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Here you will find a chronological list of articles from The Beverage Journal, Inc. Feel free to tag, comment and share.

Cava Steps Up

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Spain's Answer to Prosecco and Champagne  |  Could a High-End Cava Wave Be On The Horizon?

By now, the reputation of Cava in the U.S. is established as fresh, fun, lively and a great value. Yet there are plenty of people working hard at broadening the understanding of what Cava is and can be. While Prosecco, Cava’s Italian peer, has parlayed its similarly easy-to-drink bubbly style into explosive sales growth, the big picture for Cava is certainly on the upswing.

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10th Anniversary of Washington's Distillery Reconstruction

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Top Distillers Gather at Mount Vernon to Craft Anniversary George Washington Rye Whiskey

Distillers from across the country recently fired up the stills at George Washington’s Distillery to collaborate on a special rye whiskey in honor of the 10th anniversary of the historic distillery’s reconstruction.

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Your Customers are Looking for Gifts

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For six weeks at the end of the year, your customers are looking for gifts. They’re making lists; and wine, with its current cultural cachet, checks off a lot of boxes. All the more reason not to overlook the obvious at this critical time of year. Optimizing your customers’ gift-giving experience can be as simple as double-checking aspects of signage, stocking and service.

Endcaps are your fast movers and sure shots—make them count. Keep them clean, well-stocked—and as inviting as possible. Consider the cases themselves; can you put suppliers’ graphics to work for you? What sort of POS material is available? Case cards, neck hangers, recipes? Will they complement or compete with your signage? Take advantage of endcaps’ visibility; signs and special pricing should be easy to read from a short distance.

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Scorched Earth: Wild Fires Leave California Wine Country Reeling, Industry Wondering

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The good news is that the October fires in Napa and Sonoma didn’t do as much damage to the wineries, production facilities, and vineyards as feared. Save for a few hiccups in the supply chain, wine from these two regions is getting to restaurants and retailers and—tourism aside —business seems to be close to normal.

The bad news? It remains unclear, given that some fires were still burning towards the end of October, as to the extent of the damage. This includes smoke taint and burned-out vineyards in the two most important wine regions in the U.S.

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Crystal Ball 2018: A Peek Ahead at Some Liquid Developments to Keep on Your Radar

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Well, that was…an interesting year. Now it’s time for all self-propelled pundits to prognosticate forward. Here are some of the wine and spirits developments we foresee making some more noise in 2018.

PINK IN PERPETUITY

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WSWA Turns 75: A Conversation with Association President Craig Wolf

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Next year marks the 75th anniversary of the Wine & Spirits Wholesaler Association (WSWA) Convention. Ahead of this milestone year, we sat down with WSWA’s President Craig Wolf, who weighed in on the changing dynamics in the direct shipping debate, the threat of private labels, and supporting women in the industry.

On The State of WSWA

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Zinburger at Arundel Mills: Finally Bringing Together Burgers … and Wine?!

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For years, people have either classified themselves as a "beer and burger" kind of person or a "wine and steak" guy or gal. But a newly opened concept at Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover, Md., is challenging those long-held generalizations. The Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar served its first customers on Oct. 17. Recently named to Full Service Restaurant Magazine's "Top 50 Emerging Restaurant Chains" because of its brand expansion and menu innovation, this marks the chain's first location in Maryland and 15th overall.

As the name suggests, the Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar offers cooked-to-order, gourmet burgers combined with perfectly paired wine selections. As with locations in Atlanta, Boca Raton, Durham, and elsewhere, the new eatery offers a full bar with a wine menu that includes 25 varieties; two dozen beers, including 16 on tap and several local and regional craft ales; and a cocktail menu. On Wednesdays, customers can enjoy half-price bottles of wine. And there are Happy Hour specials, weekdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., featuring discount beer and cocktails and $5 Plain and Simple Burgers. That's in addition to the usual soft drinks and milkshakes.

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2017 Holiday Gift Guide

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Text by W. R. Tish & Marlena Hoffman   ⊗   Photographs by Samuel Bristow


It’s November; You are already well on your way to having your store in shape for the holidays. Decisions regarding staffing, displays, floor plan, signage, publicity, social media and in-store tastings have been made or are in the works. And with the calendar ticking, big inventory decisions loom. Time to clear out and stock up.

As is the case every year, suppliers are digging deep into their sacks of merchandising and marketing tricks to create gift-worthy pre-packed wines and spirits. The idea behind Value Added Packs (aka VAPs), as they are often called, is simple—make gift-giving even easier for shoppers. People love shortcuts. People love “extras.” VAPs deliver both. Whatever their motivation, VAPs offer prepackaged routes to gifting success—a resolution to which merchants and shoppers alike aspire.

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Back to Brut

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The Most Rewarding Type of Champagne is also the Most Reliable & Plentiful

By Ed McCarthy


It has been a year now since Prosecco passed Champagne in sales volume in the U.S. Price is the biggest factor: the average Prosecco costs about $12 to $18; Non-Vintage Brut Champagnes sell for about three times as much.

But Champagne sales are not suffering. Au contraire, Champagne sales have increased gradually almost every year for 20 years—in the U.S. and internationally. The 2016 estimate is about 318 million bottles of Champagne sold, up from 312 million bottles in 2015 and 307 million bottles in 2014, despite the competition from Prosecco.

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Ranazul Celebrates 10 Years

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In 2007, some didn't give much of a chance to Ranazul -- a then-new eatery in the then- new Maple Lawn mixed-use development near Fulton, Md.  First, there was the name.  Ranazul?  It sounded like an ancient demon the Ghostbusters might have once fought off to save Manhattan.  Then, people who didn't speak Spanish found out what the name meant.  Blue frog.  Blue frog?!  It didn't exactly have the same ring as, say, the Capital Grille.

Then, folks took notice of the full name.  Ranazul Tapas and Wine Bistro.  The place started coming together in the potentially hot location just off of Routes 216 and 29 in Howard County.  And, finally, Ranazul opened its doors, and customers were quickly wowed by the small plates menu and the outstanding selection of wine and cocktails.

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Hiring For The Holidaze

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Points to consider when adding seasonal staff

Each year, the news trumpets seasonal hiring—such as “Target to add 100,000 part-time employees for the holidays….” Which is all fine and good for a company that can afford to handle the holiday rush by throwing money at it.

But what if you’re a small wine, beer and spirits retailer facing the same sort of problem? It’s your busiest time of the year, too, but you don’t have massively deep pockets. It’s all about planning.

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Sandy Bottom Sparkling Rum Cocktails

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Sandy Mazza is certainly excited about her new product, Sandy Bottom Sparkling Rum Cocktails.  Interviewing her recently, she would often start answers to my questions with, "Oooh, now please make sure you get this in the article!" and "This is one of the best things about Sandy Bottom, and I hope you can include it."  Well, we do have a word limit.  But the most important thing to make sure readers know is Mazza has come up with a product that Marylanders will want to drink and Maryland-based establishments will want to serve.

Sandy Bottom Sparking Rum Cocktails is a premium, pre-mixed, sparkling rum-based cocktail brand with natural flavors of coconut, lemonade, and lime. The company’s history is rooted in the nautical culture of the Chesapeake Bay. As an entrepreneur from the Annapolis area, Mazza would serve her homemade cocktails to friends while cruising the Bay.  Those closest to her loved it so much that they encouraged her to provide for a broader audience.

She chose to self-distribute, obtaining a wholesaler's license, and was able to start selling on June 23rd of this year.  "I'm happy with that decision," she stated, "because I wanted to have the contact with the customers myself first."  As of press time, the single-serve product was available in 28 retailers across Maryland, as well as such hotels as the MGM National Harbor, the Hollywood Casino Perryville, and the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore.

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Wide(r) World of Whisky

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Scotch & Bourbon, While Still Strong, are Inspiring New World Distillers 

By Jeff Cioletti


If the past decade has taught us anything, it’s that consumers have a taste for whisky that’s not likely to disappear any time soon. Overall U.S. volume has settled into a stable pattern of year-on-year growth in the mid-to-high single digits; volume was up more than 4% and revenue was up 6.4% last year, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

Most of the volume is still coming from countries that have historically been linked with whisky production, but distillers from non-traditional nations whose spirits have been coming into their own—“New World” whiskies, if you will—are banking on drinker curiosity and palate promiscuity to gain a foothold in the market.

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In Scotland, Old is New Again

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Aiming to Stay Fresh & Competitive, Scotch is Awash in Innovation

By W. R. Tish


Scotch is looking and feeling more like the granddaddy of brown spirits these days. Naturally, those who craft the whisky—whether they be of the Highlands, Lowlands, Islay or Speyside—are not too keen on reinventing their spirit; but they are proving more than capable of re-framing Scotch for whisky enthusiasts: 

By tapping their existing reserves and putting on their creative caps, Scotland’s distillers and marketers continue to create “new” malts that they hope will sell at premium prices and solidify Scotch’s claim to reigning as King of Brown Spirits. Here is a look as some recent special releases from the magical land of Scotland:

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Bitter Sweet Spot

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This October, Martini & Rossi is introducing their Riserva Speciale Bitter Liqueur, joining the recently launched vermouths Rubino and Ambrato. Potent in flavor but not ABV, amaros are ideal for creating lower-octane cocktails.

At home and behind the bar, spritzy and still, bitter amaros are being embraced 

By Jack Robertiello


Nothing illustrates the rise of amaros (aka amari, plural in Italian) in the U.S. better than the dramatic growth of Aperol. At the start of the decade, the carmine-hued, citrusy, lightly bitter brand had even less impact on the U.S. bar world than Campari, which at that time was languishing at about 50,000 cases, a far cry from its own heyday in the 1980s. Aperol was a junior partner in the team, an afterthought, really, until the emergence of the Aperol Sprtiz.

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Ol' Glory Beverages: Feel Free to Stand and Salute

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Our military fight to have our flag flying high above free lands. Beverage entrepreneur Don Sessions fought to have the American flag on the bottles of his Ol' Glory-brand vodka, spiced rum, and five other spirits that are taking the Maryland-D.C. markets by storm thanks to a recent distribution deal with Atlantic Wine & Spirits.

The battle waged by Sessions, owner of an Oklahoma-based energy drink company, dates back to 2010 when the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau denied his request to design a can of beer with the flag and Pledge of Allegiance on it.  Sessions contended the design was protected by the First Amendment and decided to sue the agency for millions. Fox News caught wind of his crusade and put Sessions' story on TV.

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Old Camp Peach Pecan Whiskey

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Country music duo Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard  … also known as Florida Georgia Line (FGL) are sharing their Old Camp Peach Pecan Whiskey with the Mid-Atlantic states.  “The ultimate drink to kick-start the party.”  The superstar duo were inspired to make their first whiskey by their own “camp” – a crew of longtime musicians, managers, technicians and friends – which ultimately led to the creation of Old Camp Peach Pecan Whiskey.

“We love to have a good time and we love whiskey, always have,” shared FGL’s Brian Kelley. “It’s a ritual we’ve had since our first shows, toasting and celebrating with our camp before taking the stage.”

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2017 Baltimore Beer Week

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Baltimore Beer Week is celebrating all things beer for its 9th consecutive year in the land of pleasant living. “While every Baltimore Beer Week so far has been incredible,” explained Joe Gold, founder and organizing committee chair of Baltimore Beer Week, “this year is shaping up to be fantastic once again!”

This year’s Opening Tap Celebration will take place on Saturday October 14th and will again coincide with the Das Best Oktoberfest held at M&T Bank Stadium Parking Lot H.

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HOPS to It

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New Partnership Between The University of Maryland and
Flying Dog Brewery Hopes to Grow High-Quality Hops in
The Old Line State

The vast majority of hops in North America come from the Pacific Northwest, primarily the Yakima Valley.  Maryland is hoping to be the next great fertile region for these flowers, which are used inthe flavoring and production of beers and craft beers. To this end, Frederick-based Flying Dog Brewery has formed a partnership with the University of Maryland's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources to study the potential for high-quality hops grown in the Old Line State.

The partnership has launched a trial of two dozen varieties of hops planted at the Western Maryland Research and Education Center in Washington County. The first 12 varieties were planted after having been chosen from discussions with both industry and academic experts on what might perform well. The second 12 varieties were picked based on an informal poll of Maryland-based growers and brewers to establish what might be most marketable.

Bryan Butler, extension agent for the University of Maryland and the de facto point man on this project, remarks, "I've approached this in a very critical way.  I'm really only looking at this from the horticulture and test management side.  I'm not going to promote something that's going to cause people harm down the road in that they invest and lose money in something just because they think it'll be cool and fun.  We're in the business of providing growing information and then harvest handling information to give brewers a stable product."

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Beverage Media Group's Annual Bartenders To Watch

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A lot has changed in the world of bartending since Beverage Media’s firat "Bartenders to Watch" feature more than a decade ago. First and foremost is the increasing awareness that professional bartending is a legitimate hospitality career choice, one with challenges and pitfalls as well as great opportunity.

Included in the profession’s evolution is the constantly raised bar of cocktail competitions, giving the industry a greater chance to help discover talent and highlight their achievements. Competitions like these have become an essential component in the timeline of bartenders looking to make a national name for themselves, advance their careers and potentially move from behind the bar into sought-after jobs such as brand ambassador. Today, simply holding down a shift and ringing high numbers on the register while creating a welcoming bar atmosphere isn’t enough; 21st century bartenders need to possess deep ingredient knowledge, a mental rolodex of historic and trending recipes, and if they plan to go far, presentation skills at media-trained levels...

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Bourbon Q & A

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Bourbon: Seize the Month

by Jeff Cioletti

Bourbon, which has settled nicely into the role of America’s native spirit, has history, style and brands with colorful back-stories. While its spiritual home is Kentucky, craft producers have spread bourbon about as wide, geographi-cally, as ever in history. At the same time, established distillers have dipped into their warehouses and conjured up sundry other ways to create new bottlings and limited editions.In short, it’s a great time to sell bourbon in general, and with September being National Bourbon Heritage Month, now is the time to encourage even more experimentation within this corn-driven, barrel-aged whiskey subcategory...

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Israel Gets Real

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Association Spreads the Message of Israeli Wine Quality as a Baseline

By Jack Robertiello

Whatever the situation and whatever the season, there’s a wine made in Israel that fits the message of the Israeli Wine Producers Asso-ciation’s (IWPA) American representative, Joshua Greenstein, who these days spends half his time out on the road visiting retailers and restaurateurs, persistently proselytizing about the merits of wines from the country.

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A Conversation with Slane Irish Whiskey Co-Founder Alex Conyngham

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Alex Conyngham might not be a household name on this side of the Atlantic, but over in Ireland, the Earl of Mount Charles (as he’s known) and his family’s Slane Caste are synonymous with epic rock concerts and gorgeously groomed grounds.

Here in the states, Conyngham is hoping to make a name for himself and his family via a new venture: Slane Irish Whiskey. Thanks to a partnership with Brown-Forman, Conyngham is now stepping foot onto a different type of stage to perform in front of a completely new audience. 

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Ellicott City One Year After the Flood ... Wines and Dines Anew

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The bars, restaurants, businesses, and good people of Ellicott City, Md., are all looking forward to July 30 … and they are dreading it.  It was one year ago on that date when a summer storm dropped six inches of rain in two hours on the Howard County suburb, resulting in a flash flood
that caused major damage to the city's Historic District.  A state of emergency was declared, and it's taken many being highly involved this entire year to recover.

First and foremost, no one-year retrospective would be complete without first honoring the two people who lost their lives that night.  They were 38-year-old Joseph Anthony Blevins of Windsor Mill, Md., and 35-year-old Jessica Watsula of Lebanon, Pa.  Their bodies were found nearly two miles down the Patapsco River in Baltimore County.

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Southern Glazer’s at One

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The completion of the merger between Miami-based Southern Wine & Spirits and Dallas-based Glazer’s Inc. last summer created the largest wholesaler in North America. One year later, the Southern Glazer’s National Leadership Team describes why bigger means better for both suppliers and customers.

Text by Kristen Bieler

Photographs by Andrew KIst


With operations in 44 states, Canada and the Virgin Islands, the 21,000-person Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits (SGWS) distributes more than 150 million cases of wine and spirits each year to approximately 370,000 customers for a revenue stream of about $18 billion. Which translates to over one-third of the wine and spirits market, by value.

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Reframing California

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It’s time to reconsider the ways to sell wine from the Golden State

By W. Blake Gray


When talking about exciting wine regions, it’s easy to forget California. The Golden State is responsible for about two-thirds of all wines sold in the U.S., yet sometimes we take it for granted.

But California is one of the world’s most exciting wine regions. It’s not just the perfect weather: it’s the constant reinvention. Often we make that a weakness, reflexively favoring Nth-generation Europeans making wine just like their ancestors (though it’s actually rarely true), as opposed to California, where they produce whatever’s fashionable.

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What’s Shaking Now

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From Mezcal to Mules, Here are 8 Cocktail Trends to Ride into 2018

By Jack Robertiello


Drink trends move as fast as a bartender pumping out Margaritas on Cinco de Mayo. On the other hand, is there really anything new under the sun? Hoping to keep up with the currents moving through the cocktail world right now, we checked in with top bartenders and drink consultants across the country to get their sense of the most important waves to catch. 

Click Here to check out the entire article.

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VODKA Quiz

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By Jeff Cioletti


The bad news: Vodka is shrinking on the global scale. According to the Global Vodka Insights, a report from just-drinks and the IWSR based on 2015, the latest full-year data available, vodka’s top four markets—Russia, the U.S., Ukraine and Poland—all lost volume and value in 2015. And while the U.S. is expected to be essentiall, the others will experience further declines right through to 2021.The good news: Globally, vodka is pursuing a clear trend of premiumization, the report notes. More specifically, low-price and value sales are declining; the standard segment is flat; but premium and super-premium sales are increasing.And most relevant of all: vodka is still the biggest-selling spirit in America. And it continues to be available in myriad forms and formats, despite it being famously neutral at its core. Here are a few Q&A’s to keep up to speed on vodka today. 

Click Here to check out the entire article.

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Vodka’s Silver Lining

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Neutral profile calls for tasteful marketing

BY W. R. TISH


Vodka’s wave of popularity, which began last century, may be cresting, but it remains America’s reigning best-selling spirit, so keeping the section well-stocked is certainly worth the effort. Moreover, because vodka is supposed to be tasteless—promoting the spirit has always called on marketers’ keenest creativity.

That silver lining is exactly what is keeping the spirit vibrant in the marketplace. Either way, neutral or flavored, there are plenty of creative approaches at work today—which in turn provide the points of distinction that retailers can use in conversation, signage, social media, etc. To wit:

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Fifty Shades of Pink

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The Undiscovered Complexity in Rosé Wine

By Kristen Bieler


Perhaps owing to its immense drinkability, rosé doesn’t invite the kind of contemplation reserved for the great red and white wines of the world. But just because it’s accessible, refreshing and often found pool-side doesn’t mean rosé can’t be complex.

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Jon Arroyo of Founding Spirits Micro Distillery

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How many restaurants can you name that have a fully functioning distillery actually inside their restaurant?"

It's a valid question, and one posed by Jon Arroyo, Beverage Director of the Founding Farmers Restaurant Group and director of the new micro-batch distillery that is custom-built inside of the company's newest restaurant, Farmers & Distillers in Washington, D.C. Dubbed Founding Spirits, the micro distillery churns out two tasty concoctions -- Founding Spirits Vodka and Founding Spirits Amaro -- using grains from farmers Arroyo and his colleagues have worked with in the past. Among them are Mark and Michelle Watne of Watne Farms in North Dakota and Billy Dawson of Bay's Best Feed in Virginia.

"The Farmers Union is a big part of what we do and who we are," Arroyo declared.  "I thought getting North Dakota wheat into our vodka would be a great way to extend the relationship further.  We source out our wheat directly from Mark Watne Farms, we're using Virginia rye in the vodka, and we're also using a barley that is part of the single malt barley that we use in our gin."

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Rum Universe: Diversity Takes the Spirit to New Heights

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Despite being crafted from one ingredient—sugar, either as cane or molasses—there may be no major spirits category quite as diverse as rum.  Having a handle on the types, flavors, and stylistic nuances of this extremely versatile liquor is invaluable when it comes to determining how to optimize crowded shelves, and how to guide patrons toward more educated buying decisions.

 Click Here to check out the rest of the article.

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ABL Honors Maryland Retailers

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Brown-Forman Retailers of the Year Recognized for Their Continued Commitment to the Beverage Alcohol Industry

Eighteen beverage licensees from across the United States were recently recognized as Brown-Forman Retailers of the Year at the 2017 American Beverage Licensees (ABL) Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nominated by their state beverage associations for their success and dedication to the beverage alcohol industry, these business owners were honored in a ceremony at the ABL Honors Gala on March 27, 2017.

 For more than two decades, the Brown-Forman Retailer of the Year awards have celebrated independent retail beverage business owners who engage in responsible sales and service of beverage alcohol, and who are committed to their state beverage associations.  ABL congratulates all of the honored businesses and licensees for their outstanding and continued contributions to the industry and their communities.

 "Independent beverage retailers support a dynamic and spirited industry, while also promoting and encouraging the responsible sale and enjoyment of beer, wine and spirits," said ABL Executive Director John Bodnovich. "It is in this spirit that they are recognized with this award before their industry peers and held up as examples of success."

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Barley & Hops Grows in Leaps & Bounds

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After a successful career in the technology industry, Lori Keough was ready for a change.  A big change.  The beverage business!  So, in early 2016, she purchased the Barley and Hops Microbrewery and Grill in Frederick, and it's been full speed ahead ever since.

"I worked all the way up to being a vice president of software engineering," she recalled, during a recent interview with the Beverage Journal.  "But I grew up in the restaurant and bar business, so I had a decision to make."

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Java Joins the Party

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A NEW WAVE OF COFFEE-INFUSED SPIRITS, BEERS AND WINES BREW INNOVATION

BY DAVID LINCOLN ROSS

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The Hand-Off

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IN TODAY’S COMPETITIVE MARKET, HAND-SELLING GIVES SAVVY MERCHANTS AN EDGE

BY ZACHARY SUSSMAN

As anyone who has worked the retail floor knows all too well, the world of wine may be endlessly vast and complex, but there are ultimately just two categories that matter: the wines that sell and those that don’t.

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Eyes on the Prize

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WITH SUCCESS IN THE U.S. AS TOP PRIORITY, GLOBAL GIANT PERNOD RICARD STEPS UP THEIR GAME

BY KRISTEN BIELER

A company doesn’t become the second largest wine and spirits supplier in the world by sitting still. The Pernod Ricard success story—which dates back to 1805—is one of continuous evolution and adaptation, and a keen understanding that what worked a decade ago may no longer be relevant today.

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Gin Quiz

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Arguably no spirit has seen the highs and lows of gin, across centuries and continents. History has seen it hailed as a societal scourge as well as a miracle drug. It has been a political tool, a soldier’s support, and famously “mother’s ruin.”Locales with rich gin history run from Holland (where it all started) to Italy (where they, too, claim gin started) to London (epicenter of than two-thirds of the gin in the UK) to Spain (where “Gin Tonics” have developed into a national specialty) and, naturally, to America.Here, artisans and big brands alike are riding a current upswing in gin momentum, both off- and on-premise, and with a tilt toward the high end. Meanwhile, the gin-sipping public appears increasingly open to the particular possibilities of gin, whose styles nowadays often take juniper as a starting point rather than focus.

 Click Here to check out the rest of the article. 

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Vermouth Rebounds

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IS IT FINALLY VERMOUTH’S TIME? 
SUPPLIERS ARE RAMPING UP…

BY JACK ROBERTIELLO

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Beer's Big Tent

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Craft beer continues to punch above its weight value-wise, but volume growth appears to be slowing—rising just 6% from 2015 to ’16. “The era of 18% growth rates is probably over,” Bart Watson, the Brewers Association’s chief economist, offered recently.  

That’s one reason big brewers continue to step aggressively over the craft fence. Between brand acquisition, product development, packaging updates and outside-the-box marketing efforts ... 

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Age of Agave

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TEQUILA CONNOISSEURSHIP EMERGES, TRANSFORMING IT INTO A SIPPING SPIRIT

BY JEFF CIOLETTI 

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Chardonnay: Back to Basics

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While there is some debate over what is the king of red winegrapes (Cabernet? Nebbiolo?), Chardonnay is the undisputed queen of whites. The most widely planted winegrape in California, it is also clearly the most popular wine in the U.S., with sales increasing every year.

People love Chardonnay because it is generous—full of fruit and then some. It is sometimes called a wine-maker’s grape because it is so moldable; treatment in the vineyard, during fermentation and barrel-aging can dramatically impact style. Which is all the more reason to take a look at what makes this popular wine tick.

Click Here to check out the rest of the article. 

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Old Line Spirits' Top Guns

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There's a classic moment in the movie "Top Gun" when pilots Maverick and Goose land their fighter jet, high-five on the runway, and exclaim, "I feel the need … the need for speed!"  Well, former Naval Flight Officers Arch Watkins and Mark McLaughlin have felt the need … the need for mead!  

OK, more specifically the need for whiskey.  They are the co-owners of Old Line Spirits, a craft distillery now up and running in Baltimore and offering small batch whiskey made of 100 percent malted rye.  McLaughlin stated, "Arch and I were friends in the Navy and lovers of fine whiskey.  We met on active duty.  We also spent time in the reserves.  In the reserves, we were in the same squadron.  So, we became closer friends then.  And now we're neighbors in Baltimore.  Arch really couldn't avoid me if he wanted to!"

Watkins added, "Mark went on to be a banker, and I was an engineer.  We enjoyed both careers to a certain extent.  But, at the end of the day, we wanted to own our own company and control the quality of a product going out the door.  That's what makes it fun for us to get up in the morning."

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Boyd Aims to Fill Void

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"To our knowledge, we are the only African-American liquor distributorship in the state.  That in and of itself is unique.  So, you want to build around that.  If you can get a niche in this business, if you can carve something out that's special, then you can be successful."

So said Dr. Gerald Boyd Sr., the principal owner of Legacy Partners Distribution LLC (LPD), during a recent interview with the Beverage Journal.  With many years of entrepreneurial experience, Boyd recognized the need for a small wholesaler that would be built on great customer service in the Washington metro area.  That was three years ago.  Today, LPD is licensed to do business in Maryland, including Montgomery County; Virginia; and Washington, D.C.

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In Memoriam: Edwin R. Malin

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On February 5, 2017, Edwin 'Eddie' R. Malin; beloved husband of Doris Malin and a long-time, highly respected member of the licensed beverage industry departed this world. 

I met Mr. Malin in 1993 shortly after Lee W. Murray, Publisher of the Beverage Journal, hired me ... 'Nice to meet you Mr. Malin.'  "Stop that 'Mr.' stuff, I'm Ed or Eddie.  Either is fine."

Ed (as I became comfortable calling him) was a great person.  But many of you don't need me to tell you that. 

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Managing the Wall of Whiskey

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Brown goods are where the green is—
all the more reason to put more care into organizing your whiskies

By Robert Haynes-Peterson

In Emmett, ID—a former mill town with a population of 6,500—Main Street Beverage is also a bait & tackle shop. The Roundup Bar down the street serves strong pulls of vodka or Fireball to actual cowboys, and a vested craft bartender is nowhere in sight. Yet at the liquor store, where once only Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam and Wild Turkey were offered, you’ll now find labels like Whistlepig, Bulleit and more. It’s not a big selection, but it’s evidence that today’s growing whiskey market reaches deep and across many lines. How you sell that whiskey is increasingly important.

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U.S. Marines Hold the Line

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Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro in Beltsville

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Irish Up Close

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What's Behind The Irish Surge?

These are the best of times for Irish whiskey, which represented 1.4% of the spirits overall U.S. spirits market in 2015. May not sound like much, but 10 years earlier that figure was 0.4%.  Of course, the Irish boom has been famously brand-driven, with Jameson not merely in the driver's seat, but essentially helping fill up the whole car, having deftly in recent years expanded the brand’s Expressions to include reserve bottling and special finishes, most notably Jameson Select Reserve and Caskmates; and Jameson Black Barrel made a splash with its launch in 2016.

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Lists on The Edge

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TO STAND OUT FROM THE PACK, RESTAURANTS ARE SHAPING THEIR WINE LISTS IN PROVOCATIVE WAYS

BY JIM CLARKE

  Click Here to check out the entire article as it appeared in The Journal.  

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Champagne 101: Back to Basics

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Champagne is a portrait in irony. Inarguably an icon of luxury, the liquid itself is more like a silk purse made from a sow’s ear; the now-famous method of nurturing a secondary fermentation in the bottle effectively compensates for the inability of grapes to ripen consistently in the (extremely) cool region. And while the grapes are farmed by thousands of small growers, production remains dominated by a relatively small number of Champagne houses. Champagne has not made headlines since the turn of the century, when fears of a Y2K shortage loomed (and proved unfounded). The price tag led Champagne to lose market share as the Recession played out; but while it has slipped from its 11.4% share of the sparkling wine market in 2005, it has held steady at 8% since 2010, according to IWSR, and posted a 3.5% growth in sales from 2014 to 2015. 

  Click Here to check out the entire article as it appeared in The Journal. 

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