Beverage Bulletin September 2014

California Beverage Retailers Association

Beverage Bulletin

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 788-8120

Ron Ziff, Editor

September 2014

This Month's Stories Include:

Editorial: Huffington Blew It!


Headline News Stories - Napa Earthquake Shakes the Wine Industry, Baroness Rothschild Passes, Battle to Buy Treasury Wine Continues, Coke and Monster Beverage Combine Forces, Drought Update, Scottish Independence Looms


Celebrities in the Industry – Jay Z, Kenny Chesney


Popular Culture

Books - Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World's Best Kept Secret By Talia Baiocchi, Whiskey Distilled by Heather Greene, The Brewer's Tale: A History of the World According to Beer by William Bostwick, WineWise by Stephen Kolpan, Brian Smith, and Michael Weiss, Proof: The Science of Booze by Adam Rogers

Movie - The Hundred Foot Journey

Liquid Popular Culture - John Lennon Imagine Whisky, Hobbit Beer, Game of Thrones wines

Tennis Anyone?


Wine - No Grapes in New AVA, King Richard III Was a Wine Lover, Napa Wineries Fail Audit, How Old Are You?, Kurniawan Sentenced, Need to check on a wine label?, Argentine Malbec Falls Victim to Inflation


Beer - Craft Beer Keeps Growing, Craft Beer's Second Oldest Profession, German Beer Decline on Hold, World Record Beer at World Cup, Ballantine Ale is Back, Beer on Campus, Record Apple Crop, Hoppy Makes a Comeback


Spirits - Diageo Loses Explorer Rights, Diageo Duty Free Vodka, Jack Daniels Double-Barreled Whiskey, Layoffs at Pernod Ricard, 200 Year Old Vodka, 2014 International Wine and Spirits Competition Winners, Oddball Uses for Vodka


Other Foods and Beverages - Now You Don't Have to Dine Alone, Eataly Coming to Century City, P&G Slimming Down, No More School Cake Sales, Voters Sue Berkeley to Take Soda Tax Off the Ballot, What Happens When a GMO Doesn't Work?, Dollar Stores Merger


The Changing Market - All American Breakfast Changes, Potato Sales Down, Walmart Supercenters Stall, McDonald's Aging Customers


Health - Survey of Soda Drinkers, Red Wine Protects Against Human Norovirus


and as always Tasting Notes and the Industry Calendar


The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass.” - Mark Ruffalo, actor. Quoted in Style Magazine, November 2008.


Editorial: Huffington Blew It!

An article appeared in Huffington Post this past month that was very uncomplimentary to Fred Franzia and Charles Shaw Wines. I won't retell the story here. It was pure junk and Huffington has since retracted it. They say the mistake was posting it without checking. That's not exactly good journalism. I will say that I have known Fred Franzia and his family for nearly 50 years. Fred is one of the most honest and conscientious people in this great industry. He makes a range of very good wines at honest prices that people can afford. What Huffington should do is run a feature on the Bronco Wine Company that he and his brothers have built from scratch. They have worked hard and deserve a lot of accolades and respect. In this industry we are all better off for the work of Fred Franzia.


Headline News Stories


Napa Earthquake Shakes the Wine Industry

The city of Napa was hit by an earthquake that measured 6.0 on the Richter Scale at 3:20 AM Sunday August 24. Governor Brown declared a state of emergency in the area. There were reports of damage at several wineries and historic buildings in the area. 172 people were treated for injuries at Queen of the Valley Hospital. The most seriously hurt had broken bones, heart attacks, and various injuries related to the earthquake. Some wineries were already harvesting and others were set to start the following day. Harvesting equipment was overturned and thrown about. Wine barrels were overturned, most were still empty. Some wineries reported losses of wine already bottled. Mt Veeder Winery reported a loss of about 2,000 cases of wine that retails for $60 a bottle. Local hotels were filled with out of town tourists that came for wine tasting. Instead they experienced their first earthquake. Many panicked as hotel employees led them through darkened hallways during the night. They waited outdoors until the buildings were checked for safety at dawn.


The quake was centered 6 miles southwest of Napa at American Canyon, the location of complexes of wine warehouses. What could have been a disaster there, turned out to be minimal. Biagi Brothers, which warehouses 3.5 million cases of wine, only reported 1100 cases damaged. Safe Harbor Wine Storage reported only a few bottles lost. Mumm Napa reported 3 glasses broken in the tasting room. The Trefethen winery building, which dates to 1886, is leaning and may collapse. The owners are waiting a structural engineer's report to find out if it can be saved. As we went to press, it was still unclear how much damage was sustained in the Southern end of the valley. That is where a lot of storage facilities are located and many small wineries share crushing and bottling.

Baroness Rothschild Passes

The Baroness Phillipine de Rothschild died August 22. She was 80 years old. She survived the holocaust, acted in a movies for 30 years, married twice, had three children, and took over managing the family wine business in 1988. She built Mouton Cadet into a powerful brand and continued her father's work collaborating on Opus One with Robert Mondavi and Almaviva with Concha y Toro. In 2007 she was inducted to the French Legion of Honor. Sons Phillipe and Julien are active in running the company.

Battle to Buy Treasury Wine Continues

Treasury Wine Estates is the subject of what has become a bidding war. There are active bids from KKR and an anonymous bidder, both at about $3.2 billion. Now the Australian Financial Review reports that Washington DC based Carlyle Group will be placing a bid shortly. An anonymous bid is suspected to be from Texas based TPG Group. If the rumors are true, there would be a different kind of legal problem. Just last February, TPG closed a purchase of Encino based Gelsons Markets for $394 million. If TPG were to buy Treasury it would violate the California Tied House laws. Treasury is laying off about 100 employees in middle management mostly in the U.S. and Australia. The company is also shopping for California wineries to buy. Treasury has postponed its annual meeting so shareholders will be able to vote on the buyout offers at the meeting. Treasury lost just over $100 million the year ending June 30 compared with a $47 million profit for the year ending June 30, 2013.

Coke and Monster Beverage Combine Forces

Coca Cola is paying $2.15 billion for a 16.7% stake in Monster Beverage. Coke will get 2 seats on Monster's board and the right to buy up to a 25% share within 5 years. Coke will transfer its energy drinks, Full Throttle and Burn to Monster. Monster will transfer Hansen's Natural Sodas and Peace Tea to Coke. Coke will distribute Monster globally and not distribute other brands. Monster will end its distribution agreement with AB/Inbev. The deal gives Coke a stake in one of the fastest growing beverage segments, while its own business is flat. It gives Monster entry into new markets including Russia and China and the opportunity to increase share in growing markets like Brazil.

Drought Update

Drought weary California is looking toward an uncertain rainy season, the summer is coming to an end, and finger pointing has started. The University of California has completed a study and found that the State Water Resources Control Board has allocated five times the surface water that exists. Ted Grantham of UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences says the time is ripe for a systematic overhaul of water policies and allocations. Grantham did the study with UC Merced professor Joshua Viers. They found that allocations exceeded actual supplies by 300 million acre feet. That's enough to fill Lake Tahoe 2 1/2 times; but we don't have it. Total allocations are 370 million acre feet. Yet there is only 70 million acre feet available in a good rain year. Complicating the issue is inaccurate reporting of usage, applications that wait years for approval, and users that are allowed to take water while they are waiting on an application or set aside some for later use. This year some allocations have been temporarily canceled to protect some fish species.


The California Department of Water Resources and the US Bureau of Reclamation are asking the Control Board to investigate if farmers in the Delta are taking water that has been released from upstream dams that was meant for other areas . Meanwhile the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance has filed a complaint against the two agencies saying they have diverted water that should be flowing through other areas. Normally the complicated system of rivers and the Delta handle half the fresh water runoff in the state. The area is as big as Rhode Island and tracking allocations through the Delta is impossible. Now the accusations flow instead of water. If the State Water Resources Control Board requests an accounting from any of the users, they will have a legal obligation to report numbers in 5 days.


The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation started releasing extra water into the Klamath River in Northern California during the last week of August. The extra water is intended to help the Chinook Salmon that have started entering the river earlier than normal. The Bureau hopes to avoid a repeat of the 2002 season, when a lack of water resulted in the death of thousands of the fish. The release will continue for about 3 weeks until mid-September.


Governor Brown has placed a $6 billion bond issue on the November ballot. The Governor has also proposed 2 huge pipes to carry water from the Delta to Southern California. At the end of August the EPA weighed in and said the pipe plan would violate federal regulations by increasing salinity in the Delta and endangering fish species.


A funny thing happened during the drought – it rained. From August 3 to 6 light to heavy showers fell. The problem is that it fell in the wrong areas. There was flooding in San Bernardino County. Yet there were no dams to hold the water and the runoff happened too fast for the water to percolate into ground supplies. Some water experts are starting to talk about the possibility of a 35 year drought.


The Farmers Almanac has predicted near normal rainfall in California for this winter. The Almanac makes its predictions based on a secret formula that takes into account sun spots, the position of the planets, and phases of the moon. Scientists scoff at the system. Yet it is often near spot on. It has been published annually since 1818.


Napa Valley inventor, Jeff Ciudaj, is introducing a new irrigation system that uses half the water of drip irrigation. Called “Deep Root Irrigation” or “DRI” the system uses emitters that put the water directly into the root zone instead of dripping it onto the surface where it can evaporate of be used by weeds competing for moisture. The emitters replace existing emitters on the same piping.


Scottish Independence Looms

As we went to press, a poll was released showing that Scottish voters may favor independence from the UK. Several polls had a “No” vote slightly ahead and YouGov showed “Yes” 47%, “No” 45%. At this point it's too close to call.


Celebrities in the Industry

Jay Z works with Bacardi distributing and selling D'usse Cognac (pronounced “dew-say”). It's being promoted as “a bold new expression of Cognac designed to dare Cognac drinker's palates like never before.” D'usse sells for about $45 a bottle. Jay Z reportedly is worth about $520 million.

Kenny Chesney is touring the country promoting his Blue Chair Barbados Rum. The rum is available in Barbados White, Coconut flavored, Banana flavored, and Coconut Spiced.

Popular Culture


Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World's Best Kept Secret By Talia Baiocchi, Ten Speed Press, 272 pages, $24.99. Includes a tour of Jerez and the Spanish Sherry Triangle; tasting notes from producers large and small; and a comprehensive collection of Sherry cocktail recipes. Will be released in October.


Whiskey Distilled by Heather Greene, Viking, $27.00. Ms Greene is the Director of the Whiskey School at the Flatiron Room in Manhattan. Here she gives a complete course for those that can't get to New York for the class. Gives instruction on tasting, what to be looking for, and what to appreciate. Covers the differences between blends, straights, single malts, and other styles of whiskey making. Helps you find what you like and finishes the course with a collection of traditional and new recipes. Out in November.


The Brewer's Tale: A History of the World According to Beer by William Bostwick, 304 pages, $26.95, Norton. Author and beer critic takes you through 12,000 years of history from ancient Sumeria and Egypt to today; and around the world from San Francisco to Belgium. This is a narrative loaded with facts and tales. Bostwick discusses IPA's and Lambics and attempts to duplicate them in his home kitchen, with a commentary on the results. Look for it in October.

WineWise by Stephen Kolpan, Brian Smith, and Michael Weiss was published in 2008. 384 pages, John Wiley & Sons. Now available free online to be borrowed through your local library, the State of California, or Wine Wise is a book for consumers who have an interest in wine but do not have confidence in their ability to select the “proper” bottle. It will give them a basic introduction to wine: how to select different varieties and identify the flavors, how to read wine labels, and how to identify grapes from wine-growing regions all over the world. The interior features detailed maps, examples of wine labels, and hundreds of four-color photos. Chapters include Enjoying Wine, White Grapes, Red Grapes, Living with Wine, Wine and Food, and Wine in Restaurants, as well as chapters on wine-growing regions from France, Italy, and Germany to California and New York State to South America, Australia, Spain, and Portugal. Open Library helps you find this and other books online; in your local library; or when it isn't in either, links you with WorldCat to find it somewhere. 250,000 books are available at


Proof: The Science of Booze by Adam Rogers, Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt; 272 pages $26. The book is a compendium of the history and many scientific idiosyncrasies of alcoholic beverages. It even talks about a fungus that lives on the fumes of alcohol.


The Hundred Foot Journey stars Helen Mirren who runs a Michelin rated French restaurant. A family run Indian eatery opens across the street. Complications ensue and the owners clash. Somehow they come together and create a new cuisine worthy of the silver screen. The plot sounds mouth-watering.


Liquid Popular Culture

John Lennon

Winston, Elizabeth, and Windsor have announced a special limited edition bottling of 40 bottles of 40 year old Whisky in remembrance of John Lennon's death to be released on the 40th anniversary, December 8, 2020. The bottles will be numbered and labeled “Imagine” Whisky, most to be sold at auction with the proceeds to go to charity. Bottle #40 will be sent to New York and presented to Yoko Ono.


Fish Brewing, Ocean Brands, and Bevlink will be producing a line of beers made to match the Hobbit characters: Gollum (Smeagol), the Dragon Smaug, and Orc Chief Bolg. The beers will be Precious Imperial Pilsner, Smaug Stout with habanero peppers, and Bolg Belgian style Tripel. A new Hobbit movie, “The Battle of the Five Armies”, will be released December 17.


Australian company, Common Ventures, will be producing a line of 12 wines based on the TV show, Game of Thrones. The wines are named Tyrell, Lannister, Stark, Greyjoy, Arryn, Martell, Baratheon, Targaryen, Wildlings, White Walkers, Night's Watch, and Dothraki. The bottles contain red and white varietal wines and will be line priced at $20.


Tennis Anyone?

Did you watch the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament from home? Then you missed the drinks! Cocktails at the bar in the Billie Jean King Tennis Center were $12. At the Moet Chandon Terrace you could buy Moet Chandon Ice Imperial on the rocks with a choice of garnishes in a souvenir glass for $30. At the Grey Goose Bar you could get the signature drink of the tournament; a Honey Deuce. It's made with Grey Goose Vodka, Raspberry Liqueur, Lemonade, and Honeydew Melon Balls; only $15. Heineken introduced Strongbow Gold Apple Hard Cider for the first time at several locations; $9. The Mojito Restaurant and Bar served Classic Bacardi Mojitos for $12 along with Cuban Sandwiches.


No Grapes in New AVA

Malibu Coast AVA was recently designated as a wine growing area. Now the California Coastal Commission is putting a stop to new vineyards. The Commission ruling would stop all new agricultural activity in the area. The reasons given are potential pollution of local streams and excessive use of water when the state is already short of the resource. The Los Angeles County Supervisors weighed in on the situation by adopting a land use plan for the Santa Monica Mountains including Malibu. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky showed a photo of a vineyard in the affected area. He said “These are among the most beautiful mountains anywhere...Nobody's ripping out anyone's vineyards. But we don't want the chapparal and the canyons and the ridgelines to be replaced with this.”

Napa Wineries Fail Audit

The Napa County Planning Commission does an annual audit of a random 20 of the county's 400 wineries. The results of the 2013 audit were released last month. 8 of the 20 wineries exceeded the limits of their permits. Some wineries produced more wine than they were allowed. Others had more events than allowed and some had too many visitors. One winery was permitted 400 visitors a week, but actually hosted an average of 1400.


King Richard III Was a Wine Lover

King Richard III's bones were found recently under a Leicester, England parking lot. He was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. His whereabouts were unknown until a few months ago. Now it turns out that the king drank wine; a lot of it. Angela Lamb, a geochemist at the University of Leicester, analyzed samples of his femur, ribs, and teeth. She found that he had a very rich diet. He ate swans, herons, and egrets as well as fresh water fish like pike. He washed it all down with 3 liters of wine a day; a boon for the 15th century wine industry. Dr. Lamb noted that wine drinking was probably a necessity for the king because the water wasn't safe.

How Old Are You?

If you're planning a trip to Australia's wine country, be sure to stop at Seppeltsfield Winery in the Barossa Valley. For about $50 USD you can get into the Barrel Room and drink Tawny Port from the year of your birth. The offer is good for anyone born since 1878.

Kurniawan Sentenced

Rudy Kurniawan has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for counterfeiting and selling fine wines, fined $20 million, and ordered to pay $28 million in restitution to his victims. Following his prison time, he will be deported to Indonesia. He has been living illegally in the U.S.

Need to check on a wine label?

Ship Compliant LabelVision is a database of 1.5 million labels going back over 20 years. Access it at

Argentine Malbec Falls Victim to Inflation

The Argentine government may default on its debts and the country is experiencing a 40% inflation rate. Argentina is the 5th largest wine producing country but this year many popular and inexpensive Malbec wines from the Uco Valley will not be picked, vinted, and bottled. Production costs have gone up more than 100% this year. Those beautiful, full-bodied wines, that sold for $9 to $12 will not cover costs any more. The wine industry has been hit the hardest by the country's financial problems. Grape picking is too labor intensive and costly. Malbec under $20 is probably a thing of the past.



Craft Beer Keeps Growing

Craft Beer production across the U.S. continued to run up the numbers. The first two quarters of 2014 are up 18% over the same period in 2013. Meanwhile the beer market as a whole was down .1% as Craft Beers continued to cannibalize the market share of the national brands.

Craft Beer's Second Oldest Profession

A new profession has started in the Craft Beer segment: Beer Canner. Craft brewers want to package their beer in cans instead of bottles if possible. As the Craft Beer boom started bottles represented class, quality, and a step back to times remembered. As the segment grows, many small brewers need to ship their product to bars, restaurants, and stores. Shipping costs average $3 a case for bottles and $2 a case for cans. The cans weigh much less and also take up a lot less space on a truck. But, a canning set up is too expensive for most small brewers. The answer is mobile canners. For about $200,000 a traveling canning operation can be installed in a trailer to be hauled by a pickup truck. The trailer is booked by appointment and will spend 5 to 10 hours a day at one brewery and move on to another the next day.

German Beer Decline on Hold

Beer sales in Germany have been on a down trend for several years. But, sales made a comeback in June. The country consumed 256 million gallons of suds that month. The most for the month of June since 2010. The reason: Germany's team was playing and winning World Cup soccer matches in Brazil.

World Record Beer at World Cup

AB/Inbev had a good run at the World Cup. Brazil is the company's #2 market. Second quarter sales were up 7.2% in Brazil and 5% worldwide. For the final game 24.7 million watched Budweiser ads on TV. Sales were flat in the U.S., AB/Inbev's #1 market and were down 27% in the Ukraine, where the war and uncertainty are weighing on consumers.

Beer on Campus

Colleges that are not in the top tier football conferences are looking to add income and relieve cash flow problems. The answer seems to be selling beer in on-campus football stadiums. Twenty one colleges including North Texas and SMU are looking to bring tailgating parties into the stands this football season.

Record Apple Crop

The 2013 Michigan apple crop was the biggest in history at 30 million bushels. This year's crop looks to be nearly as big, between 28 and 29 million bushels. A big crop this year will help fuel the growing hard cider industry.

Ballantine Ale is Back

Pabst Brewing will be bringing back Ballantine Ale with its original label that dates back to the brew's origin in 1878. The company hopes to capitalize on the trends that are sweeping small batch and craft beers back into popularity. Initially, distribution will be limited to the East Coast.


Hoppy Makes a Comeback

Hoppy is making a huge comeback in Japan and is starting to spread to the U.S. The beverage is a much weaker, cheaper cousin of beer. Hoppy is made from Malt, Barley, and Water and is nearly non-alcoholic at .8%ABV. Hoppy was first brewed following WWII when beer was too expensive. It satisfies a craving for beer without a buzz. For most that isn't quite enough. They start the glass with a shot of ice cold 50 proof Shochu and fill the glass with Hoppy.



Diageo Loses Explorer Rights

Diageo has lost the right to use the Johnnie Walker Explorers name. Diageo has been using the name on several scotches sold in duty free stores where Diageo does its most profitable business. The New York Supreme Court has issued a permanent injunction after a 16 month legal battle with The Explorers Club. New York General Business Law 135 prevents the unauthorized use of a non-profit's name for financial gain. A judge ruled that Diageo's sales were over $50 million in duty free stores. There 1 out of every 10 bottles sold is Johnnie Walker Explorers Club. The club contended that it had built a reputation over a period of a century and was not going to share it with Johnnie Walker. The club was founded to promote exploration and scientific research. Members of the Explorers Club have included Theodore Roosevelt, John Glenn, Jim Fowler, Walter Cronkite, Prince Phillip, Robert Peary, Roald Amundsen, Sir Edmund Hillary, Tenzing Norgay, Thor Heyerdahl, Mary Leakey, Jane Goodall, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.

Diageo Duty Free Vodka

Diageo is introducing Smirnoff White in Duty Free stores. The vodka is freeze filtered as a final step in the production process. The filtration takes place at -6°C. The company claims this makes an exceptionally smooth vodka.

Jack Daniels Double-Barreled Whiskey

Brown Forman will be selling Jack Daniels Gold #27 throughout Asia. The whiskey is double-barreled. It's aged first in American White Oak barrels. Then aged a second time in Maple barrels. The process double mellows and gives the whiskey a rich amber hue. The final product is slightly sweet with hints of oak and maple bouquet.

Layoffs at Pernod Ricard

Pernod Ricard will be laying off 900 or 5% of its global workforce. The company had a 13% decline in profits this year. Most of the pressure was in China, where the austerity program has limited extravagant gifts among government officials. Martell is among the company's brands hardest hit in China.

200 Year Old Vodka

A 200 year old bottle of alcohol has been found on a shipwreck in Gdansk Bay off the shore of Poland. The 1 liter bottle is ceramic and was originally used for mineral water, later refilled with alcohol and resealed. The scientists that analyzed it said it was Vodka or Genever Gin at 14% ABV or about 28 proof. They said it was still drinkable and wouldn't poison anyone but “did not smell particularly good.”


2014 International Wine and Spirits Competition Awards

These are the Winners:


Blanton's Gold Edition

Blanton's Straight from the Barrel

Eagle Rare Single Barrel Kentucky Straight

Benchmark Old No. 8 Kentucky Straight

Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Kentucky Straight

Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight

Col. E.H. Taylor Jr. Small Batch Kentucky Straight

Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight 17YO



Deanston Single Malt 12YO

Chivas Regal Deluxe Blend 18YO

Windsor XR Blended

Old Particular Craigellachie Speyside Single malt 17YO

Black Bull 40 Blended

Waitrose Blended 8YO

Balblair Highland Single Malt Vintage 1983

Laphroaig An Cuon Mor Single Malt

Queen Margot Blended 8YO

Matisse 21 YO Blended



Three Ships Premium 5 YO (South Africa)

Kavalan Vinho Barrique Cask Strength Single Malt (Taiwan)

Mackmyra Moment Glod Single Malt (Sweden)

Braunstein Library Collection Cask Edition No. 4 (Denmark)

Bain's Cape Mountain 5 YO (South Africa)

Three Ships Single Malt 10 YO (South Africa)

Santis Malt Swiss Highlander Edition Alpstein Single Malt 6 YO (Switzerland)

Seven Stars No. 1 Dubhe Single Malt (Sweden)

Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon Cask Strength Single Malt (116.4 proof) (Taiwan)

Chapter 11 Single Malt (92 proof) (England)



El Tesoro Reposado (11 months)

Herradura Seleccion Suprema Extra Anejo (49 months)

El Tesoro Anejo (24-36 months)

Sierra Milenario Blanco (Triple distilled)

Hornitos Plata Blanco

El Tesoro 70th Aniversario Extra Anejo (7 years)

Espolon Blanco (slow distilled)

Olmeca Altos Plata (bottled straight off the still)

Olmeca Altos Reposado (6-8 months)

Aqua Riva Reposado (6 months)



Rhum Agricole Vieux Niesson (Martinique)

Angostura Gran Anejo 7 YO (Trinidad & Tobago)

Angostura Single Barrel Reserve (Trinidad & Tobago)

Royal Oak Trinidad Rum

Rum Company Old Guadeloupe Calvados Finish

El Dorado 12 Year Old (Demerara)

Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros (Cuba)

Inner Circle Rum Green Dot (Fiji)

Appleton Estate Reserve (Jamaica)

Appleton Estate 21 YO (Jamaica)



Yamskaya (Russia)

Vikingfjord (Norway)

ID Black Onyx (Egypt)

Wheatley (U.S.)

Viru Valge (Estonia)

Firestarter (Moldova)

Morrison's Imperial 5 Times Distilled (England)

Svedka (Sweden)

Tovarich! Premium (Russia)

Adnams Longshore (England)


Oddball Uses for Vodka

If your vodka didn't win a gold medal in the international competition, there are other uses for it 1) Keep flowers from drying too quickly by adding a few drops of vodka to the water. The liquor makes flowers age more slowly. 2) Rinse your razor in vodka. It prevents rusting and sterilizes and cleans the blade. 3) Using vodka as a facial toner can reduce acne and pore size. 4) To make a flexible ice pack, add equal parts water and vodka. Seal and freeze.


Other Foods and Beverages


Now You Don't Have to Dine Alone

AB 1965 by California Assembly Member Yamada has been signed into law by Governor Brown. It allows dogs to eat alongside people in outdoor restaurants and patios. It is still up to the individual restaurant if they want to go to the dogs, and local governments can still regulate the practice. Soon you may see a menu, a kids menu, and a doggie menu.

Eataly Coming to Century City

Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich are planning on opening a combined market and food court called Eataly in Century City in 2017. It will be part of a $700 million makeover of the shopping center by Westfield.

P&G Slimming Down

Proctor and Gamble will sell more than 100 brands in order to make the company more efficient and profitable and more focused on its core business. The company has about 180 brands with an annual volume of $83 billion. 70 of the brands account for 90% of the volume and 95% of the company's profit. Since the recession started in 2008, P&G has concentrated on developing luxury brands while consumers have economized. Like many big companies, it has taken P&G 7 years to turn around on a dime. One of the brands that may be on the auction block is Ivory. The brand was P&G's first and has been the bedrock of the company for 135 years.

No More School Cake Sales

With the start of the school year, look for a change in local fund raisers. Passed in 2010, The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act has assigned the job of rating foods to the Department of Agriculture and limited schools from selling foods loaded with sodium and calories from fat. The law was inspired by the fight against child obesity and diabetes. Fundraisers have traditionally been used to get the money to support athletic teams, spirit clubs, and marching bands. Gone are bake sales, donuts, buttered popcorn, and candy bars. The new regulations and standards went into effect on July 1, 2014.

Voters Sue Berkeley to Take Soda Tax Off the Ballot

Two voters have sued the Berkeley City Council alleging that the language in proposed soda tax issue on the November ballot is misleading, false, and illegally biased. The argument placed on the ballot says the tax will be on “High calorie sugary drinks.” The actual ordinance reads that it applies to all drinks that are sugar sweetened and have at least 2 calories per ounce. The opponents note that a 12 ounce drink with 24 calories is hardly “high calorie.”

What Happens When a GMO Doesn't Work?

A new problem has been found with GMO corn and farmers in Brazil are suing the 4 companies that sold them the seeds. The corn has been genetically modified so that rootworms that eat parts of the plants will die. The problem is that the worms have become resistant to the toxins in the corn in just 3 years. This year the farmers had to spray to control the rootworms. They want the seed companies to pay for the expense of spraying.

Dollar Stores Merger

Dollar Tree had offered $8.5 billion for Family Dollar last month. Now, industry leader, Dollar General has offered $8.95 billion. Family Dollar has flatly turned down the offer, saying it was not realistic because regulators would end up restructuring the deal to maintain competition. It's likely that either deal there will feature significant store closures with the segment shrinking as we come out of the recession.

The Changing Market

All American Breakfast Changes

Last month we reported orange juice sales were falling. Americans are changing their breakfast menu at a rapid pace. Now supplies are shrinking as the market continues to fade. This year's Florida crop will be the smallest in 29 years. The standard menu of orange juice, cereal, and milk is passe' as people eat yogurt, fresh fruit, and breakfast burritos. Kellogg reported falling sales and profits in its July release. Now Post reported a net loss of $39.3 million in the 3rd quarter, compared with a profit of $1.1 million in the same period last year. When people aren't eating cereal, they're also not pouring milk in the bowl. Dean Foods, one of the largest dairy companies, reports a 4% drop in sales compared to last year. Since 2012 the company has closed 12 plants that produced 15% of total production in a move to cut costs. But costs aren't all cut. It's costing a lot to truck the remaining production longer distances. For the 6 months ending in June, Dean reported a loss of $645,000 compared to a profit of $56.9 million last year. Raw milk costs are up 31% from last year. But, the company is in a squeeze; passing cost increases along will result in still lower sales as consumers resist price increases. Due to Dean's large volume, a 1 cent per gallon change results in a $1.5 million change in operating income.

Potato Sales Down

Potato sales have been mashed during the last 20 years. Sales had increased steadily for the last couple of hundred years. When sales peaked in 1996 every person in the country ate 69 pounds for the year. By 2012 consumption had dropped to 52 pounds per capita. Eating potatoes has suddenly gone out of fashion. The reasons: people are cutting carbs; Americans are giving up cooking: a potato takes an hour in the oven, or 10 minutes in the microwave, that's too long for hurried diners; restaurants are making the plate more colorful and basic white doesn't appeal, french fries carry too much oil; and potato chips are being replaced by chips made from corn, rice, and quinoa.

Walmart Supercenters Stall

Consumers are shifting from one-stop shopping to convenience shopping and the change is affecting Walmart. The company's Supercenters suffered a .3% decline in the second quarter. Meanwhile Walmart's Neighborhood Markets, with a smaller format, showed a sales increase of 5.6% and a traffic increase of 4.1%. The speculation is that baby boomers may be leading the path back to smaller stores.

McDonald's Aging Customers

Technomic Inc. did a study to find out why McDonald's sales seemed to be falling. The question was “Is it all about pricing?” The results showed that the chain's customer demographics is changing as younger customers make other choices. Customers in their 20's and 30's are choosing fresher and healthier fare at fast casual restaurants like Chipotle Grill or Rubio's. The percentage of 19 to 21 year olds patronizing the Golden Arches has fallen by 12.9% in just the past 3 years. Customer business from 22 to 37 year olds has been stagnant. Meanwhile fast casual stores have gained 2.3% and 22 to 37 year olds is up 5.2%.


Survey of Soda Drinkers

The Center For Disease Control (CDC) has released the results of a survey that shows that 17%, or 1 out of 6 Americans, drinks at least 1 soda a day. The survey covered 17 states and showed a range of consumption. 12% of New Yorkers drink a soda a day, while in Tennessee and Mississippi the number is over 30%.

Red Wine Protects Against Human Norovirus

Various studies have shown Red Wine to be protective against foodborne bacterial diseases caused by Staphylococcus aureus, E-coli, Salmonella enterica, Salmonella tiphimurium, and Listeria moncytogenes. It also has been shown to be effective against viruses herpes simplex, varicella zoster, influenza, and Epstein-Barr. Now a study has found that Red Wine protects against foodborne human norovirus. The compound that does the protection is that same resveratrol. The study was released in the paper “Protective effects of red wine and resveratrol for foodborne virus surrogates” in Food Control by Doctors Oh, Lee, Bae, Kim, Han, Kim, and Chung.


Tasting Notes

California Restaurant Show

At the California Restaurant Show, held in Anaheim, there was a dedicated beer tasting area with Craft Brewers sampling their skilled production. We enjoyed them all. Space limits our reviews. We tasted Drake's Brewing, Left Coast, Lagunitas Brewing, Mother Earth, The Bruery, Hangar 24, Sierra Nevada, Iron Fist, Cismontane, Karl Strauss, and Black Market. That was a daunting task!

Karl Strauss Lager was bright, fresh, and refreshing. From San Diego. Contact Kevin Orlowski at or (855) 273-2337.

Lagunitas Brewing IPA, plenty of hops and malt in a good balance. Big bouquet, sweet finish. From Petaluma. Contact Chris Myers at or (707) 769-4495.

Hangar 24 Orange Wheat, a wheat beer brewed with pureed oranges. A distinct flavor all its own. From Redlands. Contact Dallas Hammons at or (909) 389-1400

Mexico Food Fair 2014

At the Mexico Food Fair 2014 we found some interesting products. Salt blended with ground Agave Worms or ground Grasshoppers to be used to rim glasses of Mezcal,

Retail packs 1 3/4oz $7, 3 1/2 oz $10. Contact Dylan Sloan or Judah Kuper at Gran Mitla or (970) 728-7952.


Blazes Pickled Green Beans or Asparagus to be served in a Bloody Mary or beer. 25 oz. $7.50. Contact Blaze Denoon at or (949) 795-0418.

Los Angeles Food and Wine

We had the opportunity to taste a rare Gundlach Bundschu 2006 Merlot at the Lexus Grand Tasting that was part of Los Angeles Food and Wine. This wine is not available (sob!). It is 93% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 2% Syrah. This wine has just come of age. It is elegant in its presentation, deep, soft, and has good ruby color and a nose that exceeds what I would expect in a Merlot. 14.8% ABV.

Treasures of Nagasaki

We attended a very interesting evening event, “Discover the Treasures of Nagasaki” which was hosted by Houdou Nakamura, Governor of Nagasaki and Hidehesa, Consul General of Japan. There was an educational seminar about the culture, history, and beauty of the area. That was followed by foods and beverages produced in Nagasaki. The were several wines and liquors sampled. Our favorite was Nadeshiko Shochu, 25% ABV, $21.99. The beverage had a clean, fresh taste with a slight natural sweetness. This is a drink that westerners don't have to acquire a taste for. It is ready to cross into our culture now.


Industry Calendar

9/6 Mt Veeder Tasting – Napa

9/9 Rhone Rangers – LA

9/9 Hendricks Gin Cocktail Academy – Long Beach

9/9 SW&S – San Diego

9/11-13 Latin Foodfest-San Diego

9/16 Mexican Independance Day

9/18 Kobrand Tour d'Italia – SFO

9/18 SF Double Gold Awards Tasting- LA

9/24 Rosh Hashanah Sundown

9/25 Rosh Hashanah

10/3 Kol Nidre Sundown

10/4 Yom Kippur

10/6 SW&S – Santa Barbara

10/11 Sta Barbara Festival of Harvest - Solvang

10/13 SW&S – Orange County Irvine


New Legislation for 2015

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. New alcoholic beverage laws were passed that will be effective in 2015. Many critical issues are pending. Do you know about them and are you prepared for the changes. 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!

If you would like to be removed from this email list, please email to with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line.