Beverage Bulletin January 2014

California Beverage Retailers Association

Beverage Bulletin

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 788-8120

Ron Ziff, Editor

January 2014


This month's stories include:

Headline News Stories-Kurniawan Found Guilty, Share a Drink With a Ghost, Best Hotel Bars, The White House Serves Kosher Wine, Oops! Heineken Goofs


Celebrities in the Industry-Boz Scaggs, Tom and Nancy Seaver, Robert De Niro and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Meir Teper


Popular Culture-Top Food and Beverage Films, Fowler Museum at UCLA, Book Reviews, The Proud Bird


Wine-French Winery Vandalized, Wine Stolen from Lockers in Seattle, China Threatens Trade War, Bordeaux Wine Prices Drop, French Vintner Convicted of Growing Organic Grapes, Mr. Pinot to the Rescue, SLO Water Dispute, Central Valley Water Rights, Virus Hits Vineyards, Dogs Detect Grape Diseases, Grapes Prices Down Under, French Bulk Wine Price Up, Shift in On-Sale Wine,

How Bad Were Things During the Government Shutdown?


Beer-Brewery Flooded, Brew Your Own


Spirits-JFK Daiquiri, Ancient Rum, Duty Free Scotch, Bulleit Hits its Mark, Moonshine Recipes, Edgar Bronfman Passes


Other Food and Beverages-Sandwich Shop Sells “Original” Coke, Mergers and Acquisitions, Problems at Quiznos, What Drives Sales at Casual Dining Restaurants?, Gluten Free Menus, French Cafe' Sells Polite Coffee, Diet Soda Loses its Fizz


The Changing Market-Who Are You Selling To?, Holiday Season Sales Trends, Superbowl Ads, Trends to Watch in 2014, Technomics Publishes Annual Trends to Watch, Where do men & women shop for food and beverage?


Health-Shaken – Not Stirred, Study Hits Energy Drinks, Arabs Accept Bloomberg Plan, Drinkers Live Longer

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


Lilly Bollinger (1899-1977) was asked when do you drink Champagne? Her answer, “I drink it when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I'm thirsty.” She is shown here checking her vineyards on a bicycle. She took over running the family vineyards in 1941 after her husband died during the Nazi occupation. She continued in charge until 1971. The wines, except for Blanc de Blanc, are made from Pinot Noir grapes. During her tenure, Bollinger did not make a rose' because rose' champagne was associated with brothels.

Headline News Stories


Kurniawan Found Guilty

Rudi Kurniawan was found guilty of selling fake wines and defrauding a finance company. He was the first person found guilty of selling fake wines in the U.S. The 12 person jury spent only 1 hour 45 minutes in coming to a verdict. Many of the wines were brewed in his own kitchen from cheap current wine mixed with aged cheap wine. Then bottled and labeled with labels he printed himself. He bought some real rare wines at auction and became known as a collector. Then sold fake wines in other auctions. In 2006 an auction of his wine raised $24.7 million. He is an Indonesian of Chinese ancestry and had been ordered to leave the country in 2003. He appealed and the case is still waiting a decision. Now he will stay for a while. His world started to unravel in 2008 when a collector spotted 22 lots of Domaine Ponsot being offered at auction with vintage dates that had never been laid down by the vineyard. He notified proprietor Laurent Pontsot, who traveled to New York and forced the wine to be withdrawn from sale. Collectors began questioning lots that they had purchased and lawsuits were filed. In 2012 the FBI arrested Kurniawan at his home. They found fake labels, recipes and notes for blending wine, and 267 bottles of dubious pedigree. During the trial Aubert de Villaine of Romanee-Conti, Laurent Ponsot of Domaine Ponsot, and Christophe Roumier of Domaine Georges Roumier all testified. Judge Richard Berman set sentencing for April 24. The conviction could yield a sentence of up to 40 years.

Share a Drink With a Ghost

Zagat has identified 9 restaurants and bars across the U.S., including two in California, that are haunted. In La Jolla, The Herringbone is located in a property that was owned and used as a warehouse by C. Arnholt Smith. He died in 1996. His heirs tried to rent the property, but for 14 years he kept scaring off prospective tenants. Finally, it was rented to be turned into a restaurant. During renovation the contractors had a number of unexplained incidents with his ghost. Now the restaurant owners think he may just be thirsty. In order to satisfy him, the bartenders often leave a drink in front of an empty bar stool – just in case.


Restaurant 1833 in Monterey is located in an 180 year old adobe formerly owned by socialite Hattie Gregg. She entertained lavishly there. Today her bedroom is the “Hattie Gregg Dining Room.” She often plays tricks on diners and knocks over wine glasses. The restaurant is also haunted by James Stokes, an English sailor that went AWOL and became the first mayor of Monterey. The house was built for him. He later falsely claimed to be a doctor. In 1864 he self-prescribed poison and died. Stokes has been seen walking through walls in his white doctor's coat.

Best Hotel Bars

Food and Wine Magazine has named the best 35 hotel bars, 3 are in California, and the top 50 bars in America, 12 are in California. We are well represented, and our patrons are well served in our watering holes! The top California hotel bars are the Rooftop Bar at the Standard in Los Angeles, Grant Grill Lounge at U.S. Grant Hotel in San Diego, Redwood Room at The Clift in San Francisco. The top California bars are Bar Agricole(SFO), The Alembic(SFO), Beretta(SFO), Comstock Saloon(SFO), Copa d'Oro(Santa Monica), Craft & Commerce(San Diego), Rivera(LA), Roger Room(West Hollywood), The Slanted Door(SFO), Smuggler's Cove(SFO), The Tasting Kitchen(Venice), The Varnish(LA).

The White House Serves Kosher Wine

The White House hosted a Chanukah celebration for a few close friends and guests on December 5. The Obamas served two Kosher California wines, Hagafen Napa Merlot 2011 ($32) and Don Ernesto Lodi Collage Roussanne 2012 ($18). The event featured menorah candle lighting and traditional foods including latkes.

Oops! Heineken Goofs

Heineken canceled an ad campaign for its Bulmer's Hard Cider when a major mistake was found. The ads featured the history of the Bulmer family. It seems Reverend Charles Bulmer loaned his sons Percy and Fred the money to start the hard cider business 120 years ago. Heineken asked its ad agency to get a picture of Rev. Bulmer for the ad. When the agency couldn't find one, they substituted a picture of another clergyman. That's when the trouble started. The picture was of Hugh Price Hughes. Reverend Hughes had dedicated his life to wiping out alcohol and founded a mission that is still in existence today. The mission is now headed by Rev. Valerie Reid, who contacted Heineken and told them the use of Hughes picture was not a good idea.


Celebrities in the Industry


Boz Scaggs has recorded dozens of singles and 21 music albums. Now he is making Rhone style wines at Scaggs Vineyards in Napa Valley. He and his wife, Dominique, make 400 cases of organically certified wine a year from their 2 ½ acre estate.




Tom Seaver and his wife, Nancy, produce Cabernet Sauvignon at their GTS Vineyards on Napa Valley's Diamond Mountain. This is a third career for Seaver. He was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame as pitcher for the Mets. Later, he worked as a sportscaster. This is coming home for Seaver. He was born in 1944 in Fresno.



Robert De Niro was impressed with Chef Nobu Matsuhisa's Nobu Restaurant in Beverly Hills. He partnered with the chef and movie producer Meir Teper to open 27 Nobu Restaurants during the last 10 years. They opened the Greenwich Hotel in New York in 2008, the Nobu Hotel Caesar's Palace in 2013, and will open the Nobu Hotel Ridyadh in Saudi Arabia in Spring 2014. Nobu Restaurants feature a high quality Japanese menu complemented by an extensive wine list with selections from $36 to $16,000.


Popular Culture


The top Food and Beverage Films. What to recommend a customer watch on a cold winter night.

  1. Julie & Julia (2009)

  2. Eat, Pray, Love (2010)

  3. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

  4. Choclat (2000)

  5. Sideways (2004)

  6. Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)

  7. James & the Giant Peach (1996)

  8. Ratatouille (2007)

  9. Soul Food (1997)





UCLA is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Fowler Museum on campus. The museum was founded by Francis E. Fowler, JR. He made his fortune developing and promoting Southern Comfort. He funded the museum to show cultural collections and donated his personal collection that includes silver forged by Paul Revere. His office in nearby Brentwood (shown above) was a replica of the mansion on the Southern Comfort label. It can still be seen at 150 South Barrington Place. If you can't get there, see it on Google Street View.

Book Reviews

Whiskey by John Lamond, 144 pages $16.95. This book is a good beginner's guide to the differences between Scotch, Irish, Bourbon, and Tennessee whiskey. It shows what glassware to use and gives an assortment of tips.

American Whiskey, Bourbon, and Rye by Clay Risen, 297 pages $24.95. A guide to more than 200 whiskeys from big and craft distillers.

Potions of the Carribean by Cocktail Kingdom, 315 pages $34.95. Gives the history, trivia, and recipes of drinks that originated on the islands of Trinidad, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and others. Whether the drinks were for natives, tourists, or ex-pat private clubs; they are all here.

The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktail to Keep You Level by Dinah Sanders, 188 pages, $24.95. Gives recipes and lore of low alcohol drinks that are still tasting and a part of the cocktail scene.

The Cocktail Lab by Tony Conigliaro, 224 pages, $29.99. Views cocktail mixing like lab experiments. It consists of recipes with standard and unusual ingredients mixed with bar and lab equipment.


The Proud Bird

Last month we reported the closing of The Proud Bird. Now there's a reprieve! The city postponed the rent and minimum wage increases after a public outcry. The city and the restaurant management are continuing negotiations.


French Winery Vandalized

French winemaker Robert Curb lost nearly everything on the night of November 14. His winery was broken into, all of the 2013 wine harvest in vats was dumped, then a fire was started that destroyed the winery buildings and all the bottled wine. There are no motives or suspects.

Wine Stolen from Lockers in Seattle

Seattle police found more than 200 cases of wines that had been stolen from a wine locker facility over Thanksgiving weekend. The wine was valued at approximately $650,000. Samuel Harris, a Seattle plumber, and Luke Thesing were arrested after being identified in security camera footage. The suspects had apparently entered a vacant warehouse next door and cut through a wall. Then they moved the wine to another warehouse a mile away. Finally, they opened gas lines and tried to create an explosion and fire to cover the theft. They also had sent a list and tried to sell the wine to a San Francisco merchant for $125,000. The police discovered computer printouts at Harris home that gave instructions for committing “perfect crimes”, starting an “accidental fire”, and a to-do list that included disabling alarms at the wine lockers. Police are now investigating whether the men were also involved in a similar heist earlier in 2013 in San Francisco.

China Threatens Trade War

China is investigating French wine imports as tensions rise as the European Union taxes on Chinese solar panels 12% and threatens to raise the tax to 47%. China sent a 45 page questionnaire to France, Spain, and The European Commission. The document was sent on November 28 and had a deadline of December 19. The problem – the questionnaire was in Mandarin.

Bordeaux Wine Prices Drop

Bordeaux prices continue to fall with the Chinese out of the market. In October this year a case of Lafite 2009 sold for $10,864. Down from the May 2010 release price of $16,000 and peak price of $22,500 in November 2010. 2013 Bordeaux prices are still looking for a footing. The wines are not up to other years in quality or quantity. One expert says that they need to be priced realistically or risk losing the market altogether.

French Vintner Convicted of Growing Organic Grapes

Emmanuel Giboulot has been fined 30,000 Euros and sentenced to 6 months in prison for not treating his vineyard with an insecticide. It is thought that a virus that affects the vines is spread by a leafhopper. Giboulot is a biodynamic and organic farmer and does not believe in using chemicals on his crop.

Mr. Pinot to the Rescue

Grape growers in the Midwest are testing a new government method of keeping birds from raiding vineyards and eating the grapes. They are using inflatable tube figures similar to those at used car lots and furniture dealers. One manufacturer has dubbed it “Mr. Pinot.” The figures gyrate and wave their arms in a random pattern scaring off hungry feathered friends. The government hasn't judged the effectiveness yet. But growers and the manufacturers are picking up on the system and it's spreading through vineyards in the East and Pacific Northwest. Given the choice, the birds eat only the best varietals. Their favorite is Pinot Noir. One Midwest farm started using the dancing tubes after losing several acres of Gewurtztraminer.

SLO Water Dispute

Two lawsuits have been filed by property owners to overturn the water moratorium issued by the San Luis Obispo County Supervisors. One suit was filed by a group of owners to protect their rights to the water below their land. They contend that state law gives them superior rights that are being taken away. The other suit says that the county acted without due process and without proper authority because the moratorium regulations were enacted as an urgency when no urgency exists. Meanwhile two competing groups have been working on a compromise to create a new structure for water management in the basin. All of this is against an anticipated water shortage in the coming year.

Central Valley Water Rights

Farmers in the Central Valley are anticipating a water crisis in 2014. Ground water levels from Modesto to Visalia have dropped to seriously low levels. The water districts in those areas are concerned that the legislature could consider new limitations next year as well as legal action in the courts.

Virus Hits Vineyards

Red Blotch Virus seems to be spreading through vineyards in California and New York. Symptoms are large red blotches across leaves or red spots on the leaves. It delays ripening, reduces sugar content by about 25%, and reduces color in the grapes.

Dogs Detect Grape Diseases

Sonja Needs and Sigfredo Fuentes at the University of Melbourne are experimenting with dogs to be used for early detection of diseases in vineyards. The dogs can detect odors caused by the plant diseases long before other symptoms appear. The particular diseases the dogs are being trained to detect include Phyloxera, Brettanomyces, and Eutypa Lata.

Grapes Prices Down Under

Australian grape growers are in shock and panic. The 3 biggest wineries; Accolade Wines, Pernod-Ricard, and Treasury Wine Estates have announced they will pay about 50% of the previous year's prices for the coming crop. Farmers say they can't cover cost at these prices and are looking at shifting to table grapes, pomegranates, avocados, and other crops.

French Bulk Wine Price Up

French bulk red wine has hit the highest prices since 2005. The wine is currently selling for over $93 per 100 liters.

Shift in On-Sale Wine

Restaurant Sciences LLC reports that on-sale wine sales fell 2.6% during the period May to October 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. However, wine sales increased 10% in casual dining and Quick Serve Restaurants during the same periods.

How Bad Were Things During the Government Shutdown?

The Washington Times reports that when Republicans and Democrats couldn't agree on a budget, the State Department didn't want to get caught short. So they laid in an extra $180,000 worth of wine and spirits, just in case. The two biggest purchases were $22,416 of wine at the Embassy in Tokyo and $15,900 in Bourbon and other Whiskey at the Embassy in Moscow.


Brewery Flooded

Beer flooded a craft brewery in Framingham, Massachusetts when a gasket failed. At Jack's Abby Brewing Company workers filled a tank with 1500 gallons of pilsner to be bottled the next day. When they arrived in the morning, they found they were knee deep in suds.

Brew Your Own

Not sure how to brew beer at home? Buy yourself a PicoBrew Zymatic. Just load in the ingredients and the machine will use the right proportions for its recipe, go through the brewing process, and finish with home brewed beer. The machine can be had for only $1,300.


Ancient Rum

In December Christie's auctioned 12 bottles of vintage 1780 rum that were found in the cellar of Harewood House in Leeds, UK. Records show that the rum was stored there in 1805 by the Lascelles family and was produced on their estate in Barbados by slaves. The lot was expected to bring 20,000.

Duty Free Scotch

Diageo is promoting in one of the fastest growing markets for Scotch; Duty Free Stores. The customers are affluent and free spending; forming a perfect market for Johnnie Walker Explorers Club; a collection of special blends selling for hundreds of dollars. The whiskys are only available in Duty Free Stores. The channel showed a 5.2% increase in sales for 2012. IWSR Report says that the top 10 brands have 40% of the travel-retail market. Pernod-Ricard is selling “Absolut Gustafson”, a version of Absolut Vodka flavored with strawberries, cherries, Cardamom, and Chai. Meanwhile Beam is selling special bottlings of Courvoisier only available in the Dubai airport. The travel-retail market is currently about $56 billion a year.



JFK Daiquiri

There has been a lot of talk the last few months about the 50th anniversary of events, during the Kennedy term in the White House. We note that when Jacqueline Kennedy moved into the White House and started entertaining, she taped her recipe for a Daiquiri on the kitchen wall. Jack liked his made with frozen limeade. The recipe ended by specifying that the cocktail should be poured from a pitcher, never a blender.

Bulleit Hits its Mark

Diageo is planning a major push to expand its 90 proof Bulleit whiskey, while still maintain its status as a niche brand favored by whiskey purists. The brand sold 40,000 cases a year when Diageo took it over in 2001. Today it sells 300,000. The plan is to increase that to 1 million cases using on-premise as the base to push it to new heights. The company also plans to promote Crown Royal and George Dickel to take advantage of the renaissance in whiskey.

Moonshine Recipes

Moonshine is taking on a new life as an ingredient in cocktails and other edibles. Restaurants around the country are experimenting with using it to marinate chicken and other meats, as a flavoring in apple pie or chocolate cake, and as part of a salad dressing. In Los Angeles the Umamicatessen is making Moonshine and Caramel Corn Ice Cream, $4 a scoop or $9 a pint.

Edgar Bronfman Passes

Edgar M. Bronfman, who headed the Seagrams Company from the 1950's through the 1980's has passed away. He was 84 years old. Bronfman built the family's liquor distribution company into the world's largest by using the profits from Seagrams VO and Chivas Regal for startup brands and the purchase of other companies. He also served for nearly 30 years as President of the World Jewish Conference with as much energy as he put into the liquor business. Under his leadership the organization became a powerful force advocating religious freedom for Jews and other groups in the Soviet Union and for the restitution of assets stolen by the Nazis during World War II, including Nazi held Swiss bank accounts.

Other Food and Beverages

Sandwich Shop Sells “Original” Coke

Which Wich Sandwich Shops with 275 locations in Dallas Texas has installed Coca Cola's new Freestyle machine and substituted pure cane sugar syrup for the standard high fructose corn syrup. They say the product tastes better, has better carbonation, and spectacular acceptance and sales.

Mergers and Acquisitions

The Yucaipa Company has completed its deal with Tesco and taken over the Fresh and Easy chain along with its warehouse and production facility...The Arden Company and its Gelsons chain has been sold to investment firm TPG for $394 million. Gelsons has 17 stores and is slated to be expanded...Sysco has announced it will be taking over U.S. Foods for $3.5 billion plus taking over $4.7 billion of U.S. Foods debt. Sysco has 150 branches with 48,000 employees. U.S. Foods has 25,000 employees in 75 branches. The combined company will have 27% of the wholesale foodservice market. There is no word on possible layoffs and branch closings. Industry observers say the merger will mean higher prices for restaurants and chains, which means higher prices for customers. There is also speculation that the government may require some divestitures...We had previously noted that Darden Restaurants had put the Olive Garden chain up for sale. Now the company will divest the Red Lobster chain. Red Lobster has 750 locations in the U.S. and Canada. It may be divested in a tax free spinoff. Meanwhile investors are calling for the company to be broken up completely in order to give them the most value. One scenario would separate the real estate holdings into a separate company. Darden also owns Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Capital Grille, and Yard House as well as much of the real estate under the restaurants...Discount grocer, Aldi, plans to add 650 locations in the next 4 years. Southern California will be part of that expansion. Aldi has had an office in SoCal since 2012. The company currently has 1300 stores in the East and Midwest and is owned by Germany's Albrecht family along with Trader Joe's...Safeway is the possible target of a buyout. The Board is exploring options.

Problems at Quiznos

The Quizno's Sandwich chain is in a financial bind and is trying to get creditors to restructure a debt load of $600 million. The chain peaked in 2008 with more than 5,000 locations. Today it has shrunk to 2,100.


What Drives Sales at Casual Dining Restaurants?

A survey conducted by Consumer Edge Insight asked consumers which chain did the best job of getting them to come back for alcoholic beverages. Buffalo Wild Wings was #1 with 29%, #2 Applebee's 24%, #3 a tie Outback Steakhouse and T.G.I.Friday's 22%. When asked which chains had the best prices on alcoholic beverages, consumers picked Buffalo Wild Wings #1 with 30%, Chili's #2 23%, and Ruby Tuesday #3 22%.

Gluten Free Menus

Restaurants face a problem with Gluten Free menu items. The fact is that the day's production can vary substantially from even a standard recipe. Chains offer disclaimers saying that the item is “gluten friendly”, but they can't guarantee it is gluten free. Chains with disclaimers include Texas Roadhouse, Olive Garden, and Noodles & Co. California Pizza Kitchen promoted pizzas with a gluten free crust. Customers were dismayed when they found out topping ingredients did contain gluten.

French Cafe' Sells Polite Coffee

Fabrice Pepino, the owner of Le Petite Syrah Cafe, in Nice, France got tired of surly customers ordering breakfast. After all, he is the owner and waiter. His solution: Coffee has 3 menu prices. Order a cup of coffee and pay 7 Euros; say “Coffee please” pay 4.25 Euros; go for “Good morning. A cup of Coffee please.” and it's only 1.4 Euros.

Diet Soda Loses its Fizz

Soda sales are falling. The industry's total sales are $75 billion a year. In the 52 weeks ending November 23, regular soda sales were down 2.2%. The industry blamed the drop on a cool summer. The looming disaster is in low calorie and diet sodas. Sales for those products were off 6.8% in the same period. Drinkers are worried about the artificial sweeteners and other chemicals used. The American Beverage Association and the FDA say they are perfectly safe. Consumers are not so sure and fear that there is a lot that just isn't known about these ingredients. Meanwhile manufacturers are pushing research into using stevia and other natural, calorie free or low calorie sweeteners.

The Changing Market

Who Are You Selling To?

46% of MLB fans are women. 44% of NFL TV viewers are women. More women watch the Superbowl than the Oscars. The NFL reports that team licensed clothing sales to women has gone up 76% since 2010. Nike and Reebok are now selling team jerseys for women and Victoria's Secret has a line of team monogrammed panties. 53% of people who drink wine two or more times a week are women.

Holiday Season Sales Trends

What happened during the holiday season? The Thanksgiving-Black Friday-Cyber Monday 2013 business was slightly lower than 2012, but definitely shifted around. Some retailers were concerned that there were 6 fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. They started their sales earlier, but only convinced shoppers to shift the same purchases earlier. Then Black Friday turned bleak. Labor was scheduled, but customers were scarce. On Thanksgiving day 45 million people went shopping. On Friday 92 million shopped, up 3.5% from 2012. Online sales accounted for 44% of sales. For the total weekend sales were off 2.7%. Retailers noted that customers were definitely price driven. The final weekend before Christmas had a sales surge. In a year with sparse sales the liquor industry usually gets a burst of last minute “must” gift purchases as customers run out of options. This year the internet offered a much easier alternative. Online sellers promised delivery by Christmas of orders placed by December 22. But the sellers weren't prepared for what happened. Online sales for the last weekend ran a whopping 37% over 2012; overall internet sales were 15% up from last year. The retailers couldn't pick the orders fast enough to keep up with sales and UPS, that delivers 45% of the packages, fell way behind. The result was online retailers absorbing the delivery costs and issuing credits and gift cards to pacify disappointed customers.

Superbowl Ads

If you wanted to advertise on TV for the Superbowl, you're too late. Ad time on Fox Network sold out by early December; at $4 million per ½ minute spot.

Trends to Watch in 2014

Comax Culinary Trend Exchange has published its list of hot new flavors for 2014. Fresh Flavors are Coconut-Lime, Lemon Garlic Pepper, Carrot Watermelon, Pineapple-Cucumber. Sultry Sweet Flavors are Marshmallow Macadamia Crunch, Ginger Sesame Caramel, and Maple Bourbon Banana. Hot Flavors are Sriracha Chocolate, Black Pepper Caramel, and Honey Wasabi.


Technomics Publishes Annual Trends to Watch

  1. Healthier eating continues to grow. Customers are demanding low fat, low sodium, gluten free, and other no-no's. But, some customers are engaging in a backlash against healthy eating. They want creamy, cheesy, high fat goodness. They want fried foods, cheese melts, and triple burgers on a Crispy Crème Donut.

  2. Three square meals are out. Customers eat what they want, when they want. Breakfast has to be available all day.

  3. Snacks are when you're hungry. Customers want small menu items all day long as they graze. Dollar menu items are in.

  4. Everything is Political. People are bringing their politics to restaurant dining and express their feelings on Obamacare, Government Shutdown, and the Federal Budget. Restaurant operators see traffic go up or down depending on hot button issues. Customers tend to go to restaurants that they believe share their view.






Where do men & women shop for food and beverage?

Food and beverage shopping trips



How many food shopping trips in the past month?



Shopped in a Grocery Store



Shopped in a Mass Market Store



Shopped in a Drug Store



Shopped in a Dollar Store



Shopped in a Club Store



Shopped in a Convenience Store



Source:The online grocery shopper report 2012


Shaken – Not Stirred

A group of doctors at U.K.'s Royal Derby Hospital did a study of Ian Fleming's books and found that James Bond's alcohol consumption was excessive. Dr. Graham Johnson of the ER published the study. They found his weekly consumption was 4 times what doctors recommend. They warned that he was in danger of early death due to alcohol, if impaired judgment and bad aim didn't give his opponents an easy target first. They note that “In Casino Royale he drank...before engaging in a high speed car chase, losing control, and spending 14 days in hospital.” This should have been a warning, but he continued his habit in the following books.

Study Hits Energy Drinks

At the Radiological Society of North America's annual meeting Dr. Jonas Dorner of the University of Bonn gave a paper entitled "Caffeine and Taurine Containing Energy Drink Improves Systolic Left-ventricular Contractility in Healthy Volunteers Assessed by Strain Analysis Using Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Tagging." Dr. Dorner said that the study showed that energy drink usage should be limited. Monster Beverage immediately rebutted the study. According to Monster the author came to the wrong conclusions after the study. Further, Monster says that ounce for ounce its beverage has less caffeine than Starbucks and other coffees.

Arabs Accept Bloomberg Plan

The United Arab Emirates will be implementing a ban on super sized soda drinks. The country is the 5th fattest nation in the world. The government cabinet, in a session to address the problem of obesity, set the ban. It will also be against the law to advertise the drinks and other foods deemed unhealthy. New York Ex-Mayor Bloomberg would be happy.


Drinkers Live Longer

A new study led by Charles Holahan at the University of Texas has found that moderate drinkers live longer than teetotalers. Moderate drinking is 1 to 3 drinks per day. The increased mortality risk was for abstainers was 51%, for heavy drinkers 70%, and for light drinkers 23%.

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. Wines and spirits for consideration of individual review in the Tasting Notes column should be sent directly to our office. For further information email

DM Vineyards

DM Vineyards & Partners recently held a very pleasant wine tasting. The wines were all well selected, reasonably priced, and true to type. Here are just a few. Leiras Albarino 2011, intense aroma of flower and fruit, complex tastes, a good food wine, $19. Chateau de la Cour d'Argent 2010 Bordeaux Superior, good tannins, deep ruby color, raspberry and cherry flavors, good finish, $19. LePlan Vermeersch 2011, Cotes du Rhone, 60% Grenache 40% Syrah, good nose, deep purple color, deep Grenache flavor, a good buy at $16. Is Chateauneuf du Pape priced at a point customers resist? Domaine du Grapillon D'Or 2011 from Gigondas will substitute well. Every bit as good as a CDP, this wine has a deep full body, 60% Grenache, 40% Syrah, good color, legs, $35. Contact Melissa McAvoy or (310) 779-8501 or Christophe Convert or (909) 973-2427.


Pinot Days

The Pinot Days Tasting for Southern California took place in the Skirball Cultural Center at the peak of the Sepulveda Pass. 48 wineries showed their produce. There were many good and very good wines. We chose several of the best to review.

Ancient Oak Cellars in Santa Rosa poured a 2010 Pinot Noir with good color, good nose, mellow taste and finish, $27. Contact Melissa Moholt-Siebert or 707-836-3099.


Landmark Vineyards showed Landmark Overlook 2012 Pinot Noir with good color, good nose, clean Pinot Noir flavors, $25. Contact or 707-833-0053.





MacMurray Pinot Noir 2011 had good color, good nose, would pair well with food. Offered at the bargain price of $23. This wine rates our best buy rating. The ranch and winery were founded in 1941 by actors Fred MacMurray and June Haver. They are shown above looking over a script on the porch of their ranch house. Their daughter, Kate MacMurray is still involved in the ranch and wines. We had the honor of knowing them when they lived in LA's Brentwood community. Contact 707-431-5691 or 888-668-7729.


Domaine Chandon showed a Pinot Noir 2010 that was true to type. One of the best wines at any price shown that day. Good color, good nose, beautiful full body and flavors, excellent balance, $35. Contact or 707-204-7620.


The Tasting Panel

The Tasting Panel held its annual Brut Rose Champagne Tasting in LA. The tasting featured 26 sparkling pink wines from California, France, and Italy ranging in price from $14 to $300. We judged the wines on the usual criteria nose, color, body, taste, and in this case also considered bubble structure and trace of yeast. The wines varied in color from a very pale almost straw to a deep rose pink. Nearly all had a pleasant bouquet and good body. We found 3 well worth reviewing. The Piper Heidsieck Rose' Sauvage had a good nose, pleasant taste, steady bubbles, light flavor of yeast and by far the most beautiful deep rose pink color, $60. The Mumm Brut Rose' NV had a light pink color, good steady bubbles, good nose, well balanced taste with a rich yeasty overcast, $75. The Schramsberg 2010 Brut Rose' North Coast had good taste, nose, steady bubbles, light pink color, good balance, light yeast, $42. All 3 wines are good buys.




Industry Calendar


1/14 Australia Today-SFO

1/14 Japan Food Demo - Torrance

1/19-21 Winter Fancy Food Show – SFO

1/18-19 Asian American Expo-Pomona

1/24 Grand Cru de Bordeaux - LA

1/23-25 ZAP-Zinfandel Experience-SFO

1/30 Benvenuto Brunello Tasting – LA

2/19-21 NAFEM Show – Anaheim (Foodservice Equipment)

2/24 Royal Wine Kosher Wine Tasting - LA

New Legislation for 2014

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. 2013

has several new laws that you must follow. New alcoholic beverage laws will be

introduced that will be effective in 2014. Many critical issues are pending. Is your

business safe? Members are encouraged to look through the Legislative Section. 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.


New Pending Legislation

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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. Go to

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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