Beverage Bulletin February 2012

California Beverage Retailers Association

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 788-8120

Ron Ziff, Editor


February, 2012


This month's stories:

Superbowl Statistics
A/B Introduces New Beer at Superbowl

Food Trends in Foodservice and Retail

Tap Water is the Fastest Growing Beverage in Foodservice

Starbucks, White Castle, Burger King, & Sonic to sell Beer & Wine

Up to 10,000 Restaurants to Close in 2012

Beer Gardens & Craft Beer

Restaurants Take reservations and Orders Online

Marketing to Millennials

Surviving Recession & Thriving in the Coming Recovery

McDonald's Twitter Blunder

Gallo and Constellation Settle Class Action over Mislabeling Wine

Wine Sales and Exports Grow

Champagne at the Academy Awards

Artisan Mead Hits the Market

Boston Beer Sales Record

Italian Bitters Sales Grow with Recipes

100 Year Old Scotch Found at South Pole

and as always Tasting Notes and The Industry Calendar (with lots of tastings)



Superbowl Statistics


This year Superbowl fans consumed:

111 million gallons of Beer

100 million lbs. of Chicken Wings

  1. 71.4 million lbs. of Hass Avocados

    45.8 million lbs. of Potato Chips

    43.2 million lbs. of Tortilla Chips
    13.2 million lbs. of Pretzels
    4.4 million Pizzas delivered by Domino's, Pizza Hut, and Papa John's


    Annheuser Busch aired 4 minutes of commercials at $3.5 million per 30 second spot. The commercial featured the company's Clydesdales and introduced new Bud Light Platinum. The $28 million expenditure put AB in the top 5 advertisers for the event.


    Food Trends


    The continuing push in the media concerning obesity, childhood obesity, just being overweight, high blood pressure, and heart disease has been getting through to consumers. The question is “How much more are they willing to spend for healthier food?” Surprisingly, the answer is NOTHING. The NPD Group surveyed adults and asked this question. 70% said they expected healthier options to cost the same; 25% said they expected to pay somewhat more, only 5% said they would pay a lot more. People who took the survey indicated that they would feel more satisfied if they had more healthful options available at the same prices on the menu including on value menus. Bonnie Riggs, who authored the report says that “One of the key takeaways from the study results is that pricing of the healthy options needs to be consistent with pricing of other choices on the menu.”


    The National Restaurant Association (NRA) launched a new program called Kids LiveWell along with the group Healthy Dining. The program is designed to help parents and kids pick healthier menu options when eating out.


    Supermarket Guru, Phil Lempert, says the top food trend for 2012 involves prices. Consumers are watching their dollars by using coupons, loyalty cards, shopping lists, alternative stores, specials, discounts, and bonus offers. No method of saving is ruled out as they search out the best way to save a buck. They are willing to spend time on the internet and smart phones to get instant alerts on savings through social media. Baby Boomers are turning 65, but not slowing down. They are changing the way products are developed and sold as well as what stores of the future will look like. Consumers still want to know ingredients and nutritional info. But also want to know where it came from and who grew it. Check out procedures are changing as customers accept self serve checkstands, RFID, and cell phone scanners. Men now do 41% of food and beverage shopping and are looking for new experiences in ethnic items. A hot new trend is listening to the sound a container makes when opened in order to judge freshness.




    Restaurant News

    According to NPD Group the fastest growing beverage trend in restaurants is Tap Water. Their report entitled Beverages at Foodservice shows these changes over the past 5 years:

    1. Overall restaurant traffic is down 1%.

    2. Total beverage service excluding tap water is down 2.7 billion servings.

    3. Tap water is up 2.8 billion servings.

    4. Coffee and carbonated drinks had the biggest losses but are still 49% of total servings.

    The 2 most common reasons consumers give for the changes are the price of beverages and tap water refills are free.


    In 1955 Restaurants took 25% of the Food Dollar. In 2011 it was 49%.


    Starbucks will begin selling beer and wine in a limited number of cafes in Chicago, Atlanta, and Southern California by the end of the year. The plan is to add alcoholic beverages in 4 to 6 outlets in each market to test consumer acceptance. Along with beer and wine they will add salty snacks, cheese plates, and hot flatbreads to the menu. The company started this experiment in Seattle in 2010. Currently the offerings are in 5 restaurants in Seattle and 1 in Portland. "As our customers transition from work to home, many are looking for a warm and inviting place to unwind and connect with the people they care about," Clarice Turner, Starbucks' senior vice president of U.S. Operations, said in a news release.


    Other fast food establishments experimenting with beer and wine include Burger King and Sonic. White Castle is trying out the categories in a few outlets. The chain is serving E & J Gallo's Barefoot Cellars Merlot, Chardonnay, Moscato, and Sweet Red; all at $4.50 per 7 oz bottle.


    Michael Whiteman of Baum & Whiteman International Food and Restaurant Consultants predicts the US could see 8 to 10,000 restaurants close this year. The reasons: Menu price cuts, coupons, social network offers from competitors that they can't meet and a lack of financing and financing at affordable rates. He says most of the casualties will be Independents or Mom & Pops.


    Outdoor Beer Gardens are one of the the latest innovations from restaurants looking for a leg up on competition. Entrepreneurs will use parts of parking lots, available rooftops, and unused back yards. Good tap beer, and easy to serve food like pretzels, hot dogs, hamburgers will be featured foods. Outdoor gas warmers will help evening business. Japanese Artisan and Craft Beers are appearing at bars with extensive beer menus and Asian restaurants.




    Cornell University has done a study of a growing trend of restaurants encouraging diners to make reservations and even order from the menu online. The study found that about 50% of those surveyed had made a reservation online. Of those 60% used a multi-restaurant site and 40% used the restaurant's own site.


    If you want your marketing aimed at Millennials remember they are comfortable with technology. They have never known a world without the internet, cell phones, and computers. 93% age 18 to 34 use the internet daily. They spend time conversing with people they have never met through social media. Social media can drive brands, businesses, menus, and trends at warp speed.


    The Recession of the 1980's and the Recovery that followed gave us many of the food and beverage trends that became our way of life today. Service Delis, the widespread use of wine with every meal, ethnic restaurant chains all came from the 80's. As this recovery unfolds the trends seem to involve technology. The companies that are growing and becoming profitable are not opening new stores. They are investing in technology to improve margins and reduce costs. They are selling or promoting online; using workforce management software; using computer tools to manage resources, analyze their customers, reduce shrink and markdowns, and improve buying and allocation decisions. How can the commercial landscape change? Just look at and Sears. Amazon has moved and taken over the “mail order” business once dominated by Sears. Sears has retreated. First it dropped its catalog. In 2011 it lost $3 Billion. This week it announced that it will sell off 1200 stores. That is, try to sell them.


    Recently McDonald's started McDStories on Twitter. Their critics latched onto it immediately. Negative stories, accusations of bad quality, and vegetarian warnings against the evils of eating meat filled the tweets. McD's marketing team pulled down the site within 2 hours and replaced it with “MeetTheFarmers” to give customers info on food sources.


    The World of Wine

    Gallo and Constellation Brands settled a class action lawsuit. In 2010 a French court convicted 12 winemakers of mislabeling cheap wine as Pinot Noir. The class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. alleging that millions of bottles were sold here. Consumers can file claims for up to 3 bottles from each of the companies at $3.50 per bottle. The wines have to be purchased before December 2, 2011. Retailers cannot file claims. The Constellation labels include Farallon, Rex Goliath, Talus and Robert Mondavi Woodbridge. The Gallo labels are Red Bicyclette, Redwood Creek, and Turning Leaf. The companies have not admitted any wrongdoing; only that the wines were mislabeled. Consumers can get information and claim forms by calling (888) 756-1812



    Consumption of California wine rose 3.3% in 2011 to 212.3 million 9 Liter cases according to Impact Databank. Moscato and Sweet Red Blends grew the most. California wine exports to China were up 42% in 2011. According to the Wine Institute there were similar increases throughout Asia.


    This year's Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater feature Moet & Chandon Champagne. Oscar drinks the best.


    Mead (pronounced med) is honey wine; it is the first alcoholic drink brewed by men, earlier than wine or beer. The famous nectar and ambrosia of the gods on Olympus were honey and mead. Mead was the beverage of Vikings and of their gods, of the Greek gods on Mount Olympus, of the Celts, Beowulf, etc. New “Artisan Meads” are now hitting the market. To learn more about Mead go to



    Boston Beer, maker of Samuel Adams, showed an increase of 7% in depletions in 2011 and an increase of 11% in revenue. Quite impressive considering that beer as a whole showed a slight decrease of 1.4% in consumption in 2011.



    The pleasure of Bitters is starting to sweep the country. Originally Amaro (the Italian word for bitters) were developed as treatments for Malaria. Every Amaro is different and made from secret formulas containing quinine, spices, herbs, flowers, aromatic bark, and citrus peels. They are then sweetened with sugar and sometimes aged for years. The result is a drink that is both bitter and sweet; aromatic, complex, with flavors that challenge the tongue and nose. Brands include Fernet Branca, Angostura, Ramazotti, Lillet, Dubonnet, Campari, Cocchi Apertivo Americano, and hundreds of others. Some are only produced and consumed locally while others are cult favorites. A recent change in California laws allows bartender's to infuse alcohol and make their own.


    Here are some of the current crop of bartender's drinks made with bitters:

    The Lazy Lover” made with Cachaca, jalapeno infused Chartruese (which has 130 herbal ingredients), Benedictine (27 ingredients), lime juice, and agave nectar.


    Red Hook Criterium” named after a bicycle race that has been run in Europe, Africa, and even an industrial are in Brooklyn. It is made with Zucca Amaro, Grapefruit juice, lemon juice, gin, sugar, soda water, and garnished with a strip of grapefruit peel.


    The Odd Job” made with Bulleit Rye, Galliano, and Fernet Branca.

    The Last Word” has Green Chartreuse, Lime juice, and Maraschino Liqueur.


    Oaxacan Negroni” made from Mezcal, Campari, Dry Vermouth, and grapefruit.


    Buddha's Prayer” blends Vodka, Gin, Bianco Vermouth, Pisco, Hibiscus, lime, and Buddha's Hand Bitters a mixture that includes curry leaves and a rare variety of citron.


    Improved Tonic and Gin” or “G&T” with Gin, Jack Rudy tonic syrup, and soda. Jack Rudy tonic syrup is made with lemon grass, quinine, and other secret ingredients.


    South Pole Scotch

    Shackleton's Scotch, that is. Ernest Shackleton and his crew set out for the South Pole in 1907. They only got 100 miles from the pole and had to evacuate in 1909. But, they still made history. Scotch History, that is. They took along several cases of “Rare Old Highland Whisky” made by Mackinlay's Distillery to keep warm. One hundred years later, in 2007, 3 cases were found in their abandoned hut at Cape Royds in Antarctica. Mackinlay's is long closed but Whyte & Mackay was able to get a few of these rare bottles and with the help of chemist, Dr. James Pryde analyzed and created a duplicate of the century aged brew. The original at 94 proof never quite froze. It just gracefully aged. The newly bottled copy is reputed to sniff and taste just like the 100 year old liquid gold.


    Tasting Notes

    In late January we attended the 9th Annual Stars of Santa Barbara tasting in Beverly Hills. There were many, many fine wines to be eyed, sniffed, and tickle the tongue. Notable was the Dragonette Sauvignon Blanc at about $25 retail. Last fall we had the opportunity to taste the grapes and now the wine from those same grapes. A delight!


    We rate Steve Clifton's Palmina Winery from Lompoc as a best buy. Steve and wife Chrystal were showing their Italian varietals. The flavors all true to type, vivid, and good to pair with food at very reasonable retail pricing. White wines Pinot Grigio, Tocai Friulano, and Arneis at under $15; Reds Dolcetto at about $18 and Nebbiolo at about $29. You can reach Steve at (805) 735-2030 or, or cell (805) 331-1940.


    Industry Calendar

    Coming Tastings and Events

    2/27 Jetro Sake Cooking and Tasting-Santa Monica

    2/29 Paso Robles Tour Tasting – Newport Beach

    3/6 Bordeaux to Beverly Hills -tasting

    3/8-11 Natural Products Expo West-Anaheim

    3/11 Daylight Saving begins

    3/12 Family Winemakers – San Diego

    3/13 Family Winemakers -Pasadena

    3/16-19 Zinfest - Paso Robles

    3/17 Green Vintners Toast St Patrick- LA

    3/21 Howell Mountain Tasting -SFO

    3/21 Stars of Napa -Orange County

    3/22 Stars of Napa -Beverly Hills

    3/25 Rhone Rangers Tasting -SFO

    4/2 Provence in the City-LA

    4/2 Sta Rita Winegrowers - SFO

    4/3 Sta Lucia Winegrowers – Mission Ranch, Carmel

    4/4 Provence in the City -SFO

    4/6 Passover first night

    4/8 Easter Sunday


    New Legislation for 2012

    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. 2012 has several new laws that you must follow. New alcoholic beverage laws are being introduced that will be effective in 2013. 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. 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 – We know how to get it done.


    If you would like to be removed from this email list, please email to with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.