Beverage Bulletin July 2011

California Beverage Retailers Association

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 788-8120


July 2011


Industry News

This month there are a wide range of articles as we cover an opportunity to help our country's wounded veterans and get your company good press at the same time, the French 2011 harvest, the French 1811 harvest, hot new food trends and drink trends, cooking with rare ingredients, food price inflation, wine in kegs and by the glass, relaxation beverages, beer prices and pub language, wine sales increases and retail sales decreases, sales tax, food safety plans and e.coli, and this month's industry calendar.


We apologize for temporary down times on our website during the past few weeks. Our software is being updated and we are looking forward to some exciting new features. Stay tuned. We will let you know as the changes come online.


The MVAT (Mountaingate Veterans Appreciation Tournament) Golf Tournament will be August 15. The tournament benefits the Wounded Warriors Foundation (veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan) and also honors a number of Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. There will be tequila, whiskey, and wine tasting tables. If you would like to participate in this worthy cause with a table, silent auction items, or just play golf; contact Ron Ziff


The 2011 harvest is expected to be one of the earliest on record in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Loire, and Champagne, as warm and dry weather conditions have led to early ripening across France. The harvests are expected to begin around the end of August.


And from only 200 years earlier...A bottle of 1811 Chateau d’Yquem has sold for $117,000, setting a new record as the most expensive white wine to ever be purchased. Christian Vanneque—who runs Sip Wine Bar in Bali—bought the wine from the Antique Wine Co. Vanneque told the Wall Street Journal that he wants to use the wine as a promotional tool at his new Sip Sunset Grill, set to open August 1st, where he will put it on display. He confirmed to the WSJ that he has no plans to ever sell it. He does plan to drink the wine in 2017 at Paris restaurant La Tour d’Argent in celebration of the 50th anniversary of his career. The previous record for most expensive white wine was held by one from the same collection—a 1787 Chateau d’Yquem that sold for $100,000.


Hot New Food Trends

What is the latest hot new food trend? Believe it or with Fennel Pollen. This interesting new ingredient features a golden color and a very fresh and delicate anise taste that imparts to food. It's used by top restaurants and gourmet home foodies to flavor cakes, cookies, pasta, and specialty meats like pheasant breast. Can't find it at your local grocery? It's imported from Italy and available online from Zingerman's, Abe's Market, and online through Amazon. Priced at $10 to $15 per ½ ounce it is not cheap. Here in California Fennel grows wild in some places. You could gather your own and save a bundle.


People around the world are changing their diets because of soaring food prices, according to a new study. The majority of people in most countries surveyed by international aid agency Oxfam said they're no longer eating the same kind of food as they did two years ago, with 39 percent globally blaming rising food costs and another 33 percent citing health reasons. The poll also shows the effects of globalization on the world diet, with both pasta and pizza ranked among the top three favorite foods in many countries. While food costs have hit the developing world the hardest, the West is not immune to the effects of rising prices. In the United States, 55 percent of respondents said they no longer eat the same kinds of food they did two years ago, and 31 percent attribute the change to food prices. After 30 years of relatively constant prices, the cost of food staples like grains, meats and sugar soared in mid-2008, with experts blaming everything from extreme weather to biofuel production and shortsighted economic policies. The U.N. Food Price Index, a number representing the average prices of five main foods including meat, dairy and cereals, hit an all-time high of 238, nearly 20 percent higher than during the 2008 food crisis.


Some U.S. wine producers are copying European marketers and are shipping restaurants and bars wine in kegs, instead of bottles. Wines like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are packed in kegs that hold the equivalent of 26 bottles to restaurants and hotels. For consumers it should mean better wines at cheaper prices. Jean-Charles Boisset, whose family owns vineyards in both France and California, is using French oak wine barrels, to ship wine directly to consumers as well as restaurants from both his DeLoach and Raymond Vineyards. The barrels contain a plastic bladder, like box wines, that can hold up to 10-liters or nearly 70 glasses. The wines are protected against oxidation and reduce both packaging and the carbon footprint, according to the wine producers.


People have been guzzling energy drinks for the last 10 years -- maybe it's time to relax. Sales of "relaxation drinks" with names like Vacation in a Bottle, Dream Water and Just Chill, while small, are growing. "There is clear potential for further growth in the coming years," said Cecilia Martinez, market analyst at UK-based beverage research group Zenith International. Relaxation drinks help the body chill out by relieving muscle tension and reducing levels of cortisone, the main stress hormone, according to a report that Martinez wrote about the drinks earlier this year. The drinks, which evolved in Japan as far back as 2005, contain no alcohol but some have melatonin, a hormone that can cause drowsiness. The biggest relaxation brands include Innovative Beverage Group's Drank, Purple Stuff and Jones GABA. Another called Slow Cow is up and coming. Their names provide a marked contrast to engine-revving energy drinks such as Red Bull, Hansen Natural Monster and Dr Pepper Snapple Group's Venom Energy. Some 22.4 million cases, or 127 million liters (36 million gallons) of relaxation drinks were sold in 2010, double the amount sold in 2008. By 2014, U.S. volume sales will exceed 300 million liters (79 million gallons), Martinez said.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House is the world’s largest upscale steak house operator, with over 130 restaurants. Recently Ruth's has pushed a major boost in its wine sales. The program involved discontinuing half bottles and offering wine by the glass. Depending on the location 25 to 34 wines are on the menu at prices from $8 to $25 per glass.


How English Pubs have affected our language

In a pub ale is ordered by pints and quarts... So in old England , when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them 'Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down.' It was eventually shortened to the phrase “mind your P's and Q's”


Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or
handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. “Wet your whistle” is the phrase inspired by this practice.


Anheuser-Busch Inbev has announced price increases of 3%-5% across its brands, beginning September 13th, because of rising commodity costs. Price increases will vary by brand, market and packaging. ABI is increasing prices despite decreasing sales. In the second quarter sales were down 3.4%.


Whisky tourists worth £30m to Scottish industry
Whisky distilleries and visitor centres add £30m to the Scottish tourism industry each year, according to research for distillers. The findings published by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said there were 1.3 million visits to 52 premises.



Off-Premise Wine Sales up 3.1% Through May
The Nielsen Company recently reported a 3.1% increase in off-premise wine sales during the 4 weeks ending May 28, 2011 and a 3.7% increase in the 13 weeks ending during the same period. Domestic wine sales were up 4.8% while imports were down 1.1% during the 4 week period. While wines priced from $0-$2.99 and $6-$8.99 saw continued declines in sales, the price segments from $9-$11.99, $15-$19.99 and $20+ enjoyed healthy growth that hovered around 8 percent.


Table Wine Consumption is Up

The Impact Annual Wine Study reports table wine consumption has increased 41% over the past ten years. This is growth is driven by aging Baby Boomers, now in the 45 to 64 age bracket who represent 40% of all wine drinkers. Total wine consumption has increased every year for the last 17 years. In 2010 Americans spent $40 billion on wine. Sales were divided roughly 50/50 between On-Sale and Off-Sale.


U.S. Retail Sales Drop for First Time in 11 Months
A number of reports have been released recently with data showing depressed economic activity as we move further into the second quarter. Economists attribute the recent lull to high gasoline prices and to supply chain complications following the natural disasters in Japan. A fresh government report revealed an unpleasant change in consumer spending. Sales at food and beverage retailers fell 0.5% while sporting goods, hobby, book and music store receipts decreased by 0.4 percent in May.


California Sales tax went DOWN 1% on July 1. Be sure to change cash register programming, charts, and any other place where you calculate the tax. There are penalties for retailers and restaurants that charge too much. To check the sales tax rate in your city or county go to the Board of Equalization website at


Does your company have a Food Safety Plan? The FDA says it should include a focus on employees, facilities, and equipment. Examples of plan policies include:

  • Illness policy

  • Cleaning and sanitizing procedures

  • Garbage removal

  • Pest control

  • Equipment selection

  • Employee hygiene


E. coli pathogens have already proven that they have a stubborn ability to survive in the human digestive system. Now, new research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that they’re also hardy enough to live for months in underwater sediments, USDA soil scientist Yakov Pachepsky, PhD, and colleagues at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory collected three years of data in Pennsylvania. They then plugged that information into the Soil and Water Assessment Tool, a model that predicts how farming practices affect water quality on watershed scale. Their results suggested that E. coli can survive much longer in underwater sediments than in the water column itself.


Hot New Drink Trends

Nielsen predicts minority spending power will increase by 25% in the next 8 years and by 75% by 2050. With the growing Latin influence in our culture, your bar menu should include some of the new Latin drinks. Here are a few of what is hot, new, and most popular:

Mojito de Pina – Pineapple flavor dark rum, lime juice, cane sugar, garnish with basil.

Caipirinha – Cachaca, lime, simple syrup.

Tequila Martini – Reposado tequila, triple sec, pomegranate juice, fresh lime juice.

Sangria – Red wine, brandy, triple sec, cut up tropical fruit.

El Viejo – Aged rum on the rocks, lime twist, lightly sweetened with vanilla syrup.

Batidas – A fruit milk shake spiked with rum. Made with mango, passion fruit, or acai.


Industry Calendar

There is still time to register for the August and September Tastings, trade shows, and other events.

08/7 Rhone Rangers Tasting-LA

08/21-22 Family Winemakers Tasting-San Francisco

08/28-30 Expo Comida Latina-San Diego

08/28-30 Western Foodservice Expo-San Diego

09/05 Labor Day

09/15 Christermon Golf Tournament-Livermore

09/23-25 Harvest Festival-LB

09/25 Rosh Hashanah




Our industry is more controlled by laws than most others. The State Legislature and the ABC give us license privileges and can take them away. New alcoholic beverage laws are being introduced, passed, and sent to the Governor. Many critical issues are pending. Is your business safe? Members are encouraged to look through the Legislative Bulletin. If there is a new law that is a problem for your business, call the association office now. The CBRA is your voice in Sacramento. If you are not a member, join today. The CBRA is your only voice when it comes to new beverage laws.

Brands and Comments


The CBRA Newsletter has not accepted any payment from any of the brands mentioned in this edition. The editor, Ron Ziff, welcomes comments at


CBRA Membership Remains Open

Now, more than ever, access to your industry is important. The CBRA is California's only statewide association of licensed retailers, and our membership continues to be open for the first time in 20 years.

At CBRA we deal with licenses and regulations that affect the beverage business on a daily basis. That's why CBRA offers practical solutions, unique products, services, information, and timely advice for both large and small beverage businesses. With reasonable fees, superior service, and associates that are easy to reach, CBRA helps you to run your business better and easier.

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