Beverage Bulletin September 2016

California Beverage Retailers Association

Beverage Bulletin

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 693-5561

Ron Ziff, Editor

Ben Ziff, Publisher


September 2016


Forget the Magnum. Bring me a whole quart of wine.” -Lucille Ball in the movie “Easy to Wed” 1946. Lucille Ball is best known for “I Love Lucy.” But, before that she was one of the glamorous showgirls created by the Hollywood studios in the 30's and '40's. She made a total of 48 motion pictures starting in 1933, first for RKO, and later for MGM.

In this month's issue

Headline News Stories -Flying Deliveries, Wine Stranded at Sea, Wine Manager Indicted, When is Napa Valley Wine not really from Napa Valley?, Making the Cut,

Drought Update


Celebrities in the Industry - Francis Ford Coppola, Graham Norton, AC/DC, Cliff Richards, Rolling Stones


Popular Culture - Corona Sponsors LA Rams, Pokemon Go, Drinking Up with the Kardashians, House of Cards, Star Wars


Books - Hugh Johnson On Wine, The Oxford Companion to Wine


Movies - Just When You Thought it was Finished


Politics - Trump vs. Clinton, Napa Fund Raiser, Truth Serum, Craft Beer for VP


Wine - Wine Month is Here!, End of an Era, Sad Day in September 1715, Another Sad Day in September 1715, French Production Down 10%, Why Aged Wine has that Aroma, Wine Appreciation for the Masses, Billionaire Buys 3 Chateaux, Investors Buy Duckhorn, Austrian Production Down, Wine Broker Convicted of Fraud, Historic Wine Cellar, Wine Cellar Auctioned, A-Rod and Bubbles, Santa Rita Expanded, When is Artificial Coloring Natural?, Bulk Wine Sales Up, Wine Estate for Sale, Watch Those Corks!, Wine Olympics, Fun With Wine!, New Wine Queen


Beer - Beer for a Cause, New Record Beer Mile, The Beer that Broke the Internet, Olympic Collectibles, Beer for Lunch, First Festival in North Korea, Italian Monks Brew, Snoop Dog Lawsuit Moves Forward, Beer Pipeline Opens, There's an App for That, 45 Million Year Old Beer, Vegemite Does It!, Innis & Gunn, Oktoberfest Security, Supreme Court Protects Home Drinkers, Free Beer!, One a Day


Hard Soda - SpikedSeltzer Sold


Spirits - Great Slushies!, Better Bottle, Picklebacks, Scotch Gin?, Gintern?, Chinese and Brit Fight over Spirit, Top 10, High West for Sale, Indian Town Fined for Alcohol


Other Foods and Beverages - Big Issue on November Ballot


The Changing Market - Rare Sale on Rodeo Drive, Cyber Attacks Increase, Ordering In, What is Your Hobby Investment?, Tourists to Get Tax Break in Japan, Could You Do Without Your Morning Coffee?, Strong Coffee, How Does the U.S. Rank in Coffee Consumption?, Not Your Father's Hot Wings, Only in California


Recipe - Bourbon Salmon


Health - Red Wine Helps Seniors, Red Wine for Lower Weight, Healthy Vodka, Two New Vodkas Claim Health Benefits, Pints for Prostates, Beer for Workouts,

Mosquitoes Attracted to Beer Drinkers


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


Headline News Stories

Flying Deliveries

The FAA has allowed deliveries by drone with some conditions. Drones must fly below 400 feet; weigh less than 55 lbs; operate during daylight hours; travel at speeds less than 100 mph. Other regulations require flights to be at a minimum altitude of 85 feet when flying over private property.


In a surprise move, beleaguered Mexican food chain, Chipotle will begin delivering burritos to college kids by drone. The chain has tried everything else to get customers back after several public health issues. The project is a test by Chipotle and Project Wing, a division of Google. Deliveries will be limited to students at Virginia Tech.

Wine Stranded at Sea

Hanjin Shipping filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. and South Korea stranding wines bound from California to Asia as well as manufactured goods of all types. The South Korea based shipping line is the world's 7th largest and hauls 8% of the trans-Pacific trade. Much of the Pacific wine trade was picked up at California wineries by Transo Trade and delivered to Hanjin's ships. Dozens of Hanjin's ships are sitting idle in the Pacific unable to put into port. Port authorities, labor unions, and others are unsure who will pay for docking and unloading in 43 countries. Meanwhile creditors stand ready to seize the ships if they do put into port. The company has struggled with debt since the 2008 recession. Currently it owes $5.37 billion.

Wine Manager Indicted

Charles A. Banks, founder of Terroir Capital, which owns or manages a number of wineries in California, New Zealand, South Africa, Burgundy, and former owner of Screaming Eagle has been indicted on two counts of federal wire fraud. The indictment comes as a result of complaints by former NBA star, Tim Duncan. Banks could face up to 40 years in prison. Banks’s wine portfolio reportedly includes Wind Gap, Leviathan, Agharta, Whetstone Wine Cellars, Cultivate Wines, Trinity Hill, Mulderbosch Vineyards, Marvelous, Fable Mountain Vineyards, Qupe and Mayacamas and totals more than 500,000 cases a year. Notably, the legal action does not include the company, which will continue in business with Banks still in control. Duncan had filed a lawsuit against Terroir, but it was settled. Duncan remains an investor and thinks it will eventually be profitable. The wineries continue to operate unhindered. Bob Lindquist, part owner of Qupe, says “We’re separate and not affected by what happens.”

When is Napa Valley Wine not really from Napa Valley?

The Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is considering tightening the rules on wine appellations. Because grape growers are in the midst of harvest, the bureau has extended the comment period until December 7. Currently a wine sold in interstate commerce that carries an appellation must be 85% from that appellation. The problem is that wines that are only sold within a single state don't have that requirement because most states have no rules. So a wine that is made in another state and labeled Napa Valley, or Santa Rita Hills, or another AVA could contain less than 85% of that wine; maybe a lot less. Part of the problem is that wineries are shipping that wine in interstate commerce even though it's a violation of the law. The outcome is critical to the wineries making appellation wine and to grape growers who sell millions of tons of California grapes to out of state winemakers.

Making the Cut

The California State Assembly passed AB1322 on a vote of 79-0. The bill would allow barber shops and hair salons to give one serving of beer or wine to a customer under three conditions. It would have to be during regular business hours. They would have to remain in good standing with the Barbering and Cosmetology Board. The drink would have to be served without charge. The bill now goes to the State Senate.

Drought Update

Governor Brown has signed a law that will mandate the release of names of water guzzlers. The law was authored by State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo). Under the law water agencies have two choices. They can have a tiered rate system or can have fines for those using more than their allotment. If fines are assessed, names must be released.


The State Water Resources Board is considering a plan to release more water into the Merced, Tuolumne, and Stanislaus Rivers to sustain fish. The water will come from cuts to water districts that serve farms and cities.


Farmers lost more than $9 billion in revenue during 2015 due to the drought. Fields were fallowed, farms shut down, and jobs cut. Agriculture officials predict more of the same for this year. During the first 4 years of the drought farmers were able to use strategies to get by. Pumping groundwater was one of these methods. The pumping caused the valley floors to fall. Now the interim strategies seem to have run out. During good years the state produces more than half the country's fruits, vegetables, and nuts, and 19% of dairy products.


The voters approved Prop 1, a $7.5 billion water bond issue in 2014. To date only $177 million has been spent. What happened? The law required that the money only be spent for “public benefits.” There are a lot of projects in the application stage. Each one has to be vetted and the expense allocated between public and private benefits. That is taking a long time.


Quicksand has become a serious threat in Southern California's riverbeds. It occurs where groundwater is near but beneath the sandy river bottom. Horse riders have gotten stuck in the gooey stuff this summer. Southern California's most notorious quicksand incident happened when the La Placita Church sank into the Santa Ana River after the 1852 earthquake.


Celebrities in the Industry

Francis Ford Coppola is releasing a special limited bottling of wines to celebrate iconic movies he admires. They are Jaws, a 2015 Chardonnay; King Kong, a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon; and Wizard of Oz, a 2014 Merlot. Each bottle has a movie poster label.

Last year Irish talk show host, Graham Norton, teamed with Invivo, a New Zealand winery, to make a Sauvignon Blanc that was sold in the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia. The wine has sold 500,000 bottles already. This October they will be releasing a Shiraz.

The rock group AC/DC has a line of wines named after their hits. They include Thunderstruck Chardonnay (Australia $14.99), Hells Bells Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand $14.99), Back in Black Shiraz (Australia $17.99), and Highway to Hell Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia $17.99).

Singer, Cliff Richards, has four wines bottled for him in the Algarve region of Portugal. Vida Nova Branco (white), Vida Nova Reserva (red), Vida Nova Rose', and Vida Nova Espumante. The Espumante is a Rose' methode Champenoise made from 100% Syrah grapes, after the secondary fermentation it is aged 9 months before disgorging. The wines are sold only in Europe.

The Rolling Stones have a Mendocino Merlot named Forty Licks. It's vintage dated and sells for $15.99


Popular Culture

Corona Sponsors LA Rams

The Rams NFL football team has returned to Los Angeles and Corona Beer is the official sponsor. The beer will be served at home games and Corona bottles will carry the Rams logo. The Rams were founded in LA in 1937. Corona is owned and distributed in the U.S. by Constellation Brands.

Pokemon Go

M Restaurant in London's Victoria neighborhood has created a group of cocktails that pair with Pokemon Go. If you catch a Pokemon and show it to the bartender you will get a free drink. The Pokemon drinks have been created to match the game. Charmander is a firey blend of Belvedere Vodka, passion fruit purée, gomme* syrup and grenadine topped with a flaming passion fruit. Pikachu is Galliano, mango and cinnamon infused vodka, lemon juice and ginger beer. Squirtle is Belvedere vodka, violet liqueur, lime juice and lemonade. Bulbasaur is Green Chartreuse, Prosecco, cucumber, and kiwi juice. If you manage to catch one of them in the restaurant patio you will get a 25 gift certificate. (* I had to look this one up. Gomme syrup is like simple syrup, but sweeter. The addition of gum arabic allows the syrup to have a greater concentration of sugar without crystallizing.)


The Panton Arms pub in Wales has been renamed Pokemon Arms. The pub is known as the favorite of Charles Dickens. Pokemon players are enticed into the pub with free Wi-fi and the promise of 20% discount if they catch 30 characters.


Drinking Up with the Kardashians

Kloe Kardashian gave viewers of her reality TV show a tour of her home bar. She stocks hundreds of bottles of wine, beer, and spirits to satisfy the tastes of her many guests. As you can see in the picture above, she has a fetish for neatness. Drinks are organized by category and type with meticulously organized accessory drawers.

House of Cards

Bacardi's Facundo Eximo Rum has created a drink in honor of House of Cards lead character, Frank Underwood, just in time for the Emmy's. The Eximo Old Fashioned blends 2 parts Facundo Eximo, 1/4 part honey syrup, 4 drops bitters, Orange peel garnish, and ice. Lead actor, Kevin Spacey, is nominated for an Emmy and the show has a total of 13 nominations.

Star Wars

Star Wars fans are being wooed by a bar in Hollywood. The ad reads: “The Scum and Villainy Cantina is nestled less than 12 parsecs away, in the wretched hive of Hollywood, CA. This temporary pop-up experience transports you into a fully immersive environment where you drink, eat, and hang out as if you were in a galaxy far away. If you’ve got the credits, we’ll serve your kind here… just make sure to leave your droids at home. Costumes encouraged.”


Hugh Johnson On Wine by Hugh Johnson, publisher Mitchell Beazley, 256 pages, pre-order price $24.99. Will be released May 2017. The world's pre-eminent wine writer gives a chronological description of changes in wine production over the last half century.

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson, Oxford University Press, 912 pages, $65. Renowned wine expert and wine steward to the Queen Elizabeth II tells everything you would ever want to know about wine and more.


Just When You Thought it was Finished

A made for TV movie starring John Cho is being made by the USA Network. The hour long show will be called Connoisseur and the plot closely resembles the recent Premier Cru scam.



Trump vs. Clinton

Trump Winery vs. Clinton Vineyards, you don't have to wait until November. The Grape Collective held a blind tasting in New York. A Trump Virginia 2009 Blanc de Blanc was tasted against a Clinton New York Sparkling Seyal Blanc Naturel by 60 people. The Trump was 100% Chardonnay with “a strong backbone.” The Clinton was sweet with “notes of apricot and freshly baked bread.” The vote: Trump 63%, Clinton 37%. The Trump Winery is owned by Donald's son Eric. The Clinton Winery is owned by Phyllis Feder and has no ownership ties to Hillary, although they do know each other.

Napa Fund Raiser

Donald Trump held a fund raiser in Napa Valley on August 29. It was billed as a “Wine Country Evening.” The exact location was revealed only to those attending. Tickets ranged from $5,000 for a single to the reception, $25,000 for the dinner, and topped out at a couple membership in the “Trump Victory Circle” for $446,700.

Truth Serum

Scottish brewer, Innis & Gunn, has delivered a quantity of beer to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The beer is called “Smoke & Mirrors” and is claimed to be a “truth serum.”

Craft Beer for VP

Tim Kaine, the Democratic candidate for Vice President, has been called “boring.” His interests include barbecue, banana pudding, playing the harmonica, and drinking Craft Beer. Now really, is drinking craft beer that boring?



Wine Month is Here!

September is Wine Month and Governor Brown declared that the state should honor our industry and its contribution to the state's economy. Many wineries are observing the occasion with promotions featuring wine's heritage and the traditions attached to it.

End of an Era

Margrit Biever Mondavi died at the age of 91. As Robert Mondavi's wife, she was responsible for the promotion and publicity of Robert Mondavi Winery. Margrit Kellenberger was born in St. Gallen, Switzerland in 1925. At the end of WWII she married a GI and ended up in Napa. She first met Robert Mondavi when he interviewed her for a job as a tour guide for Charles Krug Winery. They married in 1980.

Sad Day in September 1715

September 1, 1715 Louis XIV of France, the Sun King, died. His leg was infected with gangrene. For months his doctors had bathed the leg in Burgundy wine. The wine was very good, but didn't cure the infection.

Another Sad Day in September 1715

September 14, 1715 Dom (Pierre) Perignon died. He became a monk at the age of 17 and spent most of his life at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter in Hautvillers, 10 miles south of Reims. He was a wine expert and the Benedictines used his talents as the head of their wine production. “Dom” was the title given to Benedictine monks.

French Production Down 10%

The French Ministry of Agriculture reports that total French wine production will be down about 10%. The reasons: bad weather, hailstorms, and spring frosts. French wine officials are re-instating the “Rule” which will allow winemakers in Burgundy, Loire, and parts of Languedoc to buy up to 80% of the grapes used in making their wines. Wines made this way must come from the same appellation; will not be able to use the usual brand names, but will be labeled as a cuvee; must carry “RM” on the label. RM stands for Récoltant Manipulant.” The problem for most will be that grapes may not be available because the damaged vineyards were regional. There will be a temptation to buy outside the area and fake the origin of the raw product. Meanwhile another storm with golf ball sized hail hit Chablis on August 17.


The dry year in Languedoc-Roussillon just got worse as a forest fire in Corbières spread to nearby vineyards on the eve of harvest. At least 250 firefighters battled the flames as harvest workers watched.

Why Aged Wine has that Aroma

Scientists at the University of Strasbourg, France have discovered what gives aged wine its aroma. Using liquid chromatograph mass spectrometry, they found that during grape growth the enzyme, CYP76F14, helps to convert a common plant compound monoterpenol linalool into a different compound (E)-8-carboxylinalool. As the wine ages that compound is converted into wine lactone which gives aged wine its aroma. Dr. Nicolas Navrot feels his discovery will lead to changes in grape and other fruit breeding in order to enhance this natural process.

Wine Appreciation for the Masses

More than 11,300 enrolled for this year's free online course in wine appreciation with the University of Adelaide in Australia. Students are consumers and wine professionals mostly from the U.S., UK, and Australia. The course, named World of Wine: From Grape to Glass MOOC (massive open online course), includes a virtual field trip to the Yalumba winery in Barossa Valley. More than 50,000 have taken the course since it was first offered.

Billionaire Buys 3 Chateaux

Thomas Sullivan, the billionaire founder of Lumber Liquidators, has bought three chateaux in France from three different sellers. The purchase includes Ch. Gaby in Fronsac, Ch. Moya in Cotes de Bordeaux, and Ch. Du Parc in St. Emilion. The total investment is between 8 million and 12 million.

Investors Buy Duckhorn

Duckhorn Vineyards has been sold by GI Partners to TSG Consumer Partners, a San Francisco equity firm. The sale includes wineries in Napa, Sonoma, Anderson Valley, and Redmond, Washington as well as 600 acres of vineyards and all wine brands. The sale is reported to be in the range of $600 million.

Austrian Production Down

Heavy frosts during April and hailstorms in May have reduced wine production in Austria by 25% this year. President of the Austrian Viticultural Association, Johannes Schmuckenschlager, said some areas suffered 50% to 75% losses.

Wine Broker Convicted of Fraud

Jonathan Piper, owner of Embassy Wines UK, LTD., was convicted of fraud. He had duped elderly wine investors out of their wines and money. He had them transfer the wines to the company. Then had them pay transfer fees and legal costs. Once that was done, he refused to answer their calls. He was convicted of tax evasion for failing to pay over 51,000 in taxes. Since being indicted, he has been working as a carpenter on construction sites.

Wine Cellar Auctioned

The wine cellar of Aubrey McClendon, former CEO of Chesapeake Energy, was auctioned this month. The 4,600 bottles of wine were divided into 1,058 lots. They include top labels from Bordeaux and Napa. He was forced out of the oil company in 2013 and was under a continuing investigation for price rigging when he died in an auto crash earlier this year. The Auction was held by HDH Auctions in Chicago on September 17. It brought in $8.44 million.

A-Rod and Bubbles

Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez played his final game for the New York Yankees. He held a press conference announcing his retirement and then decided to splurge. He treated himself to an $80,000, 12-liter bottle of Armand de Brignac Champagne(that's the Champagne promoted by Jay-Z).

Santa Rita Expanded

The TTB has expanded the Santa Rita Hills AVA by 2296 acres. The change was petitioned by Pence Ranch and John Sebastiano Vineyard. The ruling settles a very contentious battle that has lasted for several years. Beginning September 21 any wines from the expanded area can be labeled Santa Rita Hills.

Historic Wine Cellar

A wine cellar beneath the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo houses 400,000 bottles of wine belonging to the Principalities Hotels and wealthy guests. It was built in 1874 and has been the site of some historic events. Princess Grace and Prince Rainier celebrated a wedding dinner with rare wines and a few honored guests in April 1976. It was reopened in 1945 after WWII by Sir Winston Churchill, who celebrated by sipping an 1811 rum.

When is Artificial Coloring Natural?

It has been revealed that some wineries are using “Mega Purple” to color their wines. Mega purple is made from grapes that have red skins and red pulp. The juice extracted is a deep red color. To preserve it, up to 68% sugar is added. The resulting winelike juice gives blended wines a deep red color along with body, aroma, flavors, softness, and high alcohol content. Since it is a grape product, it doesn't have to be identified as a coloring agent. Vintners can simply include the grape variety in the blend description.

Bulk Wine Sales Up

Bulk wine shipments worldwide increased by 38% in 2015 to more than 1 billion gallons.

Wine Estate for Sale

Southern California's largest wine estate is for sale. Located in Agua Dulce in the Santa Clarita Valley, the property includes 100 acres with an 80 acre vineyard, an animal rescue facility, a winery, tasting room, and a 5,000 foot 5 bedroom Colonial style house. It could be yours for only $12.8 million. Owner and businessman, Barry Goldfarb, says the vines were imported from Italy, and the barrels from France. It can produce 25,000 cases a year of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Merlot. It's being offered by Robert Morton, former David Letterman producer turned real estate agent.

Watch Those Corks!

The Marlborough Cricket Club in Australia has sent a letter to its 18,000 members asking them to stop popping Champagne corks in the stands. It seems flying corks are a danger to the players on the field.

Wine Olympics

The Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition will be held the first week in October. Also known as “The Wine Olympics”, the competition will feature 300 wines from more than 30 countries.

Fun with Wine!

Celebrants met in Toro, Spain on August 22 for the 2nd annual “Battala de Vino” (Battle of Wine). In order to participate in the festivities people have to arrive dressed in white. Then they dump red wine on one another. Wine is shot out of cannons; poured from buckets and shot from squirt guns.

New Wine Queen

...and finally. The German town of Kesten has elected a 24 year old man as Wine Queen. Each year there is a queen selected to represent the 25 local wineries. This time there were no entrants. That is until Sven Finke stepped up. He was elected unanimously.


Beer for a Cause

Dog Tag Brewing beers will be distributed nationally by Pabst Brewing. Dog Tag was founded in 2014 by Seth Jordan, a Marine Veteran. All of the profits from the company go to charitable projects selected by Gold Star Families to honor their fallen loved ones.

New Record Beer Mile

Chris Bellemore, a middle distance runner from Ontario, Canada, set a new record for the Beer Mile at the Beer Mile World Classic in London on July 31. His time was 4:34.35. He had already set a world record in Canada 4 days earlier. This time he shaved 13 seconds off the clock. He is pictured above, the second from left. His brew of choice was Kingfisher from India.

The Beer that Broke the Internet

Lost Abbey Duck Duck Gooze is a beer that takes a San Marcos, California brewery 3 years to make. The beer has been released in 2009, 2013, and now in 2016. 7,200 bottles of Vintage 2016 were to be released with a limit of 6 per customer at $41 each. Well sort of... When the orders were scheduled to be taken online Tuesday July 26, so many fans logged in at once that the server at Nexternal crashed. The sale was rescheduled for Wednesday. Crashed again. Rescheduled for Friday. Crashed again. On Friday Lost Abbey switched to for the sale. Its servers crashed too. Later on Friday they switched to Eventbrite. That went much better. Well sort of... When the orders were tallied, Eventbrite had sold twice as much beer as existed and did it in only 4 minutes. Lost Abbey changed the limit to 5 bottles and took care of the first 900 customers. The next 1,700 customers were put into a lottery with winners to get 3 bottles each. Meanwhile 600 bottles that were to be held in reserve were also put into the lottery. Was everyone satisfied? No! One of the conditions was that all bottles had to be picked up in person. Some disappointed customers from New York, Michigan, and Texas had already booked plane tickets to San Diego to pick up their beer. They'll have to wait for the next batch in 2019.

Olympic Collectibles

The hottest collectible at the Rio Olympics was empty beer cups. Each cup had a picture of one Olympic sport. The cups were delivered in mixed cases, so the designs were sold at random. Fans started collecting them. Soon people were waiting in line just to buy beer and get a cup. The most popular cup honored gymnastics.

Beer for Lunch

Heineken is introducing its first new consumer item in 20 years. It's dubbed Heineken 3 and will be test marketed nationwide in Australia. The product is touted as “not just another beer.” It is lower in calories and mid-strength. According to those that have tried it, it is “just another beer.” The beer will be pushed for daytime drinking; a market segment Heineken feels is wide open. The new beer was developed in reaction to a worldwide loss of sales to small craft beers.

First Festival in North Korea

North Korea has just concluded its first ever beer festival, a 3 week event. The kickoff party took place at a floating restaurant in the Taedong River. 800 people took part in the event. The first 500 were able to get free beer for 2 hours. The North Koreans consider Taedonggang Beer produced in Pyongyang to be a world class beer. The opening day was hot and the thirsty crowd had a good time.

Italian Monks Brew

Monks in Italy have decided to go into the beer business like their Trappist brothers in Belgium have been for centuries. The Benedictines at a 10th century monastery in Umbria are producing an ale called Birra Nursia. The Cistercians at the Tre Fontane Abbey in Rome are producing a beer flavored with eucalyptus leaves from their own trees. Both products will be shipped to the U.S. and sell for about $15 a 750ml.

Snoop Dog Lawsuit Moves Forward

Snoop Dogg's lawsuit against Pabst Brewing over the sale of Colt 45 is set for trial in October. In 2011 he signed a contract with a clause giving him 10% if Colt 45 was sold before January 2016. In 2014 the stock in the company was sold to a third party. Snoop Dogg wants to get paid. Pabst says the brand wasn't sold, just the company. Judge Malcolm Mackey ruled that the trial can go forward. Pabst's selling price was $700 million.

Pigskin Beer Contest

Dos Equis is the official sponsor of the College Football Playoffs. The brand is running a contest for football fans to win a VIP trip to the playoffs in Tampa, Florida. Fans can enter at any bar serving Dos Equis.

Beer Pipeline Opens

The beer pipeline under Bruges, Belgium has opened. Beer is flowing from the brewery to the bottling plant. The project costs $4.5 million. The brewery funded it by promising investors free beer for life.

There's an App for That

The American Homebrewers Association has released Brew Guru, a mobile app. The new free mobile app delivers brewing knowledge, money-saving deals and information on local breweries, bars, and homebrew supply shops.

45 Million Year Old Beer

Fossil Fuels Brewing in Manteca, California has been selling a beer since 2008 that is made with a 45 million year old yeast extracted from a leaf that was inside a piece of amber. The beer is dubbed “the world's oldest.” Reviews have been mixed, but agree that it has a unique taste. Now the brewer will be making a beer from a 25 million year old yeast. It calls this yeast “a mere youngster.”

Vegemite Does It!

Dr. Ben Schulz from the University of Queensland did research to check if Vegemite could be used to make beer. There have been rumors for years that the vegetable extract was being used for homebrewing where local laws prohibited beer sales. He found that it was indeed possible. The necessary ingredients are water, yeast, sugar, and Vegemite. The resulting drink resembles a crude ginger beer that is very rough. It's also very cheap. The cost of a 12 oz. portion was about 13 cents.

Innis & Gunn

Dougal Sharp was head brewer at Caledonian Brewery in 2002 in Edinburgh, Scotland, when whiskey maker, William Grant & Sons asked him to brew an ale to season the distillery’s barrels and then send it down the drain. Distillery workers loved the beer and would sneak it home in bottles and empty buckets. Sensing he’d inadvertently crafted a winner, Sharp founded Innis & Gunn, which still makes the original oak-aged ale today.


Manny Marshall is attempting to hitchhike from Edinburgh, Scotland to Delhi, India. Along the way he will have to rely on the generosity of strangers and a supply of Innis & Gunn IPA that will be provided by the brewery to use as currency.

Oktoberfest Security

Munich's Oktoberfest will be protected by increased security against terrorists this year. The area will be fenced with checkpoint entrances and rucksacks will be banned. Other than that, the festivities will continue. Roll out the barrel!

Supreme Court Protects Home Drinkers

The Iowa Supreme Court reaffirmed the right to be drunk on your own property. Patience Paye had called the police after a fight with her boyfriend. When the police arrived, she was waiting on her front porch. They questioned whether she had been drinking. A blood alcohol test showed 0.267; well over the limit for drunk driving. She was charged with public intoxication and convicted. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that her front porch was not a public place, therefore she had the right to be intoxicated.

Free Beer!

Kuba Gretsky, a computer hacker in Poland, has hacked the Android code that awards restaurant loyalty points that patrons can be used to get free beer. He declines to reveal the method or tell where he will be drinking his free beer. He values and wants to protect his secret.

One a Day

...and finally. Mildred Bowers just celebrated her 103rd birthday at an assisted living facility in South Carolina. She attributes her long life to a beer at 4PM every day. The nurses didn't want her to have beer, so she took her case to the doctor. Now her beer a day is prescribed and she is following doctor's orders.


Hard Soda

SpikedSeltzer Sold

AB/Inbev has purchased Boathouse Beverage, the maker of SpikedSeltzer, for an an undisclosed amount. Boathouse produces 40,000 barrels a year of 6% ABV seltzer in flavors Cape Cod Cranberry, Valencia Orange, West Indies Lime and Indian River Grapefruit. It is now distributed in 15 states, but will be shipped nationwide after brewing is shifted to AB/Inbev. The brand competes with Boston Beer's Truly Spiked and Sparkling Seltzer and Mark Anthony's White Claw Hard Seltzer.


Great Slushies!

Have you noticed a certain spark in Kanye West's concerts lately? If you slipped back stage, you would see the reason. He keeps a double slushie machine there for a break between sets. The choice: Hennessy and Coke or Grey Goose Lemonade. You might even be able to grab one for yourself. But remember, Kim Kardashian is watching!

Better Bottle

Malibu Rum is testing the sale of 40,000 NFC-enabled bottles in the UK. A consumer can buy the bottle and use a cell phone to tap Malibu's site without an app. Once connected, there are 5 choices: an instant win sweepstakes, a prize drawing for a 7 night trip to Barbados, drink recipes, a bar locator that finds bars serving Malibu, and music from a choice of playlists streamed from Malibu's site.


Picklebacks have become the hottest thing at New York bars. Order a straight shot of whiskey and you will also get a shot of pickle brine alongside. The pickle brine provides a contrast with the heat of the whiskey. The brine could be gherkin, cucumber, dill, or flavored with rosemary or other herbs. The fad started at the Bushwick Country Club in Brooklyn when a southerner ordered a shot of pickle juice as a chaser. The bartender picked up on it and offered it to other patrons. Now bars across the city are making brine just to serve with straight shots.

Scotch Gin?

The center of UK Gin production has moved from London to Scotland. The two biggest brands, Gordons and Tanqueray, are made there. Over the past 2 1/2 years 25 craft distilleries have opened in Scotland. According to The Guardian 2/3 of UK Gin is made in Scotland. The craft brands are diverse in their origin. They include Makar from Glasgow, Shetland Reel from the Shetland Islands, Eden Mill from St. Andrews, and Lussa from the isle of Jura.


The Gin & Tonic Club has been formed in the UK with the aim of promoting Gin. Their first project is to hire a “Gintern”. The gintern will visit a number of distilleries, sample gin cocktails, try new mixers and discover more about the various gin brands that are part of the category. The salary has not been set, but the job will include a number of perks.

Chinese and Brit Fight over Spirit

Ye Olde Man and Scythe Pub was founded in Bolton, England in 1251. The pub was just like many others until 1644. Then the English Civil War took place. Following the war, James Stanley the 7th Earl of Derby was executed for treason. He spent his last few hours in the pub before going to the gallows. Ever since, his ghost has haunted the place. That is, up until now. Chinese artist, Lu Pingyuan claims to have caught the ghost in a bottle. The bottle is now on display as part of an exhibit in Manchester. The exhibit is scheduled for a world tour that will end in Shanghai. The pub's current owner, Richard Greenwood has demanded that the ghost be returned. “His ties to Bolton and the Olde Man and Scythe run very deeply.” He has offered to loan the chair used by Lord Stanley for his last meal to the exhibit on the condition that the chair and ghost be returned after the tour.

Top 10

The top 10 export markets for Scotch valued in Pound Sterling

#10 South Korea 99 million

#9 Mexico 115 million

#8 South Africa 122 million

#7 United Arab Emirates 123 million

#6 Germany 145 million

#5 Spain 152 million

#4 Taiwan 182 million

#3 Singapore 211 million

#2 France 436 million

#1 USA 749 million

High West for Sale

Park City Utah based, High West Distillers has been put up for sale. Multiple buyers are reported to be bidding for it. The distillery specializes in limited edition premium priced whiskeys including Rendezvous Rye, Double Rye, American Prairie Bourbon, and Campfire Whiskey. Distributed in California by Wine Warehouse.

Indian Town Fined for Alcohol

An entire village in Bihar Province India was fined for alcohol possession in violation of the state's prohibition. Bottles were discovered there, but authorities were not able to determine the exact ownership. So the blame was collective for all 50 residents including children. The town has been assessed a fine of $13,000. Penalties in India for violations of prohibition are strict; illegal trade and transport of alcohol or public drinking can get a 10 year sentence plus a fine of about $13,000; public drinking or drinking in private at home can result in a life sentence.

Other Foods and Beverages

Big Issue on November Ballot

Soda tax is being considered in at least four cities for the November ballot. The issue is slated to be decided in San Francisco, Oakland, Albany, and Boulder, Colorado. The issues are being funded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Philadelphia and Berkeley already have soda taxes.

The Changing Market

Rare Sale on Rodeo Drive

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton recently paid $19,405 a square foot for space on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. “There are only 2½ blocks on Rodeo Drive and every luxury retailer wants to anchor their brand on Rodeo,” said Marc Schillinger, a director with commercial real estate company HFF.

Cyber Attacks Increase

There has not been a lot of press on cyber attacks this year. But, Global Fraud Attack reports that attacks are running 137% ahead of last year and now fraud accounts for $7 out of every $100 sales.

Ordering In

Third party delivery services are gaining ground. Restaurant customers are increasingly using Postmates, DoorDash, GrubHub, and UberEats. Business is up 33% for the delivery services for the last 12 months. The #1 reason is convenience. The most frequent users are families with 2 children between 12 and 17. 36% of orders are from restaurants in walking distance. Wait time averages 30 minutes with a $5 to $6 delivery charge. The deliveries stretch over all meal times, including breakfast. For restaurant operators this is plus business with no additional labor cost and the same number of tables.

What is Your Hobby Investment?

According to Lloyd's Private Banking this is the ranking:

#1 Jewelry

#2 Antiques

#3 Whiskey

#4 Coins

#5 Art

#6 Stamps

#7 Fine Wines

Tourists to Get Tax Break in Japan

The Kyoto News reports that the Japan Tourism Agency has requested that tourists be exempt from paying taxes on Sake and other alcoholic beverages produced in the country. Tourists would have to buy the beverages in certain approved stores and could not drink them while in Japan. The purpose is to increase the popularity and acceptance of Japanese beverages throughout the world.


Could You Do Without Your Morning Coffee?

The Climate Institute reports that 50% of the world's coffee growing areas will soon be unsuitable for production due to climate change. 120 million people depend on the coffee industry for jobs. Nicaragua could be out of the coffee business as early as 2050. Wild coffee plants have been vital to maintain genetic diversity. They could be extinct by 2080.

Strong Coffee

Vicious Coffee in Adelaide, Australia has come up with a cup of coffee that packs 5 grams of caffeine. That's 25 to 50 times what is in a normal cup. The cup is called Asskicker and comes with a health warning. Owner, Steve Benington says not to down it in one gulp, but to nurse that cup for 3 to 4 hours.

How Does the U.S. Rank in Coffee Consumption?

The answer is: The U.S. is 9th in per capita coffee consumption behind The Netherlands, Finland, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Slovenia, Dominican Republic, and Norway.

Not Your Father's Hot Wings

A plate with a lone chicken wing made by Australian chef James Henry costs HK$298($38 U.S.) at Belon in Hong Kong. It's stuffed with matsutake mushrooms, eel, and cubes of foie gras, then topped with a special sauce. We're told it's finger lickin' good.

Only in California

...and finally for some of the best mobile Mexican Food in LA go to Love & Peace Seafood and Mexican Grill. This food truck is usually parked in front of the Bank of America at LA's MacArthur Park, a heavily Latino district. The owner came here 3 years ago from Egypt. He learned Spanish, worked in a Mexican restaurant to learn cooking, bought the truck, and went into business with his Guatemalan wife.




Bourbon Salmon

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons Bourbon
1/2 Tablespoon Salt
1/2 Tablespoon Pepper

1 lb Salmon Fillet

1) Preheat oven to 425.
2) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
3) Mix ingredients in a bowl to form a paste.
4) Place the salmon on the baking sheet and spread the paste over it.
5) Bake for 8 minutes.
6) Baste the salmon with liquids that have formed.
7) Bake for 8 minutes more.
8) Remove salmon from oven and baste again.
9) Let salmon rest for 5 minutes and serve.


Red Wine Helps Seniors

A study by the National Institute in Aging (in the U.S.) that was published in the British Geriatric Society's journal, Age & Aging explored the idea that moderate consumption of alcohol, and red wine in particular, reduced the level of inflammation. They found that the lower levels of inflammation were correlated with lower levels of C-reactive protein and less frailty and muscle weakness; all associated with aging.

Red Wine for Lower Weight

A study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and published in the British Medical Journal showed that a diet that included a serving of fresh fruits and a serving of red wine every day led to lower overall body weight. The study covered 124,000 male and female subjects.

Healthy Vodka

The UK magazine Drinks Business reports that Vodka has a number of health and beauty benefits.

  1. If you suffer from dandruff, make a solution of Vodka and water to rub on your scalp. It kills the bacteria associated with dandruff.

  2. The same Vodka and water mix will kill halitosis bacteria if sprayed on the tongue.

  3. A mixture of Vodka, warm water, and soap makes a great foot bath to soften the skin on your feet.

  4. A Vodka and water mixture can clean your pores.

  5. A few drops of Vodka added to shampoo will make hair shiny.

Two New Vodkas Claim Health Benefits

Bellion Vodka has been introduced in 15 states. “It significantly reduces the damage that alcohol can cause to your DNA and your liver,” claims Harsha Chigurupati, founder of Chigurupati Technologies. The Vodka was tested for 10 years by Chigurupati and his team. Human clinical trials showed it reduced the harmful effects of alcohol by 93 percent on both the liver and DNA.

Anti Everything is a 16 percent ABV alcoholic “beauty drink” concocted by mixing vodka with “super anti-ageing, natural ingredients” including caviar collagen and sea buckthorn. It is supposed to contain vitamin E, lutein, fatty acids and vitamin C. “Countless nights out with my girlfriends went hand in hand with feeling guilty about overindulging,” says Anja Skodda, the “beauty conscious biotechnologist with a zest for life” who created Anti Everything.

Pints for Prostates

The charity, Pints for Prostates, has teamed with 40 craft brewers across the country in a program to get men together to discuss prostate health in a relaxed setting with a couple of beers.

Beer for Workouts

A mango flavored IPA is being fortified with protein for athletes to drink after a workout. The inspiration came from a 2003 study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. The study showed that drinking low alcohol beer mixed with whey was better than just drinking a whey smoothie.

Mosquitoes Attracted to Beer Drinkers

If you're worried about the Zika Virus, don't drink beer. A study in Japan showed that drinking a single beer made the drinker more attractive to mosquitoes. The researchers were not able to identify the exact reason. There is speculation that it could be that beer causes a slight increase in body temperature or that the CO2 released from the beer is attracting mosquitoes. Either factor, or a combination of the two could be the cause.


Tasting Notes

Each month we are out there looking for wines that “over deliver”; wines that offer more than others in their category and price level. We search out the wines that you can buy to help build your business; wines that make customers happy and keep them coming back. These are wines we rate as good buys and best buys. Check our notes. The opinions in the reviews are our own and unsolicited. We receive no compensation from wineries or brokers. This month there were several wine tastings that showed some very nice wines available at reasonable prices. The prices shown are approximate retails.


The LA Food and Wine Expo was held at several venues around the LA area during the last week of August. There were many good wines to taste. One that was outstanding and new to us was E16 Chardonnay 2014. This wine was bright, clean, and clear. A very pale straw color. Full bodied and delightful. $42. Contact Carl Grant, VP of Sales, at or (707) 246-1982.


A tasting of Wines of Uruguay was a surprise delight! The event started with an informative seminar on the wine varieties, history, and growth of the industry in this almost secret enclave. Evan Goldstein of Full Circle Wine Solutions led the presentation which was followed by a tasting. There were some nice wines and good values to be had.

Bodegas Carrau showed wines that we would rate as good buys. Sauvignon Blanc 2015, clean, semi-dry, had body from sitting 6 months on the lees, good nose, 13.5%ABV, $15. “1752” Petite Mansend 2012, good nose, medium body, sweeter wine similar to Sauvignon, good flavor of the grape shines through, $21. Tannat Reserva 2012, soft, no edges, drinks easily and will pair well with food, $15. Contact Courtney Quinn at or (858) 945-6987.

Montes Toscanini, Sauvignon Blanc 2015, dry, clear, good nose, 100%, 12.5%ABV, $12. Tannat 2015, good color and nose, full body, soft, 100%, 12.8% ABV, $12. Tannat Carlo Montes 2013, full body, elegant, full fruity flavors, unfiltered, 100%, 14.0%ABV, $18. We rate these wines as a best buy. Not yet distributed here in California. Hopefully someone will pick it up. Contact Leonardo Montes at or (598) 2364-4320.


Kobrand's Tour D'Italia showed a stable of good to great Italian wines. Our choices for good buys are listed below. However, what we can pass along is that all the Kobrand imported wines were well selected and represent the best in our trade. You can't make a bad choice here. Every single wine had good balance and fulfilled our expectations.

Tenuta di Salviano Orvieto NV, dry, light straw color, minerality, 13.5%ABV, $14.99. Agricola Punica Samas, 80% Vermentino 20% Chardonnay, very light straw color, all stainless fermentation, fruity and delicious, 12.5%ABV, $17.99, we would rate this as a very good buy. Masi Agricola Bonacosta 2012, ruby red, medium heavy body, 13.0%ABV, 25% of the grapes are held for 1 month before crushing and blending with the fermenting juice giving it a full flavor profile, a best buy at $14.99. Michele Chiarlo Il Principe, light ruby color, good nose, light body, full fruity flavor, 13.5%ABV, $19.99. There were two very surprising Lambruscos; Medici Ermete Quercioli Secco NV, bone dry, nice acidity, fruity, 11%ABV, $13.99 and Quercioli Dolce NV, dark color, good nose, natural sweet fruitiness, only 8.5%ABV, very easy drinking, a best buy at $13.99.

Guy Azera's The Wine Source held an intimate tasting showcasing some delightful naturally sweet wines from Rousillon in southern France. We were able to taste Terrassous Rivesaltes, a white wine tasted in ages 6 years, 12 years, 18years, and 42 years. These wines were all Grenache Blanc, various shades of amber, had a natural acidity that preserved their minerality and character, and exhibited a nuttiness and sweetness that rivals Sherry without being overly sweet. Retails from $19.99 to $39.99. We also tasted Maury Dom. et Terroirs du Sud 1959, 1937, and 1928. These red wines were sweet and concentrated like port, with only 17%ABV. They were elegant and delightful. It is a rare experience to taste a wine from the year of my birth. (I'm not saying which it was; 1959, 1937, or 1928.) Retail prices will range from $139 to $275. A luncheon was accompanied by Ch. Planeres 2013 Cru La Romanie, 50% Syrah 30% Mouvedre 20% Black Grenache, soft, full body, color almost black, good nose, good balance, 13.5%ABV, a good buy at $25. Contact The Wine Source or (310) 800-0600.

Industry Calendar

9/5 Labor Day

9/6 Sta Barbara – New Releases – Sta Barbara

9/7 Latin American Wine & Spirits – SFO

9/8 Kehe Distributors - Anaheim

9/12 Kobrand Tour d'Italia - SFO

9/13 Kobrand Tour d'Italia – Silicon Valley

9/12 North Berkeley Imports Spklg – SFO

9/13 Taste of Tannat – LA

9/14 Kobrand Tour d'Italia – Beverly Hills

9/15 Kobrand Tour d'Italia – San Diego

9/16 Mexican Independence Day

9/19 Martines, Schatzi, Swirl Wines – SFO

9/19 Vinity – Oakland

9/19 Epic Wines – San Diego

9/20 Epic Wines - LA

9/21 Whiskey Live - LA

9/26 Vinity Wines – LA

9/26 Chambers & Chambers Sparkling wines – SFO

9/27 North Berkeley White Burgundy Smackdown – LA

9/27 Weygant Wines – LA

9/28 Weygant Wines - SFO

10/1 Mutual Trading Tasting – Pasadena

10/1-3 Coffeefest - Anaheim

10/8 Bordeaux Under One Roof – SFO

10/17 Epic Wines - SFO

10/31 Halloween

Promotional Calendar

9/5 Labor Day

9/7 National Beer Lover's Day

9/15 National Creme de Menthe Day

9/16 Grenache Day

9/20 Rum Punch Day

9/27 German Oktoberfest Begins

9/28 National Drink a Beer Day

9/29 National Coffee Day

9/29 Budweiser National Happy Hour

9/30 National Hot Mulled Cider Day

10/4 National Vodka Day

10/7 National Frappe Day

10/8-9 National Kegger Weekend

10/15 National Red Wine Day

10/16 National Liqueur Day

10/19 International Gin & Tonic Day

10/20 National Brandied Fruit Day

10/21 National Mezcal Day

10/27 American Beer Day

10/31 Halloween



New Legislation for 2016

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 2016. 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!

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