Beverage Bulletin October 2010

California Beverage Retailers Association

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413


October 2010


The US Dept of Labor Statistics has released the jobs figures for September 2010. 64,000 new jobs were created. The interesting news is that 35,000, more than half, were in the foodservice sector.


Walmart, the world’s largest retailer said it will focus on smaller-format stores in urban areas in 2011, with plans to open 185 to 205 new stores in the next fiscal year, compared with 153 stores in the current year, but with the same increase in square footage, 11 million, and similar capital expenditure, $7.5 billion to $8 billion.


Yuengling Beer of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania is purchasing a closed Memphis, Tennessee brewery from Coors. The brewery is now the 7th largest in the US and is distributed in 13 Eastern states. This will allow expansion into the Midwest. The 181 year old brand is solely owned by Dick Yuengling (pronounced Ying-Ling).


You can get drink and food matches quickly with the Drinks Matcher app from Nat Decants. Wine and cheese pairings are a Drinks Matcher specialty, with over 292 wines and 219 cheeses to select from. But the comprehensive app can also pair beer, spirits, cocktails, liquor, coffee or tea with more than 380,000 appetizers, main courses, and desserts. There are matches for difficult-to-pair Asian and Indian cuisines as well as burgers and chocolate. New combos are added daily by award-winning author Natalie MacLean from her Web site,


Wine Notes from Around the World


Bordeaux, France The wine industry in Bordeaux has a problem. The top growths are holding or increasing their price levels. A glut of low end wines are a drag on the market. The mid-range wines claim to be losing sales to other wine producing regions due to the reputation of these “basic wines.” Bordeaux association CIVB has announced plans to eliminate 26% of wine growers. Inspectors will not allow wines that do not meet quality standards to be labeled as “Bordeaux.” They will only be labeled as “French.” The goal is to make it unprofitable for these growers to operate. 12 million cases of wine each year would be affected. If the program works wine acreage would be decreased by 7% and these growers would might be forced to plant other crops.


Beijing, China An imitation French Chateau has been built just outside of Beijing. The chateau is surrounded by vineyards and an imitation French village. The project is intended as a tourist attraction , a production facility for fine wine, and a way of encouraging China's growing middle class to embrace wine drinking. Visitors can vacation here individually or in groups sent by their employers. They will be able to see the harvest, crush, and wine facilities in operation. It is known as Chateau Changyu AFIP Global Beijing. The Chinese government owns 70% and the other 30% is owned by American, French, Italian, and Portuguese investors (AFIP).

Shandong, China Chateau Lafite Rothschild is partnering with a local company to produce wines in China.


Napa and Sonoma, California California's top growing regions faced severe weather problems this year. May rainfall was twice the norm. July was the second coldest since 1960. Then a heat wave hit the vineyards in the second half of August. Temperatures were over 100 degrees for several days and peaked at 120 degrees in some areas. First grapes grew heavy with water, then growers had to fight fungus with chemical sprays, finally many grapes were lost as they were sunburned or even turned to raisins. The net result is that the size of this year's harvest is much smaller than recent years.


Washington D.C. A bill in the House of Representatives would stop interstate shipments of wine directly to consumers. At present the bill is stalled. However, it may be pushed after the November election leaves the House in a “lame duck” session. Opponents say it would be economically detrimental to wineries and bad for consumers by increasing prices and limiting availability. The bill is being pushed by wholesaler lobbyists and opposed by a coalition of winery and consumer associations.


Tasting Notes


This month we attended two tastings worth noting. The first tasting was “Celebrating Argentina 2010.” 65 wineries presented over 200 wines for tasting. There were many good and very good wines, a number of good values, and one “best value of the show.”


Among the good values Filus La Boca Torrontes 2010; a very dry red that is well balanced with a big nose $6.99. Available from Bronco Wines. Contact Damon Franzia at



Another good value was RPB Bodega Privada Malbec 2009 from American Beverage Group. This red had a full body, clean taste, and would go well with beef. Contact Brad Ish at

Also from American Beverage group was our pick for “best value of the show.” RPB's Uvita Plata Tinto 2009. This red blend has a pleasant taste, is well balanced, and will turn an ordinary dinner into a party. This one goes down very easily! Brad tells us it is on the way from Argentina. It has a suggested retail price of $4.00. Get on the list for this one. It will sell out fast when it lands in California.


The second tasting was Whiskey Live 2010. Over 200 whiskeys of various pedigrees and ages from the US, Europe, and Asia were shown. The array was vast! There were a great many fine offerings but no low priced bargains. One of our picks for a good value was Bulleit Bourbon. Tom Bulleit has made a fine sipping whiskey! It is dry and yet flavorful without the cloying sweetness of many bourbons. It is made from a blend of 68% Corn, 28% Rye, and 4% Malted Barley. At $25.99 This would make a fine gift.


Coming Industry Events

11/6-7 Health and Nutrition Show Long Beach

11/7 Daylight Saving Time Ends

11/11 Veteran's Day

11/11 Stars of Cabernet tasting Beverly Hills

11/25 Thanksgiving Day

12/1 Chanukah

12/25 Christmas

12/31 New Years Eve

1/6-7 2011Pacific Wine & Food Festival L.A.

1/18-24 2011 LA Gift Show



Our industry is more controlled by laws than most others. The State Legislature and the ABC give us license privileges and take them away. More than 100 new alcoholic beverage laws have been introduced, passed, and signed by the Governor this year. 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.