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Hoarders Are Already in Hell

Hoarders Are Already in Hell
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Back in January I wrote a piece titled "All Flippers Go To Hell." It was an observation, not a command, and I was expressing my disgust with the people who bought rare releases of beers and whiskeys with no intent other than turning around and reselling them at a sharp markup. They distort the entire market, they make it harder for people who really love the drinks to get them, and they pervert the intent of the makers. Ergo, I opined, they are likely to wind up in hell (assuming such a place exists in your philosophy, Horatio...)
Almost to The Bunker...but the Wasters are Waiting
I also said that wouldn't be my final word on the subject, and here is Canto II of Bryson's Inferno: the Hoarders and Wasters. I couldn't find flippers in the Divine Comedy (I'm looking at the people who flip genuine bottles, not counterfeits). But the Hoarders are already there in Circle Four, pushing about huge, unmanageable amounts of whatever drove them in life, only to meet the Wasters, who hurl identical loads at the Hoarders, smashing their loot. Then the whole thing starts over, of course. (I'm not really sure who the Wasters are; drunks? Don't stretch the analogy too far.)

What Hoarders am I talking about? These guys. And these. The guys who hear that a whiskey is being dropped, or changed, or may be in short supply...and immediately go out and buy up every bottle on the shelf to put in their "bunker." It's in short supply, they say, better stock up.

Guys...you're part of the problem! It doesn't take a math genius to see that if you're buying up all the stock you see, that someone else is going to find nothing, and report that as a shortage.

Is there even a bourbon shortage? There is a shortage of some bourbons; rather famously, Van Winkle is no longer simply placed on the shelf, but allocated and auctioned and apportioned. Weller is harder to find, but I bought my last bottle (about two months ago) right off the shelf. There have been some bourbons change to No Age Statement (unhappily, the Elijah Craig 12 is one), and those quickly disappear. Buffalo Trace bourbons in general are harder to find (some of that is their relatively small production; Willett suffers from a similar problem). But I have not seen any shortage of excellent bourbons like Baker's, and Woodford, and Evan Williams Single Barrel, and Old Grand-Dad 114, and Old Forester Signature, or any of the bonded bourbons I love.


Hoarders tend to be driven by single-mindedness. They feel they simply must have a supply of the bourbon (or bourbons) they think are the best. I empathize, but the fact is...things change. We don't want them to, but they do, inevitably. You can find lots written on how whiskeys have changed; sometimes for the better, sometimes worse. For every regret, there is a corresponding joy, but nothing is made the way it used to be. Nothing. Hoarders are the Canutes of Consumption, trying to hold back the tide of change by stashing away booze. You know what happens when you stash booze? This. And this. And most of all, this

Hoarders put away the booze, and all too often...it sits there. Doing nothing. Contributing to a panic over nothing. I'm guilty myself, or I was. I hoarded beers, big beers, specialty beers. I was saving them for a special night, a special friend, a special occasion that just never seemed to come (because when it did, we were having too much fun drinking fresh, delicious beers). Last year I decided I would start drinking them. And what did I find? Now they're nothing but a curiosity, and aside from a perishing few exceptions that aged well, mere shadows of what they were when fresh. I'm in hell, a hell of my own making.

Whiskey, happily, has never met that fate in my home. No matter what, out it comes when thirsty guests arrive. Lesson learned; hell avoided. Hoarders: learn the lesson. There are always good whiskeys available, good beers available. Stop worrying and enjoy them. Relax with your whiskey, enjoy beer as it happens, or...well, as Slayer says, Hell Awaits.

Original author: Lew Bryson

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SomeWine

SomeWine

1026 Beverage Co. and the founders of Someecards teamed up to introduce SomeWine, a new brand based on the popular brand of online cards. Like Someecards, SomeWine is all about authenticity, approachability, fun and sharing life moments with those important to you, the companies say. The initial wine varietals are a Chardonnay, Red Blend and Pinot Noir, California appellation and feature easy-access, screw-top closures and the trademark witty insights of Someecards on the packaging, the companies add. The wine launched in 22 markets and has a suggested retail price of $12.99 for a 750-ml bottle.

SomeWine
1026 Beverage Co., Buellton, Calif.
Telephone: (844) 324-1026
Internet: www.1026beverages.com
Distribution: Select Markets
 

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Empire Spirits 1972 – Private Club Vodka

Empire Spirits 1972 – Private Club Vodka

Wynn Imports Inc. released Empire Spirits 1972 – Private Club Vodka. Private Club Vodka is four-times distilled from premium, 100 percent American corn, and offers a bold, smooth taste, it adds. The premium vodka is packaged in a 1-liter bottle the retails between $18.99-19.99 nationwide.

Empire Spirits 1972 – Private Club Vodka
Wynn Imports Inc., New York
Telephone: 646/912-1620
Internet: www.privateclubvodka.com
Distribution: National
 

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Bacardi USA renews agreement with Horizon Beverage

Bacardi USA renews agreement with Horizon Beverage

Bacardi U.S.A. Inc., Coral Gables, Fla., renewed a multi-year distribution agreement with Norton, Mass.-based Horizon Beverage for Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Effective April 1, the exclusive agreement includes the sales and distribution of the entire premium portfolio of Bacardi brands including Bacardi, Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire, Dewar’s, Martini and Angel’s Envy, among other leading brands and labels in the two states.

“Horizon Beverage is a name that represents family, trust and exceptional service among Massachusetts and Rhode Island retailers,” said Pete Carr, regional president for Bacardi North America, in a statement. “Bacardi is proud to extend our long-standing partnership with this great company to continue a distribution force of significant capabilities, scope and dedication for Bacardi in these two markets.”

This renewal is part of the Bacardi route-to-market strategy to improve efficiency and effectiveness while presenting an attractive portfolio of category-leading products for customers, the company says.

“We are excited to continue our 80-year relationship with this dynamic organization and remain committed to working closely with the Bacardi team to deliver long-term brand growth in our markets,” said Sam Rubenstein, managing director for Horizon Beverage, in a statement.

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Strongbow launches new Cherry Blossom flavor

Strongbow launches new Cherry Blossom flavor

Strongbow Hard Apple Ciders, a brand of White Plains, N.Y.-based Heineken USA, unveiled its newest flavor, Strongbow Cherry Blossom. The new flavor and recipe delivers a cut-through, refreshing taste with delicate cherry blossom and red fruit aromas and an underlying note of apple, the company says.

In celebration of the launch, legal-drinking-age attendees at the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., will be among the first consumers to sample Strongbow Cherry Blossom, it adds. The brand is sponsoring several festival events including the Pink Tie Party and continuing through the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks.

"We are particularly excited that spring is here, and that we can finally celebrate it in style by sharing our new Strongbow Cherry Blossom with our fans," said Alejandra de Obeso, brand director of Strongbow for Heineken USA, in a statement. "Strongbow Cherry Blossom is a beautifully balanced cider that evokes some elements of a rosé wine, and has actually received the highest taste test ratings in our brand's history from both men and women. We recommend serving Cherry Blossom over ice to help bring out its distinctive cherry blossom and red fruit aroma, and enjoy the bright taste of its unique blend of bittersweet and culinary apples."

The flavor announcement follows the launch of the brands latest TV commercials staring actor Sir Patrick Stewart. The second iteration of the national campaign highlights Strongbow's range of award-winning hard cider flavors, which over ice, deliver the "bestest" cider experience possible, the company says. Strongbow Cherry Blossom will debut nationally March 28.

"In working with Strongbow, I have been able to follow the impressive creativity that is poured into both their advertising campaigns and their hard ciders," Sir Patrick Stewart said in a statement. "I had the opportunity to be one of the first persons to try Cherry Blossom right before we did the shoot and find that it is a perfect complement to their range of flavors."

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Beer Friday #7

Beer Friday #7
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Missed a few there.

I got really sick for a while; a head cold that knocked out my sense of smell, and a cough that kept me from getting any kind of decent sleep for about five days. Add to that a quick trip to Ireland to visit the new Tullamore Dew distillery (much more on that soon), on which I may have pushed things just a bit...and I was in no shape to even write a blog post, much less one in which I was reviewing beers or whiskeys. My apologies. But I'm back now, with enough of my senses and wits about me to get to work on this!

Music? I'm in Colonial Williamsburg for the Ales Through The Ages symposium this weekend (more on that very soon as well!), and I'm working right next to Chowning's Tavern, where this song, "Nottingham Ale" was recorded in 2010. Seems appropriate. Enjoy!


Hardywood Cream Ale, 4.4%

A fine pour

I totally crushed one of these when I arrived in Williamsburg last night after about six and a half hours on the road from Philly, and let me tell you: refreshing. Looking forward to a more relaxed and reflective sampling today. (My thanks to Carl and Joan Childs, my brother/sister-in-law, who are hosting me in Williamsburg this weekend, and whose refrigerator I'm raiding for these samples!)

Again, as I sit here on Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg, carriages and contemporary-clothed guides rolling and strolling by, I thought it would be a good idea to have a truly American beer, and cream ale is all that. Snarl and snark as you may about light, fizzy beers, cream ale is, in my opinion, the apotheosis of that whole category; light and fizzy brought to a peak of not lightness and fizzyness (because that would be this shit), but to the optimal intersection of light-mouthfeel-sweet-bitter-tasty-refreshing,

Hardywood's version zeroes in on that intersection pretty closely. I've been drinking a lot of the classic Genesee Cream Ale recently (the brothers-in-law in upstate NY always have a suitcase of it cold, and that's a long drive too!), and if anything, the Hardywood's maybe a little too flavorful. If so, that's a 'flaw' I'm more than happy to overlook. Nose is sweet, even a little fruity, with a yeasty-hoppy cut to it (the beer's unfiltered, and that's my only issue here: did it have to be hazy?), and that all follows through on the palate. The finish manages to be...wet, almost like a little splash on the tongue (and just a hint of bitter pull) that makes this such a refreshing beer that I'm a third of the way through it without intending to have had more than a sip or two. Beautiful session beer at 4.4%, too.

Very impressed with the way Hardywood Park Craft Brewery has handled beers from their barrel-aged big boys (including the vaunted Gingerbread Stout) down to this light, happy drinker; haven't had a bad beer from them yet. Add to that a cool sense of history: Richmond was where canned beer was first introduced, in 1935, so of course this comes in cans. Well done, Hardywood, well done.

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Nick Morgan – In 140 or Less

Nick Morgan – In 140 or Less
Author - Caroline Dewar
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March 18th, 2016

Nick Morgan is a very public face of Diageo as their head of whisky outreach.  He’s a roving, yet targeted, advocate of Diageo’s whiskies, not to mention new developments.

He started working life as an academic – a historian – who taught history at Glasgow University and came into whisky marketing by an unusual route: working on all the Diageo archive material. Known also for his guitar-playing talents and a fondness for jazz and blues, he always presents, debates, and responds to questions in a very considered fashion. I caught him just after a recent visit to the U.S.

You seem to travel so much – do you even have an office any more? If yes, what can you see from the window?  

No one has an office now, but I do have a desk. I can see traffic tailed back on the road from London to Oxford and the Midlands, trees, and in the evening, stunning sunsets.

Well, a desk is something! Where were you born and brought up?

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Skyy Honeycrisp Apple and Tropical Mango

Skyy Honeycrisp Apple and Tropical Mango

Skyy Vodka, a brand of Campari America, announced two new flavors joining its Infusions line this spring: Honeycrisp Apple and Tropical Mango. Skyy used Honeycrisp apples to create a vodka with a crisp and balanced sweet-tart flavor, it says. Skyy Infusions Tropical Mango offers sweet, ripe and tropical fruit aromas, and distinctive mango taste for a long, smooth finish, it adds. Skyy Infusions Honeycrisp Apple and Tropical Mango are both 35 percent alcohol by volume, and are packaged in 50- and 750-ml bottles retailing for $1.99 and $13.99, respectively, as well as 1- and 1.75-liter bottles that retail for$16.99 and $19.99, respectively.

Skyy Honeycrisp Apple and Tropical Mango
Campari America, San Francisco
Telephone: 415/315-8000
Internet: www.skyy.com
Distribution: National
 

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Dos Equis unveils latest marketing campaign

Dos Equis unveils latest marketing campaign

Dos Equis, a brand of White Plains, N.Y.-based Heineken USA, is saying #AdiosAmigo to The Most Interesting Man in the World, as he heads on a one-way Mission to Mars. The latest spot from Dos Equis, Mission to Mars, will be the last commercial featuring actor Jonathan Goldsmith as The Most Interesting Man in the World.

The spot launched on Dos Equis’ YouTubechannel, and the 60-second spot aired March 10 during the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers NBA game on TNT (the last match-up between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James). Dos Equis will reveal a new Most Interesting Man in the World in 2016, as this is not the end of the campaign, but an evolution, the company says.

Since launching The Most Interesting Man in the World, Dos Equis has continued to be one of the fastest growing beer brands in the U.S., with the business nearly tripling since 2007, while making The Most Interesting Man a cultural icon, it adds.

“From superheroes to superspies, our fans are accustomed to and enjoy different takes on the same character. We know ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World’ will continue to endure and grow, as the character’s story is bigger than one individual,” said Andrew Katz, vice president of marketing for Dos Equis, in a statement. “Stay Thirsty isn’t just a tagline — it’s a mindset Dos Equis embraces daily to connect with our consumer and inspire everything we do.”

Dos Equis also recently conducted research which shows that 72 percent of men describe themselves as interesting today, but are not satisfied, as 83 percent of them want to live an even more interesting life. This reinforces the time is right to evolve the campaign and ensure Dos Equis Stays Thirsty by remaining fresh and relevant for the consumer, it says.

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Art of the Andes wines

Art of the Andes wines

Cab.Corp. announced the release of its newest line of wines. Art of Andes wines are inspired by the Street Art of Buenos Aires, which now are available nationwide. The new series features six varietals: Pinot Noir, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat, Torrontes and Moscato. Art of Andes wines come packaged in 750-ml bottles that retail for $11.99 each.

Art of the Andes wines
Cab.Corp. Novato, Calif.
Telephone: 415/884-9000
Internet: www.ArtoftheAndes.com
Distribution: National
 

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Mobile shopping apps fastest-growing segment

Mobile shopping apps fastest-growing segment

March 15, 2016

The digital age is here to stay, and mobile-obsessed shoppers have the world literally at their fingertips. Whether it's tablets or smartphones, apps can be used to count calories, refill prescriptions, research vacation destinations and much more.

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Brands focus on large-scale campaigns

Brands focus on large-scale campaigns

Calypso Lemonade was officially awarded the Guinness World Record for the Largest Glass of Lemonade ever made after making and serving more than 3,200 gallons of its Original Lemonade. 

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Coffee flavors increase in functional, protein beverages

Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying, “Coffee — the favorite drink of the civilized world.” Today, coffee remains a favorite beverage and flavor in the United States. As such, beverage-makers are using the flavor within a plethora of categories, including ready-to-drink (RTD) coffees, spirits and craft beers. 

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eCommerce grows for consumer packaged goods

eCommerce grows for consumer packaged goods

As a baby boomer, I’ve never been a big online shopper. However, I did purchase a few items online this holiday season and was surprised at how easy it was. I capitalized on sales offers, didn’t have to look for parking or contend with crowded malls, and the items were shipped right to my home, saving me time, gas and aggravation.

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Why You Don't Like Canadian Whisky

Why You Don't Like Canadian Whisky
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Five years ago, I didn't know much about Canadian whisky. I thought I did, and I wrote about it like I did, and I'd been to one Canadian distillery (the Canadian Mist distillery in Collingwood, Ontario). Mostly though, I had written Canadian whisky off, with the exception of the stuff John Hall was making at Forty Creek. I was just another smug whiskey snob: Canadian? Brown vodka.

Then I read Davin de Kergommeaux's Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert. If you haven't read it, you really should click on that link, go to Amazon, and buy it. I'll wait.

Done? Great, because it's fascinating. Canadian whisky has every bit as interesting (and long) a history as American whiskey, and — remember — they made most of the whisky that was consumed in the U.S. during Prohibition...and a hell of a lot of the whisky we drank during the Civil War, too. But Canadian, like the majority of Scotch whisky, is blended, and that's led whisky snobs to ignore it.

After reading Davin's book, though, and visiting more Canadian distilleries with him and Dave Broom (you really should read his The World Atlas of Whisky, too), and talking to Canadian distillers and blenders...that's when I really got it. First, they've only recently started sending the good stuff down here. We've been getting the Canadian equivalent of Jim Beam White and Johnnie Walker Red: big-selling stuff that goes in a glass with ice and soda. Fine, for your grandfather, and your father (and likely your mom, too), but you want more, right? I know you, I am you: we want more, and the Canadian distillers are finally getting it.

The second part, and this is the key, is that Canadian whisky makers just don't think the way American whiskey makers do. Everything is blended to them and they really don't look at the whiskies they're blending in the singular, as possible soloists stepping aside from the choir; "it's a unique landscape," as one of them told me.

A moment that really brought it home to me was when Don Livermore, master blender at Hiram Walker, was having us sample various whiskies at various ages, all the way from fresh new make to Wiser's 18 year old. He'd done some experiments with red oak, and we tried some at, I believe, 4 years old. It was blastingly woody, like vodka lapped off a deck; I'm afraid I made a face. What are you  going to do with that, I asked him. "I'm going to blend it," he said, with a slight emphasis that almost sounded disappointed, like, 'I've been telling you for three hours that we blend whiskies; don't you get it?'

I didn't...but now I do. I get that blends are what they're making, that the package of flavors is what they're thinking about, and that really, they're making whiskies for drinking, not delicately tasting. Highballs, simple whisky on the rocks, cocktails; that's what Canadian's made for. If we don't get that, if we try to force it to be a sipping whisky, we may as well be putting Islay whisky in a Manhattan. I mean, you can do that, but it's hardly what it's meant for, is it?

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Beer manufacturers launch hard soda brands

Beer manufacturers launch hard soda brands

Not too long ago I tried Not Your Father’s Root Beer at a friend’s college graduation party. The flavored beer was a nice change for me, as it offered a different kind of flavor with less alcohol than a spirit, which I appreciated.

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Oakland A's Billy Beane keynote speaker at Craft Brewers Conference

Oakland A's Billy Beane keynote speaker at Craft Brewers Conference

More than 13,500 manufacturers and suppliers to the craft brewing industry are expected to attend the 33rd Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) & BrewExpo America, which will take place May 3-6 at the Philadelphia Convention Center, Philadelphia. The annual event will feature a keynote address from Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane.

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Union Horse Distilling releases new craft spirits

Union Horse Distilling releases new craft spirits

To continue its commitment to creating craft spirits, Lenexa, Kan.-based Union Horse Distilling Co. released Reunion Straight Rye Whiskey and Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey to market.

Reunion Straight Rye Whiskey is a small-batch, 100 percent rye whiskey, handcrafted from quality rye in Union Horse's copper still, then aged in signature oak barrels, the company says. Reunion unites smooth complex notes of butterscotch, caramel, ginger and cinnamon spice, it adds.  

Additionally, Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a small-batch, artisanal whiskey, distilled from a sour mash recipe in the copper pot still, then aged in signature oak barrels. It features tender notes of creamy vanilla, maple and smoke, according to the company.  

"We're proud of our robust offering of small-batch, craft spirits," said Eric Garcia, general manager of Union Horse Distilling, in a statement. "Our products are locally sourced and personally monitored from grain to glass. Reunion Straight Rye Whiskey and Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey give our family-owned business more opportunities to offer our distinct perspective on spirits."

The new whiskeys come from some of the earliest barrels laid down at Union Horse Distilling. Each has been aged up to five years, creating a well-developed and complex flavor, the company says. They will roll out to retailers, restaurants and bars during the next few weeks.

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Ballast Point stays true to its homebrewing roots

Ballast Point stays true to its homebrewing roots

Innovation and exploration, those are the influences behind the plethora of craft beers and spirits that Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits develops, Chief Commercial Officer Earl Kight says.

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Ballast Point stays true to its homebrewing roots

Ballast Point stays true to its homebrewing roots

Innovation and exploration, those are the influences behind the plethora of craft beers and spirits that Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits develops, Chief Commercial Officer Earl Kight says.

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