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Cheers is the largest national magazine dedicated to the needs of the off-premise beverage alcohol retailer, whether it's the owner of a single liquor store, the general manager of a warehouse store or the buyer for a large supermarket or drug chain.
Katie Renshaw of Chicago was named the 2019 U.S. Bartender of the Year at the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) World Class Finals Sponsored by Diageo. The national finals took
place on June 10 and brought together 15 finalists
from around the country for an intensive two-day, five-part challenge.
Renshaw’s attention to
detail and outside-the-box thinking immediately caught the eye of the judges.
She won the Bulleit Final Frontier Challenge,
awarded to a finalist who mastered the art of the cultural frontier that the
Bulleit brand aligns itself with, as well as the national title with the Flex
Yo Hustle cocktail (recipe below). Renshaw will represent the U.S. in Glasgow,
Scotland this September for
the Global World Class Finals and
to compete for the esteemed 2019 Bartender of the Year title.
In addition to the national
title, Renshaw will also collaborate with the Bulleit Distilling Co. bar
manager to create the first signature cocktail menu for visitors at
the new Bulleit Distilling Co. cocktail bar. The Bulleit Distilling Co. Visitor Experience on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, in
Shelbyville, KY, will open to the public later this month.
Flex Yo Hustle 1 oz. Bulleit 10 1 oz. Bulleit bourbon 1 oz. Coconut milk-oolong syrup ½ oz. Lemon juice ½ oz. Lime juice 1 oz. Cardamom-infused cream 1 egg white Soda water ¼ oz. cup Coffee-bourbon caviar
Add all ingredients to a
cocktail shaker and shake. Pour into a Collins glass over spear ice cube. Garnish
with coconut ash and an engraved lemon peel.
Ironstone Vineyards, a family owned-and-operated winery in California’s Lodi and Sierra Foothills appellations, has rolled out its Obsession Symphony White and Red Blend wines, plus the winery’s first rosé, in cans.
Available in mid-June, 2019, Obsession Cans are 375-ml. and have a slightly “retro” feel, the company says.
“Though Obsession Symphony and Red Blend are wines that have received numerous 90+ ratings, they also have a playful image that we believe is well-suited to active and fun occasions when consumers will be looking for wine in cans.” says Joan Kautz, who owns the winery along with her brothers and her parents. “We would only explore cans if we could ‘raise the level of the can experience’ with high quality wine inside, both to satisfy our current Obsession fans and to encourage those trying Obsession wines for the first time via cans to become repeat customers of both the cans and bottles.”
In an effort to visibly demonstrate the winery’s commitment to quality, Obsession Cans are ‘vintage dated” on the bottom, with the date they were filled.
“We’re expressing our confidence that there is freshness and quality in the can, so much so that once the novelty of buying wine in cans wears off, consumers will continue to purchase these wines because they are consistently great-tasting,” Kautz explains.
Obsession Rosé is an effervescent, off-dry blend of pinot grigio and white zinfandel, the company reports, with aromas of strawberries and flavors of pomegranates and citrus.
“We think the fresh, fruit-filled taste of our Rosé, with its crisp finish, is ideal for cans,” Kautz explains. “The wine’s flavor and style also make it a great fit with the Obsession aesthetic.”
The graphics on the cans are reminiscent of 1970’s “circle” designs.
An ice-cold beer can balance the zing from Asian spices that
comprise the bold flavors of classic Chinese dishes. But as a more breweries
continue to pop up and the range of beer types expands, there’s more complexity
in flavor than ever before—just as with wine. How to approach pairing craft
brews with Chinese cuisine?
Travis Sparks, chef at contemporary Chinese restaurant Tánsuŏ in Nashville, has a few suggestions. Sparks explores traditional cuisine, using humble ingredients in extraordinary ways in dishes reminiscent of China’s night markets and street fare.
Here are some of his insights on how to match the flavors of classic Chinese dishes to a range of craft beers, and why they work so well together.
IPA with Cumin Beef. The spice undertones complement the flavor profile of the savory beef dish. Suggested brew: Saffron IPA.
Kimchi Fried Rice
Saison with Ginger Chicken. The floral notes of the tart saison pair well with ginger. Suggested brew: Blackberry Farm Tennessee Saison.
White Ale with Kimchi Fried Rice. Subtle and light citrus tones in the ale balance the bold kimchi. Suggested brew: Hitachino White Ale.
Red Ale with Hong Kong Style Cumin Short Rib. Although a large contrast in flavor, they complement one another really well. Suggested brew: Johnny Red from Steel Barrel Brewing Co. in Murfreesboro, TN.
Pernod Ricard USA, through its New Brand Ventures division, has signed an agreement for the acquisition of a majority share of Rabbit Hole Whiskey, which is produced and based in Louisville, KY.
A newer entry on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Rabbit Hole is known for its state-of-the-art distillery and production techniques that have produced some of the better younger whiskeys released in recent time.
The brand was founded by Kaveh Zamanian, a former psychologist and psychoanalyst who left his job to pursue his whiskey passion. As part of the strategic partnership with Pernod Ricard USA, Zamanian will keep the majority of his shares in Rabbit Hole and will continue to operate the company.
The brand was founded by Kaveh Zamanian, a former psychologist and psychoanalyst who left his job to pursue his whiskey passion.
“By leveraging Pernod Ricard USA’s extensive distribution network to reach new consumers, we are able to strengthen Rabbit Hole’s position as a brand and amplify its presence as a new voice in American whiskey,” says Zamanian. “In partnership with Pernod Ricard USA, Rabbit Hole is poised to reach new heights. I am very excited about this partnership and our future together.”
With this partnership, Pernod Ricard USA further expands its portfolio of newly created specialty brands with unique value propositions and select distribution, the company says. Rabbit Hole will be part of the New Brand Ventures portfolio along with brands such as Smooth Ambler West Virginian whiskey and Del Maguey mezcal.
“Rabbit Hole has a great sense of place and a great founding team. They have a considerable amount of aging inventory that will come online over the next 18 months, and we are eager to help make it available to U.S. consumers as quickly and widely as possible,” says Jeff Agdern, SVP of New Brand Ventures at Pernod Ricard USA. “We are aiming to expand distribution from 18 to 50 markets by the end of 2020.”
Wish you could find more bottles from hot brands like Weller, Blanton’s, and the annual Antique Collection? This news might help.
The producer behind those and numerous other category-defining brands, Buffalo Trace Distillery is making progress on its $1.2 billion infrastructure investment started in 2016, the company says, with four new barrel warehouses built within the past 18 months, and the $50-million bottling hall nearing completion.
Unfortunately, however, it will still be a few more years before this National Historic Landmark Distillery believes it can catch up with consumers’ growing demand.
New barrel warehouses AA, BB, CC, and DD are finished and filled with barrels containing what will eventually comprise 70 million bottles on the “whiskey farm,” the 200+ acres purchased adjacent to Buffalo Trace a few years ago. The fifth new warehouse – “EE” – is taking shape, with construction of number six and seven barrel warehouses planned for 2019.
Each of these new warehouses are insulated and heated during the winter months, a rarity for bourbon warehouses. (All barrel warehouses at Buffalo Trace are heated, a tradition started by E.H. Taylor Jr. in the 1800s, and continuing today.) The reasoning behind heating the warehouses is to keep the bourbon moving in and out of the wood as it ages during cold Kentucky winters, rather than lying dormant when the temperature dips down.
These new warehouses cost about $7 million each to build and another $21 million each to fill with barrels, making this a significant part of the $1.2 billion investment.
A new barrel warehouse is being built every few months for the next several years. But all those aging barrels will require more bottling capacity when they come of age, and Buffalo Trace is in the finishing stages of its $50 million bottling hall, located on site near its new distribution center which was completed in 2015.
“We’ve been increasing production for many years now. We’ll fill more barrels this year than ever before in our 246 year history,” says Senior Marketing Director Kris Comstock. “Many of our bourbons are aged for eight years or more, so although we have far more than a decade ago, demand continues to outpace our supply of mature bourbon. There will be more available every year, but it will be awhile before bottles are readily available on liquor store shelves. While we’re flattered these brands have become so popular, we do understand the frustration our fans are experiencing when they see empty store shelves. We promise we are doing everything we can, but we can’t speed up the aging process, so we just ask for continued patience.”
Buffalo Trace Distillery also remains committed to not raising prices due to the supply/demand imbalance or diluting proof just to fill more bottles, the company says.
The Grand Canyon, which received its designation as a
national park in February 1919, is spending 2019 celebrating 100 years
commemorating the past and inspiring future generations to experience, connect
with, and protect the Park’s unique natural, cultural and historic resources.
To honor the Grand Canyon National Park’s Centennial, Hearth
‘61 restaurant in the Mountain
Shadows resort in Paradise Valley, AZ, is serving a
commemorative cocktail called The Bold Botanist. For every $15 drink sold,
$1 is donated to the Grand Canyon Association.
A riff on the Gin Sour, The Bold Botanist features strong
notes of juniper, a plant that is found in abundance at the Canyon. The
cocktail was inspired by Joseph Christmas Ives, a U.S. soldier, botanist and
explorer who was the first American to set out into the Grand Canyon—the last
unexplored area of the West. Here’s the full recipe:
The Bold Botanist 2 oz. Tanqueray gin ¾ oz. Lime juice ½ oz. Simple syrup 1 Egg white 6 Mint leaves 5 Dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and dry shake to foam
the egg white. Add ice to shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into chilled
Martini glass. Drop bitters into shape of star and drag with straw to complete
effect. Garnish with mint floating on edge.
Crown Royal has announced the latest release from its high-end Noble Collection:Crown Royal Noble Collection French Oak Cask Finished.
This limited-edition expression showcases Crown Royal Fine De Luxe finished in new French oak barrels.
The French oak originates from the Vosges region in France, known for producing grain that helps impart flavors and aromas of vanilla and baking spices into the whisky, the company says. Once harvested, the oak is open-air seasoned for two years to transform the wood in order to set the stage for the final two-step fire toasting.
The whisky has rich dark notes of caramel, vanilla and fruit, the company says.
Crown Royal Noble Collection French Oak Cask Finished is packaged in a bottle with a crystal-cut style base and a resealable cork top. The canister is a deep purple to match the Crown Royal regal purple, and is encased in the brand’s iconic purple bag with gold accents.
Crown Royal Noble Collection French Oak Cask Finished is 80 proof, and will be available in limited quantities nationwide at the suggested retail price of $59.99 for a 750-ml. bottle.
With more than 20 new offerings debuting in locations around the world, Hard Rock International is launching its most extensive menu innovation in the company’s history on June 14. The focus is on the new Steak Burgers, which include a BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger and the Double Decker Double Cheeseburger, a tribute to Hard Rock’s 1971 “Down Home Double Burger” and the iconic double decker buses synonymous to the brand’s London roots.
But the jewel in Hard Rock’s burger crown is its 24-Karat Gold Leaf Steak Burger. Prced at $24.95 in all locations, the ½-lb. fresh Steak Burger topped with 24-Karat edible gold leaf with Tillamook cheddar cheese, leaf lettuce, vine-ripened tomato and red onion. Through the Hard Rock Heals Foundation, a portion of all proceeds from the 24-Karat Gold Leaf Steak Burger will benefit Action Against Hunger to assist in the fight against world hunger.
As for beverages, Hard Rock is heavy into boozy shakes. With a twist on classic flavors like Strawberry Cheesecake and Cookies n’ Cream, guests can enjoy these over-the-top milkshakes in both spirited and non-alcoholic versions. The shakes are also Instagram-ready, with unique garnishes and colorful toppings.
Hard Rock Cafe plans to offer limited-time milkshake varieties, timed to special occasions or holidays. Fan-favorite milkshakes that debuted for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Pride month gave guests a sneak peek at these exclusive boozy beverages that will be released throughout the year.
The global launch of the
new menu coincides with Hard Rock’s Founders’ Day as a tribute to the original
legends who opened the doors to the first Hard Rock Cafe at Old Park Lane in
London on June 14, 1971 with a mission to serve the best burgers and milkshakes
around the world. The company is about to a new
flagship cafe in London’s Piccadilly Circus.