Beverage Bulletin August 2015

California Beverage Retailers Association

Beverage Bulletin

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 693-5561

Ron Ziff, Editor

August 2015

This Month's Stories Include:

Headline News Stories - Who Stole the Queen's Wine?, Drought Update


Celebrities in the Industry - John & Nancy Lasseter, Robert Mark Kamen, Brandi Glanville, Andrea Pirlo, Cal Ripken, Jr., Olivia Newton-John, Emerson Newton-John, Ryan Seacrest


Popular Culture - 21st Century Beer, Joe Paterno Beer, Go Set a Bourbon Cake

Books - Vintage Beer Movies - Barolo Boys, An Autumn Tale, Red Obsession


Wine - Napa Winemaker Waits Sentencing, Wine Burglars at Large, Harvest Underway, A Ton of Grapes Equals..., Gallo Buys Asti Winery, Top 20 Wines, Super Bowl 50, Margaux Auction, Winemaker Goes Political, Wine Technology, Champagne Facts, For the Birds, Hard Times Down Under, Picking a Better Bug, Picking a Better Yeast, La Batalla del Vino


Beer - Put a Head on It, When is Imported Beer Imported?, Not Your Father's, Aging Beer, Beer Degree, Ice Cold Beer, Gluten Free, What Else Can You do with Beer?


Spirits - SEC Investigates Diageo, Rum Sales Decline, Remy ID's Bottles, Grant's to Host Rugby, What's the Connection Between Maker's Mark and KFC?, Old Cure for a Hangover


Other Foods and Beverages - Grocers Dispute, What's on Your Hot Dog?, Top Hotel Restaurants, Shifting Drink Market, New Food Ingredients


The Changing Market – Breakfast, Truth in Menus, Wine Sales in Grocery Stores, That's So 20th Century, Reverse Showrooming Grows, Computer Hacking Continues, Small Business to Pay for Credit Card Fraud, A&P to be Broken Up,

7-11 Delivers, Amazon Grocery Pick Up, Aldi On the Move, Independent Contractors


Recipes - Guacamole from New York City?, Mockingbird Bourbon Lane Cake


Health - Red Wine for Cancer Patient's Hearts, Drinkers Feel No Pain, Drink to a Long Life, Sex and Wine ...and as always Tasting Notes and the Industry Calendar


Federico Fellini


This month we pair food and wine for a quotation

Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” - Federico Fellini and an old Italian proverb “A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.”

Headline News Stories

Who Stole the Queen's Wine?

In a daring heist, thieves stole wine worth 1.5 million($2.4 million) that was held in a warehouse by Berry Brothers & Rudd for Britain's Royal Family. The plan was scripted like a Hollywood movie. First, the thieves used ladders to reach security cameras and turn them away. Then used power tools to cut a 4 foot by 4 foot hole in the outside wall of the warehouse. There they entered the warehouse and crawled under laser beams and motion detectors. Once inside, they compromised other security cameras. Then they climbed to level B, where the royal wines were stored. For three hours they acted as a human chain to hand down the wooden cases, slide them under the laser beams and out through the hole. Wines worth $1,500 a bottle including Chateau Latour and Chateau Mouton Rothschild were taken. Finally, before leaving the warehouse, the thieves celebrated by opening and drinking the Queen's Moet & Chandon Champagne. The theft took place April 26 and was kept secret while authorities investigated. It is believed to be an inside job because the tactics showed intimate knowledge of the warehouse security. The thieves are still at large. Berry Brothers & Rudd has supplied the royal family since the reign of George III.

Drought Update

LA's DWP has sent letters to its top 1% of residential users telling them to cut their water use. Where are these heavy users? Brentwood 607, Encino 558, Bel Air 525, Beverly Crest 481, Pacific Palisades 319, Tarzana 260, Woodland Hills 140, Chatsworth 136, Studio City 121.


As Mono Lake's water level drops, coyote's will be able to reach the second biggest Gull nesting area in the state on islands in the lake. Folsom Lake, which provides water to Sacramento, loses a billion gallons of water a day. Now it's in danger of drying up. Rafting companies have closed down for the summer. There is no rafting at all on the Kern River.


Joshua Tree National Park has been closed for the summer so big horn sheep and mountain lions can use the full range of the park in their search for water.


The California Water Commission has issued regulations on new development. Commercial and industrial sites will not be allowed to have lawns. Residential developments will only be allowed 25% grass cover of yards.


The Colorado River water was divided among 6 western states in 1922. At the time, the amount of available water was overestimated. Now that's a problem. The states are entitled to 1.4 trillion gallons a year more than exists.


The hot dry weather has extended as far north as Alaska and Canada. During June 600 wildfires burned dry forests with as many as 300 burning on a single day. The smoke plume extended through the U.S. Midwest and as far south as Texas.


Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is letting Chatsworth Reservoir go dry. Recreational users have protested the decision.


From the San Jose Mercury-News: One of the Bay Area’s biggest water hogs, Hillsborough, cut consumption 49% in May. “Increasingly, the drought has come to be viewed as a social problem, not only an environmental problem. When neighbors' lawns are dying, bright green turf becomes as politically incorrect as tooling around town in a Hummer." Statewide, consumption was down 29% in May. Governor Brown only asked for 25%.


The State Water Resources Control Board issued its first ever fine of $1.5 million to the Byron-Berhany Irrigation District east of San Francisco for illegally diverting 700 million gallons in June. The district serves 160 farmers.


Santa Cruz has been issuing fines to water guzzlers. People fined can opt to go to Water School instead. Water School teaches where the water comes from and how to conserve. The reason for this program is simple. During the last drought fines were issued and so many residents appealed that the court system was bogged down long after the drought ended.


60% of California's water is coming from ground water pumping and that is causing land to subside. In 2012 the Central Valley was subsiding a foot a year. Now it may be 2 feet a year. The photo was taken in 1977 and shows the amount of subsidence or sinking that took place over 52 years beginning in 1925.

Many California farmers are turning to the only alternative they have, dowsers or water witches. It's an ancient belief that some people have the gift of being able to find water sources. A farmer can drill a dry well at a cost of $50,000 to several hundred thousand or he can get a dowser to tell him where the water lurks. No one knows how the skill works and the Department of Agriculture says it's mere superstition. But, if you really need water, you have to rely on it, superstition or not. Marc Mondavi, of the California wine family is dowser. He uses his skill in the Napa Valley, when he isn't tending his own vineyards.

Marc Mondavi in Search of Water


Another problem has come with groundwater pumping. Groundwater is much saltier than surface water. Almond growers are finding it slowly killing the trees. Row crop farmers expect lower yields this year.


Tensions are high in Porterville. Tanker trucks fill up with water west of the city and deliver it to residents with dry wells on the east side. Drivers have been followed and threatened.


Congress approved and sent to the President the California Federal Bay-Delta Program. It will provide $395 million to enlarge dams, restore waterways and wetlands, ensure water for fisheries, and expedite 49 recycling projects.


Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) has introduced a bill that would provide funding for wastewater reclamation facilities to make water usage more sustainable in California.


Want to get rich? Move to California, become a lawyer. Most important, specialize in water, because as the state's drought drags on, every drop of coastal rain, every flake of Sierra snowpack, and every inch of reservoir water becomes both more valuable and more contested.” -Mother Jones Magazine


Evidence seems to be pointing toward the drought ending with an El Nino... a huge El Nino. Possibly the biggest on record. Heat and tropical moisture seem to confirm that. A grape farmers conference on “dry farming” in Paso Robles was broken up by a torrential rain of 2.6 inches in Mid-July. The one day rain made this the wettest July on record for Paso Robles County. The July 18 storm dumped .36 inches on downtown L.A. beating the record rain of .24 inches on July 14, 1886. Federal weather forecasters say that even a significant series of winter storms caused by an El Nino may not be enough to replenish our water supply.


Celebrities in the Industry

John Lasseter, Director of Toy Story, and his wife, Nancy have owned Lasseter Family Wines since 1997. They met at a computer graphics conference in San Francisco. He was with Pixar, she was with Apple. Their mutual interest in wine brought them together. Later they spent romantic weekends in the wine country, eventually honeymooning in Sonoma County. Founding their own winery at Glen Ellen was a natural.


Hollywood screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen the writer of Taken owns Kamen Estate Wines. His first screenplay netted him a 6 figure check that he never put in the bank. He took it straight to escrow to buy the land for a vineyard. The movie, Crossings, was never made. His credits include Taps and Karate Kid among others. His earnings through the years have planted and developed the 280 acre vineyard.


Brandi Glanville, of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, was covered in last month's Beverage Bulletin signing bottles of her Unfiltered Blonde Wine. Now she is extending the line with an assortment of wine and liquor accessories; including several kinds of corkscrews, hip flask, wine cooler, cocktail shaker, ice cube set, and glassware. The line is packaged by Silver Buffalo and will be available in home products and specialty stores by early next year.


Soccer star Andrea Pirlo has purchased Pratum Coller, a small winery with 15 acres of vines in Lombardy. Pirlo's father, Luigi, will manage the winery while the soccer star plays for the MLS New York City Football Club at Yankee Stadium. Pirlo was largely responsible for Italy's World Cup victory over France in 2006.


Cal Ripken, Jr. has teamed up with Axios Winery owner, Gus Kalaris, to bottle a 2013 Napa Cab. The wine will be named “2131”, commemorating Ripken's record number of consecutive games. He didn't miss a game for 21 seasons. It will be a limited bottling of 2,131 bottles packaged in wood and glass boxes for $300 each. The first 100 boxes will also hold a signed baseball. One third of the profits will go to the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation that hosts at-risk youth in baseball programs.


Singer, Olivia Newton-John and her race car driving nephew, Emerson Newton-John, have partnered with winemaker, Tom Meadowcroft, to make Pink and Blue for Two. The wines will be a 2013 Chardonnay from Anderson Valley and a Merlot from Lodi. Both will sell for under $20. 20% of the profits will go to Olivia Newton-John's cancer awareness charities to encourage couples to screen for breast and prostate cancer.


Ryan Seacrest is one celebrity that doesn't make his own wines. But, that detail can't hold back his love of wine. He put his knowledge and obsession with wine to work this year by hosting Auction Napa Valley. When hosting on San Francisco radio, Ryan bought himself a good bottle of California wine every week. Today, he hosts American Idol, American Top 40, and a morning radio show in L.A. His passion for wine continues.


Popular Culture

21st Century Beer

21st Century Fox is getting into the beer business. For years the company has fought copyright battles over the use of the name Duff Beer. As we all know, Duff is Homer Simpson's favorite beer. Or as Homer puts it “the cause of, and the solution to, all of life's problems.” 21st Century's problem is that it is difficult to protect a copyright on a the name of a beverage that really doesn't exist. So Duff Beer will be produced under license. The first place it will be made is Chile. Fox has had the most cases of illicit use of the name there and the breweries using it have been most successful in Chile. It will be brewed in Chile and exported to the rest of Latin America.

Joe Paterno Beer

Duquesne Brewing, a Pittsburgh brewer, will begin distributing Joe Paterno Legacy Beer this month under license from the late coach's family. Cans will carry the coach's record: 409 wins, 24 bowl victories, 79 All Americans, and 49 Academic All Americans. The brewery planned a limited commemorative run of 500 barrels. Pre-orders from retailers have been received for 2,800 barrels. The beer is a lager that will sell for $12 to $14 for 12 pack 12oz cans. Eventually, it will also be available in bars.

Go Set a Bourbon Cake

There has been a lot of talk this month about the newly released book, Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee. Her first book, published in 1961, To Kill A Mockingbird, mentioned a traditional Alabama dessert called Lane Cake. Lane Cake was first made by a Mrs Lane in 19th Century Alabama. It's laced with Bourbon and improves with age if made a week ahead of serving. Who can resist a cake made with Bourbon? See the recipe at


Vintage Beer: A Taster's Guide to Brews that Improve Over Time by Patrick Dawson, Storey Publishing, Paperback 160 pages, $14.95, Kindle Edition $8.99. Everything a serious beer lover needs to take his/her passion to the next level. See Aging Beer below.


Barolo Boys: The Story of a Revolution. For the first time on the big screen, Barolo Boys. The Story of a Revolution tells the fascinating story of Barolo wine and how it exploded as a world phenomenon. Now one of the most famous red wines in the world, 30 years ago Barolo was unknown even in its own production region, the beautiful Langhe (just nominated UNESCO World Heritage Site), in northwestern Italy. Available on DVD from Amazon at $19.99 or streaming online in HD.

An Autumn Tale Magali, 45, is a wine producer in the south of France. She's a widow, and her best friend, Isabelle, decides to find her a new husband. She puts an ad in the local newspaper and finds a nice man, Gérald. At Isabelle's daughter's wedding, Magali eventually meets Gérald. But there's another man around, Etienne...

Red Obsession. 2013. This documentary examines the Chinese obsession with buying French Chateaux. How demand exceeds supply, driving the prices up.



Napa Winemaker Waits Sentencing

Jeffrey James Hill, Napa winemaker accused of fraud, pleaded no contest to a charge of grand theft in a Napa County court. Mr. Hill had been accused of diverting several tons of grapes from Del Dotto Vineyards to his own winery during harvest. He has also been accused of falsely labeling wines and tax evasion by federal authorities. Mr. Hill signed over his winery to authorities and it was put into bankruptcy owing creditors over $8 million. Authorities are currently attempting to recover the money from Hill and his family. Hill is currently waiting sentencing.

Wine Burglars at Large

The wine from the French Laundry burglary was almost all recovered. But the thieves still remain at large more than six months after the heist. The search by local authorities and the FBI continues.

Harvest Underway

The drought and intense early summer heat is ripening California grapes early this year. Mumm Napa started harvest in the early morning hours of July 22. The earliest previous was July 23 in 1997. Sparkling wine grapes typically are harvested ahead of others to get a lower sugar content. (Dosage is added during fermentation) Other North Coast grapes are anticipated about 3 weeks ahead of average.

A Ton of Grapes Equals...

The Fall harvest is coming and millions of tons of grapes will be picked. But what does that mean? A ton of grapes yields approximately 60 cases of wine; or 720 750ml bottles. The exact amount of wine depends on the grape variety, the vineyard, ripeness, size of the grapes, and how they are crushed. A vineyard worker can pick 2 to 3 tons of grapes a day. It's hard work.

Gallo Buys Asti Winery

E&J Gallo has purchased the Asti Winery in Sonoma County. The winery was founded in 1881 by Andrea Sbarbaro. Historically it operated as a co-op, Italian Swiss Colony, serving many of the immigrant wine growers in the area. During the 1950's and 1960's Italian Swiss Colony and Gallo were the two biggest competitors in the low to mid-price category. Currently the winery has 535 acres. 100 acres are in Cabernet Sauvignon and 175 acres are planted in other grapes. The crush capacity is 35,000 tons with 7.5 million gallons stainless steel tanks and a permit to produce 2.5 million cases. It is the 6th largest winery in Sonoma County. The largest is Gallo's Healdsburg facility which produces 4.9 million cases. The purchase also includes the Souverain Brand. Souverain joins more than 80 brands in the Gallo portfolio. The terms were not disclosed, but experts estimate the value at $25 million, which will translate into a $7.5 million loss for Treasury Wine Estates. Treasury is currently retrenching its U.S. operations as it restructures. Treasury will continue to get some premium grapes from the vineyards under contract. The Souverain label sells about 80,000 cases, down from its peak of 220,000 in 2004.

Top 20 Wines

The top 20 wines sold at off-sale produce a combined volume of $3.89 billion which is premise sales. Gallo, Constellation, Ste Michelle Wine Estates, The Wine Group, and Trinchero Family Estates account for 80% of the sales of the top 20. Gallo's Barefoot Wines was the top seller in the top 20 group. Barefoot, along with Gallo Family Vineyards, Apothic, Livingston Cellars, and Carlo Rossi gave Gallo a 30% share of the top 20's sales.

Super Bowl 50

The wine industry in Sonoma is working closely with the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee to take advantage of the 1 million visitors expected in the San Francisco area for next year's big game. The game is scheduled for February 7 in Levi Stadium. Several streets in downtown San Francisco will be closed for a week. Sonoma vintners are planning on tenting one of the streets to create a huge tasting lounge. Other businesses and wineries from Napa to Pebble Beach are gearing up for the extra business.

Margaux Auction

Sotheby's will hold an auction of Margaux wines worth about $1.4 million on October 17. The wines are all direct from Chateau Margaux's cellar and include the 1900 and 1945 vintages as well as vertical collections of various vintages.

Winemaker Goes Political

Susana Balbo, Argentine winemaker and former President of Wines of Argentina, is running to represent the Mendoza region in Parliament. She is running from the Propuesta Republicana Party on a platform of correcting lies about the Argentine Wine Industry that have put the industry into a crisis.

Wine Technology

A new wine fermenting technology called Gofermentor ferments wine in an enclosed system that requires 90% less water for cleaning tanks. It also operates more efficiently and cheaper.


Thin Film Electronics has introduced a new smart wine bottle with OpenSense technology that can tell if a wine bottle has been opened. This is particularly important in Asian markets where the refilling of wine bottles to sell fake wine is a common practice.


G H Mumm is embedding an RFID chip in its corks. The chip will allow night clubs to connect the bottle with an electronic system that will enhance the patron's celebration. When the bottle is popped, a spotlight will shine on the table and music will play.

Champagne Facts

The pressure in a bottle of Champagne is equivalent to the pressure 165 feet below the surface of water. A glass of Champagne has about 1 million bubbles. It's important to grip the cork of a Champagne bottle when opening it. Unchecked, the cork could fly at 37 mph.

For the Birds

Vineyard owners are turning to an age old technology to protect their vineyards from rodents and small birds that eat grapes and destroy up to 25% of the vines. By housing falcons and other birds of prey, vineyard owners in California, Australia, and New Zealand have been able to save an amazing additional 20% of the crop. A falcon will eat 2 small birds and several rodents a day. E&J Gallo gets even greater production out of its falcons by training them to turn in their catch and feeding them preferred food later. That way the bird can immediately get back to work. This is more efficient because a bird could spend 45 minutes eating its catch. The cost of falcons is minimal. It costs about the same to keep a falcon as it does to keep a pet cat.

Hard Times Down Under

The Australian wine industry is experiencing an economic bust. It's estimated that 85%-90% of growers are operating in the red. In some areas 95% are losing money. Tom Stephens, who headquarters in New South wales, is taking advantage of it. He is a professional “removalist.” He runs a crew that removes grapevines so the land can be farmed in other crops. When he started his business, he thought it would last about 12 months. After 5 years his business has doubled. He now serves farmers across Australia with two crews clearing about 30 acres a week.

Picking a Better Bug

The Australian Wine Institute is working with a robotic tester called Tecan EVO 150. It analyzes hundreds of bacterial strains for their reactions during malolactic fermentation to factors such as alcohol, pH, heat, and others. It can perform 6,000 separate tests on each sample. The research is looking for the best bacteria to use in winemaking.

Picking a Better Yeast

Much of our food is created by fermentation. Wine, bread, and pickles are all examples. The fermentation is done by polyploid yeasts. A polyploid yeast has multiple copies of a single gene. When one copy is damaged, another copy will correct it. This has prevented scientists from altering these yeasts. Now a new technology is being used to cut across multiple copies of the gene and change them all at once. The development will allow scientists to create yeasts that can make different flavors in foods or more resveratrol in wine.

La Batalla del Vino

If you're visiting Spain and the running of the bulls isn't your cup of wine, you can still join in local festivities at La Batalla del Vino in the city Haro. It translates to The Battle of Wine. Thousands of revelers spray 130,000 liters of red wine on each other in a mid-summer frenzy. No they don't drink it, just throw it. White shirts are compulsory to participate.



Put a Head on It

Hot dog chain, The DogHous, is installing a new dispensing system from IpourIt that allows the customer to serve himself beer. The patron purchases a card that stores money prepaid for beer. The card is linked to the purchaser's driver's license to ensure the legal drinking age. The customer taps the card on a sensor on the machine to start dispensing. The machine charges the card by the ounce for what has been poured. The customer is limited to 32 ounces a day. Employees still have to be in the area to make sure an underage person is not using a borrowed card.

When is Imported Beer Imported?

AB/Inbev has settled a class action lawsuit over the labeling on Beck's Beer. The suit alleged that the packaging falsely gave the impression that Beck's was imported. It is brewed right here in St Louis. Beer drinkers can get up to a $50 refund with receipts or $12 without receipts. In addition to consumer refunds, AB/Inbev will have to pay $3.5 million to 4 law firms. The firms are now looking at other possible cases. In their sights; Fosters brewed by Miller/Coors in Fort Worth, Texas and Red Stripe made by Diageo in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

Not Your Father's

Pabst Brewing recently bought Small Town, an Illinois company that was brewing and selling Not Your Father's Root Beer. The product is an alcoholic root beer with 5.9% ABV. Customers drink it chilled or make grownup root beer floats with it. Pabst has tried to roll the drink out nationwide, but can't even keep up with the demand in the New York market. It sells out everywhere as soon as it hits the shelves. Pabst is having more contract brewed to try to meet demand.

Aging Beer

The Denver Post reports that a hot new trend in the Mile High City is aging craft beer. Craft beer collectors are renting refrigerated storage lockers and laying down the heavier hop and malt flavored brews. Light brews don't age well. Corkscrews Wine Storage opened three years ago to provide refrigerated space for wine storage. To their surprise, one in five customers is storing beer. Some are keeping hundreds of bottles worth thousands of dollars.

Beer Degree

London's Beer Academy has launched an online course in beer. Students can take the course in 8 modules and graduate as a certified Beer Steward. Students used to spend four years in college to get a degree in beer.

Ice Cold Beer

Heineken has developed a new bottle made from PET plastic that allows beer to chill in sub-zero conditions without freezing. When the bottle is placed in a home freezer, it can chill to 0 degrees Centigrade in as little as 15 minutes. When properly chilled, the bottle turns red to notify the drinker that it's ready.

Gluten Free

Several breweries are making gluten free beer for consumers with celiac disease. Celia Saison from Massachusetts is made with sorghum. Omission is made with malted barley that has the gluten removed; but still has trace amounts. Dogfish Head Tweason Ale is from sorghum. Estrella Damm Daura is from barley with gluten removed. It has trace amounts. Green's Discovery is made in the UK. It is regular ale with the gluten removed after brewing.

What Else Can You do with Beer?

Tired of just drinking beer? There are at least 4 other good uses for the brew.

  1. Kill snails & slugs. Bury a mason jar with its rim at ground surface level. Fill it halfway with beer. The creatures will be attracted by the smell and slide in where they happily drown.

  2. Polish wood with it. Flat beer reportedly makes a good polish for some wooden furniture. It's recommended that you try it first on a hidden part of the furniture to make sure it works on yours.

  3. Polish copper and brass items. Use a soft cloth and shine away the tarnish. It also removes spots from bathroom faucets.

  4. Use it to loosen a screw that is frozen in place. The carbonation will break down the rust and corrosion enough to turn the screw.



SEC Investigates Diageo

The SEC is investigating Diageo's practice of shipping goods to wholesalers and showing shipments as a measure of business volume in annual reports. Pernod-Ricard and Brown-Forman track depletions; the sales from wholesalers to retailers as a measure of volume. Diageo CEO, Ivan Menezes, said in January that the company would focus on depletions rather than shipments. The SEC is concerned that the shipments figure gives an inflated impression of the company's business. Diageo's North American volume has fallen every year since 2011. Diageo's total business was $15.9 billion in 2014. That was a 1% decline that was offset by price increases that produced a 3% sales increase to $5.34 billion in North America, which provides 45% of the company's net profit.

Rum Sales Decline

Rum is declining in sales for 2014. The market leaders, Bacardi and Captain Morgan, both lost sales and share last year. The two account for 57% of the rum category with combined sales of 13.6 million cases. Bacardi was off 5.5% and Morgan 1.5%. Higher priced rums picked up some market volume. Premium rums were up 1.9% and super premiums up 9.9%.

Remy ID's Bottles

Remy Martin is using NFC tags from Selinko on Cognac bottles shipped to China. The tags are tamper proof and indicate if a bottle has been opened and refilled.

Grant's to Host Rugby

William Grant and Sons has been granted exclusive rights for wine and liquor service at the World Cup Rugby Championships 2015 in England being held from September 18 to October 31. The Wm. Grant brands include Glenfiddich, Grant's Scotch, Piper Heidsieck, Hendrick's Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, and Zubrowka Vodka. Twenty nations will compete in 48 matches held in 13 stadiums over the seven week tournament.

What's the Connection Between Maker's Mark and KFC?
In the summer of 1955 Colonel Harlan Sanders had just retired and decided to franchise his recipe for fried chicken to restaurants. At the same time Bill Samuels, Jr's parents founded Maker's Mark Distillery. The two families lived in Corbin, Kentucky. One day during a visit to the Samuels home, Colonel Sanders offered 16 year old Bill a job driving him around to restaurants where he would try to sell his recipe. It sounded like easy money so Bill became KFC's first employee. Later, he took over and promoted his parents' Maker's Mark to a major whiskey label.

Old Cure for a Hangover

An ancient Egyptian text, the Oxyrhynchus Papyrus offers medical advice from 2,000 years ago for many ailments. For a hangover the cure is wearing a necklace made of Alexandrian Laurel to cure the headache.

Other Foods and Beverages

Grocers Dispute

Albertsons has sued Haagen. Haagen had purchased 146 Albertsons and Safeway stores as part of an anti-trust settlement. In the suit Albertsons contends that Haagen paid for inventory in 108 of the stores. But, has not paid $40 million for the inventory in the remaining 38. Haagen contends that Albertsons violated the sale agreement and the FTC requirements in the deal.

What's on Your Hot Dog?

Unilever, a company that manufactures food for the mass market, is testing the ultra luxury food market for potential sales and profit. The company has opened retail stores in New York and Paris to sell mustard. There a customer can buy a pint stoneware jar of the stuff for only $85. It's made with French Sauternes wine in three flavors: Candied Orange Peel & Ginger; Lemon & Harissa; and Pistachio & Orange. The brand name is Maille. The same name as you see on jars of Dijon mustard in your local store for under $5.

Top Hotel Restaurants

Food and Wine Magazine has named the top hotel restaurants in the country. Among them, Los Angeles Wolfgang Puck's in the Hotel Bel Air; in Napa The Restaurant at Meadowood; San Francisco Parallel 37 at the Ritz-Carlton.

Shifting Drink Market

Coca Cola's quarterly report showed the continued trends in beverage choices. Tea, Bottled Water, and Ultra-Filtered Milk grew 5% over last year. Carbonated beverages showed a 1% increase over last year. Diet Coke declined 7%. Carbonated drinks still make up 70% of volume. The company continued to push the smaller 7.5oz mini-cans and tried to convince consumers to drink less, but more often. The smaller cans are still less than 20% of the product mix.

New Food Ingredients

Seven new ingredients coming into the marketplace. All are natural.

Asafoetida – a South Indian spice that gives food a pungent, savory, meaty taste. It is made from the ground resin of a tree. Also called Hing.

Coffee Fruit – The pulp surrounding a coffee bean. Previously, it was wasted. It is high in anti-oxidants. Similar to cranberry. It is being used in beverages and breakfast cereals. Lucuma – A fruit native to South America. It is dried and ground to provide a low glycemic sweetener is being used in candy and nutrition bars.

Quillaja – A natural emulsifier. Made from the bark of a tree. It is used in soap, personal care items, and medicine.

Dragon Fruit or Pitaya – It is finding its way into manufactured goods because it is high in fiber, magnesium, and B vitamins.

Kaniwa – Related to Quinoa, but smaller and doesn't have bitter flavors. This grain is high in fiber, iron, calcium, and protein.

Ramon Seeds – Native to Central America. The seeds are high in calcium and tryptophan, an amino acid that reduces stress. Gives a mild coffee/chocolate flavor to bread, snacks, tea, and cereals.

The Changing Market


Morning meals in quick service restaurants account for 100% of the growth in restaurant business since 2008. 70% of the growth since 2008 has come from boomers and seniors.

21% of all restaurant visits are for a morning meal.

86% of morning meals occur at a quick service restaurant.

14% of morning meals occur at full service restaurants. Sales are flat since 2007.

78% of morning meals purchased at quick service restaurants are eaten off premise.

Truth in Menus

The FDA's rules on publishing nutritional information on restaurant menus is scheduled to go into effect this December for chain restaurants. Americans get one third of their food and beverage calories outside of the home. The rules include wine lists. So, look to see calorie counts for Chards and Cabs. Wineries were relieved to hear that the FDA was not going to require them to produce the lab results that will go on the wine list. That's because wine labeling comes under a different agency, the ATF. We expect that relief to be short-lived as producers find that they need to provide the information in order to keep that coveted spot on chain wine lists.

Wine Sales in Grocery Stores

Wine sales in grocery stores and mass merchandisers that sell groceries continue to grow. In 2014 wine was sold in 30,000 grocery stores, up 9% from 2010. Nationwide sales of wine were $8.6 billion. In California the category sold $1.59 billion.

That's So 20th Century

So far, the 21st Century has been an age of rapid technological advances that change our society and way of life. Or has it? Some ways of doing things seem firmly anchored in the 20th Century. Here are six.

AOL Dial-Up – 2.16 million people are still using it. Only 10% use it regularly. The other 90% may have forgotten they are paying for a subscription. The paid subscriptions totaled $607 million in 2014.

Western Union Money Transfers- $85 billion was transferred between individuals last year through Western Union. Most were from migrant workers sending money home.

Traveler's Checks- These used to be the only way to take money on a trip and keep it safe. Now credit cards are good everywhere. American Express still prints these vouchers and sells billions of dollars worth every year. Many have never been cashed.

Netflix DVD's- You can get a movie instantly on demand from Netflix when the mood hits you. Some people prefer to do it by mail; 5.77 million of them. The old system still generated $368 million in profit last year.

Matchmaking- Today a computer will analyze your personality, likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses and find your soul mate. So why do more than 14% hire a matchmaker to pick a spouse?

Encyclopedias- Encyclopedia Britannica stopped printing them in 2010. You can look up most anything on line. If you don't know where, Google does. World Book still sells 10,000 sets a year.

Reverse Showrooming Grows

A new consumer trend is emerging as we put the recession behind us. It appears to be a “Reverse Showrooming.” Shoppers are doing their research online, with a smart phone or laptop. Finding the best price/value combination and then buying it in a brick and mortar store. The reasons are not all apparent yet, but there is evidence shoppers are acting this way. Check out what wine buyers do: 34% check prices online before shopping; 38% use social media to stay up to date on promotions, discounts, and deals; but, only 11% buy wine through the internet. It could be they need more convincing beore buying online. It could be they enjoy the shopping experience. It could be they need to satisfy hunter-gatherer instincts. It could be some other reason, but the fact is it is happening.

Computer Hacking Continues

Hacking of computer systems to get valuable data continues to be a hot story. High profile break-ins like the Government Personnel Records, UCLA Medical, Target, and the IRS get all the press coverage. What you don't hear about is that the majority of hacks are against smaller companies that have little or no protection. 71% of companies that have had computer systems hacked have less than 100 employees. The average cost of the hack is $36,000. The number of hackers that law enforcement has even attempted to trace: zero.

Small Business to Pay for Credit Card Fraud

75% of retailers and and restaurants will not be anywhere near ready for the EMV deadline on October 1. It's only 60 days away. On that date liability for credit card fraud shifts from the bank to the merchant if the merchant doesn't have the new Chip and Signature terminal. There are literally billions of dollars in losses that the banks will stick to stores and eateries. The one thing you can count on is that the fraudsters will be ready to take advantage of the situation. Look for big ticket purchases on bad credit cards. The burden will fall quite heavily on small business. Independents and Mom 'n Pops will pay for the industry's problem. A fraudulent credit card transaction will be just like a bad check, only there won't even be a disconnected phone to call. Meanwhile Federal Reserve Governor, Jerome Powell, is urging the banks to rethink the program and go to the more secure Chip and PIN technology.

A&P to be Broken Up

A&P has filed bankruptcy for the second time in 5 years. This time the company will likely be broken up and fade into history. A&P was the country's first chain grocer, founded in 1859. At its peak the chain had 4,200 stores. There are 296 stores remaining. 120 will be sold to a single buyer; 25 will be closed; and the rest will be sold individually.

7-11 Delivers

7-11 Stores is trying out a new concept in Northern California in partnership with Postmates. A customer can order an assortment of hot foods, snacks, and beverages via an Android phone or web app and have it delivered within 1 hour.

Amazon Grocery Pick Up

Amazon is in the process of opening an 11,700 foot drive through grocery store in Sunnyvale, California. Customers will order online and pick up their purchases in the drive through. The store is a pilot to be followed by others in the area.

Aldi On the Move

It looks like Aldi is serious about its California venture. The company is building an 825,000 square foot distribution center in Moreno Valley. Plans are to open 45 stores in 2016. The company sells minimum meat, produce and high quality private label at discount prices.

Independent Contractors

The Labor Department is re-examining the subject of employee misclassification in new businesses resulting from changing technology. As the economy has recovered many new businesses like Uber Technolgies Inc. have hired independent contractors instead of employees. Labor Secretary, Thomas Perez, says misclassification has become a serious problem. The department has issued a 15 page guidance memo laying out the principals used in classifying workers as employees or independent contractors. Among the types of businesses that will be looked at are construction, call centers, janitorial services, and companies like Uber that use workers with certain skills on call. The guidance requires businesses to factor in several “economic realities.” The following must be taken into account: The degree of control the company has over the person; whether the work is an integral part of the employers business; whether the relationship between employer and worker is permanent or indefinite. These factors have to be used collectively to determine whether the worker is economically dependent on the employer and therefore an employee or truly in business for himself and an independent contractor.


Guacamole from New York City?

This month the New York Times published a recipe that included green peas in guacamole. The reaction was swift and nationwide. Nobody liked the idea of desecrating a popular snack that goes with drinks. President Obama, Jeb Bush, and the New York Times Sports Department weighed in against it, along with thousands of others.

Go Set a Bourbon Cake

There has been a lot of talk this month about the newly released book, Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee. Her first book, published in 1961, To Kill A Mockingbird, mentioned a traditional Alabama dessert called Lane Cake. Lane Cake was first made by a Mrs Lane in 19th Century Alabama. It's laced with Bourbon and improves with age if made a week ahead of serving. Who can resist a cake made with Bourbon? See the recipe at

    Red Wine for Cancer Patient's Hearts

    Resveratrol has been found to be helpful to cancer patients along with another compound found in red wine, quercetin. Professor Adam Alani, of Oregon State University's School of Pharmacy announced in the Journal of Controlled Release that the two compounds significantly reduced the toxic effects of the cancer drug, Adriamycin, on patient's hearts. The compounds also made the cancer cells more receptive to the effects of the drug. A 12 year study showed that resveratrol slowed the growth of cancer cells; the quercetin strengthened the heart; and the adriamycin attacked the cancer cells.

    Drinkers Feel No Pain

    Dr Gary Macfarlane reported in the journal Arthritis Care and Research that of those patients that experience severe chronic pain, those who drink regularly have far less disability. He said it is too early to draw conclusions and more studies are necessary.

    Gordon Burdfield


    Drink to a Long Life

    Britain's oldest tennis player says he owes his long life to wine. Gordon Burdfield, 93, still plays three matches a week. Gordon has been playing since he was 13 in 1935. The high point in his career came in 2003 when he played Wimbledon in the over 80's division. His tip for a long life: eat a varied diet with a glass of wine at dinner.

    Sex and Wine

    And finally... the University of Canterbury, in New Zealand has published a ground breaking study. A scientist has found that drinking and sex provides people with more pleasure than volunteering, religion, and childcare. Thanks go to researcher Carsten Grimm for his insightful work. Who would have thought?

    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.


    This month The Garagiste Festival held in Los Angeles historic Wiltern Theater was an outstanding event. Melanie Webber of mWebb Communications did an outstanding job putting bthis memorable event together. We tasted many good to fine wines from the most innovative winemakers in today's market. There were too many great wines to list them all. Here we list just a few good buys in alphabetical order.


    Alma Sol Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2013. Aged in stainless,fresh, fruity, clear pale color, $15. Contact John or Lisa Shaw or (818) 231-2749.


    Artisan Uprising Rose' of Merlot 2014. Clean, clear, good color and nose, complex structure, flavors on target, $18. Contact David Vondrasek at or 818-324-5719, William Vondrasek at or 805-208-7206.


    Bon Niche Cellars Birdland Chardonnay 2012. Edna Valley, clean, fresh, bright, a best buy at $20. Contact Wally Murray at or Joyce Murray at or 805-286-7798.


    Casa Dumetz Clementine Carter Grenache Blanc/ Apple Wine NV, 50/50 blend. Aged in oak barrels, pale straw color, 11% ABV, $15. This wine is an inspiration. Light, fresh, with a delightful taste. Perfect for casual summer events. The wine is seductively delicious. Contact Sonja Magdevski at or 805-344-1900.


    Cloak and Dagger Wines. These remain among our favorites. Ray Schofield builds wines that are heavy and full on. All were aged well, full bodied, deep color, with good nose. Sangiovese 2011 13.9%ABV $39. Syrah 2011 14.5%ABV $49. Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 14.8%ABV $65. Contact Ray Schofield at


    Dilecta Wines “The Tiller” 2012, a red blend of 65% Grenache and 35% Syrah. Medium heavy bodied, good color and nose, round with a good balance, $52. Contact Orion Stang at or 805-237-1950.


    Incendium Wines Carneros Chardonnay 2012, aged in oak, fresh with character, $20. Carneros “Naked” Chardonnay 2012, aged in stainless, clean and fresh, $20. We rate both Chardonnay as best buys. Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, good color and nose, soft and delightfully ready to drink, a super buy, $20. Deanna Sparling at or (949) 829-7074.


    Overland Wines Kick Ranch Argonaut Rhone Blend 2011, 38% Syrah, 35% Grenache, 19% Mourvedre, 8% Petite Sirah. Deep color, deep flavors, good nose, excellent blend, $36. Kick Ranch Petite Sirah 2010, very full bodied, good color and nose, 15.2 ABV, $45. Both wines are very good buys. Contact Dick Keenan or (415) 378-9830.


    Tercero Wines Albarino 2014, light and flavorful, has body and a waxy texture, $25. Contact Larry Shaffer or 805-245-9584.


    Valley Floor Vineyard Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 14.1%ABV, good color and nose, this is a 100% Napa Cab with great flavors and the potential to live for many years, $80. Contact Ellen Bucchianeri-Duane at or 707-942-1152.


    Vinemark Cellars Primitivo 2013, a red with good color, good nose, and good body, a good solid wine to serve with red meats, $32. Contact Julie or Mark Wasserman at or 805-558-1920.


    Industry Calendar

    There are three big tastings coming up in the next few weeks. The Long Beach Grand Cru, August 8, features hundreds of wines in a national competition. This year's event is held at the South Coast Botanic Gardens. The Family Winemakers Northern Cal tasting will feature the best of California's family owned wineries. This 25th Anniversary event will be August 16 at the Palace Hotel. The LA Food and Wine Festival is at LA Live and top restaurants around the LA area August 27-30. These are all events too big to miss!


    8/8 Long Beach Grand Cru – Long Beach

    8/12-14 Hispanic Retail 360 – Anaheim

    8/15 Latin Food Fest – San Diego

    8/15 ZAP Zinfandel - Geyserville

    8/14-16 Sta Rita Hills Wine & Fire – Sta Rita Hills

    8/16 Family Winemakers – SFO

    8/16 National Rum Day - Celebrate anywhere!

    8/17 Wines of Danger - SFO

    8/19-20 Unified Grocers Expo-Long Beach

    8/21 Touhoku Food & Sake - Torrance

    8/23-25 Western Foodservice Expo -LA (includes 3 new features: Healthier Choices Pavilion, Japan Pavilion, Latin Pavilion)

    8/23-25 Expo Comida Latina - LA

    8/23-26 Global Wine, Beer & Spirits – San Diego

    8/26 – Pinot in the City – SFO

    8/26 National Whiskey Sour Day - Celebrate anywhere!

    8/24-27 Natural, Organic & Specialty Foods – San Diego

    8/27-30 LA Food & Wine - LA

    9/1-30 California Wine Month - Celebrate statewide!

    9/5 Taste of Sonoma County - Healdsburg

    9/7 Labor Day

    9/7 National Beer Lover's Day - Celebrate anywhere!

    9/11-12 California Craft Beer Summit & Showcase - Sacramento

    9/13 Rosh Hashanah Begins at Sundown

    9/15 Rosh Hashanah Ends at Sundown

    9/15 Ciderfest - LA

    9/16 Mexican Independence Day

    9/16 Wines of Tejo Portugal – SFO

    9/19 Ciderfest - Hollywood

    9/19 Oktoberfest Begins (16 days)

    9/22 Kol Nidre

    9/23 Yom Kippur

    9/24 Kobrand Tour d'Italia-SFO

    9/26-27 Cal Confectionary Show – LA

    9/26 National Drink a Beer Day - Celebrate anywhere!


    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 will be 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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