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Lift Your Glass to Standards on International Beer Day


New York, Aug 02, 2013

Today, beer enthusiasts all over the world will mark International Beer Day by enjoying a stein or tulip glass filled with their favorite lager or ale. International Beer Day was created in Santa Cruz, California, in 2007 by a small group of beer enthusiasts as an informal event; however, word soon spread, and the celebration is observed annually in more than 100 cities around the world. And as companies and organizations work to meet demand for ales and lagers, voluntary consensus standards support efforts to keep beer safe, tasty, and available.

Over the years, a wide variety of beer styles have developed, influenced both by cultural factors and available ingredients. One common element of virtually every type of beer, however, is the use of cereals – particularly barley, wheat, and rye – as a major flavoring ingredient. An International Standard, ISO 712:2009, Cereals and cereal products - Determination of moisture content - Reference method, sets down a reference method for measuring the moisture content of cereals and cereal products, making it easier for brewers to maintain a consistent flavor for their beer. The standard was developed by International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Commitee (TC) 34, Food Products, subcommittee (SC) 4, Cereals and pulses. American National Standards Institute (ANSI) member the American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS) serves as the ANSI-accredited administrator of the U.S. TAG to ISO TC 34.

Even more than grains, water is essential to the creation of beer – after all, without it, you would just have a pile of cereals, hops, and yeast. NSF/ANSI 53 - 2012, Drinking water treatment units - Health effects, provides minimum requirements for the design, creation, and performance of drinking water treatment systems intended to reduce the amount of contaminants in water supplies, including public drinking water commonly used by brewers. The standard was developed by NSF International, an ANSI member and audited designator.

While beer is often refreshing and full of flavor, the alcohol it contains holds the potential to pose health and safety risks to drinkers if they drink too much, or drink too quickly. Thankfully, a standard developed by ANSI audited designator ASTM International provides useful guidance in this area. The standard, ASTM E1879-00(2010), Standard Guide for Sensory Evaluation of Beverages Containing Alcohol, covers sample preparation procedures for beer and many other alcoholic drinks, and addresses preparation, safety, and legal issues related to such drinks.

When you’re walking down the street, looking for a place to enjoy a beer, often a neon beer sign bearing the name of a popular brewery is one of the first things you look for. ANSI/UL 879-2008, Electric Sign Components, covers electromechanical components, including the neon lighting seen in the beer signs hung in the window of your favorite bar. The standard was developed by ANSI audited designator Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL). Another standard from UL, UL 197 Ed. 10 (2010), Commercial Electric Cooking Appliances, sets down requirements for indoor electric cooking appliances of less than 600 volts, including the popcorn machines that many bars use to provide free snacks to their customers – though, of course, eating too much salty free popcorn may result in a sudden craving for another beer.

Whether you’re cracking open a cold one in your backyard or enjoying an evening out with friends, voluntary consensus standards make it easier to enjoy International Beer Day safely and responsibly.

For more information on International Beer Day, visit the official website at www.internationalbeerday.com.

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