The Booze Bin

Vodka vs Whisky: Top 3 Reasons for the Shift in U.S. Sales

Sometimes, I feel I am the only advocate of vodka left. I’ve had some backup with U.S. sales and with the recent book by Victorino Matus, I didn’t feel so alone in the world.

Or so I thought.

That all changed this week when it was released that whisky has overtaken vodka in U.S. sales. Which makes this little tidbit all that more interesting: Vodka has overtaken whisky sales in the UK.

While Whisky usually costs more than vodka and is driving the sales price up, the biggest volume drivers are large brands that cost less. If pricing isn’t the issue, what caused this shift of power?

1) Flavors. The vodka category has been counting on new flavors to drive sales. Everyone and their vodka brother had a flavor, some good*, some bad. Whisky has jumped on the bandwagon, creating varying flavors, some good, some bad. But that has allowed for the category to increase space on shelves.

2) Women. Females are the main purchaser of alcohol in the home. There is the…

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Media Relations

How to Get Media to Attend a Boring Event

In public relations, face time between your clients and editors is crucial. It’s especially important in food and beverage PR when you represent a foreign client who visits the U.S. once, maybe twice, a year. Your only opportunity to make a lasting impression with the media and impress the client is by filling every last seat at your event. When your client is in town for 36 hours, there is no room for empty seats.

Yes, sometimes, when the client is in town, there is not necessarily news to report on other than, “Hey, so-and-so is here so let’s get some press out of it!” So the money question is: How do you get media to attend a potentially boring event? 

The short answer: Make it worth their while. Here are three easy tips:

-          Pick a new venue: Host the event at a new restaurant or bar that journalists are dying to go to. Food and beverage editors won’t turn down a free meal at a hot new venue (unless you work for The New York Times), especially if you can schedule your event before…

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The Booze Bin

From Tampa to Big Bear – Prost!

The Munchen Oktoberfest may have wrapped up last week, but Americans will be channeling their inner German all month long. And can you blame us? Oktoberfest began as a modest Bavarian agricultural show at the turn of the 19th century, and has transformed into a festival of attractions, from amusement rides and beer halls to bratwürst and giant pretzels. The traditional festival has come a long way, and now serves a whopping 7 million liters of beer to 6 million thirsty people.prost

The German Oktoberfest is of course more culturally legitimate than anything we can conjure up in the States, but we are always happy for an excuse to drink heaps of delicious beer. Whether we’re reconnecting with our Germanic roots or simply jumping on the würst wagon, there is no shame in raising a stein (or two) to those old Bavarian farmers.

If you haven’t already been involved in the festivities, here are 5 ways you can still celebrate Oktoberfest in the States:

1. The best in the Midwest – The New Ulm Oktoberfest (October 10th – 11th)

2. Bring your steins to the South – Tampa Oktoberfest (October…

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The Booze Bin

How to Win a Silver Anvil (while Holding a Glass of Wine)

Shh there's wine in hereI have a confession to make. After more than a decade in booze PR, I have never attended a PRSA conference. I KNOW. It is so crazy, it’s Italian television crazy. But allow me to redeem myself.

I have helped to write, edit and submit more PR award entries than I care to remember. Ok, they were submitted at 11:59pm on the late entry date north of 99% of the time. But that’s not the point. The point is, I have been fortunate enough to learn from some of the best in the industry (I’m looking at you, Patrice Tanaka), and whipped, kicking and screaming, into PR award shape.

With the annual PRSA International Conference in DC only a few days away, I am working feverishly with the (ahem, no big deal) SILVER ANVIL award-winning Rioja team to prep our PRSA session, “Pairing Rioja Wine Producers with the U.S. Market.” Truly a team effort, this winning entry was led by the Rioja Trade Campaign Manager, Lauren Ray, assisted by Pablo Olay (Campaign Director), Rebekah Polster (Media Team Supervisor), Daniel Walsh (Trade Team Consultant) and the PR award…

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The Booze Bin

Are Booze Delivery Apps Worth the Buzz?

Apps like Seamless and Uber make it easy to get takeout from your favorite Thai restaurant or a ride across town. Alcohol delivery itself isn’t entirely a new concept, but now startups are making it as simple to get a bottle of Pinot Noir delivered to your door all from the comfort of your mobile [...]

The Booze Bin

Food Journalism Pioneers: Honoring Michael & Ariane Batterberry

A couple of weeks ago, the food world was rocked with the announcement that the beloved Food Arts magazine was closing. Heartbreaking to those in the food and beverage industry, Food Arts has been a food_arts2benchmark for trade publications with high standards and great content.

So, when Food & Wine magazine announced layoffs last week to refocus on their digital efforts, and rumors suggested more were potentially on the way, the irony struck me.

Food Arts and Food & Wine magazines were both founded by the talented Michael and Ariane Batterberry in 1988 and 1978 respectively. Both magazines were at the forefront of publishing and content at the time of their debuts – with Food Arts emerging as the premiere trade magazine for chefs and industry people alike, while Food & Wine magazine built on Gourmet Magazine’s offering, without the “stuffiness.”

In 1980, American Express Publishing bought Food & Wine magazine (and more recently Time Inc., last year), and M. Shanken Communications, Inc. acquired Food Arts in 1989. While they no longer played a role michael-batterberryat Food & Wine, both…

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The Booze Bin

Top 3 Reasons Craft Brewers Look East

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Four out of the five largest craft brewers are located west of the Mississippi. California and Colorado, in particular, are known for their incredible community of craft brewers, breweries and beer lovers. Some of the biggest names in craft brewing, however, are looking east to keep up with the wildfire growth of the craft beer industry.

Take Chico, California’s Sierra Nevada Brewing and Fort Collins, Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing, for example. The second and third largest U.S. craft brewers by sales, respectively, both top brewers looked to “Beer City USA,” Asheville, North Carolina, as home to their highly anticipated east coast outposts.

First out of the gates, Sierra Nevada is finally breaking ground this fall with brewery tours and a gift shop, followed by their taproom and restaurant later this winter. After a delay from their original launch timing, New Belgium’s Asheville brewery looks to launch next spring.

Most recently, San Diego’s Stone Brewery announced three finalist cities for its east coast operations: Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia, and Columbus, Ohio. As an aside, PadillaCRT has offices in both Virginia cities, and specifically in the…

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The Booze Bin

Fall Into Beer

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Fall officially starts next week. It’s time put away the shandys, maibock and hefeweizens until next year. But what will you drink between now and dreadful winter? Fall seasonals. It’s the only way.

Here are five tasty autumn brews that will help you get ready for hibernation mode:

Hard Cider

One hard cider I’m not angry with is Angry Orchard’s Apple Ginger out of Boston. I mean can you really go wrong with the flavors of apple and ginger? Sweet, yet tart this is one hard cider worth trying. Bonus: it’s gluten free.

Lager and Ale

Made by 21st Amendment in San Francisco, He Said is a collaboration between Seattle-based Elysian Brewing. The best part: This box collection includes two cans of He Said Baltic-style Porter and two cans of He Said Belgian-style Tripel, both brewed with pumpkin and spices.

Pumpkin Ale

The great pumpkin craze is in full effect. From pumpkin flavored Oreos and lattes to vodkas and almonds – there’s no stopping pumpkin as the official flavor of all. One pumpkin product worth trying this fall is Elmsford, New York’s Captain Lawrence Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Ale. It’s hoppy, spicy and…

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The Booze Bin

How To Enjoy Craft Cider – Infographic

In our last blog post about craft cider, we shed light on the basics (Craft Cider 101). This fall, I challenge you to look over the rim of your tasting glass and experiment with artisan hard cider in cocktails and at dinner parties. For inspiration, visit one of fall’s many cider events, like Cider Week Virginia and New York.

As versatile as wine and beer, craft cider can hold its own on tasting menus and in cocktail glasses – shaken or stirred. Even better: Cider bars across the country are finally becoming a staple of America’s drink culture.

Here’s how and where to enjoy craft cider this season! Cheers.

14-PCRT-Cider-Infographic

Download the full infographic here.  

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The Booze Bin

From Farm to Bar: Locavores Support with Sips

Over the past decade, the idea of eating local has gained a lot of momentum in the United States. There is still plenty of educating to do, but the growing support of sustainable agriculture programs, CSAs, and farmers markets all speak to the value people place on this food movement. As more and more restaurant menus site the farms from which their products are sourced, it comes as no surprise to see avid locavores carry their stance beyond food and into the beverage realm.farmers market

As both PR professionals and libation-loving individuals, there is more than one reason why you should serve local both on your plate and in your glass. Here are a few:

1. You’ll support local producers

This one may be obvious, but it’s a major element. There are over two million farms across the United States, and they are the backbone of America. As consumers, we are the influencers of their production. If we ask for local, they are going to supply local. If this small notion spreads to a national movement, the often-attacked high price point for sustainable products will fall. This, in turn, would give small farms…

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