Beverage Bulletin August 2011

California Beverage Retailers Association

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 788-8120

Ron Ziff, Editor


August, 2011


This month's stories:

What to look for from a wholesaler

Wine and your health

Counterfeit Scotch


Marketing News on Beer, Wine, Restaurants, Catering, and...Lemonade

What the Chinese are Buying Now

How the Beverage Industry made our Language

and as always Tasting Notes and the Industry Calendar


What to look for from a wholesaler

Whether it's food or beverages, one of the biggest decisions an operator makes is choosing a wholesaler. There are a lot of factors to consider. (And if you are a wholesaler this is how to satisfy and keep those customers) In a perfect world a good wholesaler:

Sources a variety of products

Prepares, groups, or sizes the products to your specifications

Delivers products at a mutually agreed upon time and place

Keeps the products in a safe environment including sanitation and temperature

Acquires the product at a price that allows both the wholesaler and you to operate profitably

Is reliable so you can count on an uninterrupted flow of of consistent products over a period of time

Is honest about quality and price so you can do what you do best without having to watch your back



Health News

Some compounds found in grapes help to protect skin cells from the sun's ultraviolet radiation, according to a study by researchers from the University of Barcelona and the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council). The study supports the use of grapes or grape derivatives in sun protection products. Ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by the sun are the leading environmental cause of skin complaints, causing skin cancer, sunburn and solar erythema, as well as premature ageing of the dermis and epidermis. UV rays act on the skin by activating 'reactive oxygen species' (ROS). These compounds in turn oxidize macromolecules such as lipids and DNA, stimulating certain reactions and enzymes (JNK and p38MAPK) which cause cell death. The University of Barcelona scientists and the CSIC have shown that some polyphenolic substances extracted from grapes (flavonoids) can reduce the formation of ROSs in human epidermis cells that have been exposed to long-wave (UVA) and medium-wave (UVB) ultraviolet radiation.


Counterfeit Scotch

Scientists have developed a new weapon in the fight against counterfeit Scotch whisky, a persistent problem in key emerging markets like China. Professor David Littlejohn and his team at Strathclyde University in Glasgow recently successfully weeded out nine fake Scotch samples out of a pool of 17 using a hand-held infrared spectrometer. The device works by measuring alcohol content and levels of ingredients such as caramel coloring. Analysis of questionable Scotch samples is now typically performed in a lab, a costly and time-consuming process. The hand-held spectrometer, if perfected, could allow for testing on-site, says Littlejohn.


Inflation Beat

Consumers can expect to see bigger grocery bills in 2012, as weather problems have taken a toll on corn, soybean and wheat crops in the United States. According to a recent report from the US Dept of Agriculture, grocery store prices likely will rise 3 to 4 percent in 2012, with the sharpest increase coming early in the year. A mixture of heat, drought and flooding have lowered yield forecasts for each crop and driven prices up, with further pressure coming from increased global demand. “There wasn’t enough positive news to inspire confidence among global online consumers in the second quarter,” said Dr. Venkatesh Bala, Chief Economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen. “Weak economic figures, slowing manufacturing performance and inflation in Asia, an intensifying debt crisis in Europe and continuing political instability in the Middle East combined with rising household expenses in the U.S. have taken their toll on consumers’ fragile confidence. Hopes for full global recovery in the next 12 months substantially weakened in Q2 as the majority of consumers around the world remained in a recessionary mindset.”

Changes in the Market

Craft Beer

With overall U.S. beer volume fell slightly for the first half of 2011 but the craft beer segment increased in sales. According to the Brewers Association, which represents U.S. craft brewers, sales in dollars increased 15% in the first half, while volume rose 14% to 5.1 million barrels. That represents an acceleration over 2010’s increases of 11% and 12%. Meanwhile, Nielsen data covering food, drug, liquor and convenience stores in the 52 weeks through July 23 found a 16.6% increase in craft beer dollar sales to $1.97 billion and a 15.2% rise in volume to 62.3 million cases.

The Brewers Association puts the number of U.S. craft brewers at 1,740 as of July 2011 with another 725 in the pipeline. The three biggest craft brewers; Boston Beer, Sierra Nevada, and New Belgium are looking to expand. Boston Beer, with $464 million in 2010, added advertising and promotional spending by $11.8 million to increase sales by 6% to 1.14 million barrels. Sierra Nevada is building a new brewery in the Southeast. New Belgium entered the Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. markets, and is now in 28 states.


E&J Gallo’s Barefoot Cellars is now the fifth-largest wine brand in the U.S., at 8.1 million cases on a 25% jump in 2010.


Sales are down but what is the future of catering? Catersource notes that the catering industry has had bad times before. The last severe downturn was from 1977 to 1982, and at the end of that time the industry entered the greatest growth period in its history.


New York’s new Gay marriage law may give new life to the catering industry.

Several years ago a major business publication suggested that if gay marriage was allowed nationwide, the wedding industry would gain a $9 billion annual windfall. They also predicted that the catering industry would get about $1.6 billion per year.


Technomics reports that 81% of restaurant patrons say they want to customize their meals. Does it make sense to offer customers a choice instead of a pre-planned plate? Fast food Chain Subway has built its reputation on allowing customers to more or less create their own sandwiches and Burger King lets you “have it your way.” Will white table cloth restaurants offer the same amenities?


Lemonade, Los Angeles”

Yes, that’s the actual name of the place, which has three locations around LA. They offer 6 kinds of lemonade daily with rotating flavors, like peach-ginger, blueberry-mint, and hibiscus. The menu also includes assorted salads and paninis.


What the Chinese are Buying Now

It's well known that the Chinese have a taste for fine wines. This year the Bordeaux producers have been thankful admit that the Chinese, flush with dollars, supported last spring's auctions. But what are the Chinese buying now? ...Wineries! This is the status of the recent deals:

COFCO bought Chateau de Viaud. All of the wine will be sold through its Chinese distributorship.

The owner of the Tesiro chain of 200 retail stores bought Chateau Laulan Ducos, Cru Bourgeois, Medoc. The wine will be sold through his stores.

Zhongai bought Chateau de la Salle in Blaye. The sale is not yet complete.

French wine producer Castel and Suntory each bought 50% of Chateau Beycheville. The wines are supposed to be distributed in China by ASC, Suntory owned distributor.

Beringer Winery in Napa is being sold by an arm of Fosters. It is rumored that the buyers are Chinese.


The Beverage Industry in Our Language

The phrase "getting plastered" comes from the 18th century. Wine was used as a preservative in plaster. At the end of every day the plasterers would drink any wine left over. That gave us the phrase "getting plastered"


Tasting Notes

This month we participated in some very notable wine tastings. We tasted a number of very good to fine wines. As always we were looking for good values. Wines that are true to type, sound, will age for a couple of years, go well with food, and make retail customers happy because they are a good value for the price.


The Rhone Rangers Tasting took place at Pier 59 Studios in Santa Monica. The wines featured were Rhone types; Syrah, Grenache, and Petite Sirah as well as a variety of Roses and Whites.


Holly's Hill Vineyards poured an excellent 2009 Grenache Noir. Aged 1 year in French Oak it had full body, deep color, filled the nose and mouth with the essence of berries. At a retail of $20 it ranks as a good buy. Contact Carrie or Josh Bendick at or (530) 344-0227.


J.Lohr showed a 2009 Syrah from Paso Robles. It was made from their own grapes and was aged in new American Oak. The result was a wine with heavy body and deep garnet hues. At a retail of $15 it is a good buy. Contact or call (408) 918-2166.


At Month end we attended a tasting of Santa Barbara County Vintners wines hosted by Jim Fiolek, Executive Director at the Bistro in Pasadena. Every wine we tasted was outstanding in character and true to type. These wineries have come a long way. Among them Arthur Earl, Babcock, Bedford, Fess Parker, Hitching Post, Jaffurs, Lafond, Melville, Mosby, Palmina, Qupe, Riverbench, Sanford, Santa Barbara, Verdad, and Zaca Mesa. Each of them was a joy in the glass.


Tercero Vineyards was pouring a 2010 white wine named “The Outlier”. It was a very crisp and tasteful Gewurtztraminer. Price $20. Contact or call (805) 245-9584.


My favorite remains Kenneth Volk. His Jaybird Chardonnay is refreshing, clean, with a nice nose and clean finish. It offers everything you would want in a wine to pair with food. At a retail of $18 it is a good buy. The winery offers Pinot Noir, Viognier, and Verdelho. All can be sold well under $20. Contact Mike Brown or (714) 842-9656.


The surprise of the afternoon came from Dragonette Cellars. Dragoneette produces a delightful Sauvignon Blanc that retails for $25. I have been tasting wines for 50 years. But, it never occurred to me to taste wine grapes. I thought they were much like table grapes. Wrong! On the table was a bunch of Sauvignon Blanc grapes. They were tiny deep green berries about ¼ inch in size and tightly bunched on the stem. I popped one in my mouth and WOW! I never dreamed that one tiny grape could fill your mouth with flavor. Suddenly, it was as if I had swallowed a glass of richly flavored wine! To check on the wines email


Industry Calendar

For information on attending any of these events, contact


08/28-30 Expo Comida Latina-San Diego

08/28-30 Western Foodservice Expo-San Diego

08/29 Santa Barbara Vintners Association in Pasadena

08/31 Sysco Foods Trade Show in Anaheim

09/2 to 09/05 Taste LA by the LA Times various venues in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood.

09/05 Labor Day

09/15 Christermon Golf Tournament-Livermore

09/20 Sothwestern France Wine Tasting-Location TBA

09/23-25 Harvest Festival-LB

09/25 Rosh Hashanah

10/08 Yom Kippur

10/13-16 Food & Wine LA

10/15 Mutual Trading Show Asian food, beer, and sake



Our industry is more controlled by laws than most others. The State Legislature and the ABC give us license privileges and can take them away. New alcoholic beverage laws are being introduced, passed, and sent to the Governor. Many critical issues are pending. 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.

California Beverage Retailers Association – We know how to get it done.


California Beverage Retailers Association
If you are not a California Beverage Retailers Association member, please join, Print this form, and mail with a $50.00 check to: CBRA PO Box 56686, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413. You may also renew  your membership. Dues are not a charitable contribution, but may be deductible as an ordinary business expense.


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