Beverage Bulletin September 2012

California Beverage Retailers Association

Beverage Bulletin

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 788-8120

Ron Ziff, Editor

September 2012

This month's stories include:

A Quote from W.C. Fields

Two Japanese Tastings

Wineries Being Sold

Ale to the Chief

Alcohol in Election History

Czechs Crack Down on Poisoned Alcohol

Pernod Ricard Names New CEO

French Grape Harvest Slim

Wine Sales Grow

Supreme Court Decision Change Restaurant Menus

Rare Cognac Sold for Record Price

Website Lists Wines and Prices

Zagat Lists Trend Setting California Restaurants

UK Brewing Industry Expands

Oktoberfest Faces Crisis

Didn't I see you somewhere?

Beer Sales Decline

Throwing You a Curve

Marketing Briefs

How to Beat a Hangover

White House Honey Porter Recipe

and as always Tasting Notes and the Industry Calendar



"A woman drove me to drink and I didn't even have the decency to thank her."
W. C. Fields

Two Japanese Tastings

This coming month there will be two great opportunities to sample the food and beverages from Japan.


On Saturday October 13 Mutual Trading will host the 24th Annual Japanese Food and Restaurant Expo. This is the largest showing of Asian foods in the U.S. It provides an opportunity to taste hundreds of brands of Sake, Beer, and Wine as well as many Japanese Foods. In the prior years the show grew to fill a showroom, two warehouses, parking lot, and closed off Crocker Street in Downtown Los Angeles. This year it has grown again and is moved to Pasadena. It is open only to industry professionals. The Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green Street, Pasadena 91101, Saturday October 13 9 AM to 4 PM. Register now online at If you are not a current customer for “Account rep” choose “no rep.”


The second opportunity is only two days later at “The Biggest Shochu Event” sponsored by JETRO (Japanese External Trade Organization). Shochu is a distilled spirit that can be made from a variety of grains, sugars, or starches. There is a seminar offered showing the history and production followed by a tasting with 31 manufacturers and over 100 beverages. It is open only to industry professionals. Monday October 15, 1PM to 4PM, Torrance Marriott South Bay, 3635 Fashion way, Torrance 90503. Register online by October 10 at


Wineries Being Sold


Chateau Gevrey Chambertin has been sold to Macau Casino executive Louis Ng. The Chinese investor reportedly paid 8 Million Euros for the property which includes 5 acres of Pinot Noir grapes and the 12th century chateau. Chinese have been buying Bordeaux vineyards as trophies and to satisfy the growing thirst for fine wines. This is the first purchase in Burgundy and one of the gems of Nuits St Georges. French sources complained that the Chinese paid more than double its value and “Our heritage is going out the window.” Previously the property was owned by the same family for 150 years.




Hollywood star Robin Williams has put his luxury home and vineyard up for sale. The 635 acre property is between Napa and Sonoma. Included is a 20,000 foot limestone villa called Villa Sorriso with spectacular views of the Mayacamas Mountains and 24 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. At harvest the grapes are sold to Mt. Veeder. The villa features five bedrooms, an oak paneled library, a home theater, spiral staircases with bronze railings, mahogany doors, climate controlled cellars for wine and fine art, a 65 foot swimming pool with a European stone deck. The exterior is finished in Portuguese limestone with stone carvings and copper gutters. If you are interested, the asking price is only $35 million. Contact Sotheby's Realty.




Ale to the Chief

As we approach the election, the White House gave in to the pressure of thousands of requests for the formula for White House Honey Porter and Honey Ale. White House Chef Sam Kass is the brewer. The equipment was paid for by President Obama. The recipe for White House Honey Porter is re-printed below. White House Honey Ale recipe is on the White House website. The recipe for White House Honey Blonde Ale remains “Top Secret.” The President has been growing his image as a man who likes a beer and is a friend of blue collar workers by passing out bottles of his honey ale on the campaign trail. At the Iowa State Fair he drank both Bud Light and Miller Lite and bought a round for drinkers who started chanting “Four More Years” which turned into “Four More Beers.”

Alcohol in Election History

In 1840 as Martin Van Buren ran for a second term, the conservatives nominated William Henry Harrison. A newspaper supporting Van Buren editorialized that Harrison was too old and would be happier in a log cabin with a barrel of hard cider. The conservatives latched onto the insult and made it a symbol of frontier honesty. They churned out thousands of campaign buttons featuring log cabins and barrels of hard cider. The truth was that Harrison lived in a 22 room mansion and was renowned for having one of the finest wine cellars in America. Harrison won, Van Buren lost.


Czechs Crack Down on Poisoned Alcohol

The Czech government continued its crackdown on methanol tainted alcohol. At this point more than 25 people have died or been seriously injured by the bootleg spirits. Police say there were 15,000 liters of the liquor produced. At this point only 10,000 have been tracked down and confiscated. Several suspects have been arrested. The methanol was diverted from the auto industry and mixed in the liquor on purpose. In the Czech Republic it is legal to sell bootleg alcohol. It is widely available at kiosks on many street corners.


Pernod Ricard Names New CEO

Pernod Ricard announced the appointment of Daniele Ricard as Chairwoman of the company replacing Patrick Ricard who died last month. For the year ended June 30 net profit is reported up 10% to 1.15 billion Euros.


French Grape Harvest Slim

Harvest is underway amid warnings that it could be the smallest in 20 years. French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll said production will average 17% less than last year. Champagne was particularly hard hit and will be down 30%. Frost, storms, a cool wet summer, and mildew are the causes.


Wine Sales Grow

According to the Beverage Information Group's 2012 Handbook wine consumption was up 3% in 2011. Total wine sales were $27.8 billion last year. On premise sales gained 2.8% to account for a 43.8% share. Sales for 2012 are predicted to be more than 317 million cases as the market continues to grow.


Supreme Court Decision Change Restaurant Menus

The Supreme Court decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has cleared the way for national requirements on menu labeling at chain restaurants. The requirements will include calories, fat content, and sodium levels. It remains to be seen if this will change consumer behavior and obesity.


Rare Cognac Sold for Record Price

An extremely rare half bottle of 1789 A.C. Meukow & Co Cognac has been sold for £19,000. The anonymous collector bought the bottle last week from The Old Liquors Collection owned by Dutch Cognac enthusiast Bay van der Bunt. Along with the 1789 Cognac, the collector also snapped up a 182-year-old Remy Martin Cognac from 1830 for £12,900 from the Dutchman’s cellar. Van der Bunt claims he has the world’s largest collection of old and rare liquors comprising over 5,000 bottles, which he keeps in a converted cow shed on the outskirts of the southern Dutch city of Breda. The collection is estimated to be worth £6 million. My father said: ‘You are out of your mind to collect liquor. Why don’t you invest in something worthwhile?’ I didn’t listen,” he said. Collecting Cognacs and old liquors is very time consuming and costs a fortune, but it has proven to be the best financial investment I have ever made,” he added.

Website Lists Wines and Prices

The Wine-Searcher search engine lists 5,400,892 wines and prices from 35,710 merchants around the world. The website is geared to making it easy to find wines at the best prices anywhere. The database is expanded and updated daily. Http://


Zagat Lists Trend Setting California Restaurants

According to Zagat these restaurants in Los Angeles changed the way we eat: Animal, Campanile, City Cafe, Father's Office, Kawafuku, Kogi, LudoBites, Matsuhisa, Michael's, Patina, Saint Estephe, Spago, and Valentino. These restaurants in the Bay Area changed the way we eat: Chez Pannisse, The French Laundry, The Slanted Door, Delfina, Gary Danko, Coi, Ubuntu, and Lung Shan Restaurant.


UK Brewing Industry Expands

There are now more than 1,000 breweries in the UK. According to CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) last year alone 158 new breweries opened. Meanwhile the recssion has closed an average of 12 pubs a week. There is now 1 brewery for every 50 pubs.



Oktoberfest Faces Crisis

The annual Munich Oktoberfest is faced with a shortage of bottles. A warm summer has caused a rise in consumption and consumers haven't been returning their bottles fast enough this year. Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr breweries have been running ads pleading with consumers to “bring back your crates and bottles.” Bottles are returned, washed, and refilled an average of 50 times.



Didn't I see you somewhere?

Does that aluminum beer can look familiar? It may. Aluminum cans start on the cooler shelf; go home; then to recycling. At the aluminum recycling plant it's melted down; pressed into sheet rolls; shipped back to the beer plant; made back into a can and filled with beer. The average round trip: 60 days.


Beer Sales Decline

According to the Beverage Information Group's Beer Handbook the industry sold 35.6 million fewer 2.25 gallon cases in 2011. Total sales were 2.787 billion cases down 1.3%. Light beer took the biggest hit. Light beer sales were down 39.2 million cases. Only Craft Beers showed an increase.



Throwing You a Curve



Researchers found that social drinkers finished a 12 oz glass of beer in 11 minutes out of a straight glass. While they took only 7 minutes to drink the same quantity from a curved glass. The conclusion was that the drinkers could better judge their consumption with a straight glass.


Marketing Briefs started collecting California sales tax on sales to addresses in the state as of September 15.


Liquor ads hit the airwaves. ABC, CBS, and NBC have relaxed their voluntary ban on liquor ads that has stood since the 1930's. The ads are confined to the hours after 11 PM.


Supermarket Shakeout Continues. Supervalu announced that will be closing 60 stores. 18 of those are Albertsons in Southern California that will be closed before year end. The company has lost $1 Billion in fiscal 2012. Sources tell us that the company has had a number of closed stores for sale for months with no takers. One store in Long Beach has been sold to Gelson's.


Nationwide supermarkets share of grocery sales has fallen from 66% to 50% in the last decade. In southern California the drop has been much more precipitous. In 2004 the four chains Vons (Safeway), Ralphs (Kroger), Albertsons (Supervalu), and State Brothers held a 60% share of the market. At the end of the first quarter of 2011 that fell to 35.9%.


Heineken will launch two new beers: Amstel Wheat and Tecate Michelada -- in the United States in October. The brewer is looking to improve its position in the U.S. market as European sales decline.


Greek economic crisis changes drinking habits. Greek GDP fell 7% in 2011. Meanwhile the VAT (Value Added Tax) on non-alcoholic beverages was raised from 13% to 23%. This has led to a huge consumer shift to lower priced private label beverages.


Washington State is having problems with privatization of liquor sales. The culprit is high taxes. State excise tax per gallon is $26.70, the nation's highest. In addition distributors pay 10 % tax and retailers pay 17% tax. Distributors may end up paying more when taxes are raised if they don't total $150 million by next April. The net result has been sticker shock for consumers. The State Department of Revenue says prices are 17% higher and sales are down by 9%. Meanwhile consumers are driving to Oregon, Idaho, and Canada to stock their bars.


How to Beat a Hangover

According to the Mayo Clinic, a hangover is the body's reaction to alcohol. Alcohol causes blood vessels to expand which causes a headache. More urine is produced dehydrating the body. You get sleepy, but can't sleep well leaving you groggy.


They make these suggestions:

  1. Eat before drinking.

  2. Hydrate with other fluids as you drink.

  3. Medicate. Take vitamins before drinking.

  4. Eat again when you get up in the morning.



White House Honey Porter Recipe


¾ lb cracked Munich Malt

1 lb cracked crystal 20 malt

6 oz cracked black malt

3 oz cracked chocolate malt


2 (3.3 lb) cans light unhopped malt extract

1 lb White House Honey


10 HBUs bittering hops

½ oz Hallertaur Aroma Hops

1 pkg Nottingham dry yeast

¾ cup corn sugar for bottling



  1. In a 6 Qt pot, add grains to 2.25 Qts of 168º water. Mix well to bring temp down to 155º. Steep on stove top at 155º for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 2 gallons of water to 165º in a 12 Qt pot. Place strainer over, then pour and spoon all the grains and liquid in. Rinse with 2 gallons of 165º water. Let liquid drain through. Discard the grains and bring the liquid to a boil. Set aside.

  2. Add the 2 cans of malt extract and honey into the pot. Stir well.

  3. Boil for an hour. Add half of the bittering hops at the 15 minute mark, the other half at 30 minute mark, then the aroma hops at the 60 minute mark.

  4. Set aside and let stand for 15 minutes

  5. Place 2 gallons of chilled water into the fermenter and add the hot wort into it. Top with more water to total 5 gallons if necessary. Place into an ice bath to cool down to 70-80º.

  6. Activate dry yeast in 1 cup of sterilized water at 75-90º for 15 minutes. Pitch yeast into the fermenter. Fill airlock halfway with water. Ferment at room temp (64-68º) for 3-4 days.

  7. Siphon over to a secondary glass fermenter for another 4-7 days.

  8. To bottle, make a priming syrup on the stove with 1 cup sterile water and ¾ cup priming sugar, bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into an empty bottling bucket. Siphon the beer from the fermenter over it. Distribute priming sugar evenly. Siphon into bottles and cap. Let sit for 1-2 weeks at 75º.


Tasting Notes

The California Wines Road Trip Tasting featured a select few wines from several counties. Too many to write about. But we did find some good buys! Cedar Mountain Livermore Sauvignon Blanc 2009 was very dry with a true Sauvignon Blanc taste and nose. A great summer wine at $14 retail. Contact Earl and Linda Ault at (925) 373-6636.

St Amant Barbera 2010 Lodi The full body and distinctive tasets of Barbera grapes with a deep ruby color. Will look beautiful in your glass, delight the nose and complement a rare steak $18. Contact Barbara Spencer (209) 367-0646.


Tangent Winery Albarino 2011. A clean white wine. It's semi-dry bright and sprightly. A good wine with food $18. Contact John Niven or Michael Blaney at salesmarketing@nivenfamilywines (805) 597-8200


At the Tasting Panel Tour in Los Angeles the wines shown were all Double Gold Winners from the San Francisco International Wine Competition. The wines ranged from excellent to great. But, we did find a favorite that is a best buy! La Merika Pinot Noir Central Coast 2010 at $15. This wine had a good nose, light body, deep ruby color, and a full Pinot Noir taste. Contact (888) 599-4637.


Industry Calendar

10/13 Mutual Trading Japanese Restaurant Show-Pasadena

(register online @

10/15 Biggest Shochu Event register online

10/24 Tasting Argentina – Beverly Hills

10/25 Tasting Argentina – Orange County

10/26-28 PMA-Anaheim

11/4 Daylight Saving ends

11/11 Veterans Day

11/11 Pinot Days - LA

New Legislation for 2012

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. 2012 has several new laws that you must follow. New alcoholic beverage laws are being introduced that will be effective in 2013. 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 Association of Licensees. We're #1!


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