From the editor's desk...

GOOD NEWS...

Ceske Budejovice, Dec 28 (CTK) - Beer production at Budejovicky Budvar, the last Czech state-owned brewery, will increase by five percent to 1.15 million hectolitres this year, the company's PR agency told CTK today. Sales in the domestic market will grow some three percent, while exports will be seven percent higher than last year.

GOOD NEWS...

A study presented to the Society of Neuroscience in late 2006 showed that the equivalent of a drink or two a day improved memory in lab rats.
In 2005, a long-term study of nurses published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicated moderate alcohol use might help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Now those are words that we all like to hear.
During and Margaret Kalev-Zylinska, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, found that rats that drank a moderate amount of alcohol at night performed better on memory tests the next morning than rats that didnít drink.
Beer is nutritious, especially for older people. And a drink or two a day might help stave off heart dis- ease and reduce Type 2 diabetes. I'll drink to that.
A recent Australian study of 12,000 women in their 70s found that one to two drinks a day might increase quality of life and overall survival. I'll drink to that. Another one, please.

GOOD NEWS...

LONDON (Reuters) - Excessive drinking can damage brain cells but the (beer drinking) brain can repair some of the harm, a team of international (beer drinkers)/researchers said recently. The rest of the story was all negative so we've censored it for your consuming pleasure......

GOOD NEWS...

Patients who have low to moderate blood alcohol levels may be less likely to die after arriving at the hospital with a traumatic brain injury than those with no alcohol in their bloodstream, according to a report in the December 06, issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. However, those with the highest alcohol levels appear to have an increased risk of dying in the hospital. ....(Hmm)

GOOD NEWS LADIES (and Gents)...

It has come to our attention that menopause can be alleviated with beer. Beer contains phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are found in Hops, hops are in beer therefore drinking beer is a natural menopause treatment. The Phytoestrogens work by binding to estrogen receptors, and so provide a mild estrogenic effect on the body. Phytoestrogens are not as strong as regular estrogen, but as estrogen levels decline in menopausal women, this boost of estrogen has a balancing effect on the body.

Hops has more typically been used by herbalists for its mild sedative effect. It's great for sleeping problems, and also for nervous gastrointestinal and stomach problems. It is stimulating to the stomach, and has been used for anorexia, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease...

Hops has long been suspected of having an effect on the hormonal system. Before the advent of machine pickers, women and girls picked the plants at harvest, and would often spend 3 weeks doing so. It was observed amongst the young girls picking hops that their menstrual periods would come on early. But it wasn't until hops was studied scientifically that this result was explained and validated. It turns out that hops contains very high levels of phytoestrogens - between 30,000 IU to 300,000 IU per 100 grams. The levels of phytoestrogens are highest when the plant is fresh. The phytoestrogen in hops is called 8-prenylnaringenin (8PN), and is stronger than other estrogens studied so far. It is present in beer, but levels are low compared to levels in plant extracts.

Czech scientists have developed this research by using a new technology to create a non-alcoholic beer that contains the same amounts of hops and malt as regular beer. No mention was made at this stage as to whether the menopause beer would have higher levels of phytoestrogens. The idea came about because as we all know Czech is a strong beer drinking nation, and menopausal women there had low levels of estrogen in their diet.

Scientists have also found hops to have an anti-inflammatory effect. This is very convenient when out for a night on the town tasting beer....Compounds in hops have an effect similar to regular pain killers like ibuprofen, (no kidding !) but with less of a disturbing impact on the gastrointestinal system. These active constituents of hops work in the same way as the arthritis drugs vioxx and celebrex, in that they are COX-2 inhibitors.

Hops is also an antioxidant, it may reduce insulin resistance, and is being investigated for its potential anti tumor properties. Hops was found to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells 'in vitro', or in the lab, paving the way for further studies to be done. Hops should not be taken by people with depression however, according to traditional herbalists. (Nothing like a beer or two...to turn a dark day into sunshine)....

BAD NEWS...

Hop harvest DOWN 30.4 percent year on year, and this yearís per hectare yield of 1.01 ton was 0.37 ton lower than last year, the Czech Hop Growersí Association (SPCh) announced. Sales will drop from last yearís Kc 1 billion to Kc 700 million this year. Farmers had grown hops on 5,414 hectares this year, down 258 hectares on the year, a smaller area than in 1871. In 1993, the area peaked at 10,547. The weather in summer 2006 was terrible....

GOOD NEWS...

Czech beer output seen UP at 19.8 million hectolitres in 2006
Prague, Dec 19 (CTK) - Czech beer output should grow roughly by 4 percent year-on-year to 19.8 million hectolitres this year, Czech Beer and Malt Association head Jan Vesely said today.
Data for January-November suggest a 4 percent increase, and the beer industry should retain this pace at the end of the year, he added.
The growth will still be pulled by exports, which should grow to 3.5 million hectolitres from last year's 3.1 million hectolitres.
Czech breweries are increasingly successful on foreign markets and the ratio of exports to total production grew to almost 18 percent in the first half of the year, against the global average of 6 percent.
Germany was still the largest market for Czech beer exporters, covering 40 percent of the total volume. Slovakia came second.
Vesely said output for the domestic market was likely to grow as well this year, mainly owing to a long, hot summer. (A Hot long summer? I was here, must have missed it).
Czech consumption has been more or less flat around 16 million hectolitres for a long time.
The Beer and Malt Association has said on its website foreigners drink about 12.5 percent of beer sold to the Czech market, which is about 20 liters of the 160 liters sold per head every year.
Total beer output will also grow owing to the increasingly popular alcohol-free beers, said Vesely. In 2005, Czech breweries made 239,000 hectolitres of soft beer, but this year's output may be 100,000 hectolitres higher, also owing to stricter rules for drivers introduced in July.
In 2005, Czech breweries produced 19.07 million hectolitres of beer, a year-on-year growth of 1.7 percent. They exported 3.1 million hectolitres, a growth of 17 percent against 2004.




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