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Inside Beer (Jul 18th, 2019)

1. UK-based Sainsbury's supermarket has a no- and low-alcohol pop-up in the works. Over the past 12 weeks, the grocery chain has seen a 31.8 percent increase of sales of no- and low-alcohol beverages and a 33 percent increase of customers searching for those same beverages online. The pop-up, which opens next week, will offer 20 drinks including Lucky Saint Beer, Everleaf Spritz and a non-alcoholic whiskey alternative, Celtic Soul. Sainsbury's will also offer cocktail classes and tastings. -- BEVERAGE DAILY 

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2. Dollar sales of beer, cider flavored malt beverages grew 4.9 percent in off-premise retailers during the Fourth of July holiday week compared to the same holiday week in 2018, according to Nielson. Sales of beer, however, were down 1.6 percent, yet they still had their strongest week of the year. The increase in sales is mostly due to the hard seltzer craze. Sales of hard seltzer increased 147 percent from last year's numbers. The top three growth brands from last year's July 4th sales to this year's were White Claw Hard Seltzer Assorted Pack, Modelo Especial and Michelob Ultra. -- BEVNET

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3. Throwback Thursday: 1982 The Great American Beer Festival.

I've seen several suggestions on how to score a ticket to the three-day 2019 Great American Beer Festival held in Colorado in October. But let's look back at the festival's humble beginnings. Founded in 1982 by Charlie Papazian, who also founded the Association of Brewers which eventually merged with The Brewers Association of America, the inaugural event happened June 3-5 in 1982.

The very first Great American Beer Festival had 24 participating breweries pouring 47 beers including Genesee Cream Ale, Killian's Irish Red Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Stout. A mere 800 people attended the first festival that now draws a crowd of 60,000. The program from the 1982 festival is available to view online and includes a list of participating breweries, speakers, and a glossary of beer terms. It seems from the program that the first festival also included a country wine competition.

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4. The secret location of Busch's Pop-Up bar in a national forest is close to being revealed. Busch has been giving easy-to-guess clues on Twitter over the past few days. Yesterday, the clue led those on the hunt to Missouri. Today's clue, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated," pointed to Mark Twain National Forest. The pop-up happens on July 20, so it's safe to assume there will be at least one more clue tomorrow to narrow down the exact location. -- Busch Beer / Twitter

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5. Head brewer Jaega Wise of Wild Card Brewery in north-east London is one of the craft beer scenes most influential operators. In an interview, she reveals how her background in engineering fits in well with brewing, why she left engineering for beer, and talks about why she chooses the beers she brews. -- IMBIBE

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6. Non-alcoholic beer inching toward something resembling fashionable. As the sober-curious movement continues to gain ground, more .05 ABV and lower beers are coming on the market from both large breweries like Heinekin's 0.0 and small breweries like Athletic Brewing Co.'s Run Wild. The era of NA beer may just be getting started. -- ESQUIRE

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7. The new Utah Consumer Coalition is advocating for better beer laws. Its first order of business is to change the state's laws so higher alcohol beer can be served on tap. A new law increase that goes into effect on November 1 allows for increase from 3.2 to 4 percent, but the coalition wants to increase that to allow for a greater variety of beer choices for Utah residents. -- THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

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8.  There's a marketing team behind every trendy drink of the summer. The fight to become summer's "it" drink is fierce, and beer companies are well aware of this. They have their own marketers working on summer-friendly beverages, even if they're not beer like Corona's Refresca, which calls itself a spiked refresher, although it's really a hard seltzer. -- VOX

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9. Lagunitas has turned its classic Little Sumpin' Sumpin' into a hazy beer. It's just released its Little Sumpin’ Hazy, an unfiltered version of the beer, designed to taste like you’re drinking it straight from the tank. This re-invented fan favorite "fits the bill of a hazy ale - but with Lagunitas' distinct spin." -- PORCH DRINKING

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10. Bud Light is courting aliens - space aliens that is. Playing off the recent joke of an Area 51 raid, the brand at first tweeted that it would be "the first brand to formally announce that we will not be sponsoring the Area 51 raid," and quickly followed that up with "Screw it. Free Bud Light to any alien that makes it out." If any aliens do make it out and claim their free beer, I will definitely let you know! -- CNN

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Robin Shreeves is a wine, beer, spirits and travel writer. She's the wine columnist and restaurant and beverage features writer for the Courier Post newspaper in New Jersey. She holds an Intermediate Sommelier certification from the Wine School of Philadelphia. Her food and drinks writing can be found at Wine Enthusiast, VinePair, Food Network, Spirited magazine, USA Today, Mother Nature Network, Drink Nation, Edible Philly and Edible Jersey. Visit her website wineandwonder.com and follow her on Instagram at @rshreeves

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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