The Booze Bin

Top 3 reasons you drink what you drink

Everything has trends – whether you’re talking fashion, diet or, my favorite, drink. We have
all seen the various cocktail trends through the years: Sugary drinks in the 1980s,  Cosmos in the 1990s, Prohibition throwbacks in 2000s, classics in the 2010s.  But what dictates what’s in your glass? Here are three reasons why you’re drinking what you’re drinking…

Europe: As with fashion, Europeans are really the trendsetters in the world. Yes, America has its cool points, but we turn to our friends in Paris, London, Berlin and other chic cities to see what’s coming down the pipeline. Gin is a perfect example. Gin Bars are taking Europe by storm, especially in Spain, where it’s about the aromas and tonics (like Fever Tree). While this is a pretty simple concept, it’s revolutionary as this allows the consumer to play with his or her senses and have an experience, not just a cocktail. American mixologists know gin is where it’s at, but U.S. consumers are a bit slow to get on the bandwagon. They’ll get there eventually, so mark my written word: this time next year, everyone will be drinking gin. The caveat to this? While Europeans might be setting the…

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Drink to Your Health

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When you open the pages of any lifestyle magazine these days, you’ll likely find an article on ways to enjoy “guilt free” or “low-calorie” cocktails. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing. Besides, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of drinking vodka sodas.

Some people (including myself) believe drinking cocktails made with ingredients like fresh fruit and vegetables is a healthier option over the typical sugary mixer. Lucky for us, mixologists across the nation are incorporating our recommended daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables into cocktails.

But we shouldn’t get too excited for tomorrow’s happy hour. There are differing opinions as to whether the calories from liquor and healthy juice mixers in cocktails cancel out the nutritional benefits. Although some say it it’s “detox while you retox”. Anything is good in moderation.

So, whether or not you think healthy cocktails are a growing trend, here are four insights for the next big salad cocktail:

1.       Juicetails are a thing

Juicing is often associated with drinks for weight loss and detox. Juicetails are cocktails mixed with super healthy juices and by the looks…

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Beer, Burlesque and Bocce: Enhancing the Brewery Experience

I like beer. A lot. So naturally, I have been thrilled with the onslaught of craft beer breweries in my local beer-drinking bubble within the past two years. As this is a phenomenon occurring throughout the United States, it’s hard to imagine that all of them will be able to sustain sales and customers as more and more enter the market each day. So how does a brewery ride the wave and then survive when the craze dies down? What will keep craft beer drinkers coming back time and time again? Here are a few marketing suggestions.

 Make Me Feel Special

StrangewaysIf you are going to hang with your peeps for a few hours at a brewery, you want it feel like it’s an EXPERIENCE. I’ve been to many breweries, with various types of décor, music, scenery and crowds. No matter what the scene is, there is a feeling of beer-drinking bonding with fellow brewery-goers. So make it special – a place they want to come back to repeatedly. Create a unique atmosphere; drinking beer is fun after all! Make it funky. Make it different. Make it appealing to both men…

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Marketing, Math, and a Formula for the Perfect Beer

As marketing professionals, we know that two good ideas do not always come together to create a great one. While items such as the “townie” (half tart, half brownie, a sad challenger to the Cronut), Colgate Kitchen Entrees (whet your appetite with thoughts of chalky toothpaste!), and Moscato-infused vodka (no thank you) are proof of that, there are also success stories. Through careful consideration, taste testing, and rationality, we sometimes bring two delectable products together and arrive at an even better outcome.

I am, of course, referring to bourbon-barrel-aged beer. The process basically involves aging finished beer in barrels that once held bourbon. This adds a rich oaky flavor and increases alcohol content. So, as we gear up for National Heritage Bourbon Month in September (it’s never too soon to learn your favorites!), give some of these brews a try, and enjoy the ingenious fusions of two all-time favorites – bourbon and beer. Here are some great ones to start with:

1. Goose Island Beer Co. – Bourbon Count Brand Stout

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2. Evil Twin – Imperial Biscotti Break Bourbon Barrel…

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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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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.

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

Instafood

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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