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Review: Lejana Y Sola Mezcal Joven

Lejana Y Sola Mezcal Joven

Christopher Null May 24, 2021

Lejana Y Sola (“afar and alone”) is a sister brand of PaQui Tequila, which we reviewed when it was first released a whopping 11 years ago. This joven mezcal is an “ensemble” made from espadin and cuishe and is made in Lachila, Oaxaca via traditional methods that include the use of a horse-drawn tahona to crush the agave.

This is a delightful little mezcal. The nose is sweet and only mildly smoky — citrusy with a light vanilla note, backed up by a touch of campfire smoke and sweet mesquite. The mezcal is just as lively on the palate, a gentle caramel note kicking things off and a punchy lemon-orange character perking up right away. A strong saline and mineral note becomes evident in short order, which is effective at tempering the smoky elements that linger around the edges of the spirit. It’s never overwhelming with smokiness even on the finish, the citrus notes coming off as practically fresh-squeezed and continuing to burst on the tongue well into the conclusion.

This may not be the most complex mezcal I’ve ever tasted, but it’s impossible not to fall for its brightness and sunshine. Excellent for mixing, too.

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How Good Are ‘Better for You’ Wines?

Heidi Scheid enjoys a glass of wine every night. "Wine is just a part of everyday living, the perfect way to segue from a busy schedule to a relaxed evening," says Scheid, who is the executive vice president of Scheid Family Wines in Monterey, Calif. "But I also like to get up early, exercise and get a lot accomplished." For her, drinking a few glasses of wine at night isn't conducive to waking up at the crack of dawn the next day, and limiting herself to a single glass of wine makes her feel deprived.

Scheid created the brand Sunny with a Chance of Flowers, joining the growing ranks of brands marketing themselves as "Better for You" (BFY). There's no legal or agreed-upon definition of wines in this category, but they’re generally lower in alcohol, sugar and calories and and stress sustainability and/or transparency in ingredient labeling. In the case of Sunny with a Chance of Flowers, the wine is marketed as sustainably grown, with zero added sugar, 85 calories per 5-ounce glass and 9 percent alcohol.

What defines these wines as BFY is their marketing. They’re not dramatically different from many wines. Most table wines are between 11 to 14 percent alcohol and have 120 to 130 calories per glass, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And, while many BFY brands proudly state they have no added sugar, it's actually illegal to add sugar into table wines in some winegrowing regions, including California.

Low-calorie wines have historically been marketed toward women and focused on body image, but the current BFY wines have a different vibe: They’re about offering healthier alternatives. "I think wine as a category just hasn't been that interested in meeting consumers where they are," says Scheid.

She adds that other products have brands that are marketed with a "better for you" vibe. Everything from detergent to yogurt have offerings that suggest they are a healthier option. Other beverages, including beer and spirits, are moving into low- and no-calorie options. Why not wine?

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Mark Owens: Ardagh expansion shows importance of targeting food and beverage manufacturing

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Review: Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (Canned)

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic

Robert Lublin May 24, 2021

With all of the ready-to-drink cocktails that have been coming out lately, it is surprising that it took so long for the classic gin and tonic to appear (though perhaps that’s because this is literally the easiest cocktail in the world to make). Now they are starting to arrive, and today we will finally try an RTD gin and tonic made with one of the most classic of London Dry gins (although it’s made in Scotland): Tanqueray.

Cracking the can and sticking a straw right in, this is a lovely gin and tonic with everything expected in place. The juniper character that dominates Tanqueray Gin is front and center, offering a nice piney nose and palate. The juniper and angelica in the Tanqueray along with the quinine in the tonic introduce a pleasant, mature bitterness to the cocktail, and it’s never too sweet. Additionally, the level of carbonation is just about perfect right out of the can. Alas, poured over ice, the Tanqueray Gin & Tonic quickly gets too watery. Tanqueray may be an iconic bottling, but isn’t a terribly complex gin. The canned cocktail expression at least does justice to the product with which it’s made.

6% abv.

B+ / $15 per four-pack of 12 oz. cans / tanqueray.com [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

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BACARDÍ Real Rum Canned Cocktails expand range with new flavors

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Video: The 2021 Growth Brands Awards Winners and Trends

Each year our Growth Brands Awards recognize the top products and suppliers in the beverage alcohol business. The Summer issue of Cheers highlights the fastest-growing and top-selling spirits and wine brands. Our Fall issue honors the 2021 Growth Brands Suppliers of the Year, and newest Hall of Famers.

In the video below, our beverage media team talks about the top trends that drove winners from the past year, while also delving into the 2021 Suppliers of the Year and Hall of Famers. Enjoy!

The post Video: The 2021 Growth Brands Awards Winners and Trends first appeared on Cheers.
(Originally posted by Melissa Dowling)

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The 2021 Wine Growth Brands Awards Winners

Snoop Cali Rosé

The 2021 Wine Growth Brands Awards from Cheers magazine celebrate the fastest-growing and top-selling wine brands from the past year. These were bottles that attracted the most consumer attention while also defining category trends.

The 2021 Wine Growth Brands Awards follow our 2021 Spirits Growth Brands Awards, posted last week.

As always, our lists include the most innovative new brands, emerging stars, comeback stories and tried-and-true staples.

Growth Brands: Wines That Shine

To say that 2020 was a rough year would be a massive understatement, but it was particularly rocky for people in the wine industry. Not only did they have to contend with the pandemic overall, with the business shutdowns and the decimation of the on-premise sales, they also endured several serious wildfires on the West Coast of the U.S., and got caught up in tariff wars.

Nonetheless, the turmoil brought on by Covid-19 actually seemed to improve wine sales. The Beverage Information and Insights Group projects that wine volume increased about 1% in 2020, vs. falling nearly 1% in 2019.

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Skyy Vodka New Packaging, Liquid

Launched in 1992, Skyy Vodka has announced updated branding for 2021 — along with a new vodka recipe.

In formulating this refresh, Skyy acted upon an opportunity to enhance its liquid for a new generation of vodka drinkers who gravitate towards soda water as their go-to mixer, the company says.

That same pursuit led Skyy to explore naturally occurring elements found in the coastal waters surrounding San Francisco. These minerals impart a “subtle salinity and minerality to the liquid,” the company says, intended to enhance the mouthfeel and fresh taste of the vodka and soda.

To achieve the final product, SKYY brought together a collective chemists, professional bartenders and a water sommelier. The result is a liquid that is fresh and clean on the nose with a hint of fruit and toasted grain, coupled with a clean, smooth taste on the palate, the company says, all designed to pair with soda water and a grapefruit twist, SKYY’s signature pour.

“In the vodka world, filtration reigns supreme. But we think that what defines a premium liquid experience isn’t what you take out of it, it’s what you put into it,” says Andrea Sengara, vice president of marketing of Campari America. “Inspired by the pure, clean and refreshing essence of the Pacific, SKYY Vodka is proud to return to its roots by challenging category norms to stand out in a sea of sameness.”

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Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch A121 (January 2021)

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch A121 (January 2021)

Christopher Null May 24, 2021

The first Elijah Craig Barrel Proof release of the year, coded A121, is upon us — and hold on to your hats, folks, as it is one of the best releases in the series to date.

For those unfamiliar, these single barrel releases of Elijah Craig (made with a modest amount of rye in the mashbill) are bottled uncut and unfiltered and always at 12 years old. At just under 62% alcohol, it’s a relative lightweight in the series — but I assure you, pay that no mind.

The nose here instantly transports the drinker to the rickhouse, effusive with woody aromatics and some smoldering, scorched earth — but tempered beautifully with sweetness and fruit. Honey and blackberries meld beautifully with peppermint jelly and a grind of pepper, with all the components in lovely balance.

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Anchor Brewing Co. Tropical Hazy IPA, Crisp Pilsner, Little Weekend

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Make the Spanish G&T Your Own

The Spanish Gin & Tonic never went away. A blockbuster drink in the United States about a decade ago, Spain’s gintónica was noted for voluminous balloon glasses (copas de balón) filled with specialty gins, artisanal tonics and a garden’s worth of garnishes. Though it has taken a back seat to flashier drinks, it held steady on many menus, and lends itself to customization at home.

The gintónica has roots in Spain’s Basque region, “sometime between 1999 and 2008,” says Keli Rivers, brand ambassador for Sipsmith Gin and the former bar manager and “Ginnoisseur” at the San Francisco bar Whitechapel. She pinpoints as the epicenter San Sebastián, where forward-thinking chefs would gather for Lo Mejor de la Gastronomía Congress (The Best of Gastronomy Conference) to share ideas, showcase avant-garde techniques and most of all, blow off steam. Gathering at spaces such as Coctelería Dickens or El Museo del Whiskey, one of the chief activities was, Rivers says, “drinking one of the many gins stocked in a large wine glass with plenty of ice, cooling down the warm evenings.”

Eventually, gintónica variations began showing up on the menus of Michelin-starred restaurants like El Bulli in Catalonia, “garnished with items that enhanced what was in the gin.”

By 2013, most of Europe was aware of Spain’s affection for the gintónica; By 2014, the Spanish Gin & Tonic, as it became known here, made its way stateside. Consumers cozied up to copas filled with what Rivers characterizes as “large fruit salad cocktails,” abundantly garnished with colorful citrus or cucumber wheels, fresh herbs and free-floating juniper berries or peppercorns.

Though it’s no longer a novelty, the Spanish G&T remains a staple at many bars. Part of the appeal, says Marshall Minaya, beverage director at gin-focused New York bar Valerie, is that the Spanish version transforms the G&T from an equal-parts highball to a session drink. “A proper Spanish-style Gin & Tonic has a one-to-four ratio of spirit to tonic,” he notes.

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The Dubliner Irish Whiskey has launched The Dubliner Smoked Stout Whiskey, the first release from the brand’s latest limited-edition collection, The Dubliner Whiskey Beer Cask Edition Series, following a collaboration with one of Ireland’s leading craft brewers, Rascal’s Brewing Company.

The Dubliner Smoked Stout Edition is a whiskey packed with personality and flavour, bottled at 40% ABV. If freshly baked oat cookies, honeyed sweetness and fresh cinnamon spice, followed by big creamy maltiness and subtle toasty smokiness floats your boat, this is one whiskey you’re going to need in your life. 

You’ll need to be quick though -The Dubliner Irish Whiskey Smoked Stout is a limited edition with fewer than 2000 bottles on sale, available to customers in Ireland now online from www.thedld.com for €35.

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For Immediate Release – May 17, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The historic Kentucky Distillers’ Association today applauded the joint U.S. and E.U. decision to delay the doubling of tariffs on Bourbon and American whiskey that were set to automatically increase June 1.

“This is welcome news as distillers in Kentucky and across America were perilously close to a crippling blow on European exports,” KDA President Eric Gregory said. “This gives both sides some breathing room to return to free and fair trade and once again level the playing field for Kentucky’s signature spirit.

“We deeply appreciate the leadership the Biden Administration, Congressmen John Yarmuth and Andy Barr, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and all global leaders who are working to resolve this ongoing trade dispute that has slashed exports and jeopardized the certainty of our largest overseas markets.”

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Whisky Hammer ~ Our May 2021 Auction is now LIVE! – Whisky Hammer News

May 24th, 2021

Our May auction is now LIVE!

Place your bids from Friday 21st May until Sunday 30th May.


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Sullivans Cove *Upcoming Release* Three American Oak Single Cask Whiskies – Tasmanian Whisky News

May 24th, 2021

Three American Oak Single Cask Whiskies

In the coming days, we will release three American Oak Single Cask whiskies.—

In addition to an American Oak Bourbon Single Cask (TD0177), we will be releasing an American Oak Tawny Single Cask (TD0317) and an American Oak Second Fill Single Cask (TD0121). All three are exceptional examples of the malt-led Sullivans Cove spirit working alongside the characteristics of American Oak for long-term maturation.

TD0177 American Oak Bourbon Single Cask, bottled at 47.2% was matured for over 14 years in a 200L cask and yielded only 122 bottles.

TD0317 American Oak Tawny Single Cask, bottled at 47.9% was matured for over 12 years in a 300L cask and yielded 427 bottles.

TD0121 American Oak Second Fill Single Cask, bottled at 47.5% was matured for 14 years and 5 months in a 300L cask and yielded 440 bottles.

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Extremely Limited Mature Scotch Exclusives at K&L California – Scotch Whisky News

Limited-Edition, One-of-a-Kind World-Class Whiskies
Featuring bottlings from Ardmore, Bunnahabhain, Tomatin, Tormore, and Tullibardine

Today’s offer represents the rarest of the rare in the world of Scotch. These mature, ultra-limited bottlings will easily provide a centerpiece to any collection rich in the best of whisky. Coming in both 700ml and 750ml sizes, the complexity and power across the board is unmatched, as these K&L exclusive single casks have been selected among many as the finest their respective distilleries have to present. Only a handful of bottles of each are available for the world, and you’re seeing them here first. We recommend swift action to secure your allocation on pre-arrival, as once these whiskies are gone, they’re gone for good.

* Please note that some of these rare spirits items are offered in our regular 750ml format, while others are bottled in 700ml format. These items are on pre-arrival, ready for pickup or delivery in late summer 2021. Please refer to each individual product page for more detail.

1994 Tomatin 25 Year Old “Hunter Laing Old & Rare” Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml) (Pre-Arrival) ($249.99)

Tomatin is a fascinating distillery with a unique history and many incarnations, from starting as a bulk blender and supplier and eventually shifting to a steadfast focus on quality single malt production. From the early 1900s through the mid ’70s, Tomatin grew continuously. They added stills multiple times as demand for their product increased exponentially. By 1975, they were the largest single malt production facility in Scotland. Sadly due to market forces they never operated at their full capacity, and by the mid ’80s the massive bust in the market for Scotch was impossible to ignore. Tomatin was liquidated and became the first of many Scottish distilleries to be purchased by Japanese companies. Today owned by the company known as Takara Shuzo, Tomatin has many bottlings on the market, but it is the choicest single casks that command the most attention. Here we have an incredible single cask of sherry-finished Tomatin 25 Year Old at a natural strength of 49.3% ABV. Expect a great value single malt with tropical and stone fruits in abundance, melded with sherry spice and orange peel dipped in chocolate.

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Speyside 28 Year Old 1992 Infrequent Flyers at The Whisky Barrel – Scotch Whisky News

May 24th, 2021

Speyside 28 Year Old 1992 Infrequent Flyers

Speyside 28 Year Old

1992 vintage. Infrequent Flyer from a virgin oak cask packed with plenty of flavour and character. Oily, spicy, viscous and fruity. 28 Year Old 1992 vintage single malt Scotch whisky from a secret Speyside distillery. Single virgin oak barrel barrel #4824 bottled 2020 by The Alistair Walker Whisky Co. for the Infrequent Flyers series. 271 bottles.

Nose: Floral, fragrant, and very fruity – pears, bananas and ripe pineapple. A hint of toffee.
Taste: Really vibrant. Vanilla custard, honeycomb, cookie dough. Malty, with soft oak prevalent, and warming spices.
Finish: Viscous and oily.

Mystery single malt that don’t want to reveal their true identity. Rummage around and with a bit of investigation you are sure to find a rare unspecified bottling from independent bottler.

Cask #4824

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Nestle to Invest $220 Million in New Beverage Factory in Indonesia - MarketScreener

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By Giulia Petroni

Nestle SA said Thursday that it will invest $220 million to build a new factory producing liquid milk Bear Brand and ready-to-drink beverages Milo and Nescafe in Indonesia.

The Swiss food-and-beverage giant said the Bandaraya factory, to be located in the province of Central Java, will be ready for commercial distribution in 2023.

About 200 new jobs will be created in the region, Nestle said.

Write to Giulia Petroni at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Global Barrier Coatings for Food and Beverages Market 2021 by Key Players, Regions, Type and Application, Forecast to 2026

… Barrier Coatings for Food and Beverages market utilizing diverse methodologies. The … Barrier Coatings for Food and Beverages Market: Regional Insights: Geographically, this … Barrier Coatings for Food and Beverages market players. Outline prominent regions …

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Review: Fishers Island Canned Craft Cocktails

Fishers Island Lemonade (“FIL”)

Monica Uhm May 23, 2021

One of the pioneers of ready-to-drink cocktails is Fishers Island Lemonade, launched by Bronya Shillo in 2014 based off the popular signature cocktail served up at the Pequot Inn (based in Fishers Island), which was owned by her family. This year they have added 3 new flavors and a frozen version of their lemonade.

Their motto is “find your island.” So let’s see where we land as we chart our course through their full line.

Fishers Island Lemonade (“FIL”) – Fishers’ original cocktail is made of premium vodka, barrel-aged whiskey, lemon, and honey. This is the benchmark for any drink that promises you “summer in a can.” Straight out of the can, it is refreshing and crisp. Pour it over some ice and a garnish for fun, and you would not believe that there is not a bartender hiding around the corner that is squeezing lemons and jauntily shaking this up on the spot for you. There is no imbalance in any of the ingredients that you may find in other versions; the alcohol sits just right — and I cannot emphasize just how fresh and clean the lemonade tastes. 7% abv. A / $17 per 4-pack of 355ml cans [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

Fishers Island Pink Flamingo – Here they’ve added fresh cranberry to the signature FIL, giving it a sunset pink hew. If the FIL is perfectly balanced and evokes sun-kissed bliss, this one will send you into island nirvana. The hint of cranberry actually brings out a zesty grapefruit flavor, complete with a welcoming hint of grapefruit rind to make your tongue dance. Be warned: There is not a trace of alcohol here. None. It would be tempting to sip on this all day long. At 7% abv though, it would be good to muster up some discipline, as challenging as it will be. A+/ $17 per 4-pack of 355ml cans [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

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