Beverage Bulletin May 2013

California Beverage Retailers Association

Beverage Bulletin

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 788-8120

Ron Ziff, Editor

May 2013


This month's stories include:

Headlines - Legal Alcohol Limit Lowered, Prince Harry Races for Wounded Vets, Monster Sues SF City Attorney


Celebrities in the Industry - Mandela Family Selling Wine, Rachel Maddow Tends Bar, Rupert Murdoch Buys California Winery, Iron Maiden Selling Beer


Wine - L.A. Restaurants Raise Price of Wine by the Glass, Wine Back from the Deep, French History Goes on the Auction Block, Vandals Hit NZ Winery, Vandals Hit French Winery, EU Makes Croatia Change Wine


Beer - GI Joe: This Bud's for You, Bud Won't Buy Budvar, Traditional Beer Sales Down, Craft Beer Imported in Germany, German Beer Sales Fall, Boston Strong Beer for Bomb Victims, Cold Beer Labels Change Color, British MP's Want Cheap Beer, Michelada is Popular in Mexico, 16 Things You Didn't Know About Beer


Spirits - Is Hammer Head Scotch or Czech?, Lasers ID Fake Whisky, EU Fails to Set Absinthe Standard, Sinatra Promotes Jack Daniels Again!, Kentucky Derby Mint Juleps, Maker's Mark Keeps Proof – Sets Record, Gluten Free Vodka, Craft Distillers Multiply, Brunch Garnishes,


Other Food and Beverages - What Kind of Wine Do You Serve With Donuts?, Evian Commercial Gets Young, Perrier Celebrates Andy Warhol, U.S. Hotels Set Record, Why you may want to stay in a hotel, Hispanic Population Grows, Sugar Prices Up & Down, Coffee Production Up & Down


Health - Champagne Helps Memory, Coke and Physical Fitness


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




Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.”
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby


Legal Alcohol Limit Lowered

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended lowering the legal concentration of alcohol to be considered drunk from .08% to .05%. The new standard is not binding on the states. But, in the past, states have followed the NTSB's standards. The new standard means a woman weighing 120 lbs. would reach the limit with one drink. A man weighing 160 lbs could reach the limit with two drinks. The NTSB also recommended ignition locks and devices that would automatically check a driver's blood alcohol content.

French Wine Prices Continue Slide

French wine prices continued to fall as more Chateaux open sales of 2012 futures. Investors who bought barrel futures three years ago are now getting deliveries of wine that is worth 20% less than they paid for it. Chateau Lafite futures are 17% down from last year and 42% less than 3 years ago. Mouton is down 33% and Lynch-Bages is off

13%. Asian investors led the way during the price run up. Now many were burned too badly and won't be back.


Prince Harry Races for Wounded Vets

Prince Harry will be taking part in a race to the South Pole with a team of wounded British soldiers. The race is sponsored by Glenfiddich and the organization, Walking with the Wounded. His team will be competing with teams from the U.S. and the Commonwealth in the 208 mile race to the pole. The Prince took part in a similar race to the North Pole in 2011. He spoke he spoke to members of the groups Soldier On Canada, Soldier On Australia, and Soldiers to Summits from the U.S at a conference in London. He welcomed the race participants and said as a member of the British team he would get there ahead of them and have a cold beer waiting for the others. The Prince had to leave the North Pole expedition early to attend his brother's wedding and was not able to participate in last year's Everest climb because he was serving in Afghanistan at the time.

Monster Sues SF City Attorney

Monster Beverage Company is suing San Francisco City Attorney, Daniel Herrera over his insistence that the company reduce caffeine content, stop marketing to youth, and add warning labels. He has been involved in this issue since last fall and says he has been negotiating with Monster in good faith. New York Attorney General and the FDA have also been investigating Monster and other energy drink makers. Meanwhile other manufacturers have started adding caffeine to jelly beans, waffles, crackers, and chewing gum. The FDA is now considering the entire issue of caffeine being added to foods and beverages.





Celebrities in the Industry


Mandela Family Selling Wine

Nelson Mandela's daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, and grand daughter, Tukwini Mandela, have introduced their House of Mandela Wine to the U.S. The South African wine comes in red, white, sparkling and features a Pinotage. It is advertised as being for “one who is brave enough to challenge the status quo.” Find out more about the wines at


Rachel Maddow Tends Bar

Rachel Maddow is a trained bartender. Since she now has a hit program on MSNBC, she only uses her skills when an emergency arises. That emergency came up just a month ago. Rachel didn't get an invitation to the hottest event in D.C., the White House Correspondents Annual Dinner. She did the next best thing; she got a job tending bar there! Rachel told all about it on Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel. She also shared her recipe for an Old Fashioned. See it below.



Rupert Murdoch Buys California Winery

Rupert Murdoch has purchased Moraga Vineyards. The 16 acre property is located in the hills above the Los Angeles community, Bel Air. It includes the winery, vineyards, a cellar cave, and a 7500 foot house. The asking price was $29.5 million.



Iron Maiden Selling Beer

The heavy metal band, Iron Maiden, is having a beer co-packed by British brewery, Robinsons. The beer will be named “Trooper” after their 1983 hit song.



L.A. Winefest Coming Soon!

The L.A. Winefest will be held for the 8th great year at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. The 2 day event takes place on June 8 & 9. Over 500 wines and spirits will be tasted. Food and craft items will be shown as well with many of LA's best food trucks serving their specialties. A portion of the proceeds goes to Make A Wish Foundation. To buy tickets go to If you want to exhibit, there may still be space, go to Trade members contact Michelle at


L.A. Restaurants Raise Price of Wine by the Glass

A report in the L.A. Times indicates that wine prices are increasing at restaurants. White table cloth restaurants wine prices increased by 5.4%, Casual Dining restaurants increased pricing by only 2%, and Family Dining restaurants increased the most at 8.4%.


Wine Back from the Deep

Mira Winery in St. Helena has experimented with a new aging process. Four cases of wine were submerged at an undisclosed location offshore from Charleston, South Carolina last February. They are scheduled to be retrieved at the end of May. The wine will be tasted and chemically tested to see if the water pressure, temperature, and gentle swaying caused by the ocean currents have made changes in the aging process. In the past wines from sunken ships have provided great drinking experiences. This may prove the accidental process can be duplicated. Jim “Bear” Dyke, Jr. of Charleston owns the winery.


French History Goes on the Auction Block

The French President's wine cellar is being auctioned as part of current austerity measures. 10% of the cellar, or about 1200 bottles of fine wine will be auctioned May 30 & 31. The proceeds are expected to be about $327,000. Socialist President Francois Hollande has put the country and its wine cellar on an austerity program. The wines to be sold were selected by the previous Presidents. The Burgundy and Haut-Marbuzet, a St Estephe, date from Francois Mitterand; Georges Pompidou the Chasse-Spleen; Valery Giscard d'Estaing fine Bordeaux from the Medoc; Jacques Chirac bought the Dom Perignon, although he publicly drank beer. The money will be used to purchase cheaper wine to be served at state occasions. These wines are just (very exclusive) drops in the bucket.

Vandals Hit NZ Winery

Moana Park Winery in the Hawkes Bay area of New Zealand lost $150,000 worth of 2013 Merlot to vandalism. The vandals pried open the valve to get a few gallons of wine. The pressure of thousands of gallons of wine opened the valve fully and dumped the entire contents on the ground. The wine was under contract with a Japanese supermarket chain. Now the wine is gone, the chain will need to find other wine, and the winery has lost the contract.


Vandals Hit French Winery

Katie Jones lost her entire 2012 vintage of white wine to vandals. She is a British winemaker that moved to Languedoc and has been making wine there for 20 years. While Katie was participating in a wine fair the vandals opened the valves and let the entire tank empty onto the ground. This is the third time vandals have struck recently. Similar vandalism has occurred in Italy and New Zealand.

EU Makes Croatia Change Wine

Croatia is joining the EU July 1, but its wine is not. The EU has ruled that Croatian Prosek's name is to close to Italian Prosecco and has to be renamed. The Croatians point out that Prosek is a dessert wine without bubbles and has been made for thousands of years. Likewise, Teran is a varietal red wine. But, the name belongs to Slovenia. Neither Italy or Slovenia are giving in. The wines will have to be renamed by July 1.





G.I. Joe: This Bud's for You

Budweiser is making a contribution to military families for every case of Bud and every mug served on draft from May 5 through July 4. The money goes to “Folds of Honor Foundation” and provides scholarships and other assistance to families for soldiers killed or disabled. The company is kicking off with a no-strings donation of $500,000 and adding up to $1 million reflecting sales, for a total potential of $1.5 million.





Bud Won't Buy Budvar

Frank Hellwig, Legal Director for A/B Inbev said in an interview that the company is no longer interested in buying competitor, Budvar. The company had previously expressed an interest in the purchase as way of settling the legal dispute over the name, Budweiser. The legal tangle is now in court in 7 countries and has gone on for 106 years.

Traditional Beer Sales Down

The beer industry has had a very difficult spring. Beer Marketer's Insight reports industry sales down 2.8% for the 4 weeks ending April 13. First quarter sales for most brands were a disaster. AB/Inbev -4.1%, MillerCoors -3.3%. Miller Lite -8.8%, Bud Light -6%, Budweiser -7.7%, Coors light -1.8%, new entry Bud Platinum has stalled and was off 36% in the 4 week period. The only major beer showing any increase was Corona.

Craft Beer Imported in Germany

U.S. Craft beers have been growing in interest and sales and now are making headway in Germany as “imported beer.” The craft beers have the distinction of qualifying under German purity laws. The big penetration is currently in supermarkets, where the U.S. imports with many styles and flavors are creating a sensation.

German Beer Sales Fall

Total German beer sales are the lowest in 20 years. According to the Federal Statistical Office 1st Quarter sales dropped to 1.99 Billion liters. The lowest since the method of measuring changed in 1993. According to the German Brewers Association annual per capita consumption has dropped from 151 liters in 1976 to 106 liters in 2012. The factors causing it were primarily said to be an aging population and the banning of beer drinking in the workplace.

Boston Strong Beer for Bomb Victims

Boston Beer has filed a trademark for “Boston Strong Marathon 26.2 Beer.” All the profits from this year's 26.2 Beer will be donated to the Greg Hill Foundation and given to victims of this year's bombing. All profits from the 2014 batch will be donated to Boston Marathon charities. In addition, Boston Beer owner, Jim Koch will license other beverage companies to use the Boston Strong brand on the condition that profits be donated to charity. Boston Beer's Sam Adams is the official beer of the Boston Marathon.

Cold Beer Labels Change Color

Rexam is promoting a new Thermochromic Ink for beer cans. The ink will be used to print a logo on can bottoms. It changes color when exposed to light or temperature changes. The color change will indicate when the can has reached the ideal temperature for drinking. The new ink' availability was announced by Marianne Freund, Rexam's Innovation and New Product Development Manager.

British MP's Want Cheap Beer

The British Parliament has bars in-house for the use of members. The price of a pint in the House of Commons is linked to the lowest prices in London. MP's have complained that even that is too high and the price should be lowered to match prices in the countryside.

Michelada is Popular in Mexico

A Michelada is a beer based summer drink popular in Mexico. It is usually made with beer, lime, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and tomato or Clamato juice. Recipes vary from bar to bar. A Doble Canala is a Michelada made with Clamato and an added shot of Vodka.





16 Things You Didn't Know About Beer

  1. The Study of Beer & Beer making is called Zythology.

  2. The oldest written recipes are for making beer. They are on stone tablets 5,000 years old.

  3. Beer spoiled on the trip from England to India. Brewers solved the problem by adding extra Hops and alcohol. They called it India Pale Ale (IPA).

  4. Women were the first professional brewers. They were called brewsters.

  5. The fear of an empty beer glass is called Cenosillicaphobia.

  6. There are more than 400 types of beer.

  7. Early man started agriculture because more grain was needed to make beer.

  8. The Bayerische Staatsbrauerie is the world's oldest operating brewery. It was started in 1040 near Munich.

  9. Beer contains vitamins and minerals. In the Middle Ages it was part of a healthy diet for men, women, and children.

  10. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that women who drank beer moderately had better cognitive function than non-drinkers.

  11. Researchers have found that beer drinking increases HDL cholesterol.

  12. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that beer drinking prevents kidney stones. One bottle per day reduces risk by 40%.

  13. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that beer helps keep strong bones. The high level of silicon allows the deposit of calcium and other minerals in bone tissue.

  14. King Hammurabi's code includes two of the oldest laws about beer. Men were entitled to a daily ration of beer according to their social status and women were to be punished for serving bad beer.

  15. People in the Czech Republic drink more beer per capita than any other country. China consumes the largest quantity of beer. The U.S. ranks 2nd in total consumption and 11th in per capita beer drinking.

  16. The first beer cans were introduced in 1935. There weren't enough people going to taverns and the breweries wanted to increase their market by making it easy to take beer home.


Is Hammer Head Scotch or Czech?

In 1976 there was heavy demand for Scotch in Czechoslovakia but the Communist country had no currency to buy it. The solution was to buy what was cheap and available, grain and genuine Scottish peat, and then make whisky. The task was harder than the Czechs thought. It took 11 years of experimentation to bring it to market. The new Hammer Head whisky was an immediate success in 1987. Then in 1989 there was a revolution, the distillery was privatized, and scotch was suddenly available. Lots of it. The Czech whiskey made from Scottish ingredients was taken off the market, sold for pennies on the Krona, and left to age in a cellar. In 2007 the company was sold to US hedge fund Oaktree Capital Management who found they had 250 barrels quietly aging in a cellar. They bottled some and started selling 10-15,000 bottles a year. In 2011 it won a Master's Award for a whisky from the Old World. The 20 plus year old Hammer Head whisky now sells for $59.

Lasers ID Fake Whisky

Three scientists at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, have developed a laser system for identifying fake or bootleg whisky. The device was revealed in an article in The Journal of Raman Spectrography. Fake whisky has become a problem in some Eastern European countries where bootleggers have sold methanol flavored to appear like the real thing. Methanol can blind or kill drinkers.

L'Absinthe by Edgar Degas


EU Fails to Set Absinthe Standard

The European Parliament has blocked a proposal to standardize the formula for Absinthe. The law would have required the liquor to contain minimum quantities of two ingredients. The first, Anethole, gives it a distinctive Anise flavor. The other ingredient, Thujone, is highly controversial. It is thought to have mind altering effects and was the reason Absinthe was outlawed through most of the 20th century. In the 19th century Absinthe was a favorite drink of Edgar Degas (his painting above), Oscar Wilde, Charles Beaudelaire, Edouard Manet, and Toulouse Lautrec. In the 19th century it was nicknamed “The Green Fairy.”







Sinatra Promotes Jack Daniels Again!

Brown Forman is releasing Sinatra Select, a new 90 proof version of Jack Daniels in limited release. The company attributes much of its success to Sinatra's love of the whiskey. In 1955 Jack Daniels sold 150,000 cases. Then Sinatra found it and called it “Nectar of the God's.” Often he drank it on stage. Sales Doubled. It was on allocation and hard to get, but the company assigned salesman, Angelo Lucchesi, to make sure Sinatra got all he wanted. By 2012 sales were just short of 11,000,000 cases. The new Sinatra Select will sell for $150 to $175, a bottle when you find it. The Sinatra family has approved the use of his name. Frank Sinatra was buried with a flask of Jack Daniels by his side.


Craft Distillers Multiply

Small business Craft Distillers are growing. There are now more than 500 in the U.S. Many are making a statement or adding a distinct touch to their products. Tuthilltown Spirits in New York's Hudson Valley uses only locally grown fruit to make vodka and locally grown grain for whiskey. Wood Creek Distillers in Colorado grows its own potatoes for vodka. Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh uses only locally grown heirloom rye. Tuthilltown has grown to a sizable small business. It has 18 employees, makes up to 700 gallons a day, and is distributed in the U.S. and Europe by Wm. Grant & Sons.



Kentucky Derby Mint Juleps

The 139thKentucky Derby took place on May 4. For the past 26 years the Early Times Mint Julep has been the official drink of the event. More than 120,000 of them are served over the 2 day Derby Weekend. It takes more than 60,000 lbs of ice, 10,000 lbs of fresh mint, and more than 10,000 bottles of Early Times Mint Julep to do it.

Maker's Mark Keeps Proof – Sets Record

Beam had announced, earlier this year, that it would be lowering the proof of Maker's Mark. There was a storm of protest and Beam backed down. In the meantime, consumers weren't taking chances on Beam's real intentions. First quarter sales jumped 44%.

Gluten Free Vodka

Blue Ice Vodka is the first Vodka to get label approval as being Gluten Free. Gluten is a protein found in wheat. Blue Ice is made from potatoes. Gluten has been getting a lot of attention lately from food manufacturers as consumers have accepted Gluten Free products as a new fad. Gluten is harmful to the 1/10 of 1% of the population that has Celiac disease and cannot digest it.



Brunch Garnishes

The Anvil Pub in Dallas, Texas has a brunch cocktail menu featuring drinks with breakfast garnishes. The Mimosa is topped with a cinnamon roll, the Bloody Mary with a bacon and cheddar slider, and the Screwdriver with a small cub sandwich and onion ring.



Other Food and Beverages



What Kind of Wine Do You Serve With Donuts?

Jonathan and Megan Pidgeon own Glazed Donuts, an upscale donut shop in Key West Florida. The shop is open 7 AM to 3 PM daily selling donuts and coffee beverages. But the store actually operates 24 hours making donuts that it wholesales. They already make Pina Colada and other cocktail flavored donuts. They are adding drink service including Mimosas and Bellinis to the menu.


Evian Commercial Gets Young

Evian Water has a new commercial that is guaranteed to help you with your 2nd childhood with their “Live Young” campaign. It is worth watching on YouTube at



Perrier Celebrates Andy Warhol

Perrier will release a special 30th anniversary limited edition Andy Warhol series of bottles in June. The bottles will have Andy Warhol quotes, inspirations, and designs that he created for Perrier in 1983.

U.S. Hotels Set Record

STR reports that U.S. hotels rented a record of 250 million room nights in the first quarter. Average price tag was $108.31 per room night. The gain was from individual rentals. Groups demand is still “stubbornly low.”


Why You May Want to Stay in a Hotel

22% of American women change their sheets monthly. 1% do it annually. 25% have thrown out dishes because there was too much gunk caked on to clean them.


Hispanic Population Grows

11% of the world's Hispanics live in the U.S. By 2023 the Spanish speaking population in the U.S. will be more than in Spain, Venezuela, or Argentina.

Sugar Prices Up & Down

U.S. sugar supplies will exceed demand this year. Processor prices have hit a 4 year low of 20 cents per pound. Meanwhile, consumer prices are peaking at 75 cents a pound.

Coffee Production Up & Down

The premium coffee crop in Central America is being ravaged by a fungus called “Roya.” The price of the premium beans will be much higher this year. Arabica Beans will be lower in price due to a bumper crop in Brazil. Look for plenty of coffee. It just won't taste as good.



Champagne Helps Memory

Scientists at the University of Reading have found that compounds in Champagne help to prevent memory loss from aging. Phenolic compounds which are found in greater quantities in champagne than white wine are effective against dementia and other aging of the brain. As little as 1 to 3 glasses a week are effective in protecting the functions of the hippocampus and cortex. The study was revealed by Dr. Jeremy Spencer of the university's Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences.

Coke and Physical Fitness

Stung by criticism about the possible relationship between soft drinks and obesity, Coca-Cola is launching a fitness program. It will also put calorie counts on the front of its packages. The program will be promoted in 200 countries. The company points out that 1/3 of its North American sales is in low or no calorie beverages. Coke is the world's largest beverage company.

Tasting Notes

At the Rioja Walk Around Trade Tasting we found several wines that rated from good to best buys.Two of the best: Folio Wines Palacio Remondo La Vendimia 2011. This red is 65% Grenacha, 35% Tempranillo, with a good nose, deep red color, clear, and very drinkable. A good buy at $15.99. Contact Tim Holl at or (714) 296-5225.


Grape Expectations showed Bodega Lan Crianza 2009. This is a 100% Tempranillo aged in French and American Oak, clean color medium body, good nose, clear and deep color, very drinkable. This wine rates a best buy at $10.99. Contact Alexandra Ivanich or (310) 428-1244.



At the Vino California Grand Tasting hundreds of fine Italian wines and spirits were shown. There were far too many to list them all, but here are a few of the best. Ascevi Luwa Pinot Grigio Friuli 2010. This is a white wine with lots of body and meat on it. It has a long finish. $16.99 Contact Quintessential Wines (707) 226-8300.


Ad Astra Maremma Toscana 2010 Super Tuscan was an excellent table wine that will pair well with beef. A blend of 30% Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Syrah. It has a light nose, deep color, with good balance. $17. Another wine with good balance was Alcesti Nero d'Avola ade from 100% Nero d'avola $13.99. Full body, mellow, a good food wine, aged 6 months in stainless and 6 months in French Oak. For both wines contact John Lewis or (415) 728-2096.


Batasiolo showed several top quality wines. Notable were Barolo 2008. A blend from 9 vineyards, very soft, good nose, it has from 5 to 15 good years ahead of it. A very good value at $49.99. Moscato Rose' made from moscato rosso and bianco canelli grapes. Nice bubbles, good pink color, rich and creamy. $17.99. Contact Stefano Poggi or (858) 405-3555.


Aldi Estate Imports had a new import, Grandi Cabana Borgo Crosaris Pinot Grigio 2011. It was light, dry, with a nice nose. A very pleasant wine, very pleasantly priced at $10.99. This is a best buy. Contact Domenico Aldi or (626) 345-9126.



5/27 Memorial Day

6/3 Vintage Port tasting -Beverly Hills

6/4 Vintage Port tasting -SFO

6/6 LaMancha Tasting -LA

6/7 Sonoma County Grower trade show & BBQ -Shone Farm

6/8-9 LA WineFest

6/11 Taste of Mendocino - SFO

6/12-13 Unified Grocers Expo- Long Beach

6/15 Howell Mountain Tasting – St. Helena

6/16 Fathers Day

6/23 Rhone Rangers tasting - LA

6/30 Pinot Days – SFO

7/4 Independence Day

7/9-10 Women for WineSense Tasting Competition - Sonoma

7/16 FPFC Southern Cal Expo – Anaheim




Rachel Maddow's Old Fashioned
Several drops Angostura Bitters

1 Sugar Cube

2 ½ oz. Rye

2 Ice Cubes

Lemon Twist


Muddle the Angostura and the sugar cube in an Old Fashioned glass. Add rye. Add ice cubes. Stir. Rub the lemon twist on the rim of the glass and drop it in. Serve.


New Legislation for 2013

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 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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