Current Beverage Bulletin

California Beverage Retailers Association

Beverage Bulletin

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 693-5561

Ron Ziff, Editor

Ben Ziff, Publisher


October/November 2018


Bring me a beaker of wine so that I may say something clever.”

- Aristophanes (Greek comic playwright 446BC-386BC, he is known as “The Father of Comedy”)


In this month's edition:

Headline News Stories - Scandal Hits Master Sommelier Exam, Wine Thief Jumps to His Death, 4AM Drinking Vetoed, Dispute on Oregon Wine Labels, Most Expensive Bottle of Wine


Celebrities in the Industry - Elon Musk, Jackie Fast, James Suckling, Pink, David Beckham, Guy Ritchie, Ryan Reynolds, Sir Richard Branson, Usain Bolt, Idris Elba, John Legend, Jean-Charles Boisset


Books - What Makes a Wine Worth Drinking, Single Malt, Harvest of Secrets, Wine Reads, Julep, Pride and Porters


TV & Movies - The Bachelorette


Popular Culture - Game of Thrones


Politics and the Law - Will the Granholm Decision Be Expanded?,Granholm – One More Time, Love = Free Beer!, ABC Official Indicted on Fraud Charges


Wine – World Championship Tip, Rare 18th & 19th Century Madeira Auction, Champagne Harvest 2018, $3,000 of Champagne, $280 Million of Champagne, Royal Wedding Champagne, New Global Warming Grapes, Vineyards Going North, Wine Flood, Summer Heat Affected 2018 Bordeaux Crop, Low Inventories in France, Prosecco Tank Overflows, Bordeaux Rankings Rigged?, Burgundy Bottler Ordered Sold in Fraud Case, Stolen Wine Crop, It's 5 O'clock Somewhere, Millions Raised in Charity Auction, World's Highest Vineyard, Wines on the Wing, Dispute Over Raisin Price, Who Had “the Time of My Life”?


Beer - Global Warming and Less Beer, Prehistoric Beer, R.I.P. Bill Coors, Arby's Testing Beer Recipes, The Perfect Beer, Go Take a Hike, Beer Commercial Update,

Chinese Drink More Bud, Beer Yoga, Beer Salesman Rescues Man


Spirits - Disney to Sell Alcohol, Bartender of the Year, Scotch Causes Traffic Jam,

Hello Kitty, Bar Hopping Around the World, Missing Patron Found, Craft Distilling Makes Huge Gains, New Age Verification System, Hang Ten!, A Horse Walks into a Bar

Other Foods and Beverages - Another Job Opening at the Palace, Walmart Expands Online & Home Delivery, La Croix Class Action, Tough as Grapes,

Music Soothes the Wallet, Yes, We Have No Bananas


The Changing Market


Recipes - Cranberry Bourbon, Port Wine Cranberry Sauce


Health – Abstinence is Trendy


and as always... Tasting Notes




Headline News Stories


Scandal Hits Master Sommelier Exam


This year's Master Sommelier Exam has been rocked by scandal when it was revealed that one of the officials slipped the information on the tasting portion of the test to the student applicants. The tasting portion of the test involves identifying the variety, vintage, and origin of 6 wines in a 25 minute period. 23 students had passed and been given the right to put MS after their names. Now, all 23 have been stripped of the title. In the past 49 years, only 274 people have passed the test. It was unclear who and how the information was leaked. But, one of the Masters for the exam, Reginjo Narito, has been removed from the list of MS Sommeliers. The candidates fees will be refunded and they will have a choice of re-taking the test this Fall, next Spring, or with the 2019 candidates. Nineteen of the sommeliers wrote a letter saying that they had passed fairly and should not be penalized for the actions of a few. The 19 each signed the letter with the letters “MS” following each name. In a separate email they said “Can we all be certain that this breach hasn’t happened before with this same individual on the Board? We ask that a thorough investigation be conducted to clear the names of those of us who passed fairly, and who have been unjustly grouped under an umbrella of those who may have compromised the examination.”

We have a few questions of our own. What is being done to make sure this never happens again? How many people are privy to what wines are in the final test? Why are the same people allowed to be Test Masters and Somm Instructors? Has this happened before? Why isn't the Court of Master Sommeliers being more open about the entire situation? Is there more that we are not being told?


Wine Thief Jumps to His Death


Nicholas de Meyer, who had been accused of stealing more than $1.2 million worth of wine from his employer has jumped to his death. De Meyer had been fired in 2016 when his boss, David Solomon, a VP at Goldman-Sachs had discovered bottles missing from his cellar. The missing wine included 7 bottles of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, that Solomon had purchased for $133,650. De Meyer had been charged with interstate transportation of stolen property and was due in court on October 9. Instead he jumped from the 33rd floor of Manhattan's Carlyle Hotel.


4AM Drinking Vetoed


Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed SB905, a bill that would have allowed Los Angeles, San Francisco and seven other cities to extend alcohol service at bars and restaurants from 2am to 4am. “California’s laws regulating late night drinking have been on the books since 1913, I believe we have enough mischief from midnight to 2 without adding two more hours of mayhem.”


Dispute on Oregon Wine Labels


Winemaker, Joe Wagner, makes Oregon Pinot Noir at his Elouan Winery in Rutherford, Napa Valley. Oregon winemakers had complained to their state lawmakers that Wagner's wine is deceptively labeled. The brand involved is “Willametter Journal”. The label says the grapes are from “the Territory of Oregon”, a 19th century designation that opponents say could include Washington and Idaho. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission had asked for a federal investigation. Then the story was picked up by Esther Mobley in the San Francisco Chronicle. The arguments are just beginning. Oregon State Senator, Jeff Merkley has asked the Tax and Trade Bureau to investigate the California winery and its labels.


Most Expensive Bottle of Wine


An auction at Sotheby's, New York set a new record for the price of a single bottle of wine. The auction had featured the sale of part of the cellar of Robert Drouhin. Two bottles of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti 1945 were among the lots. The first sold for $496,000. The second set the record for a single bottle at $558,000. Also sold at the same auction was a bottle of The Macallan 1926 for $843,200. That was not a record for the same Whisky; but certainly a tidy sum.


Celebrities in the Industry




Elon Musk has filed a trademark registration for a Tesla Tequila brand. He first mentioned the Tequila as part of an April Fool's prank when he tweeted “Elon was found passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by “Teslaquilla” bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks”.


Jackie Fast is competing in the BBC version of The Apprentice. She is marketing an ice wine from the Okanagan Valley. The wine is named Rebel Pi. The wine is 100% Roussanne and priced at about $150 a 375ml.


Wine writer and critic, James Suckling, has opened a wine bar in Hong Kong. The bar, named James Suckling Wine Central features more than 500 wines from around the world. Some of the wines have 100 point ratings or were featured in his tasting events Great Wines of the World, Great Wines of Italy, Great Wines of Andes, and Bordeaux Confidential.


Pop star, Pink, is marketing wine under the brand Two Wolves. The wine is produced at her 25 acre vineyard in Santa Barbara. Pink has revealed that she had taken courses in winemaking at UC Davis.


Soccer star, David Beckham, and film director, Guy Ritchie, have bought the Walmer Castle Pub in Notting Hill, UK.


Actor, Ryan Reynolds, has inked a deal with Sir Richard Branson to serve Reynolds' Aviation Gin on Virgin Atlantic Flights.


Jamaican runner, Usain Bolt, is opening a bar in London. The bar, lounge, and restaurant is called Tracks and Records. This is the fourth restaurant in his chain. The first three are located in Jamaica.


Actor, Producer, and DJ, Idris Elba will be opening a bar in the London Waldorf/Hilton. The establishment will be called The Parrot. When in London give them a call. The bar will send a chauffeur driven Aston-Martin to pick you up.


Singer, John Legend and Jean-Charles Boisset have been making Legend Vineyard Exclusives since 2015. The wines include a Chardonnay; Cabernet Sauvignon; a Red Blend of Petite Sirah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot; and a Provence Rose'.




What Makes a Wine Worth Drinking by Terry Theise, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,192 pages, $25. As celebrated wine writer Terry Theise explains in this gem of a book, answering that seemingly simple question requires us to look beyond what’s in our glass to consider much bigger questions about beauty, harmony, soulfulness, and the values we hold dear. Most of all, Theise shows, what makes a wine worth drinking is its authenticity. When we choose small-scale, family-produced wine over the industrially produced stuff, or when we opt for subtle, To be released November 6.


Single Malt by Clay Risen, Quercus $29.99. A follow-up to his bestselling American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye: A Guide to the Nation's Favorite Spirit, Clay Risen's Single Malt is an introduction to the long history, fascinating science, and incredible diversity of malted whisky, as well as a practical drinker's guide to buying and enjoying hundreds of the greatest examples of the distiller's tradition. With maps of essential whisky regions of Scotland, profiles of each of the makers, and photographs of the bottles and tasting notes for each of the most widely available expressions--compiled from tasting sessions conducted by a panel of leading whisky experts--readers will discover a rich vein of knowledge about one of the world's most storied beverages.




Harvest of Secrets by Ellen Crosby, Minotaur, 352 pages, $26.99. A Wine Country mystery. The search for the killer of an aristocratic French winemaker who was Lucie Montgomery’s first crush and the discovery of dark family secrets put Lucie on a collision course with a murderer. It’s harvest season at Montgomery Estate Vineyard―the busiest time of year for winemakers in Atoka, Virginia. A skull is unearthed near Lucie Montgomery’s family cemetery, and the discovery of the bones coincides with the arrival of handsome, wealthy aristocrat Jean-Claude de Marignac. He’s come to be the head winemaker at neighboring La Vigne Cellars, but he’s no stranger to Lucie―he was her first crush twenty years ago when she spent a summer in France. To be released November 6.


Wine Reads by Jay McInerney, Atlantic Monthly, 320 pages, $27. In this richly literary anthology, Jay McInerney―bestselling novelist and acclaimed wine columnist for Town & Country, Wall Street Journal, and House and Garden―selects over twenty pieces of memorable fiction and nonfiction about the making, selling, and of course, drinking of fine wine.


Julep By Alba Huerta and Mariah Stets, Lorena Jones Books, 224 pages, $24.99. Craft cocktail maven Alba Huerta succinctly tells the story of drinking in the South through themes such as "Trading with the Enemy," "the Rural South," "the Drinking Society," "the Saltwater South," and others that anchor the menu at her destination bar, Julep. With historical overviews, 15 bar snack recipes, and 65 bespoke cocktail recipes, ranging from the iconic Mint Julep (and variations such as Rye Julep and Sparkling Julep) to modern inventions like the Snakebit Sprout, Liquid Currency, and Hot July, Huerta recounts the tales and traditions that define drinking culture in the American South today. Approximately 80 evocative cocktail and location photographs convey the romance and style that distinguish Julep and serve to inspire beverage enthusiasts to relive Southern history via the bar cart.


Pride and Porters by Charlotte Greene, Bold Strokes, 254 pages, $12.85. For Erin and Jen Bennet, growing up in craft-beer-obsessed Colorado made opening Bennet Sisters Brewing their only dream. Their beer is popular, but like any small business, their brewery is never far from closing forever. When Boston brewer Charlie Betters and his friend Darcy Fitzwilliam ask for their help, the Bennet sisters are happy for the attractive distractions. Life, after all, is more than making beer. Still, while Charlie and Jen seem to be made for each other, Darcy’s pretentiousness and her cruel remarks make a bad first impression. Despite this, and almost against her will, Erin finds herself attracted to Darcy, but events out of their control result in a misunderstanding that might ruin the chances for love for both couples.


TV & Movies


The Bachelorette


In the final episode of The Bachelorette, Consejo Regulador of Rioja sponsored the show and arranged the filming to take place among the vines and throughout Rioja. The vineyard owners and winemakers are looking forward to tourists following the trail – and of course, buying wine there and when they get home.


Popular Culture


Game of Thrones


Diageo has released a line of Game of Thrones Whisky under the White Walker designation of single malts by Johnnie Walker. The Whisky is meant to be served from the freezer. Temperature sensitive printing shows up once the bottles are cold enough saying “Winter is here.”



Politics and the Law


Will the Granholm Decision Be Expanded?


The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that will affect interstate shipments by retailers. Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association vs Byrd will look at a state law that requires retail sellers to reside within the state. State law requires a retailer to live in the state for 2 years before getting a license. Corporations must have all of their board members reside in the state for 9 years before getting a license. A federal court has decided the requirements are unconstitutional. The answer to question posed will decide whether the court's decision in Granholm v Held that applied to wineries also applies to retailers.


Granholm – One More Time


There is another case waiting in the wings. Orion Wine Imports, a Florida company, is challenging the law that allows California wineries and importers to sell directly to retailers. The suit claims that the 1953 law discriminates against out of state wholesalers and like in the Granholm ruling is unconstitutional. The case will be heard in a Sacramento court on December 21.


Love = Free Beer!


Scofflaw Brewing in Atlantic City had made a deal with BrewDog Brewing in the UK. Now the deal is off. Here's what happened: Scofflaw was to expand its business by brewing more beer at BrewDog's U.S. facilities. Scofflaw's beer was to be added as guest taps in BrewDog's UK pubs. Scofflaw announced that it would have an opening promotion with free beer at the BrewDog pubs for Trump supporters. Now, just a minute! BrewDog was caught by surprise and didn't like that at all and were not going to do it. BrewDog said all the beer is being shipped back and it will run its own free beer promotion to “anyone that shows up to our bars in the name of love not hate.”


ABC Official Indicted on Fraud Charges


Wilbur Salao and Scott Seo were indicted by a Federal Grand Jury on charges of running shakedowns of LA's Korestown bars and karaoke clubs. According to the 26 page indictment, Seo targeted bars for ABC raids and investigations. Salao would carry out the law enforcement and then SEO, acting as a consultant would solve the businesses problems for a fee. Salao was accused by prosecutors of accepting more than $28,000 in kickbacks from Seo.





World Championship Tip


The Boston Red Sox partied at the Nightingale in West Hollywood after beating the L.A. Dodgers and winning the World Series. It was a great party! The team drank the usual call drinks; Jack Daniel's, Jameson, Belvedere, and Don Julio. Then they went to work and emptied the wine cellar of Champagne. The team downed 60 bottles of Moet, 48 bottles of Dom Perignon, 43 bottles of Ace of Spades, 5 bottles of Veuve Clicquot, 12 bottles of Perrier Jouet, and only 1 bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal. The bar tab came to $300,000. Then they tipped $195,000. A great party, but, not enough. The team repeated the feat at the Icon in Boston when they got home.


Rare 18th & 19th Century Madeira Auction


Christies will be auctioning a collection of ancient Madeiras on December 7. The wine was discovered in the attic and basement of a building that is now the Liberty Hall Museum in New Jersey. The building is on the campus of Kean University and has been owned by the Kean family since 1811. The wines date from 1796 to 1846. Most are Sercial and Verdelho. It is thought they were left behind, while the more popular Malmsey was consumed long ago. Included in the sale are 4 five gallon demijohns and a number of bottles. The are also several demijohns of late 19th century Bourbon that will be sold. The proceeds will go to providing handicap access to the museum.


Champagne Harvest 2018


2018 was a record for harvest in Champagne. Even with all those grapes, prices are expected to rise at least 5%. This is the 10th consecutive year of price increases in Champagne. This year's harvest was one of the earliest on record due to global warming. The grapes achieved a ripeness that was difficult to approach only a few years ago. This year's challenge was to have enough acidity for balance in the wines.



$3,000 of Champagne


Sir Gregory Winter, Master of Trinity College, in Cambridge was one of three men who jointly won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. His award was for his work on the phage display of peptides and antibodies. What did he spend his winnings on? Champagne! He gathered a few friends and ran up a bar tab of 2,793. They drank a lot of bubbles!


$280 Million of Champagne


When does Champagne get too expensive? Attorney, Brent Wisner, found out. He won a $289 million award against Monsanto and its parent company, Bayer, in August. He represented clients in a lawsuit over the cancerous side effects of using Roundup weed killer. In his closing arguments Wisner had said “Monsanto executives were waiting for the phone to ring and behind them is a bunch of Champagne on ice. If the damages number isn’t significant enough, champagne corks will pop.” Monsanto’s lawyer, George Lombardi, said the champagne remark “was thumbing his nose. It was objected to, it was not factual. It is punishing Monsanto for having a board member, it’s punishing Monsanto for being a big company.” Judge Suzanne Ramos Bolanos agreed and may reduce the judgment to $9 million. No Champagne for Wisner!


Royal Wedding Champagne


Pol Roger Brut Reserve NV was poured at the royal wedding of Princess Eugenie held at Windsor Castle. The wine was also poured for the weddings of Prince William and Kate Middleton and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Pol Roger is renowned as the favorite of Winston Churchill, who started each day with a bottle for breakfast.


New Global Warming Grapes


China and France are cooperating on a range of agricultural studies to adapt to global warming. One of the projects is a joint venture, Innogrape Laboratory, to develop new grape varieties for a future warmer planet. The project is supported by INRA, the University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux Sciences Agro, and the Chinese Academy of Science. 33 professionals will be involved in Bordeaux and Beijing. Dr. Zhanwu Dai said: “The issue is about sharing our expertise to select vines that are resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses (downy mildew, powdery mildew, phyloxera, drought, extreme temperature). It is about identifying the best parents, obtaining hybrids through crossing, and making seeds germinate.”


Vineyards Going North


VitiNord 2018 was held this year in Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmo, Sweden to celebrate winegrowing that global warming allows in northern countries. To date there are 5 wineries in Sweden and 3 in Denmark. Many more are on the way.


Wine Flood


Nearly 6 inches of rain fell in a few hours the Sunday night October 14 on the Aude region in Southern France causing the Trebes River to crest at 23 feet above flood level. The flood water moved through a warehouse full of wine causing an unknown amount of damage. The only clue was a dark red flow of wine that turned the muddy water a deep purple. The warehouse was declared a total loss.


Summer Heat Affected 2018 Bordeaux Crop


Bordeaux experienced one of the hottest summers on record. The result will be wines high in alcohol. Cabernet Sauvignon is coming in at about 14.5% ABV; Merlot 15% ABV. Some vintners have been able to mitigate the heat induced sugars by changing the blend, leaving more leaf cover, or picking earlier. Overall, the wines will be high in alcohol and the primary concern will be balance.



Low Inventories in France


Inventories at production and trade levels fell dramatically in most regions of France. 2018 inventories totaled 55.5 million hl at the close of July 2017. This year the figure is only 47.8 million hl. The causes are this year's record low crop and the past year's increased sales. The numbers were made public at FranceAgriMer Wine Council earlier this month. Will the situation cause an upward adjustment in prices? The only exception was in Alsace, where unsold inventory showed an increase.



Prosecco Tank Overflows


A winery in Conegliano, Veneto lost about 30,000 liters of Prosecco when a tank ruptured and overflowed. It is unknown whether the incident was caused by the tank being over-filled with must or whether there was a fault in the pressurized lid that allowed air to make the wine ferment too quickly. You can see the tank overflowing on YouTube. Go to


Bordeaux Rankings Rigged?


Two men are being investigated in St Emilion for rigging the rankings of Chateaux. Hubert de Bouard, co-owner of Chateau Angelus and Bordeaux merchant, Philippe Casteja were accused of rigging the 2012 rankings for their own benefit. Three disgruntled chateau owners said the pair had unfairly given better reviews of their own properties or properties they were paid to advise. Both denied any wrongdoing.


Burgundy Bottler Ordered Sold in Fraud Case


Earlier this year Raphael Michel, a major wine bottling company, was accused of fraud for falsely labeling wine as Cotes du Rhone, Cotes du Rhone Villages, and Chateauneuf du Pape. CEO, Guillame Ryckwaert, was arrested in August and fined 1 million. Other company executives are awaiting trial and could face long prison sentences. With court approval the company has been taken over by Labruyère Développement & Industries (LDI) and renamed Anagram. The deal includes bottling operations in Bordeaux, Beaujolais, Burgundy, Champagne, and Chile. LDI has contracts with 3,000 growers and 15 cooperatives in Burgundy. Sébastien Bouvet-Labuyère will serve as CEO of Anagram.


Stolen Wine Crop


Thieves in Deidesham in Germany's Rheinfalz picked a vineyard clean during the night. The theft appeared to have been done by other winemakers because the grapes had been harvested with a picking machine. Only another vineyard would have such equipment. About 1 1/2 tons of grapes were stolen.


It's 5 O'clock Somewhere


The Analog Watch Company is marketing four different timepieces with watch straps made of cork dyed with varietal wines.


Millions Raised in Charity Auction


This year's Sonoma County Wine Auction raised $5.7 million. Proceeds will be used for various charities. Most is slated for local non-profits and to provide housing relief for families that were victims of fires in the area. The event was sponsored by Visa Card.


World's Highest Vineyard


The Pure Land and Super High Vineyard in Cai Na Xiang, near Lhasa Tibet has been named the highest in the world by Guinness World Records. The vineyard is planted at 11,690 feet with Muscat, Vidal, and Bei Bing Hong grapes.


Wines on the Wing


The Wines on the Wing 2018 competition was held at the Pierre Hotel in New York. All Nippon Airways took 1st prize among the 17 airlines competing. All Nippon serves 50,000 bottles a year in 1st class and 800,000 bottles a year in business class.


The winning wines:

Sparkling - Krug Brut 2004 – served in All Nippon 1st class

White – Yatir Viognier 2015 – served in El Al Israeli Airlines 1st class

White – La Capra Chenin Blanc 2016(south Africa) - served in Aerflot Business Class

White – Joseph Drouhin Pouilly-Vinzelles 2015 best north American – served on American Airlines

Red – Valduero Reserve Ribera del Duero 2012(Spain) – served in 1st class American Airlines

Red – Les Gravieres du Roy Sauvion 2016 – served in United Airlines Business Class

Red – Raymond Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 – best north American – served on American Airlines


Dispute Over Raisin Price


Sun Maid has pulled out of the raisin industries trade group, RBA, over a dispute on the price of raisins. Last year's price was $1,800 a ton. This year's price from the group is $2,150. Advocates say the increase is necessary to cover costs of doing business. Sun Maid's president, Harry Overly, says the price increase will cause a correction and cost market share that will go to foreign producers.


Who Had “the Time of My Life”?


...and finally. Cindy Barrientos was arrested outside a Total Wine store in Florida. She and another woman had been refused service at the store for being intoxicated and trying to re-enact the lift scene from the movie Dirty Dancing in a wine aisle. It is unclear which woman was playing the part of Patrick Swayze.




Global Warming and Less Beer


A report from the United Nations and a study in the journal Nature Plants indicate that climate change will have a devastating effect on Beer production. Barley that is used to make Beer is sensitive to higher temperatures. Crops will be down from 3% to 17% depending on the region. Over the next 80 years Beer production is likely to fall by at least 16% causing price spikes. U.S. consumption is expected to fall by 14%. Actually, Beer production could fall even more because most barley is used for livestock and governments may enact policies that divert the grain for animal feed. The study concluded that a shortage of Beer could have a lasting impact on the quality of life for many. (Oh! Those hot days and nothing to drink!)


Prehistoric Beer


Archaeologists working at a burial cave near Haifa, Israel have found evidence of the oldest known alcoholic beverage production. The site appears to have been used about 13,000 years ago by paleolithic people to make beer from wild oats, barley, and wheat. The grain was sprouted. Stones were used to grind the sprouted grain and then it was allowed to ferment in bowls creating what resembles a cold alcoholic oatmeal. Not exactly like the Beer we know today, but, a beginning.


R.I.P. Bill Coors


William “Bill” Coors has died at the age of 102. He served as CEO of the Adolf Coors Brewing Company from 1960, when his brother, Adolf III, was kidnapped and murdered through decades of turmoil in the brewing industry. He was an inspiration to his employees and said many times “The fact that we survived and even grew over the years when so many breweries went out of business was an accomplishment that all Coors employees can be proud of.”


Arby's Testing Beer Recipes


Arby's is testing Beer Cheese Triple Stack Sandwich and Beer Braised Beef Sandwich. The test market is Evansville, Indiana. If successful, the products could be rolled out to franchised restaurants nationwide.


The Perfect Beer


A study commissioned by St. Austell Brewery found that the perfect bar served Beer has a head 9mm thick and is served at 5:30PM on a Saturday. The survey found that 65% of those tallied felt it was best accompanied by a burger and fries, potato chips, or peanuts. This is groundbreaking news! On the flip side, 23% said they rarely get it the way they want. 32% complained the temperature is usually not right. 38% said the experience is spoiled by dirty glassware.


Go Take a Hike


Budweiser is encouraging people to hike in the woods. Bud has hidden 6 medallions in the woods, somewhere between New York and Nevada. Clues as to where, are being given on Twitter. Find a medallion, take a picture of yourself with it and email it to Six lucky hikers will get a year's supply of Beer.


Beer Commercial Update


AB/Inbev has made deals with the NBA and MLB to allow currently playing athletes to appear in Beer commercials. Watch for them later this year. But, not with football; the NFL is holding out.


Chinese Drink More Bud


China is the world's biggest Beer consumer with 45 billion liters in 2017. The U.S. was second with 24 billion liters. And according to AB/Inbev, last year sales of Bud in China surpassed sales in the U.S. for the first time.


Beer Yoga


What's hot? Beer Yoga! That is: Yoga classes with Beer. The trend is creeping across the country. In California you can try it on Saturdays at the Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka, Sundays at The Cooperage Brewing in Santa Rosa, or various days at the Strike Brewing Co. in San Jose.


Beer Salesman Rescues Man


...and finally. Breakthru Beverage salesman, Kwame Anderson and driver, Jason Gaebel were driving on Interstate 94 in Minnesota when they saw a man ready to jump off a bridge. They stopped and spent an hour talking to him. The police came. Kwame Anderson, being a great salesman, kept talking. Finally, he grabbed a case of Beer and said “If you come down from there, do you want to get a drink with me and talk about what’s going on? I have a pack of Coors Light for you. Follow me”. That did it.




Disney to Sell Alcohol


Disneyland will sell alcohol to the public for the first time since its opening in 1955. Olga's Cantina will serve drinks to fans who want to join Han Solo in a few minutes of relaxation in a galaxy far, far, away. No drinks to order. Patrons will be able to order drinks from a fixed menu set by Disney's creative staff. Disneyland was alcohol free, not because Walt didn't like drinking, but because he wanted a family friendly atmosphere. The private, invitation only drinking restaurant, Club 33, has always been hidden in a view spot high above New Orleans Square. Now patrons will be limited to one drink to be finished inside the bar and then like other attractions, keep moving to the next ride.

Meanwhile the company will also be trying out adult push-up pops made by Buzz Pop Cocktails at Disney World in Florida. The frozen treats come in mango passion fruit, lemon drop martini, and blueberry pomegranate. White Russian and grasshopper sorbet are scheduled to be added this winter.


Bartender of the Year


The Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year 2018 competition was held in Berlin. Contestants competed in several rounds; Ketel One Better Drinking Challenge, Johnnie Walker Flavours of a Nation Challenge, Ron Zacapa Before and After Challenge, Tanqueray Search for a Signature Challenge, and the Cocktail Clash '18 Challenge. The winner was Orlando Marzo, who tends bar at the Lume' in Melbourne, Australia. Marzo beat out competition among the 55 contestants. But blew them away with his entry in Before and After and clinched the title in the Cocktail Challenge. According to Diageo Cocktailian and World Class Judge, Lauren Mote, “The Zacapa aperitif he made for the ‘Before and After’ challenge was one of the best I’ve ever tasted and the way he held his nerve in the ‘Cocktail Clash’ finale – for me, that’s the mark of a truly world class bartender.”


Scotch Causes Traffic Jam


Macallan opened a new distillery in Craigellachie, Scotland last may. In August a special first bottling named Genesis was on sale at the premises for £495, one bottle per customer. Whisky collectors and fans started to line up the night before. When daylight came, police had to close all the roads in the area because of the miles long traffic jam.


Hello Kitty


Hello Kitty with be opening its first cat themed cafe and bar in Irvine. The restaurant will have tea service and cocktails in a private reservation only room. What kind of cocktails? Hello Kitty custom cocktails, of course. Choices include “You had me at Hello” and “Hello Kit-Tea.” You can also get Hello Kitty Wines and Prosecco.



Bar Hopping Around the World


Planning a drinking vacation? Here are the 6 cities with the largest number of bars.

#6 Barcelona, Spain – 733

#5 Madrid, Spain – 865

#4 New York, USA – 875

#3 Tokyo, Japan – 955

#2 London, UK – 1,327

#1 Shanghai China – 1,599


Missing Patron Found


Police in Laredo, Texas recovered $25,000 worth of Patron Tequila that had been stolen from a trailer. The theft took place in September and a month later a man was advertising quantities of Tequila for sale on social media internet pages. After surveillance and a traffic stop, police arrested Manuel Alejandro Martinez Fernandez, who led them back to his residence where they found 29 cases of Patron Roca Silver, 17 cases of Gran Patron, and 9 cases of Patron mini bottles.


Craft Distilling Makes Huge Gains


U.S. Craft distilling volume grew by 23.7% in 2017. Sales totaled $3.7 billion and amounted to a market share of 3.2% in volume and 4.6% in value. At year end there were 1,835 craft distillers that are defined as removing less than 750,000 gallons from bond. Exports were up 5.7% with 598,000 cases shipped. Five states have more than one third of the total craft distillers. California is the craftiest state with 156 distillers. New York has 134, Washington 122, Texas 108, and Colorado 99.



New Age Verification System


Yoli, a start-up company in the UK has developed facial recognition software that integrates with NCR self checkout cash registers for age verification. The system is currently being tested under government supervision. With the system, the customer is allowed to use a photo ID like drivers license or passport and check out in seconds. If the system gets final approval, it will be rolled out across the country. ( Editor - Does the system have a future in California?)


Hang Ten!


Glenmorangie and Maine's Grain Surfboards are partnering to make surfboards from Glenmorangie Single Malt Whisky barrels. The line of boards is called Beyond the Cask. It takes half a barrel to make one surfboard. Prices start at $5,500 each.


A Horse Walks into a Bar


...and finally. Bar patrons at the Pari Mutuel Urbain, north of Paris were startled when a horse came through the door. The establishment is a combination bar and racetrack betting parlor. Customers just weren't used to seeing a horse close up. The filly had thrown her rider at the Chantilly racetrack about a half mile away. The horse then calmly walked out of the bar without stopping for a drink. The filly was caught at a nearby parking lot and returned to the track without further incident.



Other Foods and Beverages


Another Job Opening at the Palace


The Queen of England's household is looking to fill another vacancy in the kitchen. This time for a Sous Chef. “Joining an accomplished team, you’ll work hands-on with your colleagues to deliver food to the highest standards. You'll plan and develop menu items for a wide range of events, as well as helping to manage stock levels. Alongside the Head Chef you’ll lead and motivate the Kitchen team, playing an integral part in the day-to-day running of our operations. You should be an experienced and qualified Chef with a background in premier catering, looking to take on a new challenge with thorough knowledge of the food industry and trained in classical French cuisine.” Salary 21,151.88.

Walmart Expands Online & Home Delivery

Walmart, the nation's biggest grocery retailer, continues to challenge Amazon, Kroger, and Albertsons for grocery sales. The company aims to bring online grocery delivery to 100 metropolitan areas — covering 40% of U.S. households by the end of 2018 through its own services and third-party providers. Walmart has been investing in e-commerce and customer service. Now, those investments will be paying off by increasing market share as customers shift grocery purchases to the internet and home delivery.


La Croix Class Action


The National Beverage Corporation, maker of La Croix Sparkling Water, has had a class action lawsuit filed against it in Illinois. The suit claims that the drinks contain synthetic ingredients including an agent used as an insecticide to kill cockroaches. The drinks are advertised as being flavored with all natural ingredients. The company says its claims are valid and it will defend them.


Tough as Grapes


Welch's has started a campaign to sell its iconic grape juice to an overlooked market segment; Gen-X men. The company's “Tough as Grapes” commercials feature men splashed in the purple stuff. The back story: Welch's research found that 59% of Gen-X men are the primary family grocery shoppers, 73% of Gen-X men drink juice for breakfast, 60% of Gen-X men like grape flavor, and more men drink juice than women. The campaign also takes advantage of health consciousness by spotlighting that grape juice contains anti-oxidants.


Yes, We Have No Bananas


For decades bananas have been a staple and volume driver for supermarket produce departments. That could all be over. Two diseases are sweeping through the world's banana plantations. Black Sigatoka and Panama Disease TR4 are both fungus diseases. Black Sigatoka causes black spots on the banana leaves and early ripening. Panama Disease attacks the roots of banana plants. Strain TR4 is particularly virulent. According to professor Gert Kema, the major industry producers should have been looking for control measures. Instead they have contributed to the spread of the diseases and it's about to catch up with them.



Music Soothes the Wallet


A study of tipping in upscale restaurants in Austria found that diners leave bigger tips when the restaurant plays upbeat music. They found a similar effect with melancholy music. Lower tips were left with neutral music.


The Changing Market

The National Retail Federation (NRF) surveyed 3,000 households nationwide and found that 89% are trying to save money on grocery and clothing purchases. Fifty-eight percent of these consumers said they shop at dollar stores, 50% shop at discount grocers, 50% shop at off-price clothing stores, 44% shop at outlet stores, and 36% shop at thrift stores.



Cranberry Bourbon

3 Cups Bourbon
1 Cup Dried Cranberries
One 3 inch Cinnamon Stick
Four 3 inch strips Orange Peel

Combine all ingredients in an airtight glass container. Store in a cool dark place for 2 to 4 weeks. Strain and pour liquid into a tightly sealed glass container. Store in a cool place and enjoy on the rocks or straight.


Port Wine Cranberry Sauce

1 12 oz pkg fresh Cranberries
1 1/4 Cups Sugar
1/4 Cup Port Wine
2 tsp Corn Starch
2 Tablespoons Water

Cook cranberries, sugar, and port wine in a saucepan for about 10-12 minutes until berries begin to pop. Mix corn starch and water until smooth. Add a tablespoon of the cranberry mixture to the corn starch and water. Mix thoroughly and then mix into the rest of the cranberry mixture. Stir and continue heating until the mixture thickens. Chill and serve.



Abstinence is Trendy


A study of 10,000 people in the UK aged 18-24 showed that alcohol consumption is on the decline and abstinence is becoming mainstream. In 2005 43% admitted to drinking too much. By 2015 that figure dropped to 28%. 18% regarded themselves as non-drinkers in 2005; and that rose to 29% by 2015. In 2005 35% of all surveyed said they had not had a drink in the past week. In 2015 slightly more than 50% had not had alcohol in the previous week. The study was published in the journal BMC Public Health.


Tasting Notes

Each month we are out there looking for wines that “over deliver”; wines that offer more than others in their category and price level. We search out the wines that you can buy to help build your business; wines that make customers happy and keep them coming back. These are wines we rate as good buys and best buys. Check our notes. The opinions in the reviews are our own and unsolicited. We receive no compensation from wineries or brokers. This month there were several wine tastings that showed some very nice wines available at reasonable prices. The prices shown are approximate retails.


Spain's Great Match

The Spain's Great Match tasting was held at LA's SLS Hotel. The quality of Spanish wines continues to improve and prices are mostly very reasonable.


Aveniu Brands

Anna de Codorniu Brut Blanc de Blancs, Cava. Bright, fresh, clean, clear, good nose, good bubble structure. A good buy at $14.99.

Anna de Codorniu Brut Rose', Bright, fresh, bright pink, good nose, good bubble structure. A good buy at $14.99.

Pirinenca Tempranillo 2016. Dark Ruby, good nose, full body, soft and fruity. A great buy at $13.99. For all Aveniu Brands contact Nolan Jones at or (707) 478-0710, distributed by Youngs Market.


Marques de Riscal

Marques de Riscal Sauvignon Blanc 2016. Clean, clear, green apple flavors, easy drinking. 12.5% ABV. $14.

Marques de Riscal Proximo 2014. Dark ruby, good nose, smooth, full body. 13.5% ABV. A very good buy at $12.00.

For all Marques de Riscal wines contact Tatiana Columbus at or (305) 773-1613. Distributed by Southern Wine & Spirits.


Terroir Wine Group

Lobetia Rose 2017. Organic and biodynamic. Dry, good nose, bright pink, 100% Garnacha. A very good buy at $9.99.

Lobetia Tempranillo/Petit Verdot 2015. Organic and biodynamic. Good nose, dark ruby, fruity, medium full body. A very good buy at $12.99.

Vaiven Blanc de Noir Tempranillo 2017. Bright, fresh, white wine made from Tempranillo grapes, clean, clear, a unique drinking experience. A very good buy at $14.99.

For all Terroir Wine Group wines contact Paul Clear at or (813) 732-1933.


New Legislation for 2018

Our industry has more laws controlling it than most industries. The State

Legislature and the ABC give us license privileges and can take them away. New alcoholic beverage laws were passed that are effective in 2018. Many critical issues are pending. Do you know about them and are you prepared for the changes. Is your business safe? Members are encouraged to look through the Legislative Bulletin. If there is a new law that is a problem for your business, call the association office now. The CBRA is your voice in Sacramento. If you are not a member, join today. The CBRA is your only voice when it comes to new beverage laws.

Brands and Comments

The CBRA Newsletter has not accepted any payment from any of the brands mentioned

in this edition. The editor, Ron Ziff, welcomes comments at

CBRA Membership Remains Open

Now, more than ever, access to your industry is important. The CBRA is California's

only statewide association of licensed retailers, and our membership continues to be

open for the first time in 20 years.

At CBRA we deal with licenses and regulations that affect the beverage business on a

daily basis. That's why CBRA offers practical solutions, unique products, services,

information, and timely advice for both large and small beverage businesses. With

reasonable fees, superior service, and associates that are easy to reach, CBRA helps you

to run your business better and easier. One of the most valuable services we offer is that

call to the ABC to ask your question. We can ask that question and keep you anonymous. That's something you just can't do yourself.

Join or renew your valuable membership today. You can't afford to delay.

California Beverage Retailers Association – California's Only Statewide Association of Licensees. We're #1!

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