The Booze Bin

4 Ways to Enjoy National American Beer Month

July is National American Beer Month and what’s more American than inventing new ways to enjoy beer! These are my top four ways to enjoy one of America’s favorite beverages.

DraftServ beer machine

1. Self-serve beer stations. Yesterday at the All-Star game in my hometown of Minneapolis, Major League Baseball fans at Target Field could pour their own beer (up to 48 ounces) using machines, called DraftServ, a partnership between concessionaire Delaware North and Anheuser-Busch. The machines still used attendants to ensure fans didn’t over-serve themselves.

2. Beat the heat with beer and fruit pairings. Cool down this summer by combining: juicy fruit and cold beer. Fancy a popsicle with a little hop? Quench your thirst with recipes such as: Petit Saison & Raspberry Beersicles or Frozen Beer Soaked Watermelonsicles made with one of my favorite summer seasonal brews Hell or High Watermelon by 21st Amendment brewery.

3. Reserve your spot for a new home brew system. Synek is a crowdsourced personal beer dispenser. Similar to a keg, the Synek uses cartridges that are pressurized with CO2. The chamber of the dispenser is not pressurized, which allows you to interchange the…

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The Booze Bin

Top 7 Bummers of Summer in the PR World

Summer is hot, muggy, and in the PR world, as good as dead. At least that’s what some people think. Summer may be the time when everyone is off, yet the earth keeps spinning and clients’ emails keep coming in. Fellow PR pros, here’s what I like to call the top seven bummers of summer in “our” world… with booze… and a sense of humor.

7) Supposedly summer Fridays exist, but in reality…

6) Your computer crashes, you’re locked out of Pinterest, and IT has taken the summer off.

5) Explaining your background as a PR pro to interns whilst correcting his or her grammar. 

4) A client asks you post a release on the wire this week. On Thursday night.

3) When you have to come up with a new PR strategy for 2015 before Labor Day, and your client is out UNTIL AFTER Labor Day.

2) A client wants you pitch “The Chew,”  ”Rachael Ray” and other talk shows that just happen to be on…

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How To Make Good Instagram Pics Great

If I had to sum up what great PR pros have in common, it boils down to this: attention to detail.  Especially in alcohol beverage marketing, we suffer from “eagle eye syndrome” and spot the smallest mistakes, from a missing suggested retail price on a fact sheet to the wrong vintage on a tasting mat.

Given our typical OC nature, why do we then throw this diligence to the wind when it comes to social media updates for our clients? The worst offenders seem to be based on Instagram. Sometimes, a picture doesn’t say a thousand words and you need to add context for your audience.

Booze Bin1

Here are my favorite free apps to make your Instagram pictures more powerful:


Instafood takes the guesswork out of food pics. What wine is that in the picture? Is this a meat or veggie casserole? This location-based food photo app lets you share what, when and where you ate in that photo. Elegant overlays allow you to share notes about the culinary experience with your audience.

Use It For: Wine and food pairing tips.


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Beers of Summer 101

The ever-evolving craft beer movement can be hard to keep up with, but this trend, like any other, moves in circles, bringing old styles of the past to light. With the heat of summer creeping in and a heap full of BBQs, picnics and bonfires on the calendar, these resurfacing trends give us plenty of great options for summer sippin’. Here’s what to keep in your cooler:

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Sour Beers

Sour beers keep cropping up on beer lists more and more. With a slight sour essence and dry finish, these brews are a great way for non-beer drinkers to get in the game. They also tend to be fairly low in alcohol. Try a Bell’s Oarsman (4%) or Rodenbach Classic (5.2%) for something tart and light. For something fuller in flavor (and ABV) and that still makes you pucker, try a Petrus Aged Red (8.0%).

Saison Beers

Historically, saison beers (saison meaning “season” in French) described not so much a style of beer, but rather referred in general to the beer made and drank by Belgian farmers. They brewed beer in the cooler months, with the intention to make it…

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Wine & the World Cup: What Beverage Pros Can Learn from this Week of Upsets

Wine and fútbol have a few things in common: for starters, a historic lack of appreciation in the U.S.  Today, however, we’re drinking more wine than the French.   Likewise, the many bars showing all 64 matches of the World Cup in Brooklyn alone, illustrate the growing popularity of fútbol in America (just don’t call it soccer in public).

The world’s most popular sport can teach our business a thing or two about tactical principles.  Here are four valuable lessons from the first week of the World Cup that will serve your beverage clients well:

world cup1. Colombia: Believe in Your  Brand — With Absolute Fervor

During the “Golden Era” of the 1990s, (think the legendary Scorpion Kick and El Pibe Valderama’s unforgettable hair), Colombia’s back to back World Cup appearances and high hopes all ended in lackluster draws and disappointing early eliminations.  Although we had to wait 16 painful years for another chance to show our World Cup greatness, Colombia’s fans never wavered.   Despite your best efforts, your client may not show double digit growth every year.  Buyers can sense complacency when things haven’t been going well, so at those…

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Blunders, Misfires and Mishaps in Wine and Liquor PR

Following Donald Sterling’s now infamous racist remarks, the will-he-won’t-he-sell media circus will forever be known as a massive public relations fiasco. The crisis team has been working overtime, not just for Sterling (they might have just given up there), but for the Los Angeles Clippers and the NBA. This whole mess got me thinking about beverage PR – while there have been some massive mistakes, it’s typically pretty cut and dry and under the radar. Here are a few that stuck out to me as quite scandalous, but hardly at the Sterling level…

Bourbon Blunder?

Makers markIn February 2013, Maker’s Mark announced they would water down their beloved bourbon to meet demands, reducing the alcohol by 3% in volume. The announcement was met with massive outrage from loyal consumers, causing the brand to reverse their decision and issue a very heartfelt apology via social media networks. While many critics think the original blunder was a major mistake righted by Maker’s Mark, it’s interesting to note that this “fiasco” was followed by an increase in sales by 44%. A true gaffe or sly marketing stunt?

Russian Vodka Misfire

But wait, there’s more!

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The Booze Bin

5 PR Basics, As Explained by Game of Thrones

What do Little Finger, Arya Stark, Tywin Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen and Joffrey Baratheon have in common? They all exemplify a certain trait every PR practitioner and “good” brand should have. While my examples are booze-related, the underlying principles are true for every industry. Keep reading even if you’re not a Game of Thrones fan (although the real question is: Why aren’t you?).

1. Little Finger – Be Strategic

Winter is coming, folks. Only the well-prepared will prevail. When preparing for turbulent times (a bad harvest, a spokesperson gone rogue, etc.), it’s key to have a strategy. It’s ok to change course if the situation warrants, but in order to do so, you need to know your final destination. Most underdogs are also operating on a well thought-out strategy to gain respect and influence in their industry of choice. Little Finger clearly wants to marry a Stark girl and become king– two goals almost impossible without an elaborate plan.

Real Life Example: Virginia Wine wants to compete with the best of the best from Europe and California. A series of vintners is leading the way, backed up by a strong vision

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Why You Should Drink Rosé

rose-wine-smallerDoes the idea of drinking pink wine make you blush? It’s time to forget what you think you know about rosé. Trust me, rosé is nothing like sweet white zinfandel of the past.

Rosé has been making a huge comeback in the United States. According to, rosé consumption in the U.S. has been skyrocketing, with sales growing in the double digits every year for the past several years. In New York next month there’s the inaugural La Nuit en Rosé or The Night of Pink, a wine tasting event dedicated to rosé.

The biggest producers of rosé by volume are France, Spain (where it’s called rosado), Italy (where it’s called rosato), and the U.S. In France alone, where rosé wines have been hot and trendy for decades, rosé wine consumption has increased every year since 1990.

Rosé is also making moves among pop culture. Just listen to any song by rapper Rick Ross, who even goes by the nickname “Ricky Rozay.”  You’ll hear him name drop a sparkling rosé called Luc Belaire Rare Rosé. Even though there isn’t a confirmed financial deal between Ross and the wine, he…

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The 7 Commandments of Producing a Memorable (and Flawless) Booze Event

New York City has the highest concentration of alcohol-related events in the U.S.  A local listing can show three to four liquor-related events happening in just one afternoon, not to mention the plethora of industry-only events. Add to that the countless PR agencies, beverage brands and importers housed in New York and you have an enormous mishmash of factors to contend with. It’s your job to make sure your client is innovative, fun and on top of what’s next – not what’s already trending.  So keep these hints in mind:

Be different

New York is big city, this means tastings don’t have to take place at the same, tired locales.  Think untraditional: forget restaurants and hotels (unless they have a unique space no one knew was there).  Ask photographers for ideas, they are out there shooting and see it all. Caterers are great resources too.  Don’t be afraid to venture out of the typical comfort zone, if Dior can do it, so can you! Your chosen venue should always make a point and if your guests can say it was their first visit there, even better.   Even if you’ve never seen an event taking place at a given…

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Beyond Facebook: 6 Liquor Brands Making the Most of Social Media

Facebook’s recent algorithm changes have caused some brands to threaten to leave the social media giant. Yet, no one is actually leaving. While they are not happy with the pay-to-play format, no other platform really manages to have the content, images AND engagement that Facebook generates. Eat24 has been a recent objector to ditch Facebook, while other companies, specifically liquor brands, are keeping their pages. However, there are a few brands not willing to put all their eggs – or bottles –  in one basket. Instead, they’re spreading out in the social networking sphere:

jose cuervoJose Cuervo - A social media giant when it comes to tequila, Jose Cuervo has a presence on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.  The brand’s sharable content could serve as industry benchmark: Event footage, cocktails, food pairings and a myriad of videos keep Cuervo fans entertained. Other brands like Patron, Don Julio, or Partida, don’t have the money to compete in Cuervo’s league.

Smirnoff and Ciroc - YouTube is a sensation that isn’t going anywhere, and ads from Smirnoff Vodka and Ciroc are among the…

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