Oct 9 2013
Going on week two of the Federal Government shutdown, and this is getting real.
From support for needy mothers and their newborns to clinical trials for cancer patients to benefits for servicemen and their families, there are endless, heartbreaking stories of affected people, programs and agencies, each more horrifying than the last.
No industry is immune, including the one that puts your favorite libation in your glass. It may seem trivial in comparison to literal life or death situations, but the effects are hard to swallow (pun intended) to many businesses. Despite stories of Congressmen remaining well-boozed during the shutdown, here are three real life examples of how the government has brought the beverage alcohol industry to a screeching halt.
1. The Godfather of beverage alcohol is on vacation. With the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) shuttered with the rest of the government, all label approvals are on hold. Wine labels, which provide the consumer key information about the product, must be approved before wineries can label their bottles. Bottling lines…
Oct 4 2013
Photo credit: Wikipedia, Antonio Litterio
I guess I’ve always been a writer. For some reason, the process of translating the thoughts in my head into words on a page is one I’ve found I must go through in order to make sense of the world.
So, one of the things I love most about my job is that each week brings a new writing assignment — from blog posts and brochures to press releases and creative briefs. But rarely am I forced outside my comfort zone the way I was this summer when I took a “Writing From The Senses” course with former New York Times writer Molly O’Neill.
Every Tuesday evening for six weeks, I’d dial in to a conference call and, fighting brain-fog from a full day of meetings and emails, would do my best to complete Molly’s free-writing challenges, spewing as many sensory descriptions as I could onto the pages of my trusty moleskine.
It was not easy.
But the experience was a good one, and it armed me with several new writing tricks I’ve already put to use in my personal and professional projects.…
Sep 20 2013
It’s Friday! That means it’s time for the BuzzLine, a weekly “six-word” contest, which gives you a chance to win a Starbucks gift card.
Congrats to Desiree, last week’s BuzzLine winner for her first six words for an alien encounter. Check out her response and all the others here.
On to this week!
The crisp morning air. Kids back in school. Comfy, cozy sweaters and jackets finally out of storage. Football! There is no mistaking the heralds of fall.
Another sure-fire sign that fall is in the air is the return of Starbucks’ aromatic and deliciously intoxicating Pumpkin Spice Latte, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Starbucks devotees have made the drink the company’s most popular seasonal beverage of all time with more than 200 million sold since 2003.
Even “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” had to acknowledge America’s obsession with the Pumpkin Spice Latte this week, in its “Pros and Cons” bit.
But not everyone is euphoric about the return of this pumpkin spice confection.
Aug 28 2013
…Everything You Were Curious About But Afraid To Ask
When I was 19 and studying in England, I had my first encounter with cider. It was love at first sip. And when I came home, there was barely any cider stateside with the exception of the big boys with big money. Until now! Here’s a little Cider 101 for those of you who are ready for fall’s flavors.
What IS cider?
Cider is fermented apple juice with varying flavor profiles, just like wine and beer, and is touted as one of the most food-friendly beverages. Here are some quick points for the cider newbie (thanks to Virginia Cider Week):
Aug 14 2013
The wine publicist is a creature as frequently misunderstood as the product we find ourselves representing. PR professionals occupy an interesting position within the hierarchy of the wine industry; we don’t traffic in sales in the same way as the distributors or importers who haul suitcases of samples during the slow hours of the day. Nor, generally, do we hold the same level of knowledge as the sommelier, gliding through a sparkling dining room, head held aloft despite the weight of all his insight into phenolic compounds and barbaric acid.
Our knowledge and efforts fall somewhere between the work of the trade and the sommelier. Our ultimate goal, of course, is to help our clients sell more wine – aligning us with the sales side – but our means of achieving that goal have more commonality with the tactics employed by the sommelier. If we’re doing our job right, we are educating as often as we are shilling.
Most people who work in wine usually haven’t just fallen into it – it is a passion or, at the very least, an interest. This is important in an industry that doesn’t pay…
Jul 3 2013
My spirits obsession persists year-round, but nothing says cocktail season like the summer. Yes, I’m partial to delicious bourbon side cars in the fall, and gin with muddled berries in the spring, but summer is the season that most strongly screams for slow sipping on my front stoop.
Cinco de Mayo kicks off the season with the ever-tasty margarita, while Labor Day weekend is the sad closing to another epic summer with the liquor du jour. Tomorrow marks summer’s crescendo with the popping 4th of July festivities, and as always, I’m planning the ultimate cocktail for watching the fireworks. Perhaps a red, white and blue mojito… mmm, rum… and, well, my mind begins to wander.
As someone who used to work on a rum brand, the category is notoriously turbulent (sadly, I worked on the down slope when rum wasn’t as popular). But now, it’s on everyone’s tongue! Rum is enjoying its renaissance, and its prominence on top New York City cocktail menus shows rum is making huge sales strides on the shelf and at the bar.
Jun 19 2013
By Caroline Helper (@forgetburgundy)
Just last week I attended an exciting wine event – a tasting of “Top 100” wines that were chosen for their 90+ point ratings from all the top scoring publications. The high caliber of all the wines served combined with the venue, one of Puerto Rico’s top luxury resorts, made for a very luxurious evening.
One interesting aspect of the event was the presence of Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky. The brand was promoting two of its newer and higher-end offerings, including a yet-to-be-released (at least Stateside) 18-year-aged blend Platinum Label.
The competition between wines can be fierce – with regions and producers battling it out for recognition and breeding tension. It seems a little odd that wine and spirit brands can play nice. After all, both wine and spirits are, at the end of the day, vehicles for delivering alcohol. Why the camaraderie?
As I viewed the attractive women shimmying in gold-sequined dresses and impossibly high heels entreating consumers to taste…
Jun 4 2013
Last week, as I was getting ready for work and watching the morning news, I noticed a Cheerios commercial that made me do a slight double take. The ad featured a typical American family, with a cherub-faced little girl asking her mom if Cheerios were good for your heart. The mom said yes. So, the little girl decided to pour the box of Cheerios on her dad’s chest – over his heart – while he was napping on the couch. The husband wakes up, sees the Cheerios on his chest and calls for his wife.
May 29 2013
1) Rums are the “IT” Liquor
It was only recently that I started to truly appreciate the sipping value of rum, falling in love with such brands as Zacapa. Walking around the Classic, I was thrilled to see an influx of rums, which, according to various mixologists I talked to, are the latest trend in top bars around town.
When I came across Dos Maderas Rum from Spain, my heart skipped a beat. This was a rum to remember at an unbeatable price (the 8-10 year aged rum sells for just $29.99). Made by the Spanish Winery, Bodegas Williams Humbert, the Barbados-sourced rum is aged for five years before being shipped to Spain. It is then aged further in sherry barrels from the winery, giving it a wonderful, smooth flavor with caramel notes.
May 22 2013
In the humble opinion of this New Yorker, the U.S. spirit market is reminiscent of a subway during rush hour – crowded like a cattle car. At least, this is what I’ve observed unscientifically in my neighborhood liquor stores, as well as booze industry magazines. This past weekend, I was proved correct at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, where over 100 brands came together for an industry sneak peek.
The event played host to all of the heavy hitters (brands like Bacardi), but also smaller companies making strides in the market (such as Jack from Brooklyn). And as I looked around at the sea of brands, I noticed something: some of them have been around for centuries. This got me thinking. How do classic spirit brands remain relevant with such a crowded liquor market? Good news for spirits lovers - here are three brands featured at the Classic with a rich history and quality in the bottle!