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Lynn M. Walding, Administrator


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 e - NEWS

March 26, 2004


1. Brawl Travels From Ped Mall to UIHC

2. An Unlikely Comeback for Pabst Blue Ribbon

3. College Student Dies of Alcohol Poisoning

4. Heineken USA/Femsa?

5. Lucky Fortune Brands

6. Alcohol and Your Health:  Weighing the Pros and Cons


1. Brawl Travels From Ped Mall to UIHC

By Christina Erb - The Daily Iowan

March 24, 2004


Large fight involving more than 50 people took approximately 20 officers to stop

IOWA CITY, IA -- A March 21 early morning brawl among more than 50 people, which erupted outside the Union Bar and ended at the UI Hospitals and Clinics, began with six patrons assaulting a woman, an employee from a neighboring bar said Tuesday.

David Knight, an assistant manager of Martinis, 127 E. College St., first noticed the fight when a young black woman, who appeared to be in her early 20s, was thrown against his bar's windows at approximately 1:40 a.m. The woman was allegedly one of the many patrons exiting the Union Bar after a hip-hop concert.

"She got slammed into the door," Knight said, adding that she fell to the pavement, crying, surrounded by chunks of her hair that had been torn from her head. "They were kicking her in her head."

Her attackers - four males and two females, Knight said - allegedly continued the assault as a crowd of nearly 30 people surrounded her. Knight said he was unable to help the woman in the mayhem, but Iowa City police arrived within minutes, scattering the crowd. Knight's manager gave the woman ice wrapped in a towel for her face. Her forehead, the area around her eyes, and her lips were swollen and bleeding, he said.

"It didn't look like your typical Saturday night downtown," Knight said. "It was kind of threatening. I told my doormen to stay inside. I locked the doors."

Adding to the disruption, patrons at Martinis were squeezing through the doors nearest the fight. Four men involved in the fight were pushed inside, and Knight told them to leave because the bar was closed.

The four men briefly scuffled inside, leaving one doorman with blood on his shirt and a pool of blood on the bar's white floor. No staff from Martinis was injured during the altercation.

George Barlas, the owner of the Union Bar, did not return repeated calls to his establishment Tuesday. His home phone number is unlisted.

After police arrived in front of the bar, the angry crowd dispersed, then continued fighting near the parking ramp adjacent to the Sheraton Hotel, 210 S. Dubuque St. No weapons were used, said Iowa City police Sgt. Kevin Hurd, adding that four people were arrested by his department at that time.

The hostilities momentarily paused again after Iowa City officers - aided by North Liberty, Coralville, University Heights, and UI police, plus deputies from the Johnson County's Sheriff's Office - broke up the fights. Hurd said it took approximately 20 law-enforcement officers to halt the altercation.

 Iowa City police Sgt. Bill Campbell said that, while it is not uncommon for a fight to take place with a large number of people present, it is highly unusual to have a large number of people participating in a fight.

Out on bail, one brawler went to UIHC emergency trauma center to check on his friends, where, UIHC spokesman Tom Moore said, he and others resumed fighting, knocking over a computer and breaking a desk.

"The staff is very professional and works closely with our safety and security officers," said Moore, adding that the eight UIHC employees on duty were not injured. "So when these instances occur, they know how to handle them."

The departments charged an estimated 14 people visiting from as far as Chicago. Their charges ranged from disorderly conduct and public intoxication to assault on a peace officer.



2. An Unlikely Comeback for Pabst Blue Ribbon

By Jonathan Drew, Associated Press - US Business News

March 19, 2004

Bar patrons enjoy themselves and drink Pabst Blue Ribbon beer at Betty's Food and Spirits in Columbus, Ohio last month. Betty's manager, Elizabeth Lessner, said distributors laughed at her when she began asking for kegs of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer three years ago. Now it's so popular her supplier frequently runs out.

Terry Gilliam / AP




Trend setters, blue-collar workers, students make ‘PBR’ a favorite

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Matt Dixon sips beer from a red, white and blue aluminum can in a smoky corner of Betty’s Food and Spirits, a dimly lit hangout for local artists, college students and restaurant workers.


Bartenders pour 13 different microbrews for $3.75 a pint at Betty’s, but the best-selling beer is Dixon’s choice, $1.50-a-pint Pabst Blue Ribbon, a former blue-collar favorite decades removed from its heyday.


Pabst Blue Ribbon, or simply PBR, is enjoying an unlikely comeback across the country. After a steady decline since the 1970s, sales rose about 5 percent in 2002 and 15 percent in 2003.


“It’s just cold and refreshing,” Dixon said between gulps. “It’s not a bad beer. You just have to get beyond the fact that it’s what your dad drinks.”


In 2001, sales of the 160-year-old brand had fallen to less than 1 million barrels, about one-tenth its peak in 1975, said Pabst Brewing Co. senior brand manager Neal Stewart.


Betty’s owner Elizabeth Lessner said distributors laughed at her when she began asking for kegs of Pabst three years ago. But it was about that time that Pabst’s comeback had started — Stewart said the beer’s resurgence began when young consumers in Portland, Ore., adopted the brew.


There had been no change in marketing. Pabst somehow appealed to trendsetters: punk rockers, people into bluegrass, kayakers and mountain bikers, Stewart said.


The brand is the top seller in Portland’s Lutz Tavern, which began carrying it in 1999 to replace a discontinued regional beer.


“It’s really popular with not only the college students but also the working class guy and the Social Security crowd,” said Lilias Barisich, whose family has operated the bar since 1954.


The revival spread to cities like San Francisco and Seattle before hopping across the country to the Northeast, Stewart said. By some accounts, its young buyers are rebelling against established, mass-marketed brands.


“There’s a theory that there’s a niche out here for a consumer that’s anti-marketing,” said Eric Shepard, executive editor of Beer Marketer’s Insights.


Betty’s owner Lessner said, “People are really sick of the Budweiser-type marketing with naked girls and cars. Pabst is kinda hokey and nostalgic and people like it.”


The San Antonio-based Pabst Brewing Co.’s marketing strategy — or lack thereof — eschews conventional advertising in favor of generating word-of-mouth buzz.


While you won’t find any Pabst commercials on NFL telecasts or FM radio, Stewart said you might notice the company sponsoring an art gallery opening or running ads for bands in local publications. But chances are, the only place you’ll see the Pabst logo is at a local bar or convenience store beer aisle: The company’s marketing budget is minuscule by industry standards.


In 2002, Pabst spent $427,000 on measured media, which includes television, magazines, billboards, radio and newspapers, compared to Anheuser-Busch’s $419 million and Miller’s $275 million.


The low-key approach has resonated with customers. At Betty’s, Tanya Brooks ordered a Pabst and explained she’s sick of beer advertising that exploits women. The 28-year-old waitress said she’d be disappointed to ever see a Pabst Blue Ribbon advertising campaign.


“My dad drank PBR. It was never about being sexy,” she said.


At the Cave, a bar known for live music across the street from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Pabst is one of the most popular and cheapest beers, owner Dave Sorrell said.

“It’s what I drink,” he said. “It’s just a plain, old, simple beer.”


Distributors across the country confirm the brand’s success but say they don’t quite understand it. In Nashville, Tenn., sales shot up 99 percent in 2003, said DET Distributing Co. general manager John Curley.


“It’s almost got this cult-type following,” he said. “I have never seen that kind of growth, especially in a brand that’s been down and out.”


On Chicago’s north side, Louis Glunz Beer Inc. added Pabst to a list of beers it recommends to bars and stores after sales went up by about 35 percent in each of the past two years, general manager Jerry Glunz said.


“Pabst was not that kind of beer you had to sell in only the cheap joints anymore,” he said.


Despite PBR’s success, its parent company is still a distant fourth in the domestic beer market, Shepard said. In 2003, the Pabst Brewing Co. sold an estimated 8 million barrels overall and 1 million barrels of PBR, while Anheuser-Busch sold about 103 million barrels, Miller 38 million and Coors 22 million.


“It’s a nice story for Pabst that Pabst Blue Ribbon has caught on and is quite popular in many markets, but I don’t know if any of the major brewers are quaking in their boots,” Shepard said.






3. College Student Dies of Alcohol Poisoning

March 20, 2004

MOORHEAD, MN - Jason Reinhardt started drinking the first minute he could legally drink the drug beverage alcohol. He engaged in a tradition well known in Minnesota called having a "POWER HOUR." The power hour is an attempt to drink 21 drinks in the first hour after his 21st birthday.

Reinhardt died later that night showing a blood alcohol level of .36 percent, police reported Friday. He was died at the Phi Sigma Kappa House near Minnesota State University - Moorhead.

The police investigators said that Reinhardt drank no less than 16 drinks between midnight and 1 a.m.

Reinhardt's mother, Anne Buchanan, issued a statement saying he had celebrated his birthday by taking part in a "power hour," an attempt to down 21 drinks in an hour. She went on to say "We had the typical mother-son conversation just hours before he left," Buchanan said at a news conference. "I warned him about power hour - that he didn't need to go and overdo the drinking. I reminded him of the young man who nearly lost his life due to an overdose during his power hour."

Lance Jerstad, a North Dakota State University student from West Fargo, nearly died from alcohol poisoning on his 21st birthday in November 2002. He was hospitalized with a 0.52 blood alcohol level spent nearly three weeks recovering.

Buchanan said her son and his friends had taken part in four other power hours over the last two weeks and nothing bad happened.

"Jason hugged me and said he loved me and he would be fine," she said.

She was speaking out in an attempt to help other parents and young adults realize the dangers of alcohol abuse, she said.



4. Heineken USA/Femsa?

Beer Business Daily

March 21, 2004


 "We had a good performance in a challenging year," began Rene Graafland, a director of Heineken at an analyst junket in New York on Thursday.

HUSA depletions in 2003 were up 2.3% while the import segment was up 1.9%. Northeast (37% of HUSA’s volume) depletions were down 3.5% compared to 16% for the entire beer market. So HUSA’s strategy is to push their "brands where they are underrepresented," said Rene, like the West and the convenience channel. So far it’s working, with the the West up 10% while convenience volume was up 14%.

PRICE INCREASE. Will HUSA increase pricing? "There is a serious possibility of that," said HUSA chief Franz van der Minne. Franz said they will see whether the Corona price increase will stick (it appears to be sticking so far) and make a decision to follow in April or May. Clearly, Heineken is leaving money on the table in the on-premise, where bars price Corona and Heineken together based on the highest price of the two.

2004 VOLUME. "The start is a little bit slower than we expected" said Franz. He said that the year has been sluggish not just for Heineken, but for all brewers. I’ll buy that. He said that HUSA continues to gain share of the imported beer segment.

FEMSA/HEINEKEN COMBINATION? "Femsa will clearly look for a partner [in the US]," said Rene. "They will look at SABMiller or us." Rene indicated that he does not believe Femsa Cerveza will import their brands in the US alone, but will seek a partner. He also said that Femsa is not interested in selling off its beer division to focus on its Coke assets. He feels that HUSA has a good chance to import the Femsa brands, which would give HUSA more scale in the West and Southwest, where HUSA is weakest.


5. Lucky Fortune Brands

By Alyce Lomax

March 18, 2004

Jim Beam whiskey may sound a bit unappetizing for those who had a little too much green beer last night for St. Patrick's Day. However, Jim Beam is one of the brands giving Fortune Brands (NYSE: FO) a reason to celebrate. The company said that its first-quarter outlook is better than previously anticipated, sending the stock to a new 52-week high today.

Fortune Brands' management vowed to grow its first-quarter earnings per share by 19% or more in the coming first quarter, raising the estimate to $0.82 per share or more. It said several factors helped it raise expectations, including broad-based demand, improvements in supply chain efficiency, and the weak dollar.

This operating company is the name behind many very well-known brands, including Jim Beam's adult beverages, Moen faucets, Master Lock padlocks, and Swingline office products, including the famous staplers. (Here's more information on how holding companies work.)

While it's hard to resist using the term "luck o' the Irish" on the day after St. Paddy's Day, really, when you look at the current economic environment, there wasn't much luck involved in Fortune Brands' recent success. Homebuying is still in. People are more willing to spend money on luxuries like spirits, and probably golf, another Fortune business. Heck, some businesses are hiring again, and some of those hires will probably be looking for their new Swingline staplers. (Hopefully, not with the zeal of Milton Waddams from Office Space.)

When it comes to booze, Brown-Forman (NYSE: BFB) makes a strong competitor. It's in the whiskey biz, too, offering Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort. Other brands include Korbel champagnes and Fetzer wines. It also makes the Lenox and Dansk lines of china.

Both companies seem positioned to take advantage of an improving economic outlook. Back in February, Brown-Forman planned aggressive advertising to push its brands of spirits. Whether that will take some of the swagger out of Fortune Brands' Jim Beam remains to be seen.



6. Alcohol and Your Health:  Weighing the Pros and Cons


March 25, 2004


For every news story you read about the benefits of alcohol, another seems to warn you of the risks. This conflicting information can be confusing and frustrating.


Unfortunately, researchers have been unable to conclude whether alcohol's health benefits outweigh its risks. You may find no easy answers because so many factors influence the results. Your current health status and medical history plus your age, sex and weight all factor into the equation.


So should you avoid alcohol? Or can you continue to enjoy your wine with dinner? The answer may depend on who you are and how much alcohol you drink.



 Heart health

Studies show that moderate alcohol consumption — one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men — lowers the risk of heart attack for people in middle age by roughly 30 percent to 50 percent. If you've had a previous heart attack, alcohol may also have a role in preventing additional heart attacks and reducing your risk of heart failure. Researchers have also found that alcohol can reduce your chances of dying of a heart attack.


Studies also suggest that moderate alcohol consumption decreases your risk of coronary artery disease. The studies indicate that alcohol can raise the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) in your body. HDL removes cholesterol from your arteries, lowering your risk of atherosclerosis — the accumulation of fatty deposits (plaques) in your arteries.


 Stroke prevention

If your blood pressure is normal, alcohol may reduce your risk of ischemic stroke — blockage of an artery supplying blood to your brain. It may help prevent blood clots and reduce the blood vessel damage caused by fat deposits.


Other benefits

Light drinking also has been shown to reduce the development of blocked arteries in your legs (peripheral arterial disease). Preliminary evidence also suggests that small amounts of alcohol may protect against senility and Alzheimer's disease.


There's no agreement on whether wine is better for you than beer or liquor. Some studies suggest that red wine is better for you because it contains such beneficial compounds as resveratrol. Other studies document the same cardiovascular benefits for all three.



When considering the potential benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, don't forget the potential risks. Studies often reveal conflicting information about alcohol, and many results are often preliminary. But misuse or abuse of alcohol can lead to accidents, emotional problems and alcoholism.


Even in small amounts, alcohol can have negative effects on your health. It can:


Slow your brain activity, affecting your alertness, coordination and reaction time

Interfere with your sleep and sexual function

Produce headaches

Raise your blood pressure

Contribute to heartburn

Heavy or binge drinking increases your risk of accidents and falls. Over time, heavy drinking raises your risk of:


Liver, kidney, lung and heart disease



High blood pressure


The American Cancer Society reports that excess alcohol also increases your risk of mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver and breast cancers. When combined with the use of tobacco, excess alcohol intake increases your risk of many types of cancer even more.


In addition, alcohol can interact with many common prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. It can weaken the effects of certain beta blockers and can be dangerous if consumed with tranquilizers, sleeping pills, antihistamines or pain relievers.


If you combine alcohol with aspirin, you face an increased risk of stomach bleeding. And if you use alcohol and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), you increase your risk of liver damage. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration requires that all OTC pain relievers and fever reducers carry a warning label advising those who consume three or more drinks a day to consult with their doctor before using the drug.


Some people shouldn't drink at all because of certain health conditions, such as:


High blood pressure

Heart rhythm abnormalities, such as atrial fibrillation or arrhythmias

Liver disease


Severe acid reflux

Sleep apnea

Women who are pregnant, are trying to conceive or are breast-feeding are advised to avoid alcohol. If you have a family history of alcoholism, it's recommended that you not drink.


All in moderation

Until more is known about how alcohol affects your health, your best bet — if you choose to drink — is to drink in moderation. Generally, moderation means no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men. Because of their body chemistry and composition, women are more sensitive to alcohol's effects than are men. A drink is defined as 12 ounces (oz.) of beer, 5 oz. of wine or 1.5 oz. of 80-proof distilled spirits.


Because of age-related changes, older adults process alcohol more slowly. It takes fewer drinks to become intoxicated, and the effects last longer. For people age 65 and older, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines moderation as one drink a day or less.


Above all, don't feel pressured to drink. Few medical experts, if any, advise nondrinkers to start drinking. But if you do drink and you're healthy, there's no need to stop as long as you drink responsibly and in moderation.