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Dark Horse Wines offer premium taste at value price

Dark Horse Wines offer premium taste at value price

The April 2016 issue of Beverage Industry includes a cover story on specialty drinks, as well as articles about millennials and premium spirits, and craft sodas. Check it out today!

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Best Damn Cherry Cola

Best Damn Cherry Cola

Expanding on its newest line of hard sodas, Best Damn Brewing Co., a division of Anheuser-Busch, announced the launch of Best Damn Cherry Cola, the new brewery’s second offering. Best Damn Cherry Cola is aged on whole cherries after brewing for a flavorful, harder take on the taste of cherry cola, the company says. The new flavor will be available nationwide in six-packs of bottles, 16-ounce cans and on draft.

Best Damn Cherry Cola
Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis
Telephone: 800/342-5283
Internet: www.bestdamn.com
Distribution: National
 

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Best Damn Brewing Co. unveils innovative beer gear

Best Damn Brewing Co. unveils innovative beer gear

At the 23rd annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival, Best Damn Brewing Co., a brand of Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, launched Best Damn Beer Gear. In the following months, the brand will release a series of one-of-a-kind items designed to help consumers enjoy Best Damn brews in innovative ways and in different situations, the company says. Its first concept, the Best Damn Office Chair, was unveiled at Best Damn Brewing Co.'s outdoor event this week, where the brand is hosting festival-goers (21 and older) at its Bill-Bar, it adds.

Just in time for this week's “March Madness” basketball games, the Best Damn Office Chair shows fans the ultimate way to enjoy the college basketball tournament at work, the company says. According to a survey for Best Damn Brewing Co. by Wakefield Research, more than half (56 percent) of Americans are unable to enjoy the games because they're stuck at work, and the Best Damn Office Chair is inspired by these office-bound sports fans, it adds.

The Best Damn Office Chair includes a built-in refrigerator in its armrest, Bluetooth speakers, and even a “boss button” which lets fans easily hide the game livestream on their computers, the company says. In addition to the Best Damn Bill-Bar event at the SXSW, consumers can see the chair in action in the brand's upcoming online video series produced by Funny Or Die, it adds.

“For us, it's always been about the beer and how we can take everyday beer-drinking experiences and make them best damn,” said Kathy Sattler, brand director for Best Damn Brewing Co., in a statement. “After launching Best Damn Cherry Cola earlier this month, we're excited to be at SXSW Interactive Festival, the epicenter of creativity, to fuel drinkers’ ingenuity and inspire their own gear ideas.”

Best Damn Brewing Co. is challenging fans to share their own gear concepts with @BestDamnBrewing on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #BESTDAMN. These submissions could influence two more Best Damn Beer Geer concepts that will be released this summer and fall, it adds.

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Two New Releases: Highland Park and Laphroaig

Two New Releases: Highland Park and Laphroaig
Author Melanie Gochnauer
HP_ICE_BOTTLECRADLE_700ml_LR_090316
Laphroaig Lore_Bottle copy

March 11th, 2016

Highland Park Ice Edition 17 year old

Available at specialty whisky retailers, Highland Park’s newest release is the Ice Edition 17 year old, 53.9%. The global release is limited to 30,000 bottles and carries a suggested retail price of £190. According to the press release it was aged predominantly in bourbon casks. Highland Park’s brand director, Jason Craig, describes it as having, “…classic Highland Park flavor…soft spicy notes complement and intertwine with creamy vanilla hues, providing a balanced, long finish—a truly harmonious whisky to savor.”

The blue-tinted bottle represents, “dazzling and glittering ice.” It is presented in a mountain-shaped wooden cradle. Included is a booklet telling the Norse story of the Ice Giants and their battle against the Gods to rule the world.

The Ice Edition will be followed by the release of the Fire Edition in 2017.

 

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Stone Pataskala Red X IPA

Stone Pataskala Red X IPA

Stone Brewing Co. is introducing Stone Pataskala Red X IPA, a limited-release red IPA brewed with newly available Red X malt from Germany-based Bestmalz. Rarely used in hoppy beers, the special German malt variety typically is reserved for German amber lagers, Irish red ales and other mildly hopped beers and is known for creating a deep crimson hue, the company says. At 7.3 percent alcohol by volume, the craft beer features Mosaic, Amarillo and Cascade hops, which provide it with an upfront fruity and piney aroma that transcends into stone fruit flavor and a lingering bitterness, it adds. Packaged in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles, the red IPA is available in national and international markets where Stone Brewing beers are sold. Stone Pataskala Red X IPA also is available on draft.

Stone Pataskala Red X IPA
Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, Calif.
Telephone: 760/294-7899
Internet: www.stonebrewing.com
Distribution: International
 

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2016 Beer Report: Changes in store for U.S. beer category

Piggybacking off of last year’s positive performance, the U.S. beer market continues to post increases in both dollar and volume sales, according to experts in this year's beer market report.

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2016 Beer Report: Hard cider continues strong yearly performance

Although hard cider stems from a smaller market share of the beer category, the hard cider segment continues to outpace the beer category as a whole, according to this year's beer market report.

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2016 Beer Report: Mexican, Belgian beers post strong gains for import segment

It seems as though U.S. consumers are having a love affair with import beer, based on analysis in this year's beer market report. According to Chicago-based Information Resources Inc. (IRI), dollar sales for import beer were $5.4 billion — an 11.7 percent increase — for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 27, 2015, in U.S. supermarkets, drug stores, mass merchandisers, gas and convenience stores, military commissaries, and select club and dollar retail chains. Case sale gains were just shy of 10 percent during that time period.

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2016 Beer Report: Craft beer large gains could start to slow

Whether it’s the tortoise and the hare, David versus Goliath or small-market sports teams versus large-market franchises, many Americans have a soft spot for the “little” guy. The same could be said for the U.S. beer market in this year's beer report. According to Chicago-based Mintel’s January 2016 report “Beer – US,” craft beer’s market share of U.S. volume sales nearly doubled from 2010 to 2015 — 5.2 percent vs. 10.2 percent, respectively.

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2016 Beer Report: Convenience attribute of FMBs resonates with consumers

Among the numerous beverage categories, the flavored malt beverage (FMB) segment, also known as progressive adult beverages (PABs), is resonating with consumers based on the convenience it offers, according to this year's beer market report.

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Airline Whisky

Airline Whisky
fred-minnick-new-author
131216 DWL_US_bottle

March 9th, 2016

Ah, I’m 30,000 feet above ground, my ear buds playing my favorite band—Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young—and the beverage cart comes rolling up to my coach seat.

“What will you have, sir?” the airline attendant asks.

I reply: “What bourbons do you have?”

“Dewar’s,” she says.

“That’s a blended scotch, ma’am,” I say.

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Hard Wired Nitro Coffee Porter

Hard Wired Nitro Coffee Porter

Left Hand Brewing Co. introduced the first seasonal to the Left Hand Nitro Series with Hard Wired Nitro Coffee Porter. Brewed with 650 pounds of custom Hard Wired coffee in each batch, the craft beer also features flavors of caramelized sugar, cacao and hints of blueberry that lead to a light, smoky finish in this 6 percent alcohol-by-volume porter, the company says. The fourth installation in its Nitro Series, the porter will be available in six-packs for a limited time in the 35 states where Left Hand beers are sold. It also is available on draft at the craft brewer’s tasting room in Longmont, Colo.

Hard Wired Nitro Coffee Porter
Left Hand Brewing Co., Longmont, Colo.
Telephone: 303/772-0258
Internet: www.lefthandbrewing.com
Distribution: Select markets
 

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Heineken launches Soccer is Here campaign featuring international soccer stars

Heineken launches Soccer is Here campaign featuring international soccer stars

To once again showcase its support of soccer in the United States, Heineken, a brand of White Plains, N.Y.-based Heineken USA, launched its Soccer is Here campaign.

The campaign debuts a plethora of renowned players as spokespeople, which include international Spanish star and New York City Football Club (NYCFC) captain David Villa, U.S. Women’s National team captain and Olympic summer games standout Carli Lloyd, and American soccer legend Landon Donovan, the company says.

Soccer is Here features a series of new commercials, contests and interactive engagements for Heineken’s partnership of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) and Major League Soccer (MLS).

Developed by Publicis New York, the campaign kicked off in conjunction with MLS’ opening day on March 6 with the launch of Villa and Donovan’s 15-second spots, which showcase each player’s journey to prominence in the United States, the company says. The full 30-second campaign commercial, launching later this month, will highlight soccer’s rise and raise a glass to the supporters who helped lift the game, it adds.

Lloyd’s 15-second spot will launch in late April, in advance of this summer’s International and club team soccer tournaments. The commercials are slated to run throughout the UCL and MLS seasons, the company says.

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Henry’s Hard Sodas

Henry’s Hard Sodas

Inspired by the spirit of Henry Weinhard, a brewer known in the Pacific Northwest for making beers and sodas for more than a century, MillerCoors released Henry’s Hard Sodas. Crafted for beer and non-beer drinkers alike with 4.2 percent alcohol by volume, the brews are available in Orange Soda and Ginger Ale varieties, the company says. Henry's Hard Ginger Ale features a balance of fresh ginger flavor and herbal notes, while Henry's Hard Orange Soda is a blend of natural Valencia orange flavor that provides just the right amount of sweetness and a pop of tangy citrus flavor, it adds. Made with real cane sugar, Henry's Hard Soda is available nationwide at most grocery and convenience stores in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles and 16-ounce single cans.

Henry’s Hard Sodas
MillerCoors, Chicago
Telephone: 800/645-5376
Internet: www.henryshardsoda.com
Distribution: National
 

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2013 Vintage Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

2013 Vintage Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Van Duzer Vineyards released a new vintage of its flagship Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. The new release opens with layers of Bing cherries and wild strawberries as well as stewed plums that harmonize with white peppercorn, bourbon, vanilla and hints of roasted almonds, the company says. Floral notes of lilac and rose petals compliment the subtle fragrance of butterscotch, and its savory attack leads into a bright, acid-driven mid palate. Ample tannins create a generous structure progressing toward the wine’s finish of vanilla and cherry-cola laced with hints of graham crackers, it adds. The 2013 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir retails for $32 and is available at select wine retailers and restaurants nationwide.

2013 Vintage Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Van Duzer Vineyards, Dallas, Ore.
Telephone: 800/884-1927
Internet: www.vanduzer.com
Distribution: National
 

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Malibu Kiwi Strawberry cans

Malibu Kiwi Strawberry cans

Malibu Rum, a brand of Pernod Ricard USA, introduced its most recent addition to its ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail portfolio — Malibu Strawberry Kiwi cans. The pre-mixed cocktail, which combines the flavors of ripe strawberry and kiwi with a hint of Malibu Coconut Rum, is packaged in single-serve cans, the company says. Malibu Strawberry Kiwi Cans join Malibu’s current line of flavors: Malibu Fizzy Pink Lemonade; Malibu and Pineapple; and Malibu Island Spiced & Club Soda. Malibu RTD cocktails are available in 200-ml cans with a suggested retail price of $9.99 for a four-pack or $2.50 for a single can.

Malibu Strawberry Kiwi cans
Pernod Ricard USA, New York
Telephone: 914/848-4041
Internet: www.malibu-rum.com
Distribution: National
 

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Winery Exchange rebrands as WX

Winery Exchange rebrands as WX

Novato, Calif.-based Winery Exchange has rebranded itself as WX. The rebranding reflects how the wine, beer and spirits producer’s business has evolved since its founding in 1999, it says.

"Since we created Winery Exchange, the industry has fundamentally changed, and we have changed too," said Peter Byck, the company's chief executive officer and one of its founders, in a statement. "We used to be a negociant wine company, and our customers were fine with that. But with retailers consolidating and consumers wanting more choices, we evolved to become a full-service supplier of wine, beer and spirits. Our old name didn't reflect that."

Citing articles from Wall Street Journal and Market Watch, millennials continue to determine market trends because of their willingness to experiment and their familiarity with digital marketing. In 2015, millennials consumed 42 percent of the wine sold in the United States, the company says. Millennials have helped imports double in the past 20 years, especially from New World countries like Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia, it adds.

"Millennials are far more likely to try imported wines, different varietals, and craft beers and spirits than older drinkers," said Oren Lewin, WX senior vice president of marketing and strategy, in a statement. "With consumers wanting more choices and retailers wanting fewer vendors, there is a real need for suppliers who can deliver wine, beer and spirits that span multiple countries, price points and packaging formats. That's what sets us apart."

WX now sources wine, beer and spirits from 17 countries on five continents. The company employs a staff of seven full-time winemakers and more than 25 sales people. It also offers exclusive retailer brands, national brands and contract production services that are  sold throughout the United States and in 12 countries. WX’s international client base includes retailers such as Kroger, Whole Foods Market, Total Wine & More, Tesco, Sainsbury, Aldi and CVS.

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Slow Hand Six Woods Malt Whiskey

Slow Hand Six Woods Malt Whiskey

Greenbar Distillery now offers Slow Hand Six Woods Malt Whiskey nationwide. The malt whiskey is aged in six different kinds of wood and is 42 percent alcohol by volume. Additionally, the malt whiskey is the second in the company’s Slow Hand line, which also includes Slow Hand White Whiskey. Slow Hand Six Woods Malt Whiskey is packaged in 750-ml bottles that retails for $44.99 each.

Slow Hand Six Woods Malt Whiskey
Greenbar Distillery, Los Angeles
Telephone: 213/375-3668
Internet: www.greenbar.biz
Distribution: National
 

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Lagavulin’s 200th Anniversary

Lagavulin’s 200th Anniversary
Author - Ian Buxton
Dr. Nick Morgan
Exif_JPEG_PICTURE
LUGAVULIN_PACKSHOT_V2_A4

March 1st, 2016

Signaling the significance of the event, Diageo sent a senior whisky team to the intimate dinner in London held to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the legal founding of Lagavulin distillery.  Guests were greeted by David Gates, global head – premium core spirits along with Dr. Nick Morgan, head of whisky outreach, distillery manager Georgie Crawford, and colleagues from the Diageo archives and brand teams.

Dr. Nick Morgan

With 200 years of history to acknowledge, Morgan referenced in his remarks a number of distinguished commentators on Lagavulin, reminding us that the world’s first whisky writer Alfred Barnard found Lagavulin, “exceptionally fine” back in the 1880s, going on to describe the make as, “held in high repute.” Further reference was made in Morgan’s speech to vintage press reports which perhaps today would not pass legal scrutiny, suggesting as they did the enthusiastic consumption of large quantities of whisky. Prudence dictates that I do not report any further such irresponsible imbibing.

But the reference to historical authority and precedent was not accidental.  Barnard had sampled an 8 year old Lagavulin (a mature style for the period) and to honor his visit and celebrate the 200th anniversary, Diageo used the dinner to announce that the commemorative bottling will be an 8 year old Limited Edition.  Guests were able to sample this new expression, led in the tasting by Georgie Crawford.

It was also her role to hint at some of the other ways the anniversary will be marked.  Guest facilities at the distillery will be improved with the creation of a new garden looking out to the ruins of historic Dunnyvaig Castle and the installation of a video booth where visitors will be encouraged to record the story of their own journey to Lagavulin.  And, of course, there is promised to be a very full program of events at this year’s Feis Ile and the Islay Jazz Festival, sponsored by Lagavulin.  More details will follow as the year unfolds. There will be activity in key markets, such as the U.S.

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Beer Friday #6

Beer Friday #6

I wasn't sure what music I wanted to go with this week. But after I tasted the Boon Mariage Parfait Gueuze, a beer I hadn't tasted in years...nothing less would do. Enjoy Dimitri Shostakovich's Festive Overture.

I love that stuff.

Boon Mariage Parfait Geuze, 8.0%
I still remember my first Boon Mariage Parfait. It split my nose open like a well-used outhouse; raunchy farmhouse assault, swelling bacterial aromas, brutal. And yet...I kept going back for more, like with a truly great raw milk cheese. I never forgot that, even when Boon tamed down a bit.

Then I got this sample from the Rare Beer Club, and I wanted to see if it still had that power, if it still gave up that funk. The cork popped sharply, the beer fizzed mightily, the dark gold color and bright white head were beautiful. Nosing time.

Well, it doesn't smell like a shithouse. What I do smell are classic geuze markers: blood, old iron, horse blanket, deeply tart grapefruit, soursop, and finally, some malt in behind. There's a sweetness to it that makes me a bit suspect, but let's get it over the lips.

A blend of sour, bitter, oaky tannin, and dry brett. The fizz is great, but the main body is so blended, it's almost too well-blended. Don't get me wrong: this is good, very good, and I intend to finish the entire 750, but...it falls short of the true greatness it used to possess. I've seen people ding Boon for not being "as sour as Cantillon." I don't think they get it. I'm not a lambic expert, but I've had far more than my share, and the truth is, "lambic" doesn't mean one thing, one type of beer. There are differences among them: piercingly sour, crisply astringent, raunchily funky, dryly woody with brett. This actually reaches across several categories and brings them together. To be fair, the finish is spectacular, the beer's best aspect, where the full range of complexity catches fire and lights up your mouth.

Welcome back, old friend. You're not what you were, but what you are is worthy, and loved, and a great way to fill a glass.

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