Beverage Bulletin November-December 2010

Demand is growing for extreme sensations and tangible experiences.


Taste thresholds continue to expand, particularly in the food and beverage category, where previously intense (sour, spicy, bitter) or exotic flavors have been adopted by the mainstream. U.S. spice company McCormick has reported a 70% increase in sales of its extra-hot chipotle pepper since its launch five years ago.


Even bartenders are mixing ginger and jalapeno in their cocktails. Expect to see more extreme tasteson mainstream menus, with more ordinary food products being given an extreme taste makeover.

Even bartenders are mixing ginger and jalapeno in their cocktails. Expect to see more extreme tastes on mainstream menus, with more ordinary food products being given an extreme taste makeover. Some argue that our growing thirst for extreme flavor is being driven be an aging population who are seeking taste sensations to pep up taste buds and olfactory nerves.

Meanwhile, a new generation of food artists such as the U.K.'s Bompas & Parr, makers of jellied desserts, are pushing boundaries with innovative food installations-cum-entertainment experiences specially designed to play to all five senses. Bompas & Parr's Complete History of Food, produced in July, took over an entire building and included flooded dining rooms, giant sugar sculptures and dinner in the belly of a dinosaur, topped off with cocktails by sponsor Courvoisier. Over the next few years, expect to see more examples of multisensory branding as companies find new ways to push boundaries and stimulate and connect with consumers.

State Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco has introduced a bill to clarify a provision enacted after Prohibition, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The state, since 2008, has interpreted the decades-old ban on "rectification" of distilled spirits to make house-infused drinks illegal.

Leno says his bill would explicitly let licensed establishments "engage in the artisanal practice of making small amounts of spirits flavored with fruits, vegetables and spices."

The senator said the state alcohol control agency endorsed the change after meeting with small-business owners in San Francisco.


Fiji Water Reverses Plans to Quit Fiji Islands
SUVA, Fiji—Fiji Water reopened its operations in the South Pacific nation of Fiji on Wednesday—just two days after closing its bottling plant and laying off 400 workers in a row over a major government tax increase. (Associated Press)

Consumer products maker Fortune Brands Inc. plans to split into three companies, keeping its liquor business led by Jim Beam bourbon while shedding the units that make Titleist golf balls, Moen faucets and Master Locks.

Fortune Brands said Wednesday it will focus on its spirits business, which generates annual revenue of $2.5 billion and also includes brands such as Canadian Club and Maker's Mark.

The home and security business, which also includes MasterBrand cabinets, will be spun off on a tax-free basis to shareholders. Fortune's golf business, Acushnet, based in Fairhaven, Mass., which makes Titleist golf equipment and FootJoy golf shoes and gloves, will be either spun off or sold.


WASHINGTON — A major Federal study released today reported that underage drinking rates among 8th, 10th and 12th graders are at their lowest levels since the study’s inception, according to the

California Beverage Retailers Association

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413


November-December 2010

Distilled Spirits Council.    

The 2010 Monitoring the Future Survey, jointly released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the University of Michigan, noted as a highlight of the survey that "f]or 12th graders 2010 marks the lowest level of alcohol use since the study's inception in 1975. For 8th and 10th graders it marks the lowest point since these grades were first included in the study in 1991. Since 1991, thirty-day prevalence rates have fallen by about half among 8th graders, by close to one third among 10th graders, and by nearly one quarter among 12th graders."

According to the study, the proportion of students reporting binge drinking at least once in the two weeks prior to the survey also fell in all three grades in 2010.  


LOS ANGELES - Moet & Chandon announced its 20th year as the official champagne of the Golden Globes.

To mark the occasion, Moet & Chandon will unveiled its limited-edition Gold Awards Season Moet & Chandon Imperial bottle at the Golden Globe nominations ceremony with a celebratory toast between Philip Berk, President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and Anne DiGiovanna, President of Moet & Chandon N.A.


At the 68th Golden Globes, Moet & Chandon will serve its flagship champagne, Moet Imperial. Over 1,000 Moet & Chandon Imperial minis and 500 magnum bottles will be served on both the red carpet and inside the ballroom, totaling over 9,000 glasses of Moet & Chandon Imperial enjoyed during one of Hollywood's biggest nights.



Sotheby's auctioned a 64 year old bottle of Macallan for $460,000. The whisky was in a one-of-a-kind Lalique crystal decanter. The proceeds will be used to bring fresh water sources and supplies to 30,000 people in Africa.


SYDNEY— Australian soldiers serving in Afghanistan are to get a free Christmas Day beer after the government backed down Friday from plans to charge them 5 Australian dollars (4.94 US dollars) a can. Veterans groups protested the Defence Department's plans to charge the soldiers three times more than the price of a brew at home. The department would have made a profit of 90 dollars for a box of two dozen cans. The president of the Returned Services League in Darwin, Peter Mansell, slammed the steep price as "bloody atrocious." He said in previous wars soldiers were given free beers at Christmas.


There is tremendous nationwide pressure on traditional middle-of-the-road grocery stores. This month a number of chains took a beating. Northeastern chain A&P filed bankruptcy. It took Waldbaum’s, The Food Emporium, Best Cellars, Super Fresh, Pathmark, and Food Basics chains down with it; 365 stores in all. Nationally, Albertsons showed a 6% decline in sales. Here in California Howes Markets closed in the South and Delanos and P&W closed in the North. These middle market grocers are losing out to specialty retailers like Whole Foods and Trader Joes as well as discounters Walmart, Target, and Costco.

Brown-Forman Corp., the maker of Jack Daniel's whiskey, is putting its wine business on the block, The Wall Street Journal reported online late Monday, citing unnamed sources. The company, based in Louisville, Ky., has reportedly hired Rothschild to run the auction process after its wine business - which includes brands such as Fetzer and Bonterra Vineyard - delivered sluggish sales for several years.

The deal could fetch a few hundred million dollars, according to the report. Brown-Forman and Rothschild declined to comment.