MRM Imbibe features beer, wine and spirits news.
Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at email@example.com.
Master Sommeliers Exam Portion Invalidation
The Board of Directors of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas unanimously voted to invalidate the results of the tasting portion of the 2018 Master Sommelier Diploma Examination for all candidates due to clear evidence that a Master breached the confidentiality with respect to the wines presented for tasting.
“Maintaining the integrity of the examination process must be our highest priority, lest we risk diminishing the value of, and the respect earned from, becoming a Master Sommelier,” said Devon Broglie, MS, Chairman of the Board. “Our credential is known throughout the hospitality industry worldwide, and it guarantees that the holder of the Master Sommelier title is among the most qualified of all wine industry professionals. A compromised examination does not provide that guarantee.”
The Board of Directors found sufficient evidence that the tasting portion of the 2018 Master Sommelier Diploma Examination was compromised by the release of detailed information concerning wines in the tasting flight. The Board unanimously voted to fully void those results to protect the integrity of not only the examination process but also the reputation of the Court of Master Sommeliers and the title Master Sommelier.
“We understand this decision is a shock to those who recently passed this examination, and we carefully considered the impact our decision has on our newly pinned Masters and their careers,” Broglie said. “We are committed to developing an expedited process so that all eligible candidates can retake the tasting examination.”
The Board of Directors has barred the Master involved from participating in any Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas programs or events and has voted unanimously to initiate the process of terminating membership pursuant to the organization’s bylaws.
“Our honor and integrity are the best safeguards for preserving the reputation of the Court of Master Sommeliers, our members, and our industry as a whole,” Broglie said. “Maintaining the integrity of the examination process must be our highest priority, lest we risk diminishing the value of, and the respect earned from, becoming a Master Sommelier.”
World's Best Bartender and the Cocktail Renaissance
Orlando Marzo, from Melbourne's Lume restaurant, has been named the world's best bartender by the biggest bartending competition on the planet, WORLD CLASS Global Bartender of the Year 2018.
Orlando beat over 10,000 bartenders from every corner of the globe in a competition that spanned five continents, six months, hundreds of challenges and countless cocktails. It culminated in a four-day final, where 56 of the best bartenders in the business battled it out in the global cultural hotspot of Berlin.
Shaking it all the way to the top was no mean feat for this leading bartender, but his winning cocktails well and truly blew the judges away. Diageo Global Cocktailian and WORLD CLASS judge, Lauren Mote, said: "All the finalists brought their A game, but Orlando really was on another level. The Zacapa aperitif he made for the 'Before and After' challenge was one of the best I've ever tasted and the way he held his nerve in the 'Cocktail Clash' finale – for me, that's the mark of a truly WORLD CLASS bartender."
So how did he do it? Hard work and an incredibly supportive bar team back home, according to the newly crowned winner. "I can't believe it!" said Orlando, "Just being here, competing alongside the best bartenders in the world, judged by some of the most iconic names in the business was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but to actually win? I'm still in shock. I couldn't have done it without the support of my amazing team back home – they've cheered me on every step of the way!"
2018 marks the 10th anniversary of WORLD CLASS, and guests at this year's Finals in Berlin were treated to a show unlike any other. In an eclectic capital known for its cutting-edge bar scene, trends were set, new ground was broken, and the boundaries of mixology were pushed further than ever before. The competition kicked off on October 5, as dozens of the world's best mixologists gathered for the biggest event on the bartending calendar. On Monday, after a gruelling weekend of challenges, 56 competitors were whittled down to the final four, who put every skill in their bartending arsenal to use in the 'Cocktail Clash' grand finale.
The standard this year was truly exceptional, but Orlando stood out as the best of the best. Armed with Diageo's award-winning Reserve brands, he blew the judges away, taking sustainable bartending further than ever before in the Ketel One 'Better Drinking' challenge, and reigning supreme in the 'Flavours of a Nation' round with his innovative twist on the classic Johnnie Walker Black Label Highball. To seal the deal, he went head-to-head with his fellow competitors in the 'Cocktail Clash' Grand Finale and brought the house down with one show-stopping creation after another.
Orlando has an incredible year ahead of him – he will have the chance to travel the world as a Diageo representative, making bespoke drinks in exotic and far-flung locations and judging competitions. He will also join a roll call of the industry's finest, becoming the 10th member of the WORLD CLASS Hall of Fame.
Emily Wheldon, Global Head of WORLD CLASS, said: "For the 10th anniversary of WORLD CLASS we were on a mission to make this the biggest and best Global Finals yet – and it didn't disappoint! Cocktail culture continues to reign, and over the last four days in Berlin, these WORLD CLASS finalists have set the standard for the year to come. The venue was spectacular, the challenges more innovative and exciting than ever before and the talent on display was second to none. The aim of WORLD CLASS is to inspire people to care as much about drinks as they do about food, and we've certainly achieved that here this weekend!"
Also at the event, a panel of the world's leading flavour experts, hosted by Diageo Global Cocktailian, Lauren Mote, included bartending legend Jeffrey Morgenthaler, king of the Instagrammable cocktail Elliott Clark (a.k.a. Apartment Bartender), Claire Smith Warner, Head of New Brands at Seedlip (the world's first non-alcoholic distilled spirit) and World Class Bartender of the Year 2012, Tim Phillips-Johansson, discussed what the future of drinks will look like in 2019.
1. Low and No-ABV Cocktails
It may seem odd for cocktail enthusiasts to wax lyrical about the perks of low and no-alcohol drinks, but 2019 is set to see plenty of new low and no-ABV cocktails. Non-alcoholic spirit Seedlip has gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2016. No-alcohol options are particularly popular among younger consumers, with 46 percent of under-35s likely to order a mocktail, versus just 16 percent of over-35s.
This is all about a desire for choice; to have drinks for any occasion without compromising on flavour. Brands, blenders and bartenders have always insisted that flavour is key, and low-proof options allow consumers to savour taste while managing their alcohol intake. In 2019, WORLD CLASS expects to see this pick up steam, as the global trend towards well-being continues to flourish.
Claire Smith Warner added: "There's a growing awareness of cocktails as experiences that are as intricate and thoughtful as meals, and more people want to take part. It's not about replacing alcoholic cocktails altogether; it's about bartenders experimenting and adding more low-ABV options to their repertoire."
Cocktail culture has skyrocketed, and today any mixologist can whip up an array of complicated cocktails at the drop of a hat. WORLD CLASS offers a few ideas on how to make a drink to stand out.
Many turn to social media, and a new generation of 'drinkstagrammers' have emerged, bringing a fresh vibrancy to cocktail making and reaching an audience that might never have got involved before. Elliott Clark (@apartment_bartender), said: "For people like me with no formal bartending experience, social media opens up this incredible industry and provides a creative outlet to engage and interact with the wider drinks community. But more than that, it challenges seasoned bartenders to think outside the bar and push themselves creatively."
In 2019, how the drinks look will be just as important as how they taste. Social media recognition plays a major role in the drinking habits of younger consumers, and in response, brands and bartenders will continue to experiment to take their cocktails, and their social reach, to a whole new level.
3. Sustaining the Momentum
The drinks industry is in the grips of an anti-waste movement, and consumers are increasingly concerned with social responsibility. 73 percent of millennials express a willingness to spend more products from sustainable brands. Top bars will go above and beyond to reduce waste, scrapping the perishables and turning leftovers into innovative eco-friendly cocktails.
Tim Philips-Johansson said: "It might seem odd since we sell alcohol for a living, but bartenders want the best for our customers and the environment. We want our world to be healthier, and that means making conscious decisions to positively influence the direction the world is moving."
Global Head of World Class, Emily Wheldon, added: "Whether it's a Johnnie Walker highball or a Zacapa Old Fashioned, drinks that look and taste great and contribute in some way to making the world a better place are going to take centre stage.
"Drinks can be low-alcohol or zero-waste, but if they don't taste superb, people won't buy them. That's why all our Reserve brands, like Tanqueray No. TEN, Bulleit and Talisker, work closely with bartenders to create spirits with their needs in mind. We're really excited about working with the best talent in the business as these trends take shape."
As the spirits industry booms – with U.S. consumers drinking almost $44 billion worth of product in 2017 – strategy consulting firm L.E.K. Consulting has released a new report based on their research identifying the most striking trends in the space.
Most noteworthy is that the already booming spirits market is only projected to grow. U.S. consumers are expected to consume $58 billion worth of spirits per year by 2020, at an annual growth rate of 6%. And the spirits industry is relatively unaffected by economic downturns: During the 07-08 recession, the industry still grew, though at a more modest rate.
Some of the other most noteworthy trends in the spirits industry are…
- Ecommerce and direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales are on the rise. There are a lot of different DTC business models cropping up: distilleries are selling directly to consumers at a physical location or online, third-party cocktail clubs are gaining popularity in “cocktail culture” and ecommerce delivery platforms that deliver liquor purchased from local retailers directly to consumers.
- Millennials are a key demographic. Even though only 29 percent of the drinking-age population are millennials, they comprise 32% of spirits consumption by value. And as the buying power of millennials increases as they advance in their careers, this trend is only set to become more relevant to the space.
- “Drinking in” is now in. There are a lot of factors going into this trend, including a wealth of deals on spirits in the retail space, and millennials refusing to pay for the mark ups that are the norm at bars.
- Premium products are outpacing their mid-to-low shelf counterparts, especially among millennials. Specifically, from 2012 to 2017, high end spirits sales grew 6-7 percent per year by volume.
- Craft spirits are the next big thing. The number of craft distilleries has increased around 35 percent per year since 2011 and the craft spirits market has grown 19 percent per year since 2015.
“Additionally, major brands, such as Maker’s Mark and Roca Patron, are seeing the big future opportunities in the craft spirits space and are developing products to capitalize on this trend,” says Rob Wilson, Managing Director at L.E.K. Consulting and report author.
Wilson adds, “Also of note, consolidation and M&A activity in the spirits industry has been high, with over 25 deals since 2014, and this is expected to continue through 2018.”
Finishing off the trends identified in the report: whiskey, tequila, brandy and cognac are outperforming other types of liquor; and smaller, more portable packaging is increasingly becoming the norm for spirits.
The Hendrick's Gin Palace
Hendrick's Gin unveiled a new resplendent distilling home truly befitting a gin famed for its sense of invention and wonder: The Hendrick's Gin Palace, top photo.
The Hendrick's Gin Palace and distillery has been expanded to meet the voracious global demand for Hendrick's, which is unusually infused with essences of cucumber and rose. As an engine of innovation, it is an institution dedicated to exploration and discovery where Hendrick's Master Distiller, Lesley Gracie, will have the creative freedom to experiment and conceive new Hendrick's variants, as well as being the distilling home for the brand that turned the gin world on its head.
The distillery has doubled its capacity to meet demand and the extraordinary facilities that are now available to Lesley will allow her to truly unleash her innate creative proclivities.
The Hendrick's Gin Palace features a mysterious and enchanting walled garden which leads to a magnificent and imposing Victorian inspired palm house. This is flanked by two botanical hot houses used to cultivate a plethora of unusual botanicals and flora from around the world. There is the inner sanctum that is Lesley's laboratory which features a curious flavour library, a lecture theatre that encourages scholarly learnings and a suitably stylish bar.
And of course there are two new still houses. The Hendrick's family of stills has flourished and now stands at a proud six – four Bennett stills including the original antique copper pot still hailing from 1860 and three precise replicas. And two Carter Heads including one original constructed in 1948 and one exact reproduction. The new stills have been active for almost a year producing the same delicious liquid that tastes exactly like Hendrick's did on the day it was launched.
William Grant & Sons, the family owned independent global spirts company, has invested £13m in the glorious expansion, a reflection of the confidence and excitement it has in the future of Hendrick's. Innovation has always been in the brand's DNA. It spearheaded the global gin boom and it created and continues to leads the super-premium gin category.
Lesley Gracie, the master distiller for Hendrick's said: "I've been distilling Hendrick's for almost twenty years and during that time, my team and I have had the opportunity to explore and experiment on a small scale. However, I'm thrilled and excited to take full advantage of our wonderful new distillery and begin working on a line of experimental liquids, some of which will hopefully blossom into future releases and potential new expressions of Hendrick's"
Pamela Selby, the Global Brand Director for Hendrick's added: "The Hendrick's Gin Palace in its design and experience, is intended to inspire curiosity, open minds and serve as a platform for invention. It pulls back the curtain on the wondrous production method and showcases the many layers of Hendrick's that it has become celebrated for, some humorous, others curiously intellectual, detailed and deeply meaningful. It represents the confidence we have in the brand that helped to kick-start the ginaissance and leading role it has played ever since."
Why Doing Good, Tastes Better
Ketel One – unveiled some of the possibilities that could make the drinks world a more sustainable and better place. While the world is catching on to sustainable straws, the family-made vodka believes there's much more the drinks industry can do.
At the prestigious World Class competition, this year hosted in Berlin, a bar made from reclaimed wood and recycled furniture; chairs made from repurposed plastic bottles, old DVDs and scrapped mobile phones once destined for landfill; tables made from pressed yoghurt pots; and, of course, a Ketel One Bloody Mary made with locally sourced ingredients – critically home-grown, not flown – encourages people and bartenders to think about how preparing their drink can help them do better.
The commitment to 'better' doesn't stop there – Ketel One aims to inspire bartenders around the world to re-think the recipes of their most popular drinks to have a more positive impact on their communities. Espresso Martinis, Bloody Marys, Vodka and Sodas and Dutch Mules are all reimagined using reduced waste, natural ingredients and locally sourced garnishes to enhance their flavours.
The move reflects a wider shift in culture which has seen people drinking less but drinking better, seeking out brands that are sustainable or endeavouring to have a positive impact on the world around them.
Alexandre Rodrigues, Global Brand Director of Ketel One explained why they are so invested in this shift: "People are increasingly looking for premium refinement and quality that's down to earth, simple and honest. This search for 'better' isn't just with ingredients, but with experiences and a brand's impact on society as a whole.
"Cultural consciousness has been at the heart of Ketel One, that's why we decided to help inspire bartenders and bars around the world about how they can offer an even better drinking experience."
The real surprise is, far from looking like a craft project, the drinks and sustainable bar wouldn't be out of place in any of the world's top bars. Bob Nolet, the 11th generation of the Nolet family – the creators of Ketel One – explained why he is so passionate about inspiring bartenders and bars on this movement:
"My family has been distilling spirit since 1691 and from that moment we have always sought the perfect balance between a commitment to taste, a commitment to bartenders and a commitment to the world around us.
"We built the world's largest windmill to help power our distillery and our family still tastes and approves every batch of vodka before it leaves our distillery to ensure the highest quality standards. We want to encourage bartenders to have the same attitude: always deliver the best drinks they can while also having a positive impact on their communities – this is what motivates me and my family every day."
Johann Bödecker, Pentatonic Founder and CEO, who helped co-create the Ketel One sustainable bar said: "Pentatonic collaborates with consumer brands worldwide. Whether it's consumer electronics, fashion or automotive, shifting to a circular model that avoids waste and reutilises post-consumer materials is a high priority for all forward-thinking consumer brands.
"Together with our brand partners we are making real progress by changing materials, processes and most importantly habits. Working with Ketel One to do just that has been brilliant. The drinks industry is growing fast and if we can take a lead in showing other industries how to turn waste into something that improves customer experiences and business practices, then we're starting to make a difference."
Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., was honored with a SmartWay® Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an industry leader in freight supply chain environmental performance and energy efficiency in transportation logistics. The SmartWay Excellence Award is the EPA's highest recognition for demonstrated leadership for Shippers and Carriers.
For the third time in four years, the EPA has recognized top environmental performance by Bacardi USA in demonstrating a series of coordinated measures to effectively integrate its supply chain planning, operations, and transportation partners to effectively reduce its carbon footprint and emissions.
"Bacardi manages an extended transportation network, so we relentlessly look to minimize our footprint through an optimal carrier portfolio of road and rail. As North America is Bacardi's largest market, our domestic transportation initiatives are key to the sustainability of our operations," said Sami Salman, Vice President – North America Supply Chain for Bacardi. "We are honored to be recognized again this year by such a highly respected organization for a cause we are so committed to and recognizing our continuous efforts as caretakers of the environment."
Bacardi's transportation efficiencies have significantly improved over the past few years. In 2009, 65% of Bacardi shipments out of its Jacksonville, Florida, bottling facility were with over the road carriers. In just nine years, Bacardi reversed that with just 35% of shipments traveling over the road, and now 65% moving via intermodal rail. These intermodal efficiency wins were further enhanced with Bacardi's metrics-driven load planning, transportation and yard management systems designed to optimize the trailer "drop and pick" and full trailer moves.
"Since 2004, the EPA, through its SmartWay Partnership, has collaborated with business to improve the sustainability of goods movement," said Assistant Administrator of the Office of Air and Radiation, Bill Wehrum. "Today, we are recognizing top-performing SmartWay Shippers and 3rd Party Logistics providers with a 2018 SmartWay Excellence Award. These industry leaders serve as role models for their peers, contributing to healthier air by advancing strategies and practices that result in cleaner, more efficient freight supply chains."
Curry Week Kick-Off
Global beer brand Bira 91, announced the kick-off of the first ever International Curry Week, a playful celebration of all things curry. From October 12 through 28, select restaurants throughout New York City, Singapore and New Delhi will offer custom menus, curated curry dishes and pairings with Bira 91's most distinctive handcrafted beers.
International Curry Week will celebrate the rich history, evolution and diversity of curry and how it has become a true product of global culinary currents. Highlighting curry as an all-inclusive cultural movement, Bira 91 will partner with a variety of restaurants across multiple markets to bring to the forefront curries from around the world: Indian, Caribbean, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian and Vietnamese. Participating restaurants include New York City's famed Miss Lily's, Baar Baar, Kiin Thai, and Amarachi; Singapore's Tandoor, Lagnaa, Long Chim and Nara Thai; New Delhi's, Lavaash By Saby, Jamun, AnnaMaya and many more.
"We're thrilled to kick-off the first annual International Curry Week," said Ankur Jain, Founder and CEO, Bira 91. "Curry is the world's comfort food, but it's enjoying a new embrace as something different: a hip symbol of how the world is growing more colorful and more diverse. We're excited to complement a wide range of curries with our own distinctive beers and look forward to bringing something new for consumers to experience for years to come."
Select restaurants will offer diners a custom menu with curry-centric entrees specially developed by the chefs, along with a specific Bira 91 pairing. Others will offer fixed pricing on specific dishes paired with Bira 91. Along with the culinary offerings, Bira 91 will provide free giveaways and redeemable vouchers with the order of certain curry dishes.
For more information on International Curry Week, as well as the list of participating restaurants in each city, click here.
Harpoon Dunkin' Coffee Porter
Two of America's iconic beverage brands are bringing a bold new way for fans to toast the start of fall. Dunkin' and Harpoon Brewery, New England staples with millions of fans across the country, have come together for the first time to combine the taste of Dunkin's Espresso Blend Coffee with Harpoon's famous craft beer, launching the new Harpoon Dunkin' Coffee Porter. A balanced and smooth brew offering robust and roasty notes, Dunkin' Coffee Porter was created by Harpoon as a tribute to all the days that Dunkin' has helped the brew masters fire up the brew kettle.
Harpoon Dunkin' Coffee Porter will be available throughout the fall, in both 12 oz. bottles and draft at select retail locations across the Eastern U.S. At 6 percent ABV, Dunkin' Coffee Porter is a malty tasting brew that has a smooth mouthfeel with aromas of espresso and dark chocolate. The new brew pairs perfectly with fall favorites like hearty stews, seasonal desserts, tailgating and, of course, Dunkin's signature donuts.
Harpoon Dunkin' Coffee Porter first premiered last Thursday, September 27 at Dunk-toberfest, the aptly named introduction to Harpoon's annual Octoberfest event. Beer lovers in the Boston area were given an early taste at Harpoon's Boston Brewery ahead of the new beer hitting shelves this week.
According to Tony Weisman, Dunkin' U.S. Chief Marketing Officer, "Our brands have such passionate, loyal fans, who start their busy day with a cup of Dunkin' coffee and end it by enjoying one of Harpoon's famous craft beers. We're thrilled to now finally bring the two together, partnering with one of the most respected craft breweries in the country to offer coffee lovers and beer enthusiasts alike a classic new taste to celebrate the season."
"Dunkin' has been there for us since the early days when getting the brewery up and running required a lot of beer, and even more coffee," said Dan Kenary, CEO and Co-Founder of Harpoon Brewery. "We couldn't think of a better way to pay tribute to the company that's helped fuel our success than to create something special for our fans by combining the taste of their favorite morning brew with one of ours."
32nd Great American Beer Festival Competition
Craft Brew Alliance announced that Omission Brewing Co., Widmer Brothers Brewing, and strategic brewery partner Appalachian Mountain Brewery collected a total of four medals, including two gold medals from the 32nd Great American Beer Festival (GABF) Competition. The top three winners in 102 beer-style categories were announced at an awards ceremony held September 22 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado.
“With over 2,400 breweries and a lot of exceptional beers competing for medals at this year’s GABF, we’re incredibly proud to be bringing home four medals, including two gold medals,” said CBA Innovation Brewmaster Thomas Bleigh. “These wins, which represent both nationally available and regionally available beers, are a testament to the quality, creativity, consistency, and talent of our brewers and our commitment to being World Class Craft.”
Omission Brewing Co. received a gold medal for Pale Ale in the Classic English-Style Pale Ale category. Founded in 2012, Omission Brewing Co. is the first craft beer brand in the U.S. focused exclusively on brewing great-tasting beers with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, that are specially crafted to remove gluten.
Widmer Brothers Brewing’s flagship Hefeweizen earned a bronze medal in the American-Style Wheat Beer with Yeast category. Kurt and Rob Widmer first brewed their original American Hefeweizen in 1986, and the naturally cloudy wheat beer is one of the industry’s most-awarded beers, with dozens of medals, including nine GABF awards, over the past 32 years.
Appalachian Mountain Brewery, based in Boone, North Carolina, picked up two medals from GABF. The first release in the brewery’s new IPA series, Not an IPA (P.S. it’s an IPA), earned a silver medal in the competition’s second largest category, American-Style India Pale Ale, and their AMB Lager received a gold medal in the American-Style Lager or American-Style Malt Liquor category.
The 2018 GABF competition winners were selected by an international panel of 293 expert judges from 8,496 entries, received from 2,404 U.S. breweries, plus 101 Pro-Am and 49 Collaboration entries.
“The 32nd edition of the GABF competition yielded a remarkable turnout of the country’s most exemplary beers,” said Chris Swersey, competition manager, Great American Beer Festival. “I’m continuously impressed by contenders’ talent and passion and would like to extend congratulations to this year’s winners for their excellence in brewing.”
Beer Dust, Brew Glitter and Cocktail Glitter
Bakell, a decorating and baking supplies company wanted to create and sell something different.
"We wanted to create a product that could be used in liquids that wouldn’t dissolve, was tasteless, was edible & most importantly would add glimmer & pizzazz to our customers' parties,” said Justin Jordan, CEO & co founder of Bakell.com.
Bakell’s new edible Beer Dust™, Brew Glitter™ & Cocktail Glitter™ is tasteless so it won’t change the flavor of your beer, cocktail or beverage, it’s edible, using only FDA-approved ingredients, and best of all it won’t dissolve! Our edible glitters come in a range of colors from gold to pink and from silver to blue, so our customers can get the color they need for their next event.
Beyond just beer and cocktails, our customers are using our edible glitters in cold teas, dressing up coffee lattes using the glitter as an edible garnish or using the glitters & dusts for their personal parties by choosing a specific color that matches a party theme. Bakell’s new Beer Dust™, Brew Glitter™ & Cocktail Glitter™ comes in the standard 4g jar sizes, but Bakell.com also sells them in bulk sizes of 25g, 50g or 75g jars sizes at a discounted rate.
Justin Jordan went on to explain, “We can’t keep our new edible Beer Dust™, Brew Glitter™ & Cocktail Glitter™ stocked, they are that popular & fun! New customers and existing customers want to try different colors in different cocktails & beers! From breweries to bars, from event party planners to wine makers, everyone is wanting to use our new edible glitters, they just look awesome!”
Wine Star Lifetime Achievement
Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits said the company’s Senior Vice President and Wine Division President, Mel Dick, has been recognized with the Wine Star Lifetime Achievement Award by Wine Enthusiast magazine. Each year, Wine Enthusiast honors the individuals and companies that have made outstanding achievements in the wine and alcohol beverage world. Mr. Dick has been selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award for pioneering the wine industry as we know it today and building a portfolio of wines from around the world and spreading them across the U.S.
Interested in the wine and spirits business early on, Dick got his official start in the wine distribution world at the age of 21 in Gambarelli and Devito in New Jersey. Shortly thereafter, in March of 1958, he was hired by Gallo Wine Distributors of New Jersey. Later, in 1969, he accepted a job at Southern Wine and Spirits of America as General Sales Manager of Wine to develop the wine operations of the Company. Primarily responsible for the establishment of all aspects of the wine trade within the Company, he became Vice President of Wine in 1972 and assumed control of organization, sales, marketing, and supplier relations in all aspects of the Company's burgeoning wine business. In 1976, he became President of the Wine Division for Southern Wine and Spirits of America, and in 1984, he became a partner in the Company. In 1991, Mr. Dick acquired the additional title of Senior Vice President of Southern Wine and Spirits of America.
Commenting on the award, Dick said, “I love the business—it’s who I am, and it’s part of me, so to be recognized for doing what I’m passionate about is both humbling and rewarding. I found out a long time ago that to succeed, I was going to devote all of my time to the business and to family, and not make room for anything else.” He added, “It’s been a wonderful life…I’ve made friendships with the greatest wine and spirits producers, presidents of the United States, the greatest entertainers, athletes, kings and queens, all because they loved wine and wanted to talk about it.”
Wayne Chaplin, CEO of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits added, “It’s easy to look back 50 years and forget about what the wine business looked like. Today’s huge wine list, the huge by-the-glass list, varietal wines—all of this stuff is second nature now, but in those days, it really wasn’t. Mel saw that way before anyone else and transformed the business.” He added, “Mel just never took no for an answer. There are many life lessons that he taught me over the last 34 years that I will never forget.”
Dick also improved staff education at Southern Glazer’s, enhancing the Company’s focus on training. As a result, Southern Glazer’s is approaching its goal of 10,000 employees who will have benefited from formal wine and spirits training. He is also the recipient of numerous awards from the wine and spirits industry throughout the world. In 1984, he was bestowed the French Ordre du Mérite D’Agricole. In 2001, he received the prestigious Legion of Honor, France’s highest honor, for his outstanding contribution to the French wine and champagne, spirits, and water industry and was elevated to Officier de la Legion D’Honneur in October 2010. In 2014, Mr. Dick was elevated to Commandeur du Mérite D’Agricole.
The winners of the 2018 Wine Star Awards will be announced in Wine Enthusiast’s special “Best of Year” issue and will be honored at the 19th Annual Wine Star Awards, a black-tie gala, on January 28, 2019, at Nobu Eden Roc in Miami.
The Global Gastronomer
Diageo Reserve created a new food advocacy role within the business – the Global Gastronomer.
The first of its kind in the industry, the position will become Diageo's global authority on food and gastronomy culture, tasked with forging a more meaningful connection between the wider food occasion and the Reserve spirits portfolio, which includes some of the world's best loved brands like Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky, Zacapa rum, and Malts such as The Singleton, Cardhu and Talisker .
It signals a further commitment from Diageo to food, a relationship which was ignited earlier this year with the announcement of the business' international partnership with IMG's Taste Festivals, fantastic taste experiences around the world for food and drink aficionados, with Diageo spirits at the core.
Stepping up to the plate as the inaugural Global Gastronomer is award-winning Irish Chef and business owner, Mark Moriarty, who shot to prominence in 2015 when he was crowned the San Pellegrino World Young Chef of the Year.
Announcing the new appointment, Cristina Diezhandino, Global Category Director Scotch and Managing Director Reserve, said: "Last year we revealed a new Global Cocktailian role as our bar advocacy and drinks strategies expert; a position which has been a great success in helping us to achieve our vision of making luxury experiences available, accessible and aspirational to everyone.
"We recognise that food and drink culture is changing as more people become fascinated with flavour and how spirits can enhance the food occasion. Our new Global Gastronomer brings this movement to life and heralds the new age of the food and drink occasion, one which sees them working in unison to maximise flavour potential and create incredible taste experiences like the world has never seen before.
"There is no person more suited to pioneer this position in our industry than Mark Moriarty, who, as a culinary explorer, successful business owner and a drinks enthusiast, has a skillset which lends itself perfectly to unlocking the potential of the Global Gastronomer and supporting our wider commercial development and innovation streams."
Speaking on his new role, Moriarty said: "Becoming the first Diageo Reserve Global Gastronomer is a fantastic opportunity. I can't wait to work alongside the Diageo Reserve community and other industry thought-leaders to bring these revolutionary brands to life through food – ultimately creating some incredible taste experience for consumers and encouraging them to see a great cocktail as a way of maximising the culinary moment."
Parker Station Acquisition
Guarachi Wine Partners and Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard said Guarachi Wine Partners’ acquisition of Parker Station, a Central Coast Pinot Noir brand. Guarachi Wine Partners will be representing and supporting the brand by leveraging its experienced sales team, developing marketing campaigns and national distribution to grow brand awareness and overall volume. The wine will continue to be produced by Fess Parker Winery for a period of five years.
“Ten years ago, I saw an opportunity to expand past South American wines and into California produced wines. Our domestic portfolio now features Guarachi Family Wines – a high-end luxury label sourced from micro lots within Estate vineyards in Napa and Sonoma, and a gathering of high quality wine brands at reasonable prices, including Black Ink, tenshǝn, Surf/Swim and BACON,” said Alex Guarachi, founder of Guarachi Wine Partners and owner of Guarachi Family Wines. “Parker Station is the perfect addition, and fits a niche for our portfolio with its great price point Pinot Noir and drinkability that consumers are looking for. Part of the future plan for the brand is to extend the line to include Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. I’m excited to share this wine with everyone and looking forward to a long term partnership with Fess Parker.”
Tim Snider, President of Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, added, “As we enter our thirtieth year as a family owned and operated winery here in Santa Barbara County, we feel a return to our core identity by focusing on our higher-end and single-vineyard wines is the best path forward for the family.” Snider continued, “Connecting with Alex Guarachi about his vision to grow the Parker Station label is a mutually beneficial opportunity, and we know the brand will continue to flourish as part of their portfolio, which represents the richness and diversity of the global wine world.”
New Tasting Room for JUSTIN Vineyards
JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery opened a second Tasting Room location on the square along Downtown City Park in Paso Robles. As the region continues to gain global recognition as an award-winning AVA, this expansion allows more visitors the firsthand opportunity to experience the renowned JUSTIN brand.
As guests enter the JUSTIN Downtown Tasting Room, they are met with an elegant space featuring an expansive wine-tasting bar, lounge, and a full dining room. Guests can enjoy JUSTIN's seasonal wine-tasting flight and select wines by the glass, which can be savored alongside a locally-sourced artisanal cheese platter or pâté board. Those looking for a more formal dining experience are encouraged to indulge in the rotating menu of à la carte items or a seasonal pairing flight, both inspired by the award-winning Restaurant at JUSTIN.
Every detail of the new space was artfully curated and customized—from the "infinity" underground bottle display at the front alcove down to the pattern of the floor tile, which is a reproduction of the famous "Gaudí tile" designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí in the early 20th century. Kaoru Mansour, a Japanese-born artist now based in Los Angeles, created the series of six paintings displayed throughout the dining area and French artist Christophe Côme created the room's dramatic metal and glass divider. Throughout the space, 14 state-of-the-art high-definition screens take guests on a visual enological journey coined, "Liquid Containers." The rotating digital installations produced by Mill+, a collective of the Oscar-winning studio The Mill, feature a series of different JUSTIN wines being slow-poured at 1,000 frames per second.
"This is a special day for JUSTIN as we expand the footprint of our brand and our commitment to the Paso Robles community," said Clarence Chia, Vice President of Marketing and Direct-to-Consumer for JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery. "Nearly 40 years after first establishing our roots in Paso Robles, we are thrilled to welcome our neighbors and wine lovers alike to our second location in the heart of downtown for a taste of JUSTIN's world-class wines in one of California's most distinguished wine regions."
Smithworks in Texas
Smithworks is continuing its expansion across the United States and bring its award-winning, American-made vodka to its newest home in Texas.
"Smithworks is born and bred in the heartland and made with ingredients within a day's drive from our Fort Smith, Arkansas plant," said Troy Gorczyca, Brand Director, Smithworks. "The Smithworks family is incredibly excited to see the overwhelming reception to our American-made vodka, and we're thrilled to see the brand's continued growth since its inception two years ago."
Blake Shelton held surprise pop-up shows in Dallas/Ft. Worth and San Antonio. "Texas has a special place in my heart. I grew up in the neighboring state and I spend a lot of time on the Texoma Shores," said Blake Shelton, country music artist and member of the Smithworks family. "As part of the Smithworks' family, it's especially exciting for me that Smithworks is now available for all my fans in the Lone Star State."
In addition to Texas, Smithworks will continue its expansion over the next six months from its current availability in fourteen states to distribution in twenty-four states across the country. Consumers and fans will be able to purchase the spirit of the Heartland as it becomes available in Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, North Dakota and South Carolina this fall and Minnesota and Wisconsin in 2019.
Smithworks Vodka is distilled three times and charcoal filtered for a smooth taste and clean finish, has a suggested retail price of $19.99 for 750 mL and is available in 50 mL, 1L and 1.75L.
Beefeater® announced the U.S. launch of Beefeater Pink, a new bold expression created by Master Distiller Desmond Payne.
Beefeater Pink begins with the traditionally distilled Beefeater dry gin base, fusing it with natural strawberry flavors, citrus and classic juniper botanicals to deliver a delicate, finely balanced gin. Its transparent glass bottle was created to showcase its statement-making pink shade while its graffiti style logo brings to life the playful spirit of its London home.
"Gin consumption is on the rise, because there is a real appetite for new and innovative expressions that offer a different drinking experience for consumers," says Shefali Murdia, Beefeater Brand Director. "Beefeater Pink delivers exactly what U.S. consumers are looking for – high-quality taste and flavors that make for fun and delicious cocktails."
As a London Dry Gin still distilled in London, Beefeater has strong historical ties. Payne was inspired by Beefeater's founder James Burrough, a distiller whose inventions included raspberry gin, cherry brandy, British Brandy, bitters and mint. Burrough's creativity, curiosity and passion for combining craftsmanship with experimentation influenced Payne to create this strawberry flavored gin for the new generation of gin drinkers. Beefeater Pink captures the contrast between tradition and modernism.
Cannabiniers is ramping up their national expansion of Two Roots Brewing Co, the world's first line of non-alcoholic cannabis infused craft "Cannabier." The expansion begins with the execution of their first strategic brewing agreement supporting up to 50,000 annual beer barrels, or almost twenty million production units; with the objective of reaching 500,000bbls under contract or acquisition by year end.
"As a result of our Nevada launch, we now have empirical data to refine our forecasted sales levels and are now moving to secure the brewing capacity to support our twenty (20) state roll out, be it contract brewing, acquisitions or strategic alignments," said Timothy Walters, President of Cannabiniers. "Initial market response has been strong, with stores seeing on average one hundred (100) units sold per day. With sales exceeding forecasts by 300%, we are now taking orders three (3) months in advance. We need to move now and take advantage of our first mover position, in advance of changes in federal law, and market entry of Constellation Brands, InBev/AB, Diagio, or others."
Cannabiniers currently has eight states under manufacture and distribution agreement, and expects to have twenty (20) or more states under agreement by the end of 2018, and are forecasting Two Roots Brewing sales to reach 500,000bbls annually by mid to late 2020. In order to support their forecasted growth, Cannabiniers is seeking additional strategic partners and select acquisitions to support their rapid first mover growth.
Two Roots is the only line of craft beer in the United States using this state of the art technology for de-alcoholizing beer. Two Roots' initial product offering consists of five styles including Lager, Stout, New West IPA, Blonde Ale, and Wheat; with a "Tribute" style beer that tastes like cannabis to immediately follow.
"We have been overwhelmed by the markets positive response to Two Roots Brewing, Co; as a result we have been approached by a number of large multi-state cannabis organizations interested in the manufacturing and distribution of Two Roots Brewing, Co.; the combination of which has allowed us to accelerate our national roll out," said Director of Product Development, Kevin Love of Cannabiniers.
This announcement coincides with Cannabiniers' Series B capital raise of their multistate rollout of Two Roots, which now includes a $50M raise supporting a twenty-state product release.
Renewable Energy Brewery
3 Phases Renewables partnered with Portland-based Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) to supply their SE Portland brewery and restaurant with 100 percent renewable energy. In addition to "going green," purchasing clean energy from 3 Phases Renewables also helped HUB save money on its utility bill.
"At Hopworks, we're deeply committed to environmental sustainability and conservation," said Brewmaster and Founder, Christian Ettinger. "In addition to sustainable business practices, we want to ensure our business is powered by 100 percent clean energy. Our partnership with 3 Phases Renewables helped us to not only go green, we've also saved money on our electricity bill. It's been what we like to call a 'win-win' for our business and for the local environment."
When it comes to purchasing energy, the Public Utility Commission of Oregon allows for commercial customers like HUB to buy electricity from a 3rd party provider like 3 Phases Renewables. Otherwise known as "Direct Access," business customers may opt out of purchasing electricity from their existing utility and instead, go with an independent third party. A huge benefit to companies choosing to go this route is there are no onsite project costs and electricity is delivered without interruption through existing power lines after the switch. It's a simple solution for companies who want to support renewable energy projects and make the switch seamlessly and quickly.
"HUB is able to purchase energy directly from local clean energy suppliers without having to interrupt or make changes to how the business is run," said Mike Mazur, president of 3 Phases Renewables. "We're thrilled to have helped HUB become a leader in clean energy consumption in the Portland area, and hope to see more businesses realize that making the switch to all or even partial clean energy is fast, very easy to do, and often times, a means to save money as well."
WALT Wines Mile Marker Series
WALT Wines is launching a new experience focused on premiere pinot noir growing regions along the Pacific Coast. The Mile Marker Series is an appellation-based wine tasting experience at its Sonoma Square Tasting Room. The monthly offering will rotate its focus on specific appellations along the Pacific Coast from which WALT sources its grapes.
Offered the first week of every month, the series will dive deeper into a specific wine region’s history, its unique terroir, and the characteristics to look for in the wines from the appellation. Each 90-minute workshop includes a flight of four wines and is led by avid pinot-phile and Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers, Chris Brock. Brock, whose recent accomplishments include success of the Detroit Athletic Club, leads the Wine Education team in Sonoma, and has helped train dozens of introductory and second level Sommelier candidates throughout the course of his vast wine industry career.
“We are thrilled to introduce an education-based tasting that focuses specifically on Pinot Noir terroir,” says WALT Tasting Room Manager, Thrace Bromberger. “By introducing the Mile Marker Series, we are catering to what our guests are looking for – a hyper-focused experience about notable Pinot Noir regions up and down the Coast.”
WALT specializes in premier Pinot Noir and Chardonnay sourced from the most coveted vineyards along the Pacific Coast, spanning 1,000 miles from as far north as the Willamette Valley to the Sta. Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County. Led by Winemaker Megan Gunderson Paredes, WALT represents wines of a place – these special locations where thoughtful viticulture enables the winemaking team to create expressive wines that reflect the signature personality of each site.
The new Mile Marker Series is an extension of the Root 101 Experience which allows guests to taste along the 1,000 mile journey with marker’s called out in each offering. Monthly classes begin this November 2018 with the plan to keep it limited through the spring of 2019. These fun and educational courses are broken down by Appellation highlighting the following:
Mile Marker 438 – 445: Anderson Valley
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Wines included in this offering:
- 2011 WALT Hein Family Vineyard Pinot Noir
- 2016 WALT Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir
- 2016 WALT The Corner’s Pinot Noir
- 2016 WALT Blue Jay Pinot Noir
$50pp / $40 for Club Members
Mile Marker 362 – 372: Sonoma Coast & Carneros
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Wines included in this offering:
- 2016 WALT Brown Ranch Pinot Noir
- 2016 WALT Bob’s Ranch Pinot Noir
- 2016 WALT Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir
- 2016 WALT La Brisa Pinot Noir
$50pp / $40 for Club Members
Mile Marker 52 – 60: Sta. Rita Hills
January 12, 2019
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Wines included in this offering:
- 2010 WALT Sanford and Benedict Pinot Noir
- 2016 WALT Clos Pepe Pinot Noir
- 2016 WALT Rita’s Crown Pinot Noir
- 2016 WALT Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
$50pp / $40 for Club Members
The 2019 schedule will be released in early January.
Each class includes light bites that pair with Pinot Noir, and the fee is waived with a case purchase. Space is limited to ten people per class. To secure reservations, guests can book by visiting or by calling 707-933-4440.
Dixie Wildflower Honey Vodka
Dixie Vodka announced its most recent flavor innovation in a regional collaboration with Savannah Bee Company (SBC): Dixie Wildflower Honey Vodka. Dixie's newest product uses SBC's Georgia Wildflower Honey infused in Dixie's award-winning Dixie Southern Vodka, 6x distilled from non-GMO corn. The result is a delicious flavored vodka with a hint of sweetness, perfect on its own or in a variety of classic cocktails. A portion of proceeds from Dixie Wildflower Honey Vodka benefit The Bee Cause Project, which works to support the health of honey bees in the Southeast by increasing the number of hives in the region and helping to educate the public on their importance.
"As the leading homegrown vodka in the region, it's a key part of our mission that we work with flavors and ingredients that are core to the southeast," said Matti Anttila, CEO of Grain & Barrel Spirits and founder of Dixie Vodka. "We want to tell a story about where our ingredients are from and who our partners are. Beyond being a delicious, locally sourced ingredient, honey also tells a critical sustainability story for the region. Healthy bee populations are vital to our everyday lives and we hope we can do our part in working with Savannah Bee Company and The Bee Cause Project to help promote positive awareness for the challenges bees face."
"Savannah Bee Company strives to live as bees live: symbiotically with nature and in a manner that contributes positively to the world around us," said Ted Dennard, Founder of Savannah Bee Company and The Bee Cause Project. "Our Georgia Wildflower Honey is made from a variety of nectar sources depending on the whimsy of the bees. It's the perfect all-around honey. Infused with Dixie Vodka it also makes for one fantastic spirit."
Rolling out this month, Dixie Wildflower Honey Vodka will initially be available in leading retailers, bars and restaurants in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky, before expanding across the region through the holidays.
Wine Lovers' Advent Calendar
Wine fans rejoice! A new Wine Lovers' Advent Calendar has officially launched nationwide.
Behind each of the calendar's 24 windows is a special quarter bottle (187ml) that provides a generous glassful of world-class wine. Together, the selection delivers a taste tour of delicious offerings including top grower Champagne with two gold medals, fine Bordeaux from the exceptional 2015 vintage, 5-star estate Rioja, barrel-aged Chardonnay, and much more. Sourced by Direct Wines in collaboration with licensed retailers, the Wine Lovers' Advent Calendar gives adults the opportunity to share all the joy and excitement leading up to Christmas while enjoying some top-quality wines from around the globe.
The festively packaged advent calendar offers consumers a great gift option for wine-loving friends, family, and of course, themselves. It is available, in limited quantities, for purchase from WSJwine at wsjwine.com for $129.99 (plus applicable taxes). Shipping is free to 33 states in the United States. Quick orders are recommended, with a deadline of November 19, 2018 for delivery by December 1.
Drink in a New Language
Japanese Craft Beer launched its first marketing and visibility campaign in the US. With "Drink in a New Language," the industry association of 22 craft beer producers invites Americans to discover the authenticity, richness and unique flavor profile of Japanese craft beer. With a focus on the West Coast, the campaign kicked-off with a Japanese beer garden party on September 20 in Los Angeles.
Born in 1994 following industry deregulation that allowed smaller beer makers to acquire brewing licenses, the Japanese craft beer movement has its roots firmly planted in traditional sake making. While German-Bohemian beer styles (alt, kölsh, pilsner) ruled at first in the 1990s and early 2000s, the industry has since widened its product portfolio to include seasonal pale ales, stouts and IPAs, among others, that today will delight both beer amateurs and connoisseurs alike. To be considered craft brewers, Japanese breweries need to produce a minimum of 60,000 liters of beer a year.
Japanese craft beer is ideally positioned to answer today's demand for low-malt beer in the US. A JFOODO (Japan Food Product Overseas Promotion Center) February 2018 comparative study among 447 craft beer consumers in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles unveiled that 80% of respondents would want to try it.
"Japanese craft beer boasts unique attributes that are sure to appeal to American consumers," said Hiroki Oizumi, Director General with the JFOODO. "Beer lovers will discover quality brews of great character that are hand crafted with extreme attention to detail and unique ingredients from all corners of Japan such as yuzu, sansho (Japanese pepper) or matcha."
"Our craft beer is authentically Japanese," added Toshiyuki Kiuchi, Vice President of Kiuchi Brewery, known for its Hitachino Nest Beer. "While our beer is inspired by Western traditions, many differentiating factors contribute to making our products unique, including the impact of 190-year-old sake brewing traditions, local ingredients and a dedication to craftsmanship that can only come from Japan."
"The American market is obviously a top market for Japanese craft beer exports," concluded Yusuke Miyakoshi, Overseas Sales Manager at YOHO Brewing, famous for Yona Yona Ale and Umami IPA. "We want our beer to inspire Americans to be curious, try new things and realize the care and expertise Japanese craft brewers put into every single can of beer."
To celebrate the official launch of the campaign, Japanese Craft Beer threw a beer garden party at The Holding Co. in Los Angeles on September 20, 2018. The immersive event allowed guests to discover the surprising flavors of unique Japanese craft brands and get a taste of the new generation of star products. Participants enjoyed live music by Miss DJ Blizz and a special appearance by celebrity guest Kaley Cuoco.
The "Drink in a New Language" campaign is set to target both industry professionals and consumers across the West Coast. While a good range of products is available in the US, Japanese craft brewers are hoping to gain more visibility and influence, as well as introduce new beer to the market via continuous trade marketing relations, consumer events, PR and social media over the course of the next year.
White Walker by Johnnie Walker
In collaboration with HBO® and Game of Thrones, Johnnie Walker has today unveiled the new White Walker by Johnnie Walker. This limited-edition Scotch Whisky is inspired by the most enigmatic and feared characters on the hit show – the White Walkers – and is here for fans to enjoy as anticipation builds towards the final season.
Known by their icy blue eyes and led by the Night King, the undead army of White Walkers have emerged from the Frozen North bringing with them the chill of winter and now a limited-edition whisky that evokes their icy world. Created by whisky specialist George Harper, alongside the small team of expert blenders at Johnnie Walker, this innovative whisky is best served directly from the freezer, echoing the chilling presence of the White Walkers.
The bottling brings you right to the Frozen North with an icy white and blue design along with the iconic Johnnie Walker Striding Man now fashioned in armour to fit in among the ranks of the Night King's forces. Utilising temperature-sensitive ink technology, fans will be reminded that "Winter is Here" from an unexpected graphic icy reveal on the bottle when frozen.
The Scotch has notes of caramelised sugar and vanilla, fresh red berries with a touch of orchard fruit and features Single Malts from Cardhu and Clynelish – one of Scotland's most Northern distilleries. Blender George Harper used the Frozen North as his starting point for creating White Walker by Johnnie Walker. He said: "Whiskies from Clynelish have endured long, Scottish winters, not dissimilar to the long periods endured by the Night's Watch who have ventured north of the wall – so it was the perfect place to start when creating this unique whisky."
"We knew there was fan appetite for a Game of Thrones whisky and once we saw the vision from Johnnie Walker for a way to collaborate we knew the idea was perfect and the time was now. From the beginning, they understood that we wanted to create something special, and they've accomplished that with White Walker by Johnnie Walker. We're confident fans will enjoy sipping this delicious whisky as they wait for season eight and beyond," said Jeff Peters, Vice President, Licensing & Retail at HBO.