracts without good reason and also some vote changing that went so fast a minute-taker couldn’t keep track, plus the meeting cut into the following Plat, Annexation and Zoning Committee because of the PS&H Committee’s “pile-up.”

Well, John Hendrickson (Ward 2) and Jon Wilkins (Ward 4) got their panties in a knot over Wiener’s report. Sometimes the truth can hurt.

So, John and Jon, you don’t like Jaffe’s list serve? Start your own.

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