The Schlafly Beer Employee Blog

December 2, 2013

Top Fermentation - December 2013


The Monthly Editorial Blog By Schlafly Beer Co-Founder Tom Schlafly

Some alert readers (ARs) may recall my column from May, 2011, in which I wrote:

Pope Alexander VI…distinguished himself in many ways, not least in hosting orgies worthy of some of the most debauched emperors of ancient Rome. One particularly scandalous party, as described by the papal master of ceremonies, took place on Sunday, October 30, 1501 at the pope’s apartment in the apostolic palace. The guests included his children Don Cesare and Donna Lucrezia; and the entertainment involved “50 decent prostitutes” performing tricks not suitable for describing in The Growler.

In fairness to His Holiness, Pope Alexander did more than throw wild parties. On May 4, 1493 he issued a papal bull that defined an important national boundary in the western hemisphere. Inter Caetera, which was supposed to settle a dispute between Spain and Portugal, granted to the Crowns of Castile and Aragon all lands to the west and south of a pole to pole line 100 leagues west and south of the Azores or the Cape Verde islands.

Inter Caetera was modified and clarified one year later by The Treaty of Tordesillas, which ceded much of what is now Brazil to Portugal and granted the rest of South America to Spain. Five centuries later this treaty has been invoked by Chile to defend its claim to part of Antarctica and by Argentina to bolster its claim to the islands it calls Las Malvinas and the British call The Falklands. In 2012 President Barack Obama talked about these islands in a speech to the Summit of the Americas at Cartagena, Colombia, mistakenly calling them The Maldives, which is actually a group of 26 atolls off the south coast of India.

popealexanderviAt Home in Brazil?

Brazil, which achieved independence from Portugal in 1822, is perhaps best known today for its coffee, currently accounting for about one third of international coffee sales. Consider Frank Sinatra’s “Coffee Song” from 1946:

Way down among Brazilians
Coffee beans grow by the billions.
So they’ve got to find those extra cups to fill.
They’ve got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil.

You can’t get cherry soda
‘Cause they’ve got to fill that quota.
And the way things are I’ll bet they never will.
They’ve got a zillion tons of coffee in Brazil.

No tea or tomato juice.
You’ll see no potato juice.
The planters down in Santos all say no no no.

The politician’s daughter
Was accused of drinking water
And was fined a great big fifty dollar bill.
They’ve got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil.

With all due respect to Frank Sinatra, coffee is most assuredly not the only beverage option in Brazil. While it may be hard to find water, cherry soda, tea or tomato juice, there’s nevertheless an awful lot of beer flowing from breweries owned by Brazilians. The largest brewery in the world, which is based in Brazil, controls about one quarter of the global beer market. Its market share in Brazil is approximately 70% and is almost that high in St. Louis.

While Brazilians may already be drinking an awful lot of beer, my guess is that an awful lot more will be consumed from June 12 to July 13, 2014, when their nation hosts the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1950. ARs, especially those from St. Louis, will recall that was the year when an American team that included several players from St. Louis stunned the world by beating England 1-0. 

Bars and restaurants aren’t the only Brazilian businesses gearing up for the World Cup. Brothels, which are legal in Brazil, are also anticipating a huge influx of visitors, perhaps none more than Centaurus, a legendary bordello in Ipanema whose clientele has included the Mexican national soccer team, the actor Vin Diesel and the pop star Justin Bieber. (The latter famously hid beneath a bedsheet in an unsuccessful effort to avoid being photographed by paparazzi.) According to The New York Times, Centaurus features an elegant bar on the second floor, which presumably offers a wide selection of Brazilian beers…but no Schlafly, I hasten to add. The prostitutes hanging out at the bar are reputed to be among the best in the world, meaning Alexander VI would undoubtedly feel right at home in this part of the nation he helped to establish.