Beverage Bulletin April 2015

California Beverage Retailers Association

Beverage Bulletin

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 693-5561

Ron Ziff, Editor

April 2015

This Month's Stories Include:

Headline News Stories - Nutritional Labels for Beverages, Space Wine, Drought Update, Big Problems in Recycling


Celebrities in the Industry - Dick Vermeil, Ron Darling, Michele Lorenza Ouellet

Richard Branson


Billionaires in the Industry - Donald Trump, Yuri Shefler, Ken Grossman, Charlene de Carvalho, Alejandro Santo Domingo, Jim Koch, Jorge Paulo Lemann, Marcel Hermann Telles, Carlos Alberto Sicupira, Rosa Anna Magno Garavoglia, Carolus Nolet Sr., Benedicta Chamberlain, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, Dietrick Mateschitz, Paolo and Nicola Bulgari, Gordon Getty

Popular Culture - Wine on Chinese TV, L.A.'s Top 10 Sports Bars, Book & Movie Reviews

Wine - Great Wine from Our 51st State, Leonardo DaVinci's Own Vineyard, Chinese Now Own 100 Bordeaux Vineyards, Murder/Suicide at Napa Winery, Blind Blind Tasting, Washington Wineries in Danger, Treasury to Sell Vineyard, Gallo Buys Winery, Gallo Sued for Toxic Waste, 24 Wineries Sued for Arsenic, Italian Wine Made in Prison, Ancient Greek Wine Jug Found, German Wine Sets Price Record, Champagne Sales Increasing, A House Built on Champagne, Low Alcohol Wine, Police Seize 30,000 Bottles of Fake Wine, Supreme Court to Decide Raisin Case, Disease Hits UK Vines


Beer - 2014 Changes in Beer Sales


Spirits - Bourbon is Drinking Competitor's Lunch, Vern Underwood Honored, Palcohol is Coming, James Bond Scotch Sold for Charity


Other Foods and Beverages - GMO News, Berkeley Tax Nightmare, Dr. Pepper Does It!, EU Audits Starbucks, Water Stealing Soda Sales


The Changing Market - The Next Trend: Clean Labels, Warning Labels on Soda?,

Fresh and Easy to Close 1/3 of Stores


Health - Red Wine Fights Depression

...and as always Tasting Notes and the Industry Calendar

Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world.

-Kaiser Wilhelm II, King of Prussia


Headline News Stories

Nutritional Labels for Beverages

The Brewers of Europe, a trade organization, has announced members will begin putting nutritional labeling on beer packaging. Some are planning to implement the change immediately. AB/Inbev, SABMiller, Heineken, and Carlsberg are among the participating brewers. Diageo will also be providing calorie counts, nutritional information, and alcohol content for all its products on its website and on back labels where allowed. The European Parliament's Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee called for mandatory nutritional labeling on all alcoholic beverages.

Space Wine

This month wine grapes will be planted on the International Space Station. They will be grown from seed in a special growth chamber called a “Veggie.” The astronauts will be able to enter the Veggie and interact with the grapes and other plants. Wine grapes were chosen for the experiment because they produce a maximum of fruit with a minimum of water and waste. Don't count on Intergalactic Cab soon. The three varieties chosen for the experiment are Muscat of Alexandria, Touriga Nacional, and Scuppernong. The Muscat of Alexandria was chosen because it is one of the most ancient grape varieties and produces fruit with high sugar content; the Touriga Nacional, from Portugal, is high in the red pigment, anthocyanin; and the Scuppernong is the only grape that contains cancer killing egallic acid. We're looking forward to tasting a great Orbital Space Blend Vintage 2018.


Drought Update

The biggest problem is that even Governor Brown can't make it rain. Governor Brown has issued a mandatory water usage order. He signed a State Water Resources Board order restricting water usage by 25% of 2014 levels. Cities and other local governments have been ordered to convert 50 million square feet of lawn throughout the state to drought tolerant landscaping. Local agencies have been ordered to institute tiered water rates charging higher rates for more water usage. The governor's order calls for drastic cuts covering lawns, parks, cemeteries, golf courses, and roadway medians. Agriculture, which uses 75% of our water, is not included. It comes under its own regulation by the State Water Board and local water agencies. Central Valley farmers are expected to get 20% of requested deliveries. Some will get none at all. It is anticipated that the state orders will be on a per capita basis. That means that cities like Los Angeles that have already made significant cuts will not be required to cut as much. Cities like Beverly Hills and Newport Beach have some of the highest per capita usage in the state and will have to do much more.


We are in our 4th year of drought. 2014 was the driest since record keeping began in 1895. The Sierra snow pack is 5% of normal. The State Water Resources Board has approved new water use rules. Restaurants can only serve water on request. Homeowners can only water lawns twice a week. Hotels must ask guests if they want their linens changed daily. The new rules will take effect after a review by a legal team. They are expected to go into effect by late April or early May and will be for a 270 day period. There is a possibility that the rules will be permanent.


The State Water Board also renewed last year's regulations limiting diversion of water in order to sustain endangered fish populations. Users will have to report their usage and junior users will have to allow those with senior rights first option at diverting flows.


Some Northern California rice farmers will not plant this year, but will sell their water rights to Los Angeles for $700 per acre foot. The group of farmers will be selling 20% of their allotment to the Metropolitan Water District.


The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is responsible for water allocations from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. The Bureau has notified Junior Water Rights Holders that they will get no water this year. The Bureau's obligation is to give Senior Rights Holders 75% of their allocation in dry years. It has notified them that the 75% will not be considered an “obligation”, but will be a “goal.” The bureau says it will most likely not meet the goal.


Water rates and deliveries are not the only casualty this year. With less water flowing through dams, there will be less hydroelectric power. That means local power agencies will have to use more fossil fuels, at greater expense, to produce power.


Mother Jones Magazine claims that so much ground water has been pumped that it's causing the oceans to rise. The magazine says most of the rising ocean has been caused by climate change, but groundwater pumping is also a significant factor. Since 1900 worldwide pumping has moved 4500 cubic kilometers of water from land areas to the sea. That enough to fill Lake Tahoe 30 times and has caused the sea to rise about 8 inches.


Mendocino County vineyards have been using giant fans to combat frost this winter. The fans have been idle for decades as farmers used overhead sprinklers to keep vines from freezing. The water shortage has forced the use of the fans. Now residents have filed a lawsuit saying the noise is overwhelming and shakes their homes through the night. The suit claims the fans violate the local noise ordinance. The farmers counter that they have a right to protect their crops. The Mendocino County court will decide the issue.


This year will be a tough one for many wineries at the lower end of the price scale. Sales for low priced wines are drifting slightly lower as some younger customers are switching to craft beers. This comes right as the cost of water and other production costs are increasing. Last year many grape farmers in the Central Valley fought to break even. This year some will not be that lucky.


The Wish Bar and the Bond Bar in San Francisco are offering their patrons a one dollar discount on any drinks that are served without ice. The bar owners say it's a small step, but it's making a statement about saving water. They say a bar uses about three pounds of ice for every customer. It takes that much to chill the drinks, service the bar, and ice down salads, seafood, and other items.

Big Problems in Recycling

Recycling of plastic containers has hit a huge bump in the road. The drop in oil prices has made new plastic cheaper than recycled. The price of recycled plastic, in some cases, is $298 a ton more than new. At the end of March new PET was running 7% more expensive than the identical product in from recycled plastic. The result is warehouses filling up with shredded used plastic worldwide. The situation has put recyclers and sorters in a cash crunch, with some going into bankruptcy with warehouses filled. Meanwhile government policies pushing collection of used plastic and progressively increasing goals for keeping plastic out of landfills have added to the problem. As local contracts come up for renegotiation, cities are finding that they have to pay to have the plastic hauled away. This is in stark contrast to the $10 to $25 a ton they are used to getting paid for the containers they had collected.


Celebrities in the Industry

Former NFL coach, Dick Vermeil has teamed up with winemaker, Thomas Brown to make a Napa Valley wine. The first release of Vermeil Wines will be 2013 vintage.


Ron Darling pitched for the Oakland Athletics, New York Mets, and Montreal Expos. When he found out that his son had Type 1 Diabetes, he decided to start a foundation to fight the disease. Later, he founded Darling Wines and directed all the profits to the foundation. The wines are Syrah and Chardonnay, co-packed by Donelan Family Wines in Sonoma. Most of the foundations funds go to the Diabetes Research Institute.


When she isn't modeling clothes for Madewell, fashion model, Michele Lorenza Ouellet is tending the vineyard. She grew up in Napa Valley so it's no surprise that Lorenza teamed with her mother to make Lorenza California Rose'. She calls it “the happiest drink ever.”

Richard Branson and his Virgin Limited Edition luxury hotels will partner with consultancy Litmus Wines to produce a line of wines at his Mountain Vineyards. The winery was acquired last year along with the Mont Rochelle Hotel in South Africa. There will be 3 tiers of wines; accessible, premium, and ultra-premium. The wines will be distributed internationally and sold in restaurants and specialty wine shops.


Billionaires in the Industry

Yuri Shefler, Russian, (lives in Malibu) $1.75 billion Stolichnaya (made in Latvia)

Ken Grossman $1 billion owns Sierra Nevada Beer

Charlene de Carvalho, Netherlands $11.6 billion leads the family that controls Heineken

Alejandro Santo Domingo, $4.4 billion owns 15% of SAB/Miller

Jim Koch $1.3 billion owns Sam Adams Beer

Jorge Paulo Lemann, Brazil, $24 billion; Marcel Hermann Telles, Brazil, $13 billion; Carlos Alberto Sicupira, Brazil, $11.3 billion, together the three control AB/Inbev

Rosa Anna Magno Garavoglia, Italy, $2.9 billion controls Grupo Campari

Carolus Nolet Sr., Netherlands, $1.1 billion owns Ketel One Vodka

Benedicta Chamberlain, UK, $1.4 billion William Grant & Sons, Glenfiddich, Grants Scotch

Stewart and Lynda Resnick, $4.2 billion own Pom, Landmark Vineyards, Justin Vineyards, Fiji Water

Donald Trump $4.1 billion owns Trump Bar in Trump Tower

Dietrick Mateschitz, Austria, $10.8 billion owns 49% of Red Bull

Paolo and Nicola Bulgari, Italy, $10.8 billion owns Podernuovo Wines

Gordon Getty, $2.1 billion owns Plumpjack Winery


Popular Culture

Wine on Chinese TV

Wine is very much a part of popular culture all over the world and China, in particular. The internet gives us a way to see wine as the Chinese see it. Here is the Connoisseur Wine Show from TV 56 in Shanghai. Watch the current episode on Previous episodes are linked at the right of the page. One of the big advertisers is E & J Gallo.

L.A.'s Top 10 Sports Bars

Big Wangs

Big Wangs

Timeout LA has named the 10 best LA area Sports Bars. They are: Casey's Irish Pub (Fairfax area), Ye Rustic Inn (Los Feliz), Barney's Beanery (West Hollywood), Big Wang's (Hollywood), Lucky Baldwin's (Pasadena), Good Microbrew (East Sunset Blvd), T. Boyle's Tavern (Downtown LA), Blue Dog Beer Tavern (Sherman Oaks), Biergarten (Koreatown), The Happy Ending (Hollywood),


The Handbook of Porters and Stouts by Josh Christie and Chad Polenz, Cider Mill Press, 448 pages, $22.25. The ultimate and complete guide to some of the most complex beers available in the market today. History of the two styles, up to date info on the trends, hundreds of reviews, food pairings, and tasting tips.

The Spirit of Gin by Matt Teacher, Cider Mill Press, 364 pages, $24.95. A guide to today's Gin revival. With history, ingredients, distilling methods, recipes, and notes from beverage industry leaders.


Paris Cocktails by Doni Belau, Cider Mill Press, 256 pages, $19.95. An elegant collection of over 100 recipes from the City of Light. The romance of drinking the way the French do it. How to throw a Parisian cocktail party. Reviews of the best bars and hot spots in Paris. Scheduled release September 15, 2015.


The Billionaire's Vinegar, starring Mathew McConaughey, will be released in the near future. The movie tells the story of the $500,000 auction of fraudulent wine from Thomas Jefferson's cellar and the investigation that followed.



Great Wine from Our 51st State

The British beverage trade publication, “Drinks Business” toured the U.S. in search of our best wines and reported that “each of the 51 states of the United States produces wine.” This was news to us. We know of only 50 states. But, we are willing to be corrected. We counted the stars on our flag. Only 50 there. What kind of wine comes from that elusive 51st state? Red? White? Maybe blue? Was it something else that distracted the Brits? How many glasses of our good wine does it take to lose count?

Leonardo DaVinci's Own Vineyard

A team, working in central Milan, has been restoring Leonardo DaVinci's vineyard in time to be part of the Milan Expo 2015. He was given the vineyard in 1499 by Lodovico Sforza in exchange for painting The Last Supper. Leonardo enjoyed his own wines until he died 20 years later. The vineyard was active for another 450 years until it was destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II. The planting will be Malvasia di Candia grapes.

Chinese Now Own 100 Bordeaux Vineyards

The century mark was reached when Chen Miaolin, founder of the New Century Tourism Group bought Chateau de Birot, an 85 acre property with an 18th century mansion and 60 acres of vineyards. Shortly afterward packaging millionaire, James Zhou, bought Chateau Renon with 20 acres of vineyards and 5 hectares of park and gardens.

Murder/Suicide at Napa Winery

A dispute between winery operator, Robert Dahl, and investor Emad Tawfilis turned deadly. The two had been having a business conference at Dahl Vineyards about a lawsuit over $1.2 million dollar loan from Tawfilis to Dahl. Their lawyers were participating on a conference call. One of the lawyers called for a 20 minute break. Then Tawfilis called 911 saying he had been shot. He ran from the conference with Dahl chasing him in an SUV and shooting. As the police arrived, Dahl shot Tawfilis in the head. Then the police chased Dahl until he stopped driving and shot himself. The winery had made custom crush wines. One of the wines was Mangria, owned by comedian Adam Carolla.

A Blind Blind Tasting

The Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville hosts authentic blind tastings. The program is called “Tasting in the Dark” and is led by Henry “Hobey” Wedler, a blind chemistry grad student. Hobey has been blind since birth. Tasters are blindfolded and led into a room where they can't see the five wines they will taste. Hobey teaches them to use their noses and taste buds to evaluate and learn about the wines. He leads them in learning the meaning of descriptive terms and aromas. This is a case of the blind leading the blindfolded.

Washington Wineries in Danger

Activists have charged that the Hanford Nuclear Plant endangers the Columbia River and some of Washington State's best vineyards. The 586 square mile site has been in use since the 1940's and was part of the Manhattan Project. The plant has nuclear waste stored on site. 450 billion gallons of nuclear waste have been discharged into the soil. It sits in a major earthquake area and is below two dams. It has been in a cleanup mode since 1989, but is running well behind schedule. State Rep, Gerry Pollet, D – Seattle points out that, if there is an earthquake, there is the potential of a problem that could dwarf the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in Japan. More than 160 wineries are within a 60 mile radius of the plant.

Treasury to Sell Vineyard

Treasury Wine Estates has put its Asti Winery and vineyards up for sale. The property is 536 acres of which 100 acres are planted in Cabernet Sauvignon and 175 acres planted in other varietals. There are no brands included; just land and grapes. The property is zoned for a hotel and restaurant. The sale is part of Treasury's restructuring.

Gallo Buys Winery

E&J Gallo Winery has bought J Vineyards in Healdsburg. At the same time Jordan Winery issued a statement saying that the two wineries are separate and Jordan was not for sale.

Gallo Sued for Toxic Waste

The State of California is suing Gallo Glass Company for using toxic waste in its glass bottles. The wastes include arsenic, cadmium, lead, and selenium. The lawsuit said there was no evidence that the substances entered the wine.

24 Wineries Sued for Arsenic

Kevin Hicks, the owner of BeverageGrades, a testing lab tested 1300 bottles of wine and found one quarter of them had levels of arsenic several times the amount allowed in water. He is suing 24 California wineries for selling wine that is unsafe. Included in the suit are Bronco Wines, Treasury, The Wine Group, and 21 other wineries. The wines have been touted as being at the low end of the price scale. The price range is from $2.49 to $10 and includes 83 wines from California and New York.

Italian Wine Made in Prison

Frescbaldi has signed a 15 year agreement with the penal colony on Gorgona Island off the coast of Tuscany. The winery has already been in operation for 4 years and is producing about 6,000 bottles a year of Frescobaldi de Gorgona. The new agreement doubles the size of the vineyard. The purpose of the joint venture between the producer and the prison is to rehabilitate the prisoners and give them new skills. The wine sells for about $80 a bottle.

ancient greek vase

Ancient Greek Wine Jug Found

An ancient Greek wine jug from the 5th century B.C. Has been found in Champagne at the tomb of a Celtic Prince. This is the farthest north Greek cultural items have been found.

German Wine Sets Price Record

A bottle of German 1935 Pinot Noir (Assmanshauser Hollenburg Spatburgunder) was sold at a charity auction at Kloster Eberbach Winery in Germany for $2,550. This may be a record for a German red wine. A bottle of Rudesheimer Hinterhaus Riesling Auslese 1935 sold for $1,650. The winery was founded by monks in 1136. Later it became privately owned and has been holding charity auctions since 1806. It has belonged to the state of Hesse since 1945.


Champagne Sales Increasing

Champagne makers have been enjoying an increase in U.S. sales as consumer confidence grows. The price of Champagne to distributors has been lower due to the strength of the dollar and the weakness of the Euro as the two currencies near parity. Meanwhile the price to the consumer has held steady; increasing profits. That's called “increasing margin in a down market.” Look for promotions later this year.

A House Built on Champagne

A man in Chelyabinsk, Russia has built a house out of Champagne bottles. It took 3 years and 12,000 bottles to make the 99 square meter house. Hamidullah Ilchibaev bought and drank some and got donations of empties from local restaurants. He apparently had a good time getting construction materials. His son and daughter-in-law will live in the house.

Low Alcohol Wine

Rocco Longo, a student at the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre at the Charles Sturt University in Australia, is working on an experimental project to create a low alcohol wine. Warmer climate conditions are producing grapes with higher sugar content that make high alcohol wines. By harvesting grapes from the same vineyard early and again when they are ripe two weeks later, the wine produced is full flavored yet lower in alcohol.

Police Seize 30,000 Bottles of Fake Wine

Authorities in Taiwan raided a bottling plant owned by Tequila Development Company and seized 30,000 bottles of fraudulently labeled wine. The company had been importing bulk wine from Spain and Chile and bottling it to be sold as French wine. Top French wines were purchased in Europe and the labels duplicated in the company's printing plant. The owner, Ted Lin, has been charged with selling about $3 million in mislabeled wine since 2010.

Supreme Court to Decide Raisin Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has taken a case filed by 30 raisin growers challenging the Marketing Order system run by the Raisin Administrative Committee. The growers are challenging the practice of taking a portion of their crop in order to stabilize prices, but paying for little or none of it. The growers had 47% of their crop taken in 2002-3 and 30% taken in 2003-4. They were paid for only a small portion of it. The contention is that under the Fifth Amendment “just compensation” must be given when private property is taken for a public purpose. The price of raisins influences the price of wine grapes.

Disease Hits UK Vines

Wine grapes have been planted in the UK over the last decade and are part of a budding wine industry. Now the Royal Horticultural Society has identified 4 viruses that are attacking the vines. The viruses can delay ripening causing high acid wine; in some cases they cause leaf curl; and in other cases they can attack the roots and kill the vines. The viruses are spread by pruning, and also by mealy bugs and scale.



2014 Changes in Beer Sales

Bud Light -1.8%

Coors Light -3.3%

Budweiser -4.4%

Miller Lite -1.6%

Corona Extra +5.4%

Natural Light -6.8%

Busch Light -0% flat

Busch -3.3%

Modelo Especial +20.2%

Michelob Ultra +8.5%


Beer Marketer's Insights reports that since Inbev took over Anheuser-Busch in 2007 the market share has dropped from 49% to 45%. AB/Inbev and Miller/Coors have not been able to increase prices beyond inflation due to pressure from imports and craft brews. Mexican beers have increased to 15% of the total market. Overall, the changes have cost the major brewers a good portion of their profits.



Bourbon is Drinking Competitor's Lunch

Exports of Scotch to the U.S. Were down 9% last year according to British government statistics. Meanwhile Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey sales were up 7.4% according to DISCUS. The reasons are: price, bourbon is cheaper; mixability, bourbon mixes easily with sodas and juices; drinkers are trending away from low end liquor to higher priced sipping whiskeys.


Bacardi is laying off 80 of its 600 U.S. Employees. Sales are down on the company's brands: Bacardi Rum, Dewars Scotch, and Grey Goose Vodka sales were flat. Most of the cuts are in sales and marketing jobs.

Vern Underwood Honored

Vern Underwood, Chairman of Youngs Market Company, will receive a special Lifetime Achievement Award during the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in Orange County. The award ceremony will be held June 11 at the St. Regis Resort Monarch Beach at Dana Point.

Palcohol is Coming

Palcohol, powdered alcohol, has been approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. This approval supersedes the back and forth changes last year. The FDA has already said that it has no basis to block the sale of the product. The owner, Lipsmark LLC, is currently trying to secure patents on the process. It expects the product will be ready to market by this summer.

James Bond Scotch Sold for Charity

The bottle of Macallan Scotch 1962 used in the James Bond movie, Skyfall, was autographed by the movie's cast and auctioned to raise money for charity. The winning bid was 9,635.

Other Foods and Beverages

GMO News

The FDA has given approval to two GMO foods. The Arctic Apple developed by Okanagan Specialty in Canada resists browning after it is cut and the Innate Potato from J R Simplot resists bruising and produces fewer carcinogens when cooked at high temperature. These are the first GMO's to offer direct benefits to consumers. Previous GMO's have been beneficial to farmers. What are they? Read on.


Monsanto has been selling patented GMO seeds for years to farmers for years. These are primarily seeds for corn and soybeans. The plants from these seeds are unaffected by Monsanto's companion product, a herbicide named Roundup. Roundup kills the weeds that would otherwise grow in the fields alongside the grains. The seeds are patented and Monsanto licenses the seeds to farmers to use for a single crop year and does not allow them to save seeds from this year's crop to start next year. The company has vigorously enforced this in the courts. Now there is a new wrinkle in the GMO/Roundup saga. The World Health Organization (WHO) has found Roundup to be a carcinogen. Monsanto says it isn't so. What is the significance? Most of the soybeans and industrial corn grown in the U.S. are GMO from Monsanto seeds. If the WHO finding is right, it means products made with these soybeans and corn carry the carcinogen. These include tofu and similar products, corn flour and mixes, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and products containing HFCS like soda pop.

Berkeley Tax Nightmare

Berkeley’s new tax on sugared beverages went into effect on January1. The city actually began collecting the tax on April 1 for sales starting March 1. The tax is one cent per ounce levied on distributors. Distributors claim administering the tax is a nightmare. There are numerous exemptions that they have to deal with. The most complicated is that the tax does not apply to drinks sold to retailers that make a profit of less than $100,000 a year. The distributors say they have no way of knowing a retailer’s earnings. The tax also doesn’t apply to the biggest seller of sugared drinks in the area; The University of California. It does its own distributing and is a state agency; beyond the reach of the Berkeley city government.

Dr. Pepper Does It!

Elizabeth Sullivan, a resident of Texas, has celebrated her 104th birthday. When asked how she made it to 104, she responded: “People try to give me coffee for breakfast. Well, I'd rather have a Dr Pepper...I started drinking them about 40 years ago. Three a day. Every doctor that sees me says they'll kill you, but they die and I don't.”

EU Audits Starbucks

Starbucks is under investigation by the European Union. The company has had hundreds of millions in sales, but still shows a loss on operations. When the authorities audited Starbucks they found a profit. The profit was retained at Starbucks coffee buying company in Switzerland and then a $527 million dividend was sent to the headquarters in Amsterdam. In Amsterdam the net profit of $427 million dividend only incurred a $3 million tax. Authorities are looking for at least $20 million more in taxes. In other news, Starbucks will be paying for online degrees earned by U.S. Employees working 20 hours or more a week. The company has announced it plans to open 3,500 more stores in the U.S. And 8,000 more across the America's.

Water Stealing Soda Sales

A recent Gallup Poll recorded 63% of Americans as saying they were avoiding soda drinks. Soda consumption has been falling for 10 straight years. The decline is worldwide. Beverage Marketing reports that bottled water may surpass soda in sales. In 2014 bottled water sales increased 7.3% to 10.87 billion gallons. Sodas decreased 1.5% in 2014 to 12.76 billion gallons.

Nestle will invest $200 million this year in seven new water production facilities. The company has a 35% share of the U.S. Bottled water market.

The Changing Market

The Next Trend: Clean Labels

Clean Label” is a term sweeping the food industry. A Clean Label is the label on a product that is non-GMO, Natural, and Organic. It is often “free from” other components.

Warning Labels on Soda?

The supporters of last year's failed San Francisco soda tax initiative are back with a new proposal. They want warnings on soda ads. Supervisors Scott Wiener, Malia Cohen, and Eric Mar are asking to have the warning put on all advertising surfaces in the city. It would read "WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco." It would appear in sports stadiums. It would also apply to in-store advertising at retailers. All soda ads would be banned on city property; including buses, bus benches and shelters. It would not apply to vendors on city property or media that the city has no control over like TV stations.

Fresh and Easy to Close 1/3 of Stores

Fresh and Easy has announced that it will be closing 55 stores. This leaves the chain with 110 active locations in California, Arizona, and Nevada.


Red Wine Fights Depression

Scientists at the University of South Carolina have found that resveratrol relieves inflammation, which in turn, decreases depression and related disorders like social stress. Dr. Susan Wood says she hopes other scientists testing for behavioral difficulties will test her findings. In clinical tests, rats were given the equivalent of resveratrol found in 6 glasses of wine. The resveratrol blocked the inflammation and the rats never developed the behavioral problems that inflammation would have caused.

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.


We had the opportunity to taste several great Tequilas and Wines at the Latin Food Fest. We enjoyed Tequila Arette and rate it as a good buy. It is made at El Llano Distillery in Jalisco by members of the Orendain Family that has been making Tequila for generations. The Bianco sells for $20 and Suave Reposado for $35. Smooth and mellow, the quality is much greater. Contact Harvey Posert, National Sales Manager at or (415) 828-3331.

Tequila Lapis in a pyramid bottle that would look good on a home bar was good for sipping. Platinum $45, Gold Reposado $55, Anejo in a black bottle $65. Sold through Southern Wine. Contact Forrest Cokely at or (949) 276-1758.

Aveniu Brands was pouring Anna de Codorniu, a delightful Cava. This sparkling wine will hold its own against the finest. The price is as refreshing as the wine. White or pink are sold for about $11.99. Contact Tara Olesky or (310) 595-5491.


At the Unified Grocers spring show we saw some promotable drink mixes. Stirrings had a group of 10 mixes that range from Apple Martini to Peach Bellini packed 6/750ml they sell for $6.99. The line is complete with four authentic flavorings; Grenadine, Orange Bitters, Simple Syrup, and Dirty Martini all packed 6/355ml that sell for $4.99. Contact Mark Whittle or (774) 284-3256.

Diageo was introducing Smirnoff Bloody Mary Mix available as original or spicy. Packed 12/32 oz. They sell for $4.99. Available through Unified Grocers and other distributors. Will sell well if displayed in the Vodka section.


The Family Winemakers Southern California tastings wowed as always. There was a wide range of wines that ranged from good to better to great. There were far too many to list here. We chose a few of the most interesting.

Frick Winery poured some varietals that are usually hard to find. All were 100% varietals. Most unusual. Cinsault 2011, dry, good color and nose, $26. Carignane 2009, good color and nose, $24. Grenache 2011, good color, light nose, medium body, $26. Syrah 2011, deep ruby color, medium body, good nose $24. Contact Bill Frick, owner or (707) 857-1980.


Hagafen Cellars showed a 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. Very full bodied and fruity. Kosher. $48. Contact Ernie Weir, owner or (707) 252-0781.


Heartfelt Wines had a great Zinfandel 2011 from vines that had been planted in 1908 by Italian Swiss Colony. This great wine is proof that the winemaker can do something special. Swiss Colony never tasted like this! The wine was light and elegant, 14.3% ABV, $28. Contact Dan Morgan, owner or (650) 465-9751.


Oakville Cross Wines poured Cabernet Sauvignon 2010. Full body, good nose and color. This wine will age well for many years to come. $60. Contact Jack Rydman or (707) 944-9200.


Our pick for a best buy at the Family Winmakers is the same as last year; Frog's Tooth Vineyards. These wines are good with food, reasonably priced, true to type, and will satisfy your customers. The winery has 5 whites, 7 reds, and a dessert wine. Space limits what we can cover here. Barbera 2011, full body, good color and nose, 14.7% ABV, good with Italian Dishes $18-$20. Tempranillo 2012, a bright fresh, full bodied red, bright deep purple in color, good nose, 12.7% ABV, great with spicy food or grilled meats, $21-$25. Malbec 2012, comparable to a Bordeaux and lighter in body than the same grape in Argentina. Good color and nose, $19-$21. Contact Larry Aderman or (510) 579-7855.


The Crave Expo was a most unusual event. 15 of Southern California's top chef's, caterers, and restaurants showed their best and brightest creations. Mr. Bartender kept the spirits and cocktail flowing. Food was provided by Chef Kevin Warren, Pappas Artisanal, Ban Chan, Lawry's Catering, PDA Cuisine, Hanaro, and Maggiano's Little Italy. The New School of Cooking showed work by student chefs and The Mark hosted the event and provided specialties. The evening was finished in style with desserts by Jamaica's Cakes, Lovesome, and Sugar Spin along with warm beverages from Caffe Concerto and The Cappuccino Man.


Industry Calendar

4/8 Northern California Fresh Produce Expo – Pleasanton

4/9-12 Pebble Beach Wine and Food Festival – Pebble Beach

4/11 Passover ends at Sundown

4/11-12 Santa Rita Hills Grand Tasting & BBQ – San Diego

4/16 Mt Veeder Tasting - SFO

4/18 Earth Day Food & Wine – Paso Robles

4/20 Santa Rita Hills Road Trip – LA

4/22 Earth Day

4/23 Grand Cercle des vins de Bordeaux – Beverly Hills

4/25 Santa Barbara Spring Tasting – Buellton

4/26 Tempranillo Grand Tasting – SFO

4/27 Wine Warehouse – Orange County

4/30-5/1 Sonoma County Barrel Auction

5/2 Kentucky Derby

5/3 Santa Rita Hills Road Trip – Ventura

5/5 Cinco de Mayo

5/5-7 Cabs of Distinction – Paso Robles

5/6 Craft Beverage Expo – Santa Clara

5/6 Henry Wine Group - Monterey

5/6-7 World Tea Expo-Long Beach

5/10 Mothers Day

5/10 Mexican Mothers Day

5/11 Southern Wine – LA

5/12 Vino California – LA

5/12-13 Sabor Latino – Pasadena

5/13 Wine Warehouse - LA

5/15 Mountain Democrat Awards – Placerville

5/16 26th Annual Winemasters – LA

5/16 JFC Food & Sake Expo – Costa Mesa

5/18 JFC Food & Sake Expo – San Mateo

5/20 National Craft Beer Week

5/25 Memorial Day

New Legislation for 2015

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 2015. 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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