Liquor Industry News 6-18-13

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Tuesday June 18th 2013

No Biodynamic Rating Today

 

Famous Grouse maker in £10m expansion

 

Source: The Scotsman

By PETER RANSCOMBE

17/06/2013

 

FAMOUS Grouse maker Edrington is preparing to follow in the footsteps of larger rivals Diageo and Pernod Ricard by expanding its production as the whisky industry gears up to sate the continuing overseas thirst for Scotch.

 

The group – which also produces Cutty Sark, Highland Park and The Macallan – is running the rules over plans to increase output from its distilleries as it prepares to post its full-year results in a fortnight’s time.

 

Chief executive Ian Curle told The Scotsman that the company is more likely to expand its current sites rather than building another distillery, although all options were still open.

 

“Over the next two or three years we will probably put additional capacity into some of our existing sites,” he said.

 

“Like many of our competitors, we’re seeing a positive outlook for the years to come.

 

“We’re still looking at the numbers but it could well be a significant expansion. We’re evaluating the options but it’s more likely to be around our existing distillation sites.

 

“I don’t think we’d be thinking about greenfield developments.”

 

News of Edrington’s ramp-up of production comes amid a flurry of expansions within the Scotch industry.

 

On Friday, French spirits giant Pernod Ricard – which owns Paisley-based Chivas Brothers, Scotland’s second-largest distiller and the owner of labels including Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet and Royal Salute – signalled its commitment to increasing production in Scotland despite a slowdown in sales growth in the Chinese market.

 

Chivas Brothers is building a facility at Carron, on the banks of the River Spey, at a site previously occupied by the Imperial distillery, having already re-opened its Glen Keith unit and expanded Glenallachie, Glentauchers, Longmorn and Tormore.

 

In April, arch-rival Diageo – the biggest Scotch distiller and maker of Bell’s, Johnnie Walker and Talisker – selected Teaninich near Alness in Easter Ross as the site for its next £50 million “super-distillery”, following on from the opening of Roseisle near Elgin in 2010.

 

Curle’s comments came as Edrington unveiled a £10m expansion of its overseas distribution network, bringing work in-house that was previously contracted out to third parties. Under what Curle described as a “step-change” in its business, Edrington will take control of its own distribution in the Middle East, south-east Asia and the United States. Together, the three markets account for about 26 per cent of total sales at the group, which is owned by the Robertson Trust, a charity that shares its profits with good causes.

 

Curle said: “Today’s announcement marks a step change in Edrington’s business. Worldwide demand for premium and super-premium spirits continues to grow and by expanding our distribution capabilities so significantly we are seizing the opportunity to increase investment in our brands.”

 

Under the plans, Edrington USA will take over distribution across the Pond from Rémy Cointreau USA. In the Middle East, Edrington FIX – a joint venture with FIX Wines & Spirits – will launch on 1 August, while Edrington Singapore will take over from Beam Global Asia.

 

Edrington’s profits in the year to 31 March, 2012, rose by 5.2 per cent to £148.8m, on the back of a 0.5 per cent increase in sales to £556.1m.

 

 

——

India: Your glass of Scotch whisky, French wine may get cheaper soon

 

Source: NDTV

By: Ramarko Sengupta

June 18, 2013

 

So, you like your glass of exquisite Scotch at the end of a hard day’s work but at the same time you can’t help but complain about the spiralling prices of everything including that bottle of imported Scotch you picked up on your way back from work.

 

Your woes may soon have an answer in the government proposing to cut import duty on spirits and wines to 40 per cent.

 

According to reports, Commerce and Industry minister Anand Sharma has made an offer to the European Union (EU) as part of a free trade agreement (FTA) to slash the import duty on spirits and wines to 40 per cent from 150 per cent currently.

 

India also proposed to cut the entry price per bottle of wine to $3.7 (around Rs 217) and whisky to $5.5 (Around Rs 322).

 

So, if you are a connoisseur of French wine or Scotch whisky, this sure will be music to your ears- notes of Scotland’s famous bagpipe if you will.

 

However, with cheaper imports flooding the market, India’s domestic spirits and wines industry is likely to take a hit, as more and more people may move to the imported variety shunning the domestic produce.

 

Indians are ‘high’ on Scotch, with the market for arguably Scotland’s most popular produce growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 30 per cent.

 

India imports 16 million litres of scotch whisky annually.

 

The move by the government is seen benefitting companies like Pernord-Ricard and Diageo India.

 

 

——

Royal row for Diageo as top Irish lawyer slams Guinness ‘PR coup’

 

Source: Beverage Daily

Jun 17th

 

The director general (DG) of the Law Society of Ireland has reportedly said that the Irish government should stop foreign dignitaries like Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip from being pictured with a pint of Guinness, branding it the ‘greatest PR coup ever’ for Diageo.

 

http://www.beveragedaily.com/Regulation-Safety/Royal-row-for-Diageo-as-top-Irish-lawyer-slams-Guinness-PR-coup

 

 

——

Heineken Weighs New Brewery for Mexico Comeback in AB InBev Duel

 

Source: Bloomberg

By Brendan Case

Jun 17, 2013

 

Heineken NV (HEIA) may build a new brewery in Mexico as it wins back market share lost after its 2010 purchase of the nation’s second-largest brewer, said Marc Busain, the company’s top executive in the country.

 

The Amsterdam-based brewer, the world’s third-largest, boosted its Mexican market share last year to about 42 percent after a decline in 2011, Busain said last week in an interview in Mexico City.

 

The gain is bolstering Heineken as Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI), the world’s largest brewer, completes a $20.1 billion purchase of Corona maker Grupo Modelo SAB (GMODELOC) and Mexico’s antitrust regulator decides whether to allow more competition in beer. Heineken, with brands including Tecate and Sol, is studying plans to build its seventh brewery in Mexico by 2016, assuming growth continues and the government doesn’t raise beer taxes.

 

“We want to gain a lot of market share here in Mexico,” said Busain, president and chief executive officer of Heineken’s Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma unit. “When you have a combination of the positive demographics and the economic growth and you have every year about 1 million people reaching the drinking age, that’s where you need to be.”

 

While Busain declined to say how much Heineken might spend on a new plant, a brewery of the size being considered typically would cost as much as 400 million euros ($534 million), he said. The company is studying possible locations.

 

Key Market

 

“Given the importance of the country, given the fact that we export a lot to the United States, at a certain moment you might have spare capacity in the south, but it would be pretty expensive to bring it to the U.S.,” Busain said.

 

AB InBev, based in Leuven, Belgium, completed its purchase of the half of Modelo it didn’t already own on June 4, setting up a Mexican showdown with Heineken. The Belgian brewer also sold Modelo’s U.S. business, including a Mexican brewery near the Texas border, as part of an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department.

 

Laura Vallis, a spokeswoman for AB InBev, didn’t immediately respond to e-mailed requests for comment.

 

Modelo, Mexico’s largest brewer, still has three breweries in northern Mexico, which according to Busain is Heineken’s stronghold.

 

“The coming years will be very interesting here,” said Busain, who has been in Mexico since early 2012 following stints in the Netherlands, France, Egypt, Burundi and Congo, the former Zaire.

 

Gaining Ground

 

Heineken has been winning back market share it lost to Modelo in 2011, according to Lauren Torres, an analyst at HSBC Holdings Plc. Modelo’s domestic volume slid 0.3 percent last year after climbing 6.1 percent in 2011.

 

“There were some mishaps in the first couple of years when they did lose some market share,” Torres said in a telephone interview from New York. “But as a result of new initiatives in marketing and distribution, they’ve gained it back.”

 

Marcela Cristo, a spokeswoman for Modelo, declined to comment.

 

Mexico’s Federal Competition Commission extended a deadline to decide whether exclusive beer distribution agreements held by Heineken and Modelo run afoul of the nation’s antitrust rules. A decision is now expected around the end of the month.

 

Antitrust Risk

 

In a worst-case scenario, a finding against the two beer giants could lead to an 8 percent volume decline in Mexico for Heineken and a 12 percent short-term drop in its Mexican earnings before interest and taxes, according to Trevor Stirling, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in London. That could lead to as much as a 1.5 percent reduction in the Dutch brewer’s total earnings per share, Stirling wrote in a June 10 research report.

 

Heineken has been cooperating with the commission’s investigation, Busain said. He declined to comment on potential outcomes.

 

“If there would be a ruling that would dramatically change the rules of the game, we will be prepared to play the game according to these new rules,” Busain said. “That would be far less impactful to our business than a lot of people might assume.”

 

Heineken may adapt its U.S. marketing icon for Dos Equis, the “Most Interesting Man in the World,” to sell beer in Mexico as well, Busain said.

 

Beer Taxes

 

Busain said Heineken is watching closely whether beer taxes will rise as President Enrique Pena Nieto prepares to propose a tax overhaul in the second half of the year. Mexico temporarily raised excise duties on beer to 26.5 percent from 25 percent in 2010 with a plan to lower them to 26 percent in 2013, according to the Finance Ministry. The ministry said late last year that the rate wouldn’t be lowered this year.

 

An aide with the Finance Ministry’s press office declined to comment.

 

“It’s important for us, and I think it’s also important for the reputation of the Mexican government,” Busain said. “Further investments will absolutely depend on us knowing that we operate in an environment where they will not shoot from the hip.”

 

 

——

Whyte & Mackay Americas engages BBG to represent Scotch whisky portfolio

 

Source: DBR

18 June 2013

 

Whyte & Mackay Americas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Scotland-based alcoholic beverages company Whyte & Mackay, has selected Blackheath Beverage Group (BBG) to represent Whyte & Mackay’s Scotch whiskey portfolio in the US.

 

Formed in August 2012, BBG uses its proprietary sales force and marketing team to help increase the business of spirits brand owners and suppliers.

 

Under the new partnership, BBG will immediately work with Whyte & Mackay team to help drive the growth of the Scotch brands in the country.

 

Whyte & Mackay Americas vice president Jorge Gutierrez said Dalmore and Jura malt whiskies have been on a fast track in an outstanding category.

 

“Cluny Blended Scotch Whisky is also growing strongly despite an overall segment decline,” Gutierrez added.

 

“Blackheath have put together an experienced, energetic team that we believe will help to increase our market penetration and accelerate the development of our brands in the US market.”

 

BBG CEO Jay Harkins said he could not be happier than to have the opportunity to work with the Whyte & Mackay team and represent such outstanding brands in the marketplace.

 

“In combination the Blackheath and Whyte & Mackay sales infrastructures will ensure that Dalmore, Jura, Cluny and John Barr continue to outperform the market,” Harkins added.

 

 

——

Drinking alcohol to shrink?

 

Source: Fox News

By Karen Ansel, R.D.

June 17, 2013

 

Alcohol and your weight have a tricky relationship. So tricky, in fact, that experts have had a tough time nailing down exactly why some women wind up with a beer gut (or butt) while others drink daily and never seem to gain a pound.

 

Here’s what we know: Your average drink-beer, wine, martini, pick your poison-is usually a combination of carbs, sugar and ethanol (pure alcohol). When it goes down the hatch, it makes a pit stop at your stomach, where some of the alcohol is absorbed through the lining and into your bloodstream, giving you that initial buzz. The carbs and sugar go the traditional digestive route, while ethanol, a toxin, is diverted to the liver.

 

This is when that innocent little drink starts messing with your internal fat incinerator. Ethanol has no nutritional value, so your body burns it off first. That means any remaining calories in your stomach-whether they’re from the margarita or the chips and guacamole you had with it-will likely be stored as fat.

 

And the more fattening the foods you eat, the easier the calories are to store. (Bear in mind that research published in Physiology & Behavior found that alcohol makes us focus on immediate pleasure and ignore the consequences, which often results in eating junk food.) Unlike protein and carbs, which require some energy for the body to break down and store, fat can directly deposit itself, so those chips are first in line to be plastered to your thighs.

 

Still, the situation might not be as bleak as it appears, because the real problem may not be drinking itself, but how often and how hard we hit the bottle.

 

A 2010 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine may be the best news for booze since the 21st Amendment. Researchers found that women who had one or two alcoholic drinks a day were actually less likely to gain weight than those who shunned the sauce. And they did it while consuming more calories overall (from food and drink) than both heavy drinkers and teetotalers.

 

Short of striking a deal with the devil, how did they manage to pull that off? Researchers believe that the bodies of long-term moderate drinkers somehow adapt to metabolize alcohol differently than heavy or occasional drinkers. They use more energy, burning the calories in the drink-or even more than that-while digesting it, Dr. Lu Wang, the lead researcher of the study and an instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said.

 

Researchers are still working out the specifics of how and why this happens, but they’ve figured out that for women who drink up to eight ounces of an alcoholic beverage a day, those calories simply don’t end up as extra fat.

 

Of course, there’s a catch. Women who bank their daily drinks for weekends or girls’ nights out don’t qualify for the free-calorie plan (and among the 18-to-25 crowd, this “binge” behavior is on the rise, according to a 2009 Addiction study).

 

“Your body adjusts metabolically to the amount you drink, and when you don’t drink regularly, your body can’t adjust,” Wang said.

 

Instead of learning to disregard those nutritionally empty calories, your body automatically stores them-as fat. It’s akin to tossing old clothes you don’t wear into the back of your closet, only your body doesn’t have the good sense to hide the junk. It tends to store the fat front and center, in your belly.

 

Booze Clues

 

Evidence suggests that moderate drinkers also tend to practice healthier habits than teetotalers. If you’re used to having three or four drinks every week as part of your diet, you’re probably compensating for them with fewer calories elsewhere.

 

“These women know how to moderate how much they drink, so it makes sense that they’d moderate what they eat as well,” Robert Klesges, a professor of preventive medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, said. The Archives study found that these women also exercise more, which knocks off additional calories.

 

Another thing that helped: The women in the Archives study were served no more than two four-ounce glasses of wine or two 1.5-ounce shots of liquor a day. In real life, you’re likely to be handed far more than that by a bartender or waitress-20 to 45 percent more, according to a 2009 study in the journal Alcohol. And we’re not much better when left to our own devices.

 

“Eyeballing the right amount is very difficult,” William C. Kerr, a senior scientist at the Alcohol Research Group in Emeryville, Calif., said. “Most of us don’t even know how much we should be shooting for, so overpouring is typical.”

 

It’s especially easy to overdo it with vino, given that the average wineglass these days looks big enough to hold a school of fish. So a bottle of light beer may be your best bet.

 

“Unlike wine and mixed drinks, it’s portion controlled-the bottle is right there with the calories printed on it,” says Lisa Young, R.D., author of “The Portion Teller Plan.” “It eliminates the guesswork.”

 

 

——

A glass of wine a day while pregnant ‘will not harm your baby’

 

A glass of wine a day will not harm your baby and may actually be good for a child’s development, researchers have found.

 

Source: Daily Telegraph

By Hayley Dixon

17 Jun 2013

 

Moderate drinking of between three and seven glasses of alcohol a week does not harm a child’s foetal neurodevelopment, it is said.

 

In tests on balance, a marker of development, children whose parents’ drank more actually performed better.

 

However, social advantage may have had an influence as more affluent, better educated older women tend to consume more alcohol during pregnancy, the team from Bristol University said.

 

The findings are likely to add to the confusion surrounding alcohol and pregnancy, and directly contradict the advice of the Department of Health, who warn pregnant women to abstain altogether or to limit consumption to a glass of wine a week.

 

Almost 7,000 ten-year-olds underwent a 20 minute assessment which tested dynamic balance, by walking on a beam, and static balance, including standing on one leg with their eyes closed. 70 per cent of the mothers, whose drinking had been monitored at 18 weeks and again after birth at 47 months, had drunk no alcohol while pregnant.

 

One in four mothers-to-be were either low consumers of alcohol, drinking around a glass a week, or moderate consumers, drinking between three and seven glasses.

 

Nearly one in 20 drank more, and around one in seven of these women binge drank four or more glasses at any one time.

 

Four years after the pregnancy, more than 28 per cent of the women were not drinking any alcohol, and over half were drinking the moderate amount.

 

In general, the mothers who drank more, but who were not binge drinkers, were better off and older; the mothers who binge drank were less affluent and younger.

 

More than half of the fathers’ said they drank one or more glasses a week during the pregnancy, and one in five said they drank one or more glasses a day.

 

Higher total alcohol consumption before and after pregnancy, as well as higher consumption by the father during the first three months of pregnancy, were associated with better performance by the children, particularly in static balance.

 

There was no link found between genetic predisposition to low levels of alcohol consumption and the ability to balance.

 

Professor John Macleod, of the School of Social and Community Medicine at Bristol University, said: “Low to moderate alcohol consumption did not seem to interfere with a child’s ability to balance for any of the three components assessed.”

 

But he added that in the women “moderate alcohol intake was a marker for social advantage, which may itself be the key factor in better balance, possibly overriding subtle harmful effects of moderate alcohol use”.

 

Drinking during pregnancy can causes foetal alcohol syndrome, which can leave children with impaired IQ and low birth weight, leading to severe learning difficulties and addiction problems in adulthood, previous studies have shown.

 

Higher than average intake has also been linked to sleep disorders, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder and poorer co-ordination and balance in long term studies.

 

Whilst the side effects are more common with heavier drinkers, the Government advises women to abstain on the grounds that not enough is known about the effects moderate consumption.

 

 

——

China demands action from France as wine students attacked in Bordeaux

 

An apparently racist attack on six Chinese wine students in Bordeaux threatened to spiral into an international incident yesterday as China demanded France take appropriate measures to protect its citizens.

 

Source: Daily Telegraph

By Henry Samuel, Paris

17 Jun 2013

 

A French minister said the Bordeaux assault, which left one female victim requiring facial surgery after being hit by a flying bottle of champagne, had harmed France’s image abroad.

 

China’s foreign ministry expressed “strong condemnation” over the attack on the students early on Saturday in the southwestern wine-producing region.

 

Hua Chunying, a ministry spokesman said China had urged French authorities to “properly handle the case, bring the perpetrators to justice and take effective measures to protect Chinese citizens’ safety and rights in France”.

 

Three people, aged 19 and 20, remained in police custody, under formal investigation for “acts of violence” with three aggravating factors: using or threatening to use a weapon, being drunk, and discrimination linked to race.

 

One of the victims is the daughter of a retired senior government official, the head of the student’s school said.

 

The assault comes at a sensitive moment for the French wine sector as it seeks to woo new wine lovers in China, now the globe’s fifth-largest wine consumer, Bordeaux’s top export market and the third biggest market for French wines.

 

Up to 2,000 Chinese buyers are currently in Bordeaux to attend the world’s largest wine fair, Vinexpo, which opened a day after the attack.

 

Overshadowing the event is a trade dispute between the EU and China, which has accused Europe of dumping cheap wine and hurting domestic producers. Its threat to impose higher levies on EU wines is an apparent tit-for-tat response to Brussels’ decision to slap tariffs on Chinese solar panel imports.

 

In a bid to defuse tensions over the student attack, agriculture minister Stéphane Le Foll said that it had sullied France’s image.

 

“It’s an unspeakable act,” he said at Vinexpo. “It’s the image of France which has been dented with these xenophobic attitudes.”

 

The students were attacked at their home in Hostens, a small village of 1,300 inhabitants about 30 miles south of Bordeaux.

 

In the Bordeaux region, locals have been dismayed by Chinese investors buying up chateaux. Around 40 are currently in Chinese hands, with one new chateau or merchant reportedly bought every month.

 

Concern has meanwhile grown in China in recent months over a spate of thefts and muggings targeting Chinese nationals in France. In March, a group of 23 Chinese tourists were robbed in a restaurant shortly after they landed at Paris’ Roissy airport.

 

“It’s becoming a scourge. Since last year, we’ve seen attacks almost daily,” said Jena-François Zhou, who runs Ansel Travel, which specialises in welcoming Chinese tourists to Paris.

 

The number of Chinese tourists in France is growing fast – 1.1 million this year with two million expected in 2014, and they spend around 60 per cent on shopping, notably luxury goods.

 

 

——

China Thirsts for More European Wine

 

Distributors Stock Up Amid Fear EU Trade Fight Will Drive Up Import Tariffs; Possible Boon for Other Regions

 

Source: WSJ

By JASON CHOW

Jun 17th

 

Chinese wine distributors are scrambling to secure bottles from Europe, fearing that a trade spat between the European Union and China-the world’s fifth-largest wine market-might lead to significantly higher tariffs on imported European wine.

 

Six Chinese students were attacked in the French wine-making region of Bordeaux at a time when the budding wine trade between China and France is becoming increasingly fraught with tension. The WSJ’s Jason Chow has the story.

 

“Every import company is trying to finish the duty clearance as soon as possible to avoid paying more taxes,” said Jared Liu, chief executive of the online wine retailer Yes My Wine, which sold more than 400 million yuan ($65 million) in wine last year. Mr. Liu said that his company, based in Shanghai, is spending an extra 10 million yuan in the coming weeks to make sure all its wines in bonded warehouses-a secured area for storing dutiable goods-are released.

 

“We don’t have details on how much [the tax] will be raised, but the rumor we hear is that the policy will be deployed within 60 days and [the increase] could be very high.”

 

China earlier this month launched an antidumping probe of European wine in response to the EU’s move to increase tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels.

 

The investigation, wine distributors say, could lead to a substantial increase in duties.

More

 

Tensions Simmer After Attack on Chinese Students in France

 

Wine merchants are taking a wait-and-see approach. But Mr. Liu said people in the government are telling him that taxes are in the pipeline, hence his moves.

 

But extra tariffs on European wine could be a boon for producers from other regions who are ready to fill China’s empty glasses if the trade spat drags on.

 

China has accused Europe of flooding the country with cheap wine. Currently, all imported wines to China are subject to taxes that amount to about 48% of the declared value. A punitive tariff would be charged in addition to that rate if China’s antidumping probe concludes unfavorably for the EU.

 

Ian Park, chief executive of importer Summergate Wines, said that domestic Chinese wine producers have been complaining for months that cheap wine from Europe, especially Spain, has invaded the Chinese market. Only in the past year, he said, have cheap Spanish wines appeared on supermarket shelves at the equivalent of $3 a bottle.

 

“This runs deeper than solar panels,” he said.

 

The big beneficiaries of the trade spat will be Chile and New Zealand, he said, because both countries have bilateral free-trade agreements with China over wine.

 

Mr. Liu of Yes My Wine said he expects a major increase in the tariffs and estimates his current tax payment would double, pushing drinkers to simply switch to other countries’ wines.

 

Expo visitors in Beijing attended a French wine tasting on June 6. Distributors in China are snapping up European bottles of wine, fearing that a China-EU trade dispute could lead to higher import tariffs.

 

“We are looking more into suppliers from other countries like Australia, the U.S. and Chile,” Mr. Liu said. “The market won’t change. People will drink. But the structure of the market would change a lot.”

 

China imported 266 million liters of bottled wine last year, an increase of 10% from the previous year, with more than two-thirds coming from the EU, according to an industry data provider, International Wine and Spirit Research. China has a particular fondness for French wines, which made up 48% of imported bottles.

 

Should extra taxes turn Chinese drinkers away from Europe, that could open the door for California, whose wine industry has been heavily marketing itself to try to break into the China market. The state’s wine industry in April even joined a trade mission to China with Gov. Jerry Brown.

 

“Half of the drinking population in China isn’t even aware that California makes wines, so we’re still building awareness,” said Linsey Gallagher, director of international marketing at Wine Institute, a group that represents California wineries. “If we are cheaper than Old World wines, especially France, then we are poised to benefit.”

 

Meanwhile, fine-wine merchants in Hong Kong who deal in prestigious bottles from France’s Bordeaux and Burgundy regions say the increased duty would be negligible on their business. The bigger problem for them is Beijing’s crackdown on smuggling.

 

Hong Kong has emerged as a regional wine hub, largely because wines are significantly cheaper as the former British colony doesn’t charge import duties. The city’s merchants say a large portion of the wines sold are bought by wealthy mainland Chinese clients who then hire individuals to smuggle them across the border.

 

According to Greg Brossard at wine merchant Goedhuis & Co. in Hong Kong, the mainland Chinese government has been more vigilant during the past six months in checking individuals who cross the border multiple times, and is on the lookout for illegal cargo.

 

The crackdown has damped sales, Mr. Brossard said. “A part of our business is affected by that,” he said.

 

 

——

New twist for traditional bottle stoppers

 

The Helix cork can be unscrewed and, for those not intent on finishing the bottle, replaced

 

Source: The Times

David Sanderson

June 17 2013

 

The vintage way to seal wine bottles may be making a comeback with the development of a cork that does not need a corkscrew.

 

Cork, taken from the bark of a species of oak, was long the only material used by the wine trade, but when it began to be blamed for “cork taint”, winemakers looked for alternatives.

 

Plastic stoppers were developed but the screw top, which was adopted by New World vineyards then many others except the most exclusive, became the most popular choice. There is no taint and, if need be, a bottle can easily be resealed.

 

Now a cork has been developed that offers just the same convenience. The Helix cork and bottle have a thread finish that allows drinkers to twist open and close, without the need for a corkscrew.

 

The Helix, which is to be unveiled today at the International VinExpo wine fair in Bordeaux, could be in shops in four months, according to its creators – a Portuguese cork manufacturer and American bottle maker.

 

They hope that it will revive the popularity of the traditional material, which, they said, drinkers have always preferred.

 

“For centuries cork and glass has been a winning combination in the wine market,” Erik Bouts, a senior executive at American bottle maker O-I said. “Cork is still by far the preferred stopper. It has the highest-quality image in the market and now we have made it easier. And it is still the most sustainable option.”

 

Granulated cork from Portugal has been used, which Mr Bouts said would offer greater elasticity and reliability than standard stoppers. He said wine stored in bottles with Helix corks had shown no alteration to the taste, aroma or colour after 26 months.

 

He said he hoped that distillers, who have mostly abandoned corks, would also see the benefits of the Helix.

 

 

——

Hailstorms decimate Loire vines

 

Source: Decanter

by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

Monday 17 June 2013

A hail storm at in the early hours of Monday morning has caused widespread damage across much of the Loire communes Vouvray and Reugny.

 

The damage has been severe in some areas, particularly around the town of Tours, with 30% to 100% of crops reported destroyed.

 

Up to 1000ha across Vouvray have been affected – somewhat under half the 2,300ha appellation.

 

Hail stones ‘as big as eggs’ were reported by numerous French weather stations.

 

Local fire stations were reporting up to 260 call-outs across 40 communes in the region, to deal with issues ranging from fallen trees to broken roofs and flooded cellars. 13,500 households were without electricity this morning.

 

‘It’s a scene of desolation. There is practically no vegetation left on the vines’, said Philippe Thierry, director of Alliance Loire in Vouvray, a cooperative with 35 producers. Half of Alliance’s members have been affected.

 

Thierry said that although it is a late-flowering season, the damage is not just to leaves and flowers but the vines themselves.

 

While some producers keep stocks from previous years and others have insurance, buy by no means all are proteced. ‘For those that aren’t, this will be very very tough,’ Thierry said.

 

Christian Feray, winemaker at Chateau de Montcontour, the largest winemaker in the appellation, said his crop had been entirely destroyed by the storm.

 

‘And even next year’s harvest will be compromised, as the vines will not be able to recover in time. The storm lasted just 10 minutes but destroyed everything,’ Feray told local reporters.

 

Francois Pinon of Domaine Francois Pinon has also reported all his vineyards have been hit, with near total loss.

 

Hail warnings remain in place for much of northern France.

 

 

——

Q&A: Francis Ford Coppola Explains His Passion For Wine (Excerpt)

 

Source: Forbes

Jun 17th

 

Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola is still best known for his movies, especially his early successes Patton, Apocalypse Now, and the mega-hits, The Godfather and the Godfather Part II, which have become two of the most lauded and popular films in history. All of these critically acclaimed bombshells were made in the 1970s, and while Coppola has continued to make films ever since, he has significantly turned his attention to a host of other commercial ventures, most notably winemaking. He has also opened a few boutique hotels in which he has been heavily involved, from Central America to Italy, and I wrote about his latest Italian property, Palazzo Margherita, here at Forbes.com.

 

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Coppola about wine and his passion for it, and today we get to hear from him in his own words.

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2013/06/17/qa-francis-ford-coppola-talks-about-his-passion-for-wine/

 

 

——

The Steve Jobs Of Wine: Winemaker Paul Hobbs (Excerpt)

 

Source: Forbes

Jun 17th

 

The Steve Jobs of Wine is an apt metaphor to describe the ardent exactitude of winemaker and consultant Paul Hobbs.  He’s a quality fanatic. Twice named Wine Personality of the Year by Robert Parker, Hobbs was first hired by Robert Mondavi for his expertise in oak aging, he then moved on to Opus One and later Simi Winery.  

 

Hobbs is also credited with recognizing, despite the skeptics, the winemaking potential in Argentina, (while we were all distracted and busy swooning over California). His efforts helped bring that region into global focus. Now he’s busy running Paul Hobbs Winery and Vina Cobos in Argentina. He’s also consulting, sharing his knack for finding good dirt with winemakers across the globe. Given his global perspective I was curious to hear his thoughts on the business of wine today, the role of critics and where he sees new frontiers.

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/katiebell/2013/06/17/the-steve-jobs-of-wine-winemaker-paul-hobbs/

 

 

——

The Pinot Paradise of the Cool Sonoma Coast

 

A visit with David Hirsch, the visionary behind the area’s first vineyard

 

Source: WSJ

By JAY MCINERNEY

Jun 14th

 

YOUR PHONE STOPPED working more than an hour ago; your GPS and Google GOOG +1.26% Maps are useless out here, some 2½ road-hours west of Healdsburg, Calif., the jumping-off point for Sonoma County wine pilgrims. Napa, with its thronged tasting rooms and its trophy architecture, might as well be a thousand miles away. From the coast, the road slaloms up the ridge and eventually turns into a dirt track halfway to your destination. At some point you cross the San Andreas fault. The rolling, camel-colored meadows are punctuated by groves of fir and redwood. The telephone poles alongside the dirt road are the only signs of civilization. Just when you think you’re completely lost, manicured rows of bright green vines appear on the hillside ahead.

 

When I finally found David Hirsch, he was in a field just off the road, struggling with a faulty irrigation valve, sporting a battered straw fedora, a very faded plaid shirt with a prominent hole in the front and faded jeans-an outfit I recognized from several pictures taken in recent years. Since leaving the apparel business some 25 years ago, he doesn’t seem to have spent much time thinking about clothes.

Oenofile: Wines From David Hirsch, and Made With His Grapes

 

When Mr. Hirsch bought this thousand-acre ridgetop ranch in 1978 he was thinking about trees rather than grapes, “about silviculture rather than viticulture,” he said, the cadences of his native Bronx still present after 50 years in California. In case you don’t know what silviculture is, he will tell you, with reference to George W.S. Trow, the late New Yorker cult culture critic, along with a sidebar on the Austrian theosophist Rudolf Steiner and a disquisition on the complex geology of the property. For a man of the soil, Mr. Hirsch’s frame of reference is pretty esoteric. Over lunch in the rustic house designed by his Czech-born wife, Marie, with views of the Pacific framed by redwoods, he waxed poetic about viticulture: “Heat feeds the sugar. Light feeds the acidity. Heat is sex. Light is intelligence. To make good wine you need them in balance.”

 

Mr. Hirsch originally had ambitions to restore the forested landscape that had been badly degraded. Only hints of the redwood forest that had once blanketed the ridges remained. “I called it Appalachia,” Mr. Hirsch said. “First it was clear-cut, then grazed by sheep and seriously eroded. The soil went down the hillsides.” The topsoil was thin to nonexistent, but Mr. Hirsch knew that vines survive and thrive where other crops can’t.

The Off Duty Summer 50

 

The beach is beckoning, but before you hit the shore, consult this guide to 50 seaside essentials-from swank swimsuits to ice-cold canned sake, comfy snorkel fins to video-recording binoculars.

 

Almost on a whim, he planted grapes in 1980, with the help of his friend Jim Beauregard, whose family had pioneered grape growing in the Santa Cruz Mountains, south of San Francisco. Mr. Hirsch was a wine enthusiast who traveled regularly to Burgundy. “Back in 1972, Romanée-Conti was $324 a case,” he recalled. “I almost bought a house in Beaune.” Instead he decided to purchase a ranch on the Sonoma Coast, far closer to his home and his clothing business in San Francisco. But he didn’t forget Burgundy entirely; the first vines he planted were Pinot Noir, the native red grape of the Côte d’Or. (He also planted Riesling but eventually grafted those vines to Pinot.) The former importer and clothing manufacturer discovered his inner farmer and took to grape growing full-time.

 

In the years since, Hirsch Vineyards has become one of the most celebrated sites in Northern California wine lore, a kind of de facto grand cru, and others, including Flowers, Marcassin, Martinelli and Failla have followed Hirsch’s lead in planting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on the ridges above the fog line of the Sonoma Coast. This may be the best place in Northern California for these cool-climate grapes.

 

Early buyers for Hirsch’s grapes included Kendall-Jackson and Sea Ridge Winery. “It was just a hobby through the ’80s,” Mr. Hirsch said. But in 1994, the three magi came calling: Burt Williams of Williams Selyem, Ted Lemon of Littorai and Steve Kistler of Kistler Vineyards. “Burt and Ted and Steve were in this tasting group,” he said. “They heard about us or tasted some wines from the vineyard, and they came up and liked what they saw.” The three all contracted to buy grapes from Hirsch and went on to make a series of Hirsch-designated wines that garnered very favorable attention and put Hirsch, and the Sonoma Coast, on the map.

 

Meanwhile, Walt and Joan Flowers, who owned a-you can’t make this up-nursery in Pennsylvania, had purchased 321 acres on a ridgetop just to the east and planted vineyards, followed closely by cult winemaker Helen Turley and her husband, John Wetlaufer, who established Marcassin Vineyards, releasing their first vintage in 1996. The surrounding area has clearly become the Gold Coast of a new California Côte d’Or, although the wines vary in style and it’s not easy to characterize a regional flavor profile.

 

“It’s like individuals from the same clan or village,” Mr. Hirsch said. “You have group characteristics: These are areas on the coastal band and we have a strong maritime influence. But the individual characteristics can be just as distinct. We have a commonality with Marcassin and Martinelli. It’s really hard to farm here.”

 

“Right over there,” he said, pointing west down the ridge, “the Pacific and North American plates come into contact and grind away to create an incredible mélange of every kind of soil type, from heavy clay to sand, and all kinds of rock has been thrown up: igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary.” It’s hard to generalize about Hirsch, or the area, but probably safe to say this geological and meteorological diversity helps account for the wines’ complexity.

 

Last year, the area around Hirsch was recognized as a distinct American Viticultural Area, the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA, although whether any of the wineries within the area will rush to use this name on their label is unclear. It’s not exactly a catchy phrase. What is clear is that the Sonoma Coast AVA, a gerrymandered sprawl of more than 500,000 acres, is far too broadly drawn and includes vineyards nowhere near the ocean.

 

In 2002, David Hirsch decided to start vinifying and bottling some of his own grapes-a task currently presided over by winemaker Ross Cobb, who formerly worked at Williams Selyem and at Flowers and also makes several acclaimed Pinots under his own name. Mr. Hirsch’s daughter, Jasmine, is learning the ropes while handling the winery’s marketing. Mr. Hirsch continues to sell his grapes to Littorai, Williams Selyem, Breggo, Kutch, Failla, Lioco, B. Kosuge and Siduri. Tasting through these bottlings presents a great opportunity to consider the influences of winemaking and terroir. Suffice it to say that Hirsch wines seem to have a more earthy, more savory, less fruit-driven character than most California Pinots, and bright acidity. They’re some of the most distinctive and best in California, which is why finding a bottle of Hirsch is only slightly easier than finding the winery.

 

 

——

New Jersey Wines Get Boost

 

Source: Associated Press

Jun 17th

 

A state Senate panel has unanimously approved a measure that aims to bolster New Jersey’s wine industry.

 

The bill would create the New Jersey Wine Board and make it responsible for facilitating growth in the state’s wine industry through advertisements, research and education. The board also could take part in promoting revenue-producing activities such as growing grapes or producing wine. The measure also increases funds for the board’s efforts to include revenue from sales of alcoholic cider. Revenue from wine, sparkling wine and vermouth to support the efforts will also increase.

 

The Economic Growth Committee approved the measure Monday. It now heads to the Senate’s Budget and Appropriations committee.

 

The bill’s sponsor says New Jersey wines are good enough to compete with those produced around the world.

 

 

——

Fraud charges filed against wine exec Chris Edwards

 

Source: Napa Valley Register

KERANA TODOROV

Jun 17th

 

A 48-year-old Napa man has been indicted for fraud in federal court for stealing $900,000 from an online wine fulfillment company, according to federal prosecutors. He is now considered a fugitive, federal officials said.

 

Martin Christopher Edwards – known as Chris – was the former vice president and general manager of The Wine Tasting Network. He is suspected of creating a fictitious company to provide tax compliance services to the Wine Tasting Network.

 

Prosecutors allege Edwards, who ran unsuccessfully for Napa City Council in 2003 and 2005, created fraudulent invoices and directed The Wine Tasting Network to make payments totaling $900,000 between May 2010 and October 2012 to the fictitious company, Dufrane Compliance Trust, according to federal prosecutors.

 

Edwards allegedly deposited the funds into an account and withdrew the money for his own personal use, including the June 2012 purchase of a 2008 BMW, prosecutors said.

 

Edwards was indicted on May 30 in United States District Court after a two-month investigation. On Monday, he failed to appear in court in San Francisco and is considered a fugitive, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

 

The May 30 complaint contains 23 counts, including mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, according to the filing unsealed Monday.

 

Edwards faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each count of mail and wire fraud and 10 years imprisonment for each count of money laundering.

 

Edwards also faces two fines of $250,000 or twice the gross gain stemming from the offenses, plus restitution, according to the federal officials.

 

 

——

Pernod Ricard USA Appoints Jim Green to Vice President, Commercial and Channel Strategy

 

Source: BusinessWire

June 17, 2013

 

Pernod Ricard USA, the premium spirits and wine company in the U.S., today announced a key appointment designed to further strengthen the company’s powerful Route to Market.

 

Jim Green, an industry veteran who joined Pernod Ricard USA in 2011, has been named Vice President, Commercial and Channel Strategy. In this new position, Green will be responsible for developing the company’s next generation distributor model, sales structure, and overall Route to Market approach for both the spirits and wines business. He also will lead the commercial integration of any new partnerships and acquisitions.

 

“Our Route to Market is a key asset for Pernod Ricard USA, and we must continually enhance the competitive advantage it delivers,” said Bryan Fry, the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our current distributor contracts were crafted after the company’s acquisition of ABSOLUT Vodka in 2008. Since then, we’ve expanded our portfolio and increased our market share, and I am confident that Jim’s leadership will put our premium spirits and wine business on a path toward even stronger performance in the years ahead.”

 

Prior to this position, Green was Vice President, National Customer Solutions and Activation, working closely with Marty Crane, Senior Vice President, Spirits Sales, Pernod Ricard USA, to transform the company’s sales strategy, capabilities and ways of working with its distributors. Before joining Pernod Ricard, Green held executive positions at Diageo, Marriott and Kodak.

 

Green will report to Stephen O’Neill, Senior Vice President, Communications and Transformation, Pernod Ricard USA.

 

 

——

TGI Fridays Underpaid Workers For Short Days, Suit Says

 

Source: Law 360

By Dan Prochilo

June 17, 2013

 

A former employee of a California TGI Fridays accused her ex-employer of telling employees to go home on days when business was slow but failing to properly compensate them for showing up, in a proposed wage-and-hour class action filed in California state court Friday.

 

Maribel Portillo, an Inglewood, Calif., resident who worked in an unspecified position for the chain’s Los Angeles location, also said in her complaint that workers were obliged to attend meetings that they were either not paid for or paid less than their normal wages for.

 

Portillo says the unlawful acts “represent the official policies of TGIF or those whose edicts or acts may fairly be said to represent said official policies.”

 

The complaint against Carrollton, Texas-based TGI Fridays accused the company of a series of violations of Golden State wage-and-hour laws, including failing to pay former workers “without abatement or reduction” after they left the job or were fired, and failure to pay them in timely manner.

 

Filed on behalf of all workers for TGI Fridays’ California restaurants who were not overtime exempt during the undefined statute of limitations period, the suit estimated there were more than 800 people within the class.

 

Portillo said the chain not only broke multiple California labor codes, but its conduct also qualified as “unfair” and “deceptive” business practices that violated the state’s Business and Professions Code, entitling the workers to further restitution.

 

Portillo, who worked for the company in L.A. from January to mid-July 2012, asked the court to grant an injunction preventing the chain’s California locations from failing to pay employees all the reporting-time compensation they are owed and the additional pay they are due for being made to wait for their final paychecks.

 

The suit likewise requested damages, including interest dating to when the amounts in dispute were first owed, attorneys’ fees and the costs from the suit.

 

A TGI Fridays representative and an attorney for Portillo were not immediately available to comment on Monday.

 

The chain was the defendant in an August 2011 putative class action in California state court filed by a former bartender, who said the company unlawfully made hourly employees add up and distribute their tips while they were off the clock.

 

The ex-bartender filed suit on behalf of more than 3,000 hourly employees – including bartenders, bar backs, grill cooks, prep cooks, bussers, dishwashers, hosts and servers – who were prohibited from counting and doling out tips collected from tip jars while on the clock, in violation of state wage laws.

 

That suit faulted companywide policies that were developed at the company’s Texas headquarters and passed down to each of its restaurants for the “illegal pay practices.”

 

Just weeks ago, a New Jersey-based TGI Fridays franchisee was hit with a proposed class action after investigators with the Garden State’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control accused The Briad Restaurant Group of selling customers bottom-shelf vodka and tequila for top-shelf prices.

 

That suit was filed in early June on behalf of customers who ordered drinks at 12 of Briad’s 16 New Jersey TGI Fridays locations, which were targeted by the investigation, dubbed “Operation Swill,” which had focused on a total of 29 bars and restaurants.

 

TGI Fridays’ corporate franchiser said in a statement that those allegations, if true, ran counter to the values of the company, which would not tolerate actions that eroded customers’ trust and the company’s reputation.

 

The workers in Portillo’s California wage-and-hour case are represented by Neal Fialkow and Sahag Majarian.

 

Counsel information for TGI Friday’s was not available.

 

The case is Maribel Portillo et al. v. TGI Fridays Inc., et al., case number BC512119 in state Superior Court in California.

 

 

——

Brewers question Tesco strong alcohol deal

 

Source: the drinks business

by Andy Young

17th June, 2013

 

Some brewers in Scotland have criticised the deal that has reportedly been made between Tesco and West Dumbartonshire Council, that will see the supermarket chain ban the sale of some strong drinks.

 

TescoTesco will apparently stop selling beers, ciders and alcopops with an abv above 5.5% in order to see the new store in West Dumbartonshire granted a licence.

 

But with the sale of wines and spirits unaffected by the deal, some brewers have questioned the validity and the motive behind the deal.

 

Gerald Michaluk, who brews at 6% abv beer at his Arran Brewery, has said it is “nonsensical” that his award-winning beer will be banned from this particular Tesco store.

 

He told the Herald Scotland: “This is absolutely nonsensical. A bottle of wine is has an abv of 12%, and if I was in the area and I wanted to get drunk I would just go and get a bottle of that.

 

“I’m very surprised if this would get past European competition regulations. It hurts Scottish producers and its almost like they are saying ‘go and buy French products – ignore local brewers’.

 

“We produce a Scottish beer which has been voted the best in the country, yet we can’t sell it there. It’s just a mad idea.”

 

A West Dunbartonshire Council spokesman said: “Tesco offered up these concessions. We did not impose them.

 

“We have Scotland’s toughest licensing regulations and Tesco came to the board in the knowledge that there is a robust regulation, and offered up a few unusual solutions that you might not have expected in order to take account of the different environment in West Dunbartonshire.”

 

Last week a Tesco spokesman said: “As a responsible retailer of alcohol, we work closely with local councils and the police to address any concerns raised in the communities where we operate.

 

“Where the local authority or police have concerns over high-strength products, they have added conditions to our licence with which we comply.”

 

 

——

English sparkling wine sales help top up Majestic pre-tax profits

 

Source: FT

By Andrea Felsted, Senior Retail Correspondent

Jun 17th

 

Britons have developed a taste for English sparkling wines, a legacy of last year’s summer of celebrations, Majestic Wine said as its pre-tax profit edged up.

 

“It started with the Royal Wedding two years ago, bolstered by the Jubilee and the Olympics,” said Steve Lewis, chief executive, of the increased demand.

 

Majestic sold more than £1m of English sparkling wine last year, up 2 per cent on the year earlier.

 

“This is not inexpensive wine. This retails at £28-£29 a bottle. It seems to have captured consumers’ imagination,” he said of the wine, mostly produced in West Sussex and Kent. The best seller was Nyetimber, produced in West Sussex, which sells at £28 a bottle.

 

Mr Lewis said sales of fine wines, still wine retailing at more than £20 a bottle, were also up 9.4 per cent year on year, as the trend towards entertaining at home continued.

 

“People are buying at £20 to £30 a bottle to consume at home, and a lot of them are entertaining at home,” he said.

 

Pre-tax profit rose from £23.2m to £23.7m in the year to April 1. Total sales fell 2.1 per cent to £274.4m, as Majestic withdrew from the wholesale market to step up its retail expansion.

 

Underlying sales, excluding wholesale, rose 2.6 per cent to £268.6m, while sales from UK stores open at least a year rose 1 per cent.

 

The number of customers rose 56,000 to 624,000, although average spend per transaction was maintained at £128.

 

Mr Lewis said Majestic was looking to further expand its stores. The chain opened 16 stores in the year to April, taking its estate to 193. Majestic would open a further 16 this year, and saw scope for 330 locations in the UK.

 

“We are that rare thing, a retailer who is expanding,” he said.

 

The final dividend is maintained at 11.8p, making a total for the year of 15.8p, up from 15.6p in the year earlier.

 

Diluted earnings per share rose from 26.1p to 26.6p.

 

Majestic said current trading was “in line with our expectations, though as anticipated the year has started slowly reflecting the timing of Easter and the boost given to last year from the Jubilee celebrations”.

 

However, Mr Lewis noted that June, July and August last year were subdued because of the wet weather and the fact that many consumers had celebrated the diamond jubilee.

 

“We think its all to play for,” he said.

 

Philip Dorgan, analyst at Panmure Gordon said: “The current trading statement is actually reassuring, with sales volatile, but good control of margins and costs.”

 

The shares rose 1.6 per cent to close at 462p.

 

 

——

Ohio: Liquor-treat legalization draws fire

 

Source: Columbus Dispatch

By  Alan Johnson

Jun 18th

 

Alcohol-infused Jell-O has long been popular among college students, but it is currently illegal for Ohio liquor and grocery stores to sell intoxicating prepared-food products.

 

Some alcoholic treats – think Jell-O shots, alcohol-infused chocolates and margarita-flavored Popsicles – are tucked away in the voluminous state budget that lawmakers must complete by July 1.

 

Existing Ohio law doesn’t allow the sale of food and confections containing “intoxicating liquor” of more than one-half of 1 percent alcohol by volume. However, the law is largely overlooked, and some products, such as chocolates made with various liquors, are available.

 

State Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, concerned that Ohio is falling behind other states that allow the sale of alcohol-infused products, inserted a provision into the budget. It would revise the ” mixed beverages” definition to include solids and confections “obtained by mixing any type of whiskey, neutral spirits, brandy, gin, or other distilled spirits with water, juice, or other flavorings and that contain between one-half percent and 21 percent of alcohol by volume.”

 

A fiscal analysis accompanying the bill said the state could reap undetermined additional tax revenue because more products would fall under the mixed-beverage excise tax of $1.20 per gallon of alcohol purchased.

 

But the Columbus chapter of the Drug-Free Action Alliance opposes the budget provision, arguing that it would “legalize and legitimize” products generally unavailable in Ohio that appeal to young people.

 

The provision would cover products not regulated by state law and put them under oversight of the Division of Liquor Control, said Senate spokesman John McClelland.

 

Some alcohol-infused products, such as Jell-O shots, have long been popular in bars and taverns frequented by college students. But they are not sold commercially in liquor and grocery stores.

 

” When you insert language like this, it opens Pandora’s box for food items that are very enticing to kids and can be confusing to parents,” said Marcie Seidel, the executive director of the Columbus chapter of the Drug-Free Action Alliance. “People think there is money to be made on this.”

 

She cited a 2010 Boston University study that showed drinkers of alcoholic gel shots were more likely to be binge drinkers, in part because “the sugary shots mask the bitter taste of alcohol, making it easier for young alcohol users to ingest larger quantities.”

 

Seidel fought this battle before when she worked for Hope Taft, wife of former Gov. Bob Taft. In 2002, Hope Taft spoke out against a Jell-O-shot-type product called Zippers made by a Toledo company. Resulting enforcement efforts by state liquor agents forced the company to move out of the state.

 

A $10 million lawsuit filed by Brian Pearson, one of Zippers’ founders, alleging that Hope Taft improperly used her influence to put him of business was thrown out by an appeals court.

 

Alcohol-infused products are available in other states. Those products include ones made by a Santa Monica, Calif., company called SnoBar. The company offers margarita Popsicles containing tequila and Cosmopolitan Popsicles with vodka and triple sec with up to 14.6 percent alcohol, along with Pink Squirrel and Brandy Alexander ice creams that are up to 10 percent alcohol.

 

Locally, Le Chocoholique at 601 N. High St. in the Short North sells candies with alcohol, but Monica Barr, co-owner of the business, said she didn’t think the law, if passed, would affect her business much. “There’s so little alcohol in them. And the ones that have some alcohol inside don’t sell very well anyway.”

 

 

——

Texas: Craft beer bills now officially the law

 

Source: Chron

Monday, June 17, 2013

 

Whatever you think of the vetoes or the special session action, this is unequivocally good news.

 

Happy hour started Friday afternoon for Texas brewers.

 

Gov. Rick Perry signed five bills representing the most comprehensive overhaul in two decades of how beer is packaged and sold across the state.

 

Thus, effective immediately, shipping breweries such as Houston’s Saint Arnold can sell a set amount of beer directly to customers, although they must consume it on-site.

 

And brewpubs like San Antonio’s Freetail can package and sell some of their products for distribution in other retail outlets. The latter change gives Texas restaurants that make their own beer the same ability to sell off-site as many out-of-state brewpubs.

 

“This is a great moment for craft brewers in Texas,” Saint Arnold founder Brock Wagner said. “It’s the first real reform we’ve seen in beer law, for craft brewers, since the brewpub bill.” He referred to the 1993 legislation that authorized licensed restaurants to make and sell beer for sale on-site.

 

The Texas Craft Brewers Guild hailed the signings as a “progressive step forward in making Texas the epicenter of craft beer development and growth” and predicted the law changes will mean not just more beer on store shelves but also “more jobs for Texans, increased tourism and greater tax revenue for the state.”

 

In Houston, the law allowing on-site consumption at shipping breweries would have the biggest immediate potential impact. Saint Arnold, for example, plans to begin offering “special and limited edition brews” for sale during its weekday and Saturday tours.

 

The basic tour at Saint Arnold’s won’t change – they’re not going to fool around with something that’s been such a success for them. Saint Arnold may start adding other events at which beer will be sold. I suspect there will be a lot of experimenting, and that’s just fine. The brewers and the brewpubs have been given a lot of new latitude, and it will take them awhile to figure out how best to take advantage of it for themselves.

 

Saint Arnold is the biggest player in the microbrewery space around here, but there are plenty of others now. One of them is Karbach, which hasn’t decided yet what it will do now that it can sell beer on premise. Karbach has been growing like gangbusters lately, so the new freedom they’ve been given comes at a great time for them.

 

Karbach Brewing Co., one of the nation’s fastest-growing craft breweries, has signed a distribution deal that will significantly expand its availability in stores, bars and restaurants from Beaumont to Galveston to Victoria.

 

In a separate deal, the Houston brewery also will begin selling beer in San Antonio next month, co-founder Ken Goodman said Wednesday.

 

To meet the anticipated demand, Karbach is completing a major expansion of its northwest Houston plant that will give it capacity to produce and sell up to 40,000 barrels annually, up from 15,000 barrels.

 

Karbach, which began sales in August 2011, produced more than 8,000 barrels in 2012, well ahead of internal forecasts. Goodman said he expects to sell 18,000 to 20,000 barrels this year.

 

That will include new sales in 17 counties across Southeast Texas through a distribution arrangement announced Wednesday with Del Papa Distributing Co.

 

Karbach had been delivering some beers on its own in a limited area, but the Del Papa deal will put year-round and special-release beers in a wider variety of stores and bars.

 

According to some research done by The New Yorker, based on newly released 2012 data gathered by the Brewers Association, Karbach was the second-fastest growing brewery in the country from 2011 to 2012, with sales increasing by a phenomenal 1112% over that year. You have to start at a pretty low level to grow tenfold, but still, that’s impressive. Overall, craft brewery production increased by 14% in the state, though the total volume of over 770,000 barrels is still peanuts compared to what an Anheuser Busch produces in a year. One reason why there’s been such growth is because there’s plenty of room for it. Texas is only 41st in the country in craft breweries per capita. A whole lot more of these places could open before the market even approaches saturation.

 

One more thing:

 

The brewers guild released new figures Friday showing that craft beer production in Texas was up 42 percent last year compared with 2011. It estimated the industry’s economic impact in the state was $737 million in 2012.

 

“Texas craft beer now accounts for an estimated 0.98 percent of all beer consumed in Texas, but it employs 59.7 percent of the people who work in breweries in the state,” it said.

 

The new figures don’t appear on the Texas Craft Brewers Guild website just yet, though you can still see last year’s study, which put the impact at $608 million. You can be sure that number will be even bigger next year.

 

 

——

Turkey: Turkish alcohol ad ban will encourage illicit booze

 

Source: The Spirits Business

by Becky Paskin

18th June, 2013

 

Turkey’s ban on alcohol advertising will prevent new brands from entering the market, while allowing the illicit market to flourish, a European spirits organisation has said.

 

The country adopted strict legislation on 24 May forbidding the advertising and promotion of alcohol on TV – including scenes that depict drinking, and the sale of alcohol between 10pm and 6am.

 

However Spirits Europe claims the new laws, which are designed to stem the amount of alcohol drunk in the country, will in fact encourage the counterfeit spirits market to grow.

 

“The ban will make it impossible for new comers to enter the market (be they Turkish or foreign brands),” the group said in a statement. “By making legitimate brands less accessible, the new proposal will also provide additional incentives for the illicit market to flourish.

 

“The WTO estimates that as much as 50% of the alcohol consumption in Turkey is already from informal channels. Because illicit products are beyond the reach of tax and public health officials, they represent foregone tax revenues to the government and carry an intrinsic public health risk.”

 

According to a study of Turkish consumers by TNS, 82.4% of the population aged over 18 claim not to drink alcohol.

 

“So if ever advertising would influence the level of consumption – and we believe it does not – there is little to win and even less on harm reduction, yet the decision will have a serious economic effect,” Spirits Europe added.

 

Diageo, which bought the Turkish raki producer Mey Icki two years ago for £1.3bn, saw shares fall 5.3% when Turkey’s parliament passed the alcohol ad ban. It called the legislation “disappointing”, adding that a “collaborative approach among the industry, government, and third parties would lead to a better outcome.”

 

Spirits Europe is now urging the Turkish government to open a consultation with the industry on the law’s implementation.

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