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Tres Lobos LLC., the company behind tequila Corcel introduces the Spirit of the Steed. 26 EMPOWERED WOMEN

For these female RTD cocktail entrepeneurs, collaboration beats competition. 32 YOUNG’S MARKET CELEBRATES 13O YEARS

Young’s Market Company was founded in 1888 and is one of the oldest continuously operating companies in the United States.



Category blooms, while glut looms.



Why the Vin de France category captures growing U.S. market share. 62 WHAT’S ON TAP NOW?

A Peek at trends brewing in 2018. 68 RIPE FOR ATTENTION

Fruit brandies present big opportunities.



Citrus power continues, with added bonus: no sugar. 16 THE GRATEFULLY DEAD COCKTAIL

Created to celebrate the upcoming Fall season, the Gratefully Dead Cocktail is a one-of-a-kind taste sensation.



Showcasing the best of the best, these tequila picks should be at the top of your list. 52 PINEAPPLE IN PARADISE

Blue Chair Bay’s new rum cream flavor could be it’s most popular yet.


BIN Front Cover Image Photography by Elaine Luxton, Drink In Nature Photography, LLC.


Long On Tradition R ic h in F l av or

ferrari-carano.com | Please Enjoy Our Wines Responsibly.

Certified CaliforniA Sustainable Vineyard

VOLUME8 5 , I SSUENUMBER6 FOUNDEDI N1 9 3 4 www. bi nma g . c o m

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© 2018 Selected and Imported by Winebow, Inc., New York, NY


BLUSHING BASTARD • Appellation: Vin de Pays d’Oc, France • Blend of Shiraz & Grenache • Round and full on the palate with ripe red fruits and a long, fresh finish.

Follow our shenanigans @FatBastardWine

@FatBastard_Wine 2018 BIN 57


the find Mr. Black’s packaging plays off the liqueur’s opacity, revealing its graphics only as the liquid is used.

The launch of “The Light” was promoted with a living-landscape display at NYC’s Grand Central Station.


MR. BLACK COLD BREW LIQUEUR REACHES U.S. Australia is not normally thought of as a hotbed for java, but it is the source of Mr. Black an intense new coffee liqueur made 300 bottles at a time. Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur uses half the sugar and ten times the coffee of “old-world” liqueurs, according to distiller Philip Moore, who created the brand with Tom Baker, coffee-nerd and designer, back in 2013. Serve it on ice like a cold brew; chilled black or with milk or cream; or in cocktails such as an Espresso Martini or “ColdFashioned.” Now it is stateside, starting in NY, CA, FL; IL, AZ next. SRP $40/500ml; 50 proof.

Inspired by a 1940s bottle, the updated packaging features the iconic cat of Sir Dubonnet’s beloved wife.

BACK WITH A FLOURISH: DUBONNET ROUGE Dubonnet Rouge, an aperitif that has graced back bars for 170 years, has been repackaged and reformulated. The fortified wine keys on Cinchona bark (originally discovered as a cure to common illnesses in the 1600s), combined with a wine base of Muscat of Alexandria, plus herbs and spices including black currant, tea and a dollop of 100% cane sugar. Vivid in both color and flavor, at once complex and refreshingly light, the reborn Dubonnet was a hit debuting at Bar Convent Brooklyn in June. In both 750ml (SRP $17.99) and 1L; 38 proof. doyoudubonnet.com

4 BIN 2018

Highland Park’s new expression—“The Light,” a limited-edition, 17-year-old single-malt Scotch— evokes the interplay of seasonal light on the Orkney Islands, where summer days last close to 20 hours. Summer’s whipping winds also assault the islands’ landscape, creating the aromatic peat that is used to dry the malt that gives Highland Park whisky its distinctive flavor. Matured entirely in refill American oak casks, The Light follows the 2017 release of The Dark, which was aged in first-fill European oak Sherry casks. The Light delivers the scents and flavors of caramelized pear, heather, nutmeg, vanilla and a hint of smoke. 4,500 bottles available; 105.8 proof; SRP $300. highlandparkwhisky.com

The series’ evocative bottles have a square base that transitions to a round top; a shorter neck borrows cues from high-end dark spirits; and the tinting features a slow resolve from dark to nearly translucent.

ESTATE VODKAS FROM BELVEDERE AIM TO CAPTURE TERROIR Belvedere Vodka’s new Single Estate Rye Series aims high: to explore the idea of terroir (soil, topography, and climate) in vodka, positing that climate variation affects the taste yielded from the same Polish Dankowskie Diamond Rye used in each expression. Belvedere Smogóry Forest, from a small estate deep in western Poland, shows notes of salted caramel, a touch of honey and white pepper, it finishes salty-sweet. Belvedere Lake Bartežek, crafted from Dankowskie Diamond Rye grown at a single farm in northern Poland’s Mazury lake district, represents a lakeside terroir, full, round and mellow with notes of black pepper, toasted nuts and cream. 80 proof; SRP $45. belvederevodka.com








new products



1. AMARO MONTENEGRO Amaro Montenegro has revealed the brand’s first major packaging update in decades. The new bottle features a more ergonomic design and elements that spotlight its storied recipe and legacy. To allow for an easier pour, the regulator has been removed from the tip of the bottle. The back label now tells the brand’s story in three parts: the original 1885 homage to Princess Elena; the richness of its ingredients (40 botanicals); and seven tasting notes. 46 proof.

SRP: $33 amaromontenegro.com

4. ‘LAIRD’S BONDED’ APPLE BRANDY Laird & Company is bringing back their Bottled in Bond 100 Proof Straight Apple Brandy—known as Laird’s Bonded and prized in the craft bartending community— after a four-year hiatus. The Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 aimed to guarantee that a spirit would be undiluted and unadulterated. There are four requirements for the Bottled in Bond designation: bottled at no less than 50% ABV (100 proof); aged in wood for a minimum of 4 years; distilled at one American distillery; distilled in the same season. SRP: $31.99 lairdandcompany.com



2. CASK & CREW ‘ORANGE ROASTED’ WHISKEY After extensive field research, Cask & Crew is adding Orange Roasted to their portfolio, joining their award-winning Walnut Toffee and Ginger Spice flavors. The combination of orange and whiskey has long enamored mixologists and patrons. Orange Roasted is born from Cask & Crew’s classic base—a blend of 51% three-year Canadian Rye and 49% three-year Kentucky corn whiskey— infused with natural ingredients imparting notes of semi-sweet orange peel and roasted coffee. Will be in 24 states. SRP: $25 caskandcrew.com

5. CAPTAIN MORGAN ‘APPLE SMASH’ Hot on the heels of Watermelon Smash and LocoNut, Captain Morgan’s newest addition to the shot family is Apple Smash. Arriving with scratch ‘n’ sniff packaging, similar to the previously released flavors, Captain Morgan Apple Smash blends Caribbean rum with crisp, juicy apple flavor. Best enjoyed as a chilled shot or over ice with club soda and a favorite garnish. 60 proof; also available in 50ml.

SRP: $15.99 captainmorgan.com


3. KORBEL ‘WAVECATCHER’ Bottle-wrap technology has advanced dramatically in recent years, and Korbel continues to keep shelves colorful with limited editions. Their latest is “Wavecatcher,” featuring a lively wavelike design and the winery’s California Extra Dry Champagne. As with all of Korbel’s expressions, it’s made using the méthode champenoise; the bubbly is fruit-forward in style, with notes of citrus and vanilla. 13,500 9L cases produced.

SRP: $13.99 korbel.com

6. ADOBE ROAD ‘REDLINE’ Packaged and promoted to appeal to men, this cross-county blend combines Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Malbec and Petite Sirah with Syrah from Sonoma County to produce a concentrated yet approachable red blend. Aromas of blackberry and mocha lead into a palate rich with dark chocolate, ripe black cherry and baking spices. Suggested food pairings include steak, pizzetta, pork belly and pasta.

SRP: $35 adoberoadwines.com








7. NIKKA WHISKY ‘FROM THE BARREL’ First introduced in Japan in 1986, Nikka “From The Barrel” developed a cult-like status—and now importer Hotaling & Co. is bringing it to the U.S. A complex blended whisky, Nikka From The Barrel was created to deliver full flavors and richness from a blend of 100+ batches of malt whisky and grain whisky, aged in multiple types of bourbon barrels, Sherry butts and hogsheads. The bottle is designed to reflect “a small block of whisky.” 102.8 proof.

SRP: $65 hotalingandco.com





Approaching their milestone 50th anniversary, Napa Valley’s Cuvaison winery redesigned the brand’s visual identity, paying homage to Cuvaison’s focus on estate-grown wines and historic roots in the famed Los Carneros region. The new packaging began rolling out with the release of the 2016 Estate Chardonnay, 2016 Estate Pinot Noir and 2017 Estate Sauvignon Blanc. The “Wine Glass in Arched Window” image long associated with Cuvaison has been updated to reflect a more inviting, modern aesthetic.

Jaja Tequila, just hitting the U.S. market in July with a Blanco and Reposado (their Añejo is currently aging, for release in 2019). Pronounced “Ha-ha,” the 100% Blue Weber agave tequila is triple-distilled in separate copper-lined stainless pots; and diluted to 80 proof using volcanic water. Other points of distinction include provocative bottle colors, a give-back program for Mexican communities, and a social-media-driven approach to market—co-founder Elliot Tebele is a wellknown avant-garde marketer (Jerry Media).

SRP: $24-$42 cuvaison.com



Louisville-based Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. is relaunching its absinthe spirits in new packaging and adding a barrel-finished expression. The brandy-based absinthe is double-distilled in copper pot-stills, non-chill filtered with no flavor or color additives, and diluted minimally to 130 proof. The flagship Absinthe Blanche has been joined in the past by vapor-distilled absinthes (lavender, citrus, ginger); now it is joined by a barrel-aged version. An antique bottle style projects both quality and heft.

Hakkaisan has launched “Awa,” a clear sparkling saké made by in-bottle secondary fermentation. The bubbles come only from natural fermentation, just like traditional Champagne, which is very unique for a sparkling saké. Awa is delicately effervescent with elegant sweetness; it harmonizes well not only with traditional Japanese cuisine, but also with unique dishes from outside Japan. Awa is produced in small batches, using handmade koji rice and a slow fermentation at low temperatures.

SRP: $55 (Alembic Blanche | Barrel finished) copperandkings.com

10 BIN 2018


SRP: $60/720ml, $30/360ml hakkaisan.com

SRP: Blanco $39.95 / Reposado $49.95 jajatequila.com

12. INDABA WINES IN 3L BOX New York-based Cape Classics is preparing to release the popular Indaba brand in a 3L bag-inbox format. Their motivation: to meet increased consumer demand for high-quality, affordable wines but in packaging that is easier to transport and has less impact on the environment. The first three Indaba wines in the new format will be Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Mosaic (Cabernet Sauvignon-based Bordeaux blend). As a 750ml of Indaba currently retails for $8$10.99, the 3L will offer significant savings.

SRP: $17-$19.99/3L indabawines.com






ntin u o c d n rs a 128 yea






hey ignited a new wave of vodka culture with their eyepopping ad campaigns in the late 1970s and 80s. They introduced a new spectrum of flavor possibilities to the spirit category and drove a Cosmo-ic frequency in the 1990s. They pinpointed ways to make vodka seem cool again to the hot hands of craft bartending in the early 2000s. How can Absolut Vodka drive category innovation in the second decade of the 2000s? Instead of forcing a premium upgrade, they took a more linear approach by introducing a new flavor to their citrus lineup—grapefruit. Don’t roll your cocktail shakers just yet; there’s more appeal to this twist of citrus. Taking note of consumer demand for fewer calories/less sugar, and taking stock of ingredients we can all pronounce, Absolut Grapefruit is made with natural flavors that don’t require added sugar. It weighs in at just 97 calories per 1.5 fluid ounces, as opposed to other flavored vodkas with much higher sugar content.

ABSOLUT GREYHOUND 2 oz Absolut Grapefruit 2 oz Grapefruit Juice 1 Grapefruit Spiral Add all ingredients to highball glass filled with ice. Add Grapefruit Spiral for garnish.

12 BIN 2018

A Simple Splash The product gives appeal to the vodka drinker looking to cut down on excess while still enjoying a pleasurable flavor experience—simply adding a splash of soda or tonic or enjoying it chilled or on the rocks. For those with loftier mixability goals, it’s also intended as a fresh-tasting base to explore a new trend of grapefruitforward cocktails. At a time when there is considerable competition for space on a back bar and store shelves, Brand Director Regan Clarke points out that Absolut Grapefruit fits squarely into current market demand and taste trends: “The new flavor reflects the growing consumer demand for refreshing, all-natural flavored vodkas, and citrus continues to be our top-selling flavor segment.”

Tangy Company This intriguing new flavor should feel like a natural addition to Absolut’s existing citrus portfolio, joining Citron, Mandrin, Lime, even Ruby Red. The point of distinction—and a key selling point—is Absolut Grapefruit’s drier character. The flavor was conceived with a more conscientious public in mind. “Consumers continue to demand transparency from brands and are increasingly conscious about hidden sugars,” Clarke adds. “Absolut Grapefruit is naturally sweetened with grapefruit flavor—with no added sugar or artificial coloring—offering a refreshing, deliciously sweet taste profile to complement a wide variety of simple or complex cocktails.”

As with Absolut Lime, which launched in 2017, the new expression is packaged in the brand’s iconic frosted bottle modeled after an early 20th century Stockholm pharmacy medicine flask.

Even though Sex In the City ended 14 years ago, the Cosmopolitan, made with Absolut Citron, is still widely popular. Absolut Lime launched with a focus on the simple Vodka & Soda. Absolut Grapefruit stays in the citrus family—could it also have its own signature cocktail? Clarke sees it adding a twist to a neo classic: “The flavor of Absolut Grapefruit is so refreshingly simple and sweet, adding soda offers an easy, yet delicious cocktail but it can be also enjoyed in an Absolut Grapefruit Paloma.” With the market poised for the new flavor, it’s time to roll out the promotional red carpet. Importer Pernod-Ricard is planning to vault Absolut Grapefruit into market with the same level of vigor as they launched Lime, spanning a ten-month period. The trade can expect bottles to first appear on shelves in July, with a print and digital advertising mix expected to go full-swing in August. n


wine buzz

NEW VINTAGE, NEW STYLE: LA GRANDE DAME 2008 Since its inaugural vintage in 1962, Veuve Clicquot’s La Grande Dame has only been crafted 22 times. The latest, 2008, features the highest percentage of Pinot Noir ever— 92%. Cellar Master Dominique Dermarville has made changes across the entire line, most notably a reduction in dosage for a drier, fresher, more mineral-driven profile. “This is the Veuve Clicquot twist: to combine depth and silkiness with lightness and elegance.” The 2008 GD is dense and complex with notes of fresh peach, currants and chalky, mineral-laced acidity.

PULSE CHECK: PINK POWER PUMPING Merchants long in tooth and red in tongue may wax poetic about previous “It” wines that soared and sagged—à la White Zin, Merlot, Shiraz, Moscato—but rosé continues to defy market gravity. Signs it has only just begun to flex its muscle: Rosé-thewine has become a sort of alpha pink, able to spread its pink halo to spirits (gin, vodka, cocktails galore) and other products (rosé deodorant anyone?). And the diversity within the category continues to impress—in stylistic range, points of origin and eyecatching packaging. To wit:



14 BIN 2018


A bright, vivid new field blend from Clarksburg even includes touches of Viognier and Chenin Blanc. SRP $19.99

This boutique Central Coast producer added two new pinks: a Bandol-style Rosé of Mourvèdre and an Old Vine Rosé of Grenache.



The latest from Charles Smith (his first release since folding into Constellation) is a 100% Pinot Gris from Washington State. $12.99

Le Grand Noir is emblematic of many new rosés that are line extensions; this bubbly pink is based on Grenache and Carignan grapes. $18.99

BUBBLING UP: A PAIR OF PROSECCO BRANDS Prosecco marketers are keen on parlaying the Italian bubbly’s recognition with refreshed looks and upscaled spinoffs. Gallo’s already widely-embraced LaMarca Prosecco is spinning off a DOCG Superiore, Luminore, at $29.99. Fuller-bodied, aromatic, rich with stone fruits and layered, Luminore is an upgrade worthy of an upsell. The release also marks the winery’s 50th anniversary. Bisol, imported by Wilson Daniels, has relaunched their Prosecco Superiore (SRP $23.99-$45.99) and Jeio collections. Both lines feature new packaging, complete with more vivid green, founding year (1542) redesigned Bisol logo. Bisol has also introduced a new Prosecco Superiore DOCG SKU ($19.99) as part of the Jeio collection’s revamp.

TREASURY WINE ESTATES: BANKING ON THE RIGHT BANK AND BEYOND Winemaker Sebastien Long is French, but spent the last six years making wine in Australia. Which is one reason Treasury Wine Estates tapped him to direct their ambitious new project, Maison de Grand Esprit, a collection of luxury French wines made with a New World approach. “Young consumers want heritage and authenticity, but they value simplicity, too,” Long says. The unicorn on the label aims to attract Millennials Partnering with top producers in Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône, Provence and Champagne, Long is crafting three tiers of wine: L’Être Magique ($25), La Mystèriale ($45) and—at the very top—Grand Esprit, a Saint-Estèphe ($100). “We are reinventing traditional French wine, while still showcasing regional expression,” Long explains, with wines that are more fruitdriven and less tannic or astringent than the past. Maison de Grand Esprit rolls out July 1st.

The Gratefully Dead Cocktail Created to celebrate the Fall season and El Día de Los Muertos, The Gratefully Dead Cocktail is a refreshing twist on America’s favorite cocktail, the Margarita. This must try cocktail is made using Araceli Marigold Liqueur and Sunora Bacanora Blanco, two of Mexico’s most unique spirit offerings. The Gratefully Dead Cocktail offers a wonderful blend of Marigold, Bacanora, Pineapple juice and a light hint of smoke to round out this delicious one-of-a-kind taste sensation. Araceli Marigold Liqueur is the world's very first liqueur of its kind and offers a unique bouquet of delicate complex flavors that are rich, floral and fragrant, ending with a soft, clean and pleasant finish. Sunora Bacanora Blanco, is smoother than tequila and less smoky than mezcal, with a dry, complex, peppery, smoky, earthy finish. Marigold flowers are the traditional flowers used in Mexico throughout El Día de Los Muertos, and it is believed that the fragrance of the flowers serve as a guide for spirits, in finding their way back to join amongst loving family gatherings honoring them, and this fantastic cocktail will have you feeling thankful and grateful.

The Gratefully Dead Cocktail Ingredients: 1.5 oz. Araceli Marigold Liqueur 1.5 oz. Sunora Bacanora Blanco 5 oz. Pineapple Juice Directions: Rim glass with lime juice and salt. Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake well and pour into a margarita glass with ice. Garnish with a lime twist.



Araceli Marigold Liqueur & Sunora Bacanora are available through Young’s Market Company.

Katrina Tabares, La Huasteca Mexican Restaurant, Buena Park, CA Photo: Alyssa Oxford


If one could sum up a brand in three keywords; serendipity, passion, and tenacity come to mind when speaking of Tres Lobos LLC., the company behind Tequila Corcel. Siblings Ed MagaĂąa and Esteban MagaĂąa, M.D., along with their friend and business partner Alex Carmona, originated this endeavor to share the rich culture of Mexico through several of its most iconic products, one being tequila. 18 BIN 2018

Esteban Magaña, M.D., Ed Magaña & Alex Carmona, Tres Lobos, LLC. Photo: Alyssa Oxford

However, producing and importing tequila was not their initial idea. Originally, the trio sought to bring Ponche de Granada into the United States, as their flagship brand. Ponche de Granada is a traditional pomegranate-based alcoholic beverage from Comala, in the Pacific Coast state of Colima, Mexico, where their family originates. Except the Magañas' uncle, who was the guardian of the family’s special recipe for the Ponche, suffered a stroke, while his brother, upon winning the Mexican lottery became no longer interested in the idea of working together. At that time, the aforementioned two younger siblings Ed and Esteban realized it would make sense to move forward with a tequila project, instead of waiting around for different circumstances to launch the Ponche de Granada. This is how Tequila Corcel, a line of award-winning premium tequilas, was born. The Corcel portfolio consists of Blanco, Reposado, Añejo and Extra Añejo. Tequilana Weber blue agaves from the Guadalajara region are harvested at seven years of age, cooked in autoclave ovens and triple distilled in stainless steel at Destilería Santa Lucía (NOM 1173), in Zapopan. The Reposado is aged in American oak barrels for six months, while the Añejo sees 16, and the Extra Añejo 36 months, respectively. The Tres Lobos team had a clear vision of the profiles that they wanted. They tasted dozens of tequilas from different producers in Jalisco to find a recipe they liked. It had

to be smooth, yet traditional. “We wanted to bring the recipe we had in our hearts to our friends and family, and to consumers from our generation,” says Esteban. “We were not solely interested in something for college students to take shots with in bars, and although we are not particularly targeting the younger demographic where often quantity is what matters most, but we want to also appeal to a more mature consumer that has a bit more of a sophisticated palate, and an authentic

“We wanted to bring the recipe we had in our hearts to our friends and family, and to consumers from our generation,” says Esteban. appreciation for a high-quality product. Their flagship tequila is the Corcel Blanco, of which they produced 8,000 cases for their premier shipment earlier this year. With its blueberry and strawberry notes, it mixes perfectly with fruity margaritas. Sales of Corcel Reposado have been very strong, and their super-premium Extra Añejo is one of the foremost products to hit the marketplace. The Tres Lobos team agrees that the tequilas are so smooth that it is almost a shame to mix them, preferring to sip them neat to appreciate

their complex flavors. However, both the Reposado and Añejo work beautifully in handcrafted cocktails. The excellent response from industry buyers and consumers alike has been a reward for all their hard work, setbacks, and heartache. At the 2018 Los Angeles International Spirits Awards, the Extra Añejo took the gold medal while the Blanco received a silver. The entire portfolio garnered medals at the SIP Awards in Newport Beach, which is the only internationally recognized consumer judging spirits competition. During the SIP Awards blind tasting, the 200 judges awarded Corcel Blanco and Extra Añejo with their platinum award, Reposado was awarded gold, and Añejo a double gold. Tequila Corcel has also been well received by key accounts in Southern California. The goal for building distribution, was to start with a structured local rollout in SoCal and grow organically, little by little throughout the state. Marketing initiatives for the rollout include: collaborating with on/off premise accounts, conducting tastings, working with mixologists and engaging consumers in person, also via social media. Within a short amount of time, Tequila Corcel has not only generated quite a lot of attention in California, but additionally from other parts of the country as well. “With such great interest in our brand, we are currently expanding Tequila Corcel into other key markets, such as Arizona,

TASTING NOTES BLANCO: herbaceous and fruity nose of red plums, blueberry and dehydrated fruits complemented by botanical nuances of licorice and lemongrass, subtle citrus notes of lemon and lime peel; fresh and mellow semi-dry profile with honeyed and herbaceous impact; pleasant astringency on the sides and end of the tongue’ cherry syrup a hint of lemongrass evolves with a slight warm finish with nuances of agave nectar and a hint of spearmint.

REPOSADO: Illinois, and Texas, and we’ll focus our distribution efforts in the east, early next year,” says Ed. Bringing this amazing Tequila Corcel portfolio to market was a labor of love, but not without issue. Ed Magaña’s original idea for the brand name was Los Potrillos, Spanish for colt, which was the perfect name to compliment the horse logo that they selected for their tequila line. In Mexican culture, the horse is an important symbol that highlights nobility, elegance, and pride. Unfortunately when their copyright attorney registered the name, he made a costly error, spelling portillos instead of potrillos. The following day, when they attempted to make the correction, a world famous tequila producer had simultaneously registered the name potrillos, with the correct spelling, and was therefore granted the trademark. Thankfully, a professor and family friend in Mexico City, Sergio Hernandez, suggested the word Corcel, which means steed; a highly-spirited horse, regal and distinguished. The name Corcel was better suited for the tequila portfolio, and most importantly, it was an available name for them to use. “The horse is important to the culture of Mexico,” says Dr. Esteban Magaña. “It is masculine, strong, powerful, and it screams Mexico!” During one of their trips south of the border, a friend introduced the Tres Lobos partners to Don Carlos Padilla, a pioneer of the tequila industry in Mexico, whose family has been producing tequila for decades. “Don Carlos was instrumental 20 BIN 2018

in introducing us into the world of tequila,” says Ed. “I give him the credit for awakening the passion for the drink in us.” Although a partnership with Padilla did not pan out, another crucial piece of the puzzle came into place when he connected the team with Mexican attorney Lic. Luis Margain. “We spent years doing what Margain worked out for us in two hours,” says Ed. “He told us who to talk to, what forms to submit, how to go about things, etc. That's when our tequila venture was born. Meeting him changed our history.” Margain also connected them with Jose Carlos Landeta, a tequila consultant and all around expert in the field of tequila. Landeta has helped to develop more than 50 brands of wine and spirits such as tequila within his 15 years of experience in the industry, and would later become their business partner. Ultimately, Tres Lobos visited with Carlos Newton, owner of Destilería Santa Lucía, and sampled a few different profiles. “Although they were not exactly right, we clicked with them, and they were willing to work with us on finding the right recipe,” says Esteban. Santa Lucía has been in business for generations and has a varied portfolio of proprietary labels, and after numerous trips and many formulas, they had finally created exactly what they wanted. “We fell deeper in love with what we were doing,” says Ed. “It was one of those epiphanies! In a second we knew this was it. It was a perfect morning!”

Aromas of hazelnuts and honey with nuances of vanilla pods, butterscotch, with subtle notes of cinnamon, followed by notes like cooked agave and fresh chamomile. Sweet / spicy taste balanced by notes of toffee, cinnamon and nutmeg; creamy and astringent sensation appears as whipped cream at the end of the palate, with nuances of wood, agave nectar and walnuts finish the palette of flavors.

AÑEJO: Woody and spicy notes in the nose; chamomile, nutmeg and ginger; subtle honeyed nuances such as red apple, vanilla pudding, and agave syrup. Wood on the palate, honeyed and slightly astringent; sweet and toasted impact with notes of red apple compote, cinnamon, honey, almonds and nutmeg; evolves with nuances of agave syrup and smooth character.

EXTRA AÑEJO: Milky character with syrupy and spicy notes; Oak and dried fruits, toasted cocoa and ripe red apple, quince compote and pears in syrup; nuances of macadamia, almonds and walnuts; Spicy aromas of nutmeg and cinnamon remain discreet but persistent. Sweet and spicy impact that opens nose and palate, semi-dry profile with nuances of nuts, cinnamon, and walnut with light oak, complemented by honeyed notes of cooked agave, toasted cocoa, vanilla and red apple compote, dried apricot and plum.


A tequila-based version of the classic Old Fashioned. 1.5 oz Corcel Reposado .5 oz smoky mezcal 1 bar spoon agave nectar 2 dashes Angostura bitters 2 dashes chocolate bitters Stir all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker, then strain over a large ice cube in a rocks glass. Garnish with a cherry and a long peel of an orange spritzing the glass with its oils.


This delightful cocktail plays pairs the richness of cacao with the fresh herbal profile of the tequila. 2 oz Corcel Blanco .75 oz white Creme de Cacao .75 oz lemon juice 1 bar spoon agave nectar Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a chilled, absinthe-rinsed coupe glass. Garnish with a floating lemon wheel.


Jess Barker, The Porch Bar, Phoenix, AZ Photo: Alyssa Oxford

The Magañas are focused on highlighting Corcel as a 100% Mexican product, and they are focused on perfection. Every part of the product is made in Mexico, honoring tradition. The labels, created by a designer from Guadalajara, are all distinctive, and sport a quilted look that pays homage to the high fashion house designer, Chanel. The bottles are copious, heavy, and almost indestructible. Esteban, an avid golfer, added a little token to the bottle caps; Bearing the elegant horse logo, the tops act like a coin that can be used for marking on the greens. “Golfers love that,” he says proudly. “As a great testimonial to the brand, every festival that we pour Tequila Corcel, reassures what we already knew,” says Ed. At the recent Tacos & Tequila Festival in Ventura County, people went out of their way to comment, purchase, and ask where the tequila is available. “They continued to tell us that the Extra Añejo was by far the best tequila at the festival. While we greatly 22 BIN 2018

appreciate the kind words from tequila aficionados, we also appreciate those who are new to the category and want to learn. Our goal is to educate consumers and show them why a higher-quality drink, made the traditional way is also a healthier product." Ed concludes with, "Ultimately, we want to expand to other beverages and products that we can bring to market in order to showcase Mexico to the world.” This, of course, includes the Ponche de Granada. “We often forget how rich the culture of Mexico is – the food, diversity, the traditions, so much to put into words, but if you immerse yourself into all of it, it becomes a part of you.”

Coconut and lime are excellent foils to the fruity notes of Corcel Blanco. 1.5 oz Corcel Blanco Tequila 1 oz Coco Lopez cream of coconut ½ bar spoon simple syrup or agave nectar Juice from half a lime Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake over ice. Serve with a spiced rim and garnish with a cherry.


A refreshing cocktail with a tropical vibe. 3oz dragonfruit juice 2oz Corcel Blanco Squirt of lime juice Squirt of agave nectar Club soda Mint sprigs In the bottom of a high ball glass mix the lime juice and agave nectar. Fill with ice. Add Corcel and dragonfruit juice, top with club soda and stir. Add some floating mint as a garnish.


This light and easy cocktail was crafted by Chris “Chavez” Jarret, Bar Manager at Tres Hombres in Chico, California, where the Magaña brothers grew up. Handful of fresh blueberries Squeeze of lime 1.5 oz Corcel Blanco .5oz Lime Juice Soda water & Squirt grapefruit soda Add blueberries and squeeze of lime to a shaker; muddle lightly. Add some ice, shake and strain over fresh ice. Top with equal parts soda water and Squirt. Garnish with fresh mint, blueberries, and lime wedge.

Th k Y!

I just want to thank you for helping get these bottles to our consumers. It has been an amazing ride, and I appreciate your help in making this crazy dream of mine continue. Thank you very much.

CORE fits in with what we do at Tito’s Handmade Vodka – helping people help people.



Suave Tequila is one of the newest and most anticipated brands to hit the marketplace this year. Suave Tequila, 100% Agave Spirits are fresh in attitude and taste; choosing to stay simple and authentic. Master Distiller Jaime Villalobos Sauza, oversees every aspect of Suave’s production and brings five generations of knowledge to the art of making tequila. Utilizing small batch, single state, wholly organic hand selected agaves, Villalobos uses old world distilling techniques to bring Suave to life. Double distilled Suave Tequila’s aim is to purify the beauty of the spirit without losing its agave essence. The unique care taken during the distillation process results in consistent flavor from beginning to end. Nothing is compromised, nor left to chance. Suave Tequila is barrel-aged in American oak barrels and is both organic and Kosher certified.

SUAVE BLANCO TEQUILA A balanced Tequila, with outstanding intensity and lingering presence. A Blanco for sipping, pure enjoyment. Certified Organic and Kosher… Delicious

SUAVE LUNAR RESTED A perfectly balanced expression of the best of Tequila Blanco, gently reined in by 28 days of rest in our American Oak barrels. This expression brings tradition enhanced for smoothness to the modern Tequila enthusiast. Certified Organic and Kosher… Smoothness, without compromising on complexity.

SUAVE REPOSADO TEQUILA Selected used American Oak Barrels have contributed the flavor and aromas that turn an exceptional Tequila Blanco into an extraordinary and more complex Tequila Reposado. Certified Organic and Kosher… A very special experience. www.suavespirits.com

SAVOR THE FLAVOR THE BAD STUFF TEQUILA The Bad Stuff tequila is crafted from the finest estates’ Tequilana weber blue agave. Harvested at maturity, the agave is slow-baked in traditional steam ovens until it reaches full caramelization. The rich nectar is fermented with pure artesian water and then double-distilled. The final distillation produces a peppery, spice-laden Blanco that is stored in virgin French oak barrels for a minimum of three years where it develops it award-winning complexity and flavor. www.thebadstufftequila.com

VIVA XXXII JOVENTEQUILA VIVA Joven is an estate grown 100% blue agave blanco, meticulously blended with their 3-yr-old extra anejo. With an agaveforward aroma, the flavor feature notes of lemon peel, white pepper, and yerba Buena. The taste is crisp and clean, with a medium-tolong finish. VIVA also donates 10% of all proceeds to animal welfare. www.viva32.com

TEQUILA DAME MAS This delicious Extra Añejo is aged for a full 5 years in reconditioned cognac barrels and made with the purest Blue Agave. Smooth, graceful flavor with notes of hazelnut, fruit, vanilla and cooked agave, this tequila finishes velvety smooth. Every bottle is handmade and hand painted by highly skilled ceramic artists. www.tequiladamemas.com

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Sydney Ranin-Smith and Carey Clahan, Foudners of Laughing Glass Cocktails

“We couldn’t have gotten in a more male-dominated industry unless we had entered the NFL,” says Carey Clahan, founder of Laughing Glass Cocktails. The company has produced bottled Margaritas in traditional lime and pomegranate with their super premium tequila since 2014. The company has won Best In Show at the SIP awards, gold and silver medals from Tequila Aficionado, and their products carry high 90+ point ratings when critiqued. Even with all those accolades, it’s a tough business, especially when the ready-to-drink segment not only competes for shelf space with other 26 BIN 2018

categories, but also with some famous contenders within the category. Clahan realized that it was far more beneficial to play nice with other brands - particularly other female-owned brands - than pit the company she founded with Sydney Rainin-Smith against them. “We don’t see the competition involved, what we see is more credibility to the category.” In other words, more brands using premium ingredients means more value added to the bottled cocktail segment as a whole.

Laughing Glass, along with the brands Empower Cocktails (founded by Tiffany Hall), Austin Cocktails (founded by sisters Jill Peterson Burns and Kelly Gasink), Spa Girl Cocktails (founded by Karen Haines), Sky Juice Cocktails (founded by Joan Schriger) and Two Chicks Cocktails (founded by Meghan Hanna), all use ingredients found in

nature in their drinks, eschewing artificial sweeteners and added chemicals while using premium spirits as bases for the cocktails. While the products differ from each other in style and flavor profile - for instance, Empower goes in a more stirred and boozy direction with its sweet potato vodka-based Cosmopolitan Martini, while Austin offers juicier concoctions - they all share an all natural focus and desire to set themselves apart from other more syrupy/sugary ready made drinks.

Meghan Hanna, Founder of Two Chicks Cocktails

In the state of California, bottled cocktails can be purchased at grocery chains, and are especially attractive to customers opting for products that don’t require a lot of mixing and sourcing of ingredients, or something to bring to gatherings. “We provide a tastier and more natural cocktail option to our consumer,” RaininSmith explains, “This is an underserved demographic. Our consumer buys her alcohol at the grocery store. She loves a good cocktail, but hates the fuss and the mess; and she wants a convenient option that won’t break the bank or be an embarrassment to serve to her friends.” Laughing Glass recently extended their product range with a Firecracker Margarita, a Whole Foods exclusive that is a spicy Ancho chili and pineapple margarita.

Karen Haines, Founder of Spa Girl Cocktails

For much of the same reasons Laughing Glass was created, Spa Girl cocktails was conceived by Karen Haines (she is also a hospitality industry veteran), because so many of the flavored vodkas and readyto-drink vodka cocktails are heavily sweetened. Instead, the brand offers “an artisanal brand of ultra-premium vodka Martinis with sophisticated, all-natural flavors, that are low in calories.” The concept is to offer a drink that can be sipped in a multitude of settings from poolside to dinner parties - something stylish, but also refreshing, without drowning in sweetness. Haines says there is a mutual admiration between Laughing Glass and Spa Girl, with a good deal of interaction on social media.

Joan Schräger, Founder of Sky Juice & Katie Kastes, Market Manager

Clahan and Rainin-Smith have also acted on the advisory board for Sky Juice, which is a beach themed canned cocktail combining coconut water, vodka, tropical botanicals and natural sweeteners - with only 53 calories. “It's like having your cake and eating it too, only by ‘cake’ we mean your beach bod and by ‘eating it’ we mean drinking SkyJuice,” says Joan Schriger via the company’s website.

Tiffany Hall, Founder of Empower Cocktails

In the same vein, Empower Cocktails, is a new disruptor that puts celebrating and empowering women at the forefront of its mission with its ready-to-pour line of cocktail drinks. The first product is the Empower Cosmopolitan Martini, using sweet potato vodka, from a familyowned, locally-sourced farm in Northern California, as well as triple sec, cooling white cranberry and zesty lime.

Jill Burns and Kelly Gasink, AC Brand Owners

Austin Cocktails are four vodka drinks and one tequila based, mixed with various fruit, vegetable and botanicals ingredients. For instance, the Tea Twister is a take on boozy sweet tea, but with less sugar and more emphasis on the quality of the tea and lemon juice, sweetened with agave nectar instead of sugar. The sibling founders of the company grew up in Texas and often visited their grandfathers’ farm with their family. They say 5:30 was always the time everything was dropped for cocktail hour (as girls, they were served non-alcoholic Shirley Temples), so the concept of their company was formed around a mixed appreciation for relaxing with good quality cocktails, and celebrating the fruits of the earth. They often participate in events as partners with Laughing Glass, and the two companies have experienced many of the trials and tribulations of the beverage business together.

However, the Laughing Glass ladies feel like they entered the market at the right time. “I think the landscape is changing and the men ‘in charge’ are realizing who holds the wallet when making purchases especially in grocery chains. If they don’t pay attention to what their customer is looking for, they are going to lose business.” Not to mention, in the age of social media and with the proliferation of food and beverage editorial content, consumers are more savvy about what they’re eating and drinking than ever before. “I think that consumers have grown skeptical of many of the brands out there,” states Rainin-Smith. “There are growing concerns about additives, chemicals, origins of the ingredients, and even company philosophy that empower consumers to choose what they want to drink. I think our target audience isn’t just buying something anymore, they’re buying a drink with a side of storytelling, fun, a matching philosophy that aligns with what they believe in, high quality ingredients, etc.” Another bonus for the brands is a shared observation that consumers, particularly women, beat themselves up too much when it comes to indulgences. All of the products were conceived with the basic

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need to have something good to sip with friends without the fuss. Having a range of high quality products to choose is icing on the cake, albeit one that is less sugary. Meghan Hanna of Two Chicks says she, “...thought about how many women struggle with this ‘not enough’ mentality. Not pretty enough, not smart enough, not skinny enough… just not enough. WHY?! I decided that I was going to create a brand that made it okay to be ENOUGH.” Low calorie doesn’t have to mean low taste - the cocktails for Two Chicks are all sweetened with stevia, which offers a lower calorie solution without added chemicals.

The ready to drink category has certainly changed since the wine cooler days of the mid 1980s. Modern consumers not only want something that tastes pleasing, but doesn’t make them feel silly to have in hand or order from a bar. The competition within the category is not only about what’s in the can or bottle, but also about packaging and overall brand message. In that regard, Laughing Glass, Empower, Austin, Spa Girl, Skyjuice and Two Chicks shine with their own individual brand identities. “I think we see things a little bit differently, and choose to support each other in this industry rather than compete,” maintains Clahan.

Right now, bottled cocktails with a female target consumer are on the rise, but for how long? Clahan says, “Our category is in constant jeopardy.” However it helps to be part of a group of female entrepreneurs who provide understanding of the business. “It’s nice to be in a small community of women who are supportive of each others successes. We don’t focus on the competition involved, what we see is more credibility to the category as a whole. More quality products on the shelf is a win for all of us.”


by the numbers



This year, Sustainability in Practice (SIP) Certified celebrates a decade of protecting natural and human resources. The vineyard, winery and wine certification program launched in 2008 with 3,700 acres of vines between Monterey and Santa Barbara counties. Today, there are 43,600 acres of vines in the program and more than 36 million bottles of wine have been SIP Certified. “SIP Certified goes well beyond environmental preservation,” said Beth Vukmanic Lopez, SIP Certified Manager. “Our mission is to promote healthier land, happier people and more complex and thought-provoking wines.” Utilizing a whole farm, integrated approach to vineyard management, SIP Certified boasts strict, non-negotiable requirements and standards based on science, expert input, independent verification, transparency and the absence of conflict of interest.


Original SIP Certified vineyards (since 2008) include: Ampelos Cellars, Castoro Cellars, Hahn Family Wines, Halter Ranch, Hilliard Bruce, Jackson Family Wines, Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, Paragon Vineyard, Smith Family Wines, Pomar Junction Vineyards & Winery and Wolff Vineyards.



The latest consumer research from E. & J. Gallo Winery (Gallo), dubbed Knowledge Unearthed for Business Expansion (KUBE) has nuggets of interest for the wine industry and beyond. Indeed, KUBE, the largest study of its kind, diverged from previous Gallo surveys by exploring all alcohol beverage categories. Some highlights:


TWO LEADERS IN THE MOVEMENT JOIN FORCES Family-owned Bacardi Limited and Lonely Whale, the award-winning non-profit dedicated to the health of our ocean, have announced their joint goal as part of a campaign entitled #TheFutureDoesntSuck. “Single-use plastic items are among the most collected pieces of trash in our oceans, and we are urging our consumers to add ‘No plastic straw, please’ to every drink order so together we can make impactful change,” said Rick Wilson, senior VP of Corporate Responsibility for Bacardi. #TheFutureDoesntSuck formally kicks off in London, England, supported with a series of illustrations that communicate the devastating impact of single-use plastic straws on the world’s oceans. The iconic rum brand will eliminate single-use plastic straws from branded events, music activations and the Bacardi Rum Truck while committing to use biodegradable paper cups. In the fall, activity continues in North America at all major Bacardi music activations. In addition, Bacardi announced a commitment to review its global supply chain, with the aim of removing non-essential, nonrecyclable single-use plastic waste.

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œ KUBE found that while premium wine drinkers are more exploratory, more knowledgeable and more social in their consumption than drinkers of lower-priced products, most high-end drinkers will also drink at lower price points. œ The survey also found that 66% of consumers change their drink depending on where they are and what they are doing—suggesting that alternative packaging and occasions continue to be key. œ More than 40% of consumers surveyed said they would buy wine in alternative packaging if they knew the wine was high quality. And 25% said they would be more open to trying new wines if they didn’t have to buy a full 750ml bottle.

Chris Underwood, CEO, Young’s Market Company & Vern Underwood, Chairman Of The Board, Young’s Market Company.


When WSWA opened this year’s annual convention and exposition marking 75 years of existence, it was a 75th annual celebration of more than just the liquor business; it was a celebration of the family owned businesses that have made the liquor industry what it is today. That story could not be told without acknowledging the firm that turned 130 this year; Young’s Market Company. Founded in 1888, Young’s Market Company is the premier distributor of fine wine and spirits in the western United States. 32 BIN 2018

The California-based distributor is now under the watchful eye of the Underwood family’s fifth generation, Chris Underwood, CEO, who leads the path at this familyowned and focused business. Overseeing 3,000 employees and approximately $3 billion in revenue, he sits at the helm of this industry-leading brand and supplier partner that offers up a world class team of wine and spirits professionals in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Every day he is at work, busy making sure Young’s continues to do what it does best – provide service and innovation. Innovation at Young’s has been established in multiple forms, the first being their instrumental role in launching some of the world’s most recognized brands and putting beloved brands like Jack Daniels, Jose Cuervo and Tito’s Handmade Vodka on the map. Far from resting on their laurels, Young’s spotted the growth of the craft movement before others, recognizing a paradigm shift and a whole new way to

think about mixology. Doing so meant expansion for the company and maximized profits for their brand partners. In 2010, acknowledging the exponential growth of craft spirits, Young’s launched their first foray into the craft market, slightly ahead of their time, and introduced what is now known as the Craft & Luxury Division. At the time they started the division craft spirit distilleries in the United States numbered in the hundreds. There are now over 1500 distilleries in the country. Young’s leveraged the brands in their portfolio, enacted a strategy that put a spotlight on the emerging craft and artisanal spirits movement, and by doing so quickly became the leader in this sector. Underwood and his team realized that, “building solid relationships in the mixology community that's driving the craft spirits movement is imperative.” With this in mind Young’s fashioned a growing portfolio of selected brand propositions that

are best in class. The portfolio continues to grow with unprecedented levels of success as evidenced by expansion first in 2013, and then again in 2016, to address the fastgrowing segment of the business. Young’s didn’t stop with a lead in the craft space; they are also ahead of the curve amongst American distributors in the sake space. Young’s has thrived by remaining informed by the past and exhibiting an ability to be nimble in adapting to rapidly changing new alliances that are being forged, old relationships which are evolving, and syncing up with the new measures of standard practices dropping into place. With a management style 34 BIN 2018

like this it is no wonder that Underwood recently landed near the top of the list of the 100 most influential people in the wine space. Chris Underwood shares his committed approach to overseeing Young’s and says, “We love to say that we’re a family owned business, one of the oldest continuously operating family owned businesses in the history of the United States.” He continues, “Family owned businesses…they’re not entitlements, they’re responsibilities. You’re not gifted them, so therefore you can’t treat ‘em like a gift. I’m very humbled by our past. It’s more than just growing a business, it’s growing a legacy.”

The legacy of this company began when there were still cattle ranches in Los Angeles. The image of Young’s back in 1888 was one that centered its efforts on enriching strong relationships with suppliers as well as on-and-off-premise accounts. That was the strategy for growth and it remains so to this day with remarkable success; that commitment to service has been in place since day one when the company was initially launched as a meat concessionaire by John G. Young. Soon after, Young’s brothers were invited into the successful business; and in 1906, the brothers Young incorporated as Young's Market Company.



This is just the beginning.


On 9th and Main Street in Los Angeles they opened their first consolidated store, and four years later they opened a manufacturing plant producing their own line of grocery products, including mayonnaise, corned beef, sausage products and salad dressings as well as establishing a receiving facility nearby for fish and seafood. In 15 short years business had grown to such volume that it made sense to open another new store, and this one was built in the Italian Renaissance Revival style featuring tile mosaics and friezes in its décor, which also served as the company’s headquarters and became a landmark in downtown Los Angeles. This luxurious store located at the corner of 7th Street and Union Avenue offered the crème de la crème of L.A. in the most exquisite of gourmet items; both in the store and out as Young's Market quickly became the caterer of choice for the city of Los Angeles, concocting elaborate wedding cakes for prominent area weddings and supplying William Randolph Hearst with groceries for his ranch. The Young's trucks that are visible displaying iconic brands from their portfolio today, are the same vivid red color as the red trucks one saw making twice-a-day deliveries around town back in Hearst’s day. As time progressed they expanded into other areas of California migrating as far south as San Diego and as far north as Santa Maria. In 1934, Young's opened a supermarket they named Thriftimart Cash & Carry, which was geared less toward the company's traditional gourmet fare and more toward standard grocery products, soon an additional four more Thriftimarts were established. In 1937, however, the Young brothers sold the five-store chain of supermarkets to Fitzsimmons Markets. This initial sale of assets by the company was the first indication the company had good business sense. Prohibition ended in December 1933, and that opened up a world of opportunity to provide alcoholic beverages legally, and Young’s was now well 36 BIN 2018

positioned at the forefront of a burgeoning business. They recognized this prime opportunity and chose to add a wholesale liquor business to their retail grocery endeavor. Young’s always endeavored to set itself apart from its competitors and it is that difference that has now set an industry gold standard. When Prohibition ended wine and liquor brands were carried by several different distributors, usually with no territorial

O. Underwood, Jr., and he has passed that philosophy down to his son Chris Underwood, CEO, who sees every day how Young’s commitment to servicing their business relationships stands out in a world where impersonal push-button automated service is the norm, and the human touch is hugely lacking. Underwood states, “We continue to invest in our business to create value for stakeholders and the community where we live and work. Our core values of family, integrity, quality, and the entrepreneurial spirit drive us to be the best wine and spirit distributor.” Underwood and his colleagues see their role as being more than just a liquor distributor. He shares the company philosophy of service and how the company reacts to and anticipates the ebb and flow of business. He explains, “As this industry continues to change we differentiate ourselves and add unique value and capabilities to clients and customers. We know our customers inside and out and strive to make a lasting impression that represents Young’s admirably in the marketplace. Our credentials run deep across all our 3,000 colleagues that build relationships each and every day making sure our customers have what they need to reach the 46 million legal drinking age adults that are across our 10 state US western footprint.”

exclusivity; leaving competing distributors carrying the same brands. Young’s decided that it made sense to have exclusive rights to the brands it carried, and they focused on smaller and lesser-known labels, remaining true to their customer service commitment, even while expanding from California throughout the west. Generations later the customer commitment remained the same under Chairman of the Board, Vern

They maintain their position in the west by knowing what those specific customers want and need. Underwood explains, “Our route to market provides expertise in selling to our customers and consumers. We can say that our relationships with our spirits brands is as long and illustrious as the history of our company itself; we know how to execute and win with spirits.” Currently, one of those spirits Young’s customers are clamoring for is sake, and Young’s has responded, creating a dedicated staff focused on the category. This attention to Japan’s native beverage is one part of what Underwood refers to when he

speaks about “iconic and dynamic brands” and Young’s passion about growing brands and executing them in the marketplace. In the west coast marketplace Young’s sake selection is unparalleled by any other distributor. Sake’s growth from a traditional Japanese beverage to a globally appreciated beverage has taken place over the last decade. Some of sake’s most respected sake suppliers and producers from over 30 prefectures and regions call Young’s their American home, and the list is growing. Young’s strength in sake is a combination of portfolio and expertise around this category, in that they have cultivated more Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), and Sake Education Council (SEC), certified sake specialists than any other distributor in the nation. The ability to accommodate the need for sake in this industry is just one way that Young’s sets themselves apart. Another is the expertise and ongoing personalized commitment with which Underwood’s colleagues dedicate themselves to daily business and items

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beyond the traditional business day. He proudly explains about them, “You’re truly what makes up the Young’s family. You’re committed to representing our client’s brands with professionalism. You are the heart of our charitable efforts through the Underwood family foundation.”

of price ranges to suit every wine consumer. California wines are a focus in line with the company’s heritage, but wine from other regions such as Oregon, and Washington State, along with countries such as Mexico, Denmark, France, Spain and Australia also get their due.

While the foundation is focused on giving time and money to support the local communities in which Young’s operates its business it also has a focus on giving back to those businesses, which has given the company the ability to be proud of its achievements. These relationships in the marketplace fuel revenue growth as well as reputation. Clearly Young’s is doing something right since they can point to relationships that have lasted for decades, as well as swiftly forging new alliances in which mutual respect runs deep.

While worldwide wine and spirits receive the full attention of Young’s, it is truly the essence of being a familyowned and operated company for 130 years, and maintaining a unique culture and character that sets it apart allowing it to thrive. Underwood concludes, “Maintaining focus on its mission and the spirit of Young’s is fundamental in realizing our vision; deliver performance through integrity. With our company as grounded as the oldest vines in NAPA valley, we are industry leaders because we do good work and we do it the right way.”

Young’s roots run deep in the wine space also with the focus of its Estates Group on boutique curated hand-sells of the finest and most appreciated wines. The division’s portfolio represents a wide swath


BY 1893

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Red Wine Aged 3 Months in Bourbon BarrelS


Bold and unconventional, Exitus is our answer to the monotony of boring, forgettable wines. Crafted for the adventurous drinker looking for a novel experience, we solicited the signature smoky notes of classic Kentucky Bourbon barrels to turn up the heat on our big, Zin-based red wine.


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ardon the pun, but the outlook for rosé is still rosy, right? The category’s double-digit growth just begins to hint at the pink success story. Over the past four years, rosé has almost quadrupled in volume and jumped in varietal wine rank from #17 to #9, according to Nielsen. Rosé’s largest segment is $11-$15, so premiumization is already at play. Plus, consumption is still accelerating. Americans drank 67% more rosé in 2017 than they did in 2016, and that year was up by 44% over 2015. Beyond stats, this pale pink liquid has grabbed America by the buds, delivering fruity refreshment with an aesthetic (read Instagrammable) bonus. Rosé has joined the broader culture—from sweatpants to fashion shows, gummies to wedding favors—lending its pink halo to rosé cocktails, cider and spirits; inspiring social media hashtags à la #brosé and #yeswayrosé; even prompting marketers in other arenas to go pink when propping wine. Ah, the sweet—I mean dry—taste of success. On-premise, off-premise, in all three tiers, it is crystal clear that rosé is a bona fide trend, not a fad. Yet success has brought an onslaught as producers around

For a category that represents less than 5% of the overall table wine market in the U.S., rosé has taken on extraordinarily high visibility, spilling over into pop culture and social media—in turn strengthening the trend.

the globe angle in on the action, threatening to overwhelm the trade. Confidence in consumer demand is high; over-supply, on the other hand, could be problematic. Two forces are at play here: Provence rising above the rosé pack, and the rest of


the market exploding. We may find 2018 to bring both a glut—driven by the New World, new brands and new extensions— and a tangible tightening if not outright shortage of Provence coming off a good but tough 2017 harvest.

PROVENCE ASCENDANT Perhaps the most significant sub-lesson of the current boom is that Provence—the spiritual homeland of rosé— is ruling the rosé roost. Suppliers report strong demand and in many cases are posting gains above the category pace. More important, Provence has set the standard for the industry for style, consistent quality and recognition. As Brian Mitchell, Beverage Director at the Connecticut-based Max Restaurant Group, notes, “People remember Provence rosé, and ask for it. They even expect to pay more for it.” The Max Group is ready for the pink wave circa 2018. Provence rosés are in place by the glass at all the Max restaurants, plus one less expensive rosé— and at the flagship, a whole page of rosés beckons at the front of the list. But rosé is neither place- nor grapedependent. Dry pink wine is easy (and fast) to make, practically anywhere. The pipeline is getting stuffed. Samantha Dugan, French buyer for The Wine Country in Long Beach, CA, says the parade of 2017 samples started this year 2018 BIN 43

The U.S. has been Provence rosé’s #1 market since 2016, and now represents 50% of the region’s exports by value.

in early January. “Over-supply is a huge issue right now,” says Dugan. “Not only am I seeing probably three times the suppliers as I usually do, they are coming in with back vintages trying to get us to take a stand on those as well. It’s like everyone got the memo about rosé and they all ran out, without doing too much research, and got them some. It’s sort of nuts.”

Rosé, which soared to the #8 rosé by volume among domestic rosés. A Bota Mini (500ml, $5.99 SRP) is joining this year. Delicato sold 199,000 cases of rosé in 2017 between Bota and Noble Vines; in 2018 they hope to ship 195,000 cases of Bota Rosé alone. Pink wines are comprising powerful mini-portfolios within some companies. Kobrand has 11 rosés SUCCESS BREEDS…SUPPLY in the portfolio, from Argentina to Relative ease of production and obvious Tavel; Louis Jadot and Fuedo Macdemand are creating perfect-stormlike cari were added last year, Tenuta conditions: nobody is making less rosé de Salviano (Umbria) this year. for 2018, and many suppliers are making Frederick Wildman & Sons has more. New labels keep coming, and estab13 rosés on offer, and Rapitala lished lines keep extending—to wit, Cavit from Sicily on the way. Bronco and Kendall-Jackson are releasing rosés Wine Co. has more than a dozen for the first time with their 2017s, in sufrosés, from California, Oregon and ficient quantities to be featured nationally. beyond; best-seller, not surprisE. & J. Gallo staked a claim in ingly, is their Côtes de Provence Provence last year, launching Fleur de rosé, Sables d’Azur. Mer with the 2016 vintage. Also new The Winebow Group has from Gallo within the past two years: been especially busy stocking Barefoot Brut Rosé; Dark Horse Rosé in their pink departments. Their cans; Prophecy Rosé; Edna Valley Vinenational import portfolios, Craft + yards Rosé; and Gallo Family Vineyards Estate, Leonardo LoCascio Selections Sweet Grapefruit Rosé. and MundoVino, comprise a total of Last summer Josh Cellars launched 36 rosés, including seven sparkling, their first rosé, and it quickly became from around the world; 12 are new the best-seller in its price tier and within the past two years, thanks in third-largest largest SKU within the part to acqusitions. Some recent category. The robust young Josh is highlights include a new look flanked in the Deutsch portfolio for Fat Bastard (distinct by the brand-new Fleurs de ROSÉ ALL DAY from the rest of the line); Prairie (Provence) and LayThe astutely branded Rosé All a Pinot Noir rosé by Clean er Cake (first rosé vintage Day, which started last year with one Grenache-based Pays d’Oc, Slate from Germany; 2015), among other rosés. added a 2017 Beaujolais and a Provence rosé in cans from Delicato launched two sparkler—and got picked up Amble + Chase; and three rosés last year: Noble Vines by Target. rosés from Greece. 515 and the 3L Bota Box Dry 44 BIN 2018

HOT TICKET: Last year’s inaugural RoséFest drew 800 people to Sterling Vineyards in Napa Valley for a big pink al fresco party with 30+ Napa wineries pouring. This year, on June 9th organizers expect 1,000 pink fans; before the end of March, more than a third of the tickets were pre-sold, and a new VIP level added for 2018 sold out completely.

Treasury Wine Estates, already keepers of the Provence gem Château Minuty (which was up 89% in 2017) and a cache of New World pinks, is adding “L’Etre Magique,” a Côtes de Provence rosé under their brand new Maison de Grand Esprit label. Chateau Ste. Michelle is releasing its very first rosé, 100% Syrah that previously was a wine club offer only. Ste. Michelle Wine Estates’ Tenet Wines label has just added a Costières de Nimes rosé called “Le Fervent.” Erath, SMWE’s Oregon winery, made a limited-release 2016 rosé of Pinot Noir; they made enough 2017 to join stablemate 14 Hands Rosé on the national circuit. It is interesting to note that 2017 was a big year for launches, and those debuts Kobrand’s The Seeker has sourced their rosé in Provence since the 2013 vintage debut.

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The Wine Country in Southern California, has been pushing rosé for 20+ years. “Côtes de Provence is king, without question for us,” says veteran buyer Samantha Dugan. “The new rosé-driven domestic producers tend to price themselves out and come winter I am still looking at $20 domestic rosés and all my Provençal wines in the same price are gone.”

are naturally ramping up this year. Opici Wines’ Grenache-driven Provence rosé, Âme du Vin, earned a Wine Spectator “Top 100 Value of 2017” accolade in its first vintage, 2016; import quantities are being doubled for the 2017 vintage. Rodney Strong released 2,500 cases of a 2016 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Rosé in a handful of markets. It was a rosy success—15,000 cases of 2017 are being released with some bundled with other Rodney Strong wines, à la “Red, White and Rosé.”

CARVING UP THE BIG PINK PIE The next logical question is: Can Americans drink all this stuff? As Constance Savage, VP of Supplier Relations at Kobrand, puts it, “The offering of rosé wines continues to increase for 2018, yet while the pie is continuing to get bigger, each slice gets smaller. The summer of 2018 will be a telling season and we will be carefully watching the market’s reactions. One of the questions is: Will we see some ‘fatigue’ at some point?” The month of May, of course, is too early to tell. However, it is certainly not too early to say that, Provence aside, it is a buyer’s market at the re-sellers’ tier. Rob Bralow, GM of the retail store Blue Streak and owner of the wine bar BLVD in Long Island City, NY, notes: “I have completely 46 BIN 2018

A GREENER SHADE OF PINK Emiliana Natura Rosé from Chile, made from organic Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah grapes, was first introduced in 2014; it is now national and the brand hopes to make 20% more of the just-fermented 2018. California’s Bonterra is another brand bringing organic rosé coast to coast. Last year, 2,000 cases of the 2016 sold out well before mid-summer; the brand has 11,000 cases of 2017 ready this go ’round.

stopped pre-ordering, except for extremely limited wines. There is enough rosé year ’round that I do not feel obligated to lock into a set number of cases.” In the wine bar, Bralow is carrying fewer options by glass, but more by bottle: “I find that customers do not really want more choice

The 2017 La Chapelle Gordonne Rosé, part of the Vranken Pommery portfolio, launched at Le Bernardin in NYC with a tasting dinner curated by Chef Eric Ripert with a wine pairing and discussion by Wine Director and Sommelier Aldo Sohm. The wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault grapes.

when they are out with friends—they want to pick between two or three options.” In the shop, he plans to stock about the same number of wines as last year: between 1624 brands over the summer, expecting some to sell out by mid-August. The very notion of “rosé season” is changing. Whole Foods is running a huge “special price” promotion that started the week after Easter and ends May 31st. Among the dozen (eight of which are touted as exclusive) featured wines: rosés from Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece, as well two Provence rosés in both 750ml and magnum.


Indeed, even with possible over-supply looming, there are plenty of posiProvence has managed to separate tive signs—and still much room itself from the pack, for growth. Marcy Whitman, demonstrating high recall Palm Bay International SVP of and low price resistance. New canned releases will test Marketing and Brand Developthe category’s format ment, explains why Palm Bay flexibility. feels now is a perfect time for Cavit to enter the rosé fray: “We believe that the rosé category still has a lot of growth ahead. There will be continued inroads as far as expanded seasonality and more growth in the consumer base as more men turn to rosé. In addition, the on-premise has not caught up with consumer enthusiasm for rosé and Cavit [at SRP $8.99] is well positioned to take advantage of all of these trends.”

they are copying what’s popular in terms of the dry flavor profile, and pale, salmon-colored pink.” With only a handful of brands earning strong loyalty (Whispering Angel is one), Slater adds that American consumers are willing to try new rosés, especially by the glass. Not surprisingly, The Palm by Whispering AnKendallgel, just released at the lower SRP Jackson’s of $14.99, is aiming to solidify the inaugural rosé, a brand’s trend-setting cachet. 2017, is bottled under screwtop.

TREND WITHOUT END? Overall, there is plenty of tempered optimism in the wine industry with regard to the Great Pink Drink. “There’s no end in sight to rosé’s popularity,” observes Steve Slater, EVP and GM of the Wine Division for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. “Even while there are many new entries in the U.S. market, the core brands are not suffering. What’s different is that we’re seeing more domestic entries, from places like Oregon, Napa and Sonoma. And


Expect more packaging experimentation—especially among new brands. Even within Provence, known for its very traditional shape, suppliers are testing alternatives. Castel, importers of Aime Roquesante, a best-selling brand both in France and the U.S., has big plans for large formats—but they will have to wait until they have enough 2018 vintage wine to execute. The reality of quality rosé in cans is happening. Winebow’s Amble + Chase

Fine Wine Director of The Lineage Collection division of Shaw-Ross International Importers. “The BY VICKI DENIG results proved that the use of barrel fermentation and aging, s rosé season kicks combined with the free-run juice in, wine-traders are from old vine vineyards, resulted apt to let fly words in a new style of rosé from Côtes like fresh, crisp and de Provence.” While steel tends fruity when sipping their mouthto put the focus on the fruit, watering pinks. As most in the barrel fermentation can add trade know, dry rosés get their depth and complexity to the fruit, backbone of zesty acidity thanks “ultimately making a bigger style to stainless steel fermentation. of wine with more mouthfeel.” And yet, some winemakOver in California’s ers believe that wood may Santa Ynez Valley, brothers actually add some serious Lyle and Eric Railsback character to everyone’s also use/neutral barrels favorite summertime sipper. to ferment their Railsback “The first vintage of Frères “Les Rascasses” the Château d’Esclans Garrus, Rosé (named for first produced in “Garrus” rosé started a fish that stars 2006, is predominantly as more of an experiin rosé-friendly Grenache and Rolle, and ment, [rather] than spends 10 months in new bouillabaisse). “It and once-used oak barrels, a conviction to use changes the texture with twice weekly oak in rosé,” says of the wine and can bâtonnage. Paul Chevalier, National help soften the palate,”


Amid the general wave of rosé, there is still opportunity for brands to catch fire. Hampton Water Rosé—a collaboration between Languedoc veteran Gérard Bertrand, rocker Jon Bon Jovi and his son Jesse Bongiovi—sold its entire 2017 vintage before April.

and Pacific Highway’s Pure Provence are hoping that Provence’s cachet will translate from glass to aluminum. The rest of France should continue to benefit from Provence’s halo; areas to watch: Côtes du Rhône (#1 brand Belleruche outpaced even Provence last year, growing 79% over 2016); the Loire Valley (second in volume behind Provence, and offering distinct styles); Vin de France (this young designation’s flexibility is ideal for creating new brands). Glut and shortage concerns aside, we can all expect more experimentation with blends and different grapes, perhaps even styles. As Provence continues to try to separate itself from the rest of the big Pink Wine Sea, wineries (and marketers) in other wine nations are bound to keep chasing the leader. ■

explains Eric Railsback. “Wines aged in stainless steel are not able to breathe during the élevage process, which can make the wines more reductive.” Railsback asserts that more airflow, albeit the slight exchange through the pores of the wood, can soften the final wine and flesh out the texture. “Les Rascasses” is Grenache dominant (50%), rounded out with Carignan and Cinsault. The wine spends five months total in neutral French oak. On-premise, oaked rosé is not exactly being greeted with bear hugs. “To the general consumer, rosé is a style. It is a color, a feeling that a guest is looking for, or is convinced that they should be drinking,” says Jon McDaniel, Corporate Beverage Director at Chicago’s Gage Hospitality Group. “When you oak pink wines, you are changing the direction of what the guest is looking for… much like why you never see any oaked

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc—it takes away the expression.” Jack Mason MS, of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Houston and Dallas, sees rosé in oak as an interesting shift. “I think there are some pretty compelling, serious examples of worthy of aging, such as Valentini or Simone, that benefit from vinification in oak,” says Mason. “The traditional techniques help to make them rosés that can benefit from a few years before pulling the cork!”

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ast year, Blue Chair Bay Rum, the collection of Caribbean rums owned and launched by singer-songwriter Kenny Chesney, unveiled its most widely successful flavor to date. Blue Chair’s Key Lime Rum Cream, which tastes uncannily like key lime pie, right down to the graham cracker crust, was such a runaway success out of the gate, the company had difficulty keeping it in stock. “We had never seen anything like it,” recalls David Farmer, President of Fishbowl Spirits, Blue Chair’s parent company. Until now. The brand’s latest release, Pineapple Rum Cream, is just launching and early feedback indicates the new flavor could be on an even more explosive trajectory.

Lime Rum Cream, Banana Rum Cream and Coconut Spiced Rum Cream, and like the others, it’s designed for sipping solo on the rocks or to be featured in simple cocktails. “Combine Pineapple with a little Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum, blend with ice and you’ve got the ultimate Piña Colada,” describes Farmer.


Island Obvious Pinpointing pineapple was the easy part. “Blue Chair Bay Rum is based on Kenny’s island lifestyle,” says Farmer. “Nothing is more island-y than pineapple.” The package was another no-brainer. The team had been dying to utilize the eye-catching turquoise bottle since an April Fool’s joke several years ago, which announced an erroneous new flavor called Ocean Water in similarlyhued bottle, generated overwhelming enthusiasm. “Consumers kept telling us how much they wanted that bottle, which is the color of the Caribbean sea,” says Farmer. Pineapple is the fourth rum cream in the line-up, at 30 proof, joining Key

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The bottle’s tamper tape, which reads “love for love city,” is a reference to Kenny Chesney’s Love for Love City Foundation, a charity he set up in the wake of the devastating hurricanes that ravaged the British and U.S. Virgin Islands in 2017. For the last two decades, Chesney has lived as a local in the islands, and made it his personal mission to provide relief, personally sending planeloads of food and medical supplies as well as getting people and pets off the islands. Going forward, the charity will support the rebuilding of the islands.

Blue Chair Bay’s recent redesign switched to a glossy finish for the rums and a matte finish for the rum creams. Pineapple’s eye-catching turquoise was one the brand had wanted to use ever since an April Fools Day joke.

Pineapple Hits the Road Pineapple’s launch platform—as the title sponsor of Kenny’s concert tour—is giving the new flavor a high-profile kickoff. Concert-goers will be inundated with all things Blue Chair, from the tickets and streaming video content to the Blue Chair bus in the parking lot and even a branded hot air balloon. Initially, Farmer and his team planned to restrict the Pineapple launch to cities on the tour’s itinerary, but they quickly broadened their geographic reach after receiving such positive distributor and market feedback. Quickly, Farmer doubled initial production estimates and added new states for distribution. “Right now, it’s a race to keep it in stock,” he reports. While Pineapple Rum Cream gives the whole Blue Chair portfolio a boost, the brand is also benefiting from a redesigned package. The refreshed look features glossy bottles for Vanilla, White, Coconut, Banana and Coconut Spiced flavors (the rum creams remain in their original package). Oh, and something else for Blue Chair to celebrate: its fifth birthday. n





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CÔTES DE PROVENCE ROSÉ “M” LIMITED EDITION ASHLEY MARY 2017 - CHÂTEAU MINUTY Recently, St. Tropez’s iconic winery Chateau Minuty released the latest vintage of its beloved M de Minuty Limited Edition 2017, in a unique new bottle design.   Chateau Minuty invited American artist, illustrator and Instagram maven Ashley Mary, to use the winery’s iconic Provençal bottle shape as her canvas and reflect her travels on the St. Tropez peninsula, home to the reputed winery.  Ashley’s design of the Chateau Minuty M de Minuty Limited Edition 2017, reads like a story of St. Tropez,

reflecting the region’s stunning landscape and architecture. Ashley used these landmarks to create a map on the bottle in her own language of shapes, patterns, and colors.   The original Rosé from St. Tropez, M de Minuty, is a vibrant, dry rosé with harmonized peach and candied orange aromas.  In fact, persistent drought in the region, i.e., perfect Mediterranean beach weather, yielded grapes with aromatic intensity and remarkable balance.  The last

SPARKLING WINE WITH REAL 24 KARAT GOLD FLAKES A sparkling wine that truly glitters, BLUE NUN 24K GOLD Edition contains real 24k GOLD flakes and has a suggested shelf price of $14.99. Blue Nun 24k is truly an affordable luxury! Dating its origins back nearly 20 years Blue Nun’s 24k GOLD edition is poised to take center stage in the brand’s portfolio. With sparkling wines from around the world on the rise Blue Nun has distanced itself from the pack with the addition of pure 24k GOLD flakes. The wine is slightly sweet with a good level of acidity leaving the palate refreshed and ready for the next taste. Blue Nun 24k GOLD edition is appealing to consumers that are looking for a fun and exciting celebration. 58 BIN 2018

But Blue Nun is not stopping there they also have a Rose Edition without gold flakes. This is a crisp fruit forward sparkling rose. Easy drinking and at the same MSRP as the gold and the packaging for both highlights each wines attributes. The 24k has a graduated gold neck while the rose has an identical neck in a complimenting pink color. This is one wine that is as appealing to the taste buds as it is to the eye! Blue Nun 24k and Blue Nun Sparkling Rose’ are imported by Shaw Ross Importers International and available via Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits.

winery in Provence to pick all of their grapes by hand, M de Minuty is made in the traditional method for the purest expression of Grenache—the king of rosé. Minuty is already known for its high-quality wines and recognizable curvy bottle, and this artistic treatment only adds to the wine being a summer stunner.


smell as sweet, but a Dark ’n Stormy by any other rum would not taste as great. In truth, it wouldn’t even be a Dark ’n Stormy. This is one of very few cocktails to earn a US Government trademark. Not to protect us, to protect the drink. Because there’s a huge difference between Black Seal Rum and any other. It’s a deep, luscious rum made from a 168-year old family recipe using three individually aged distillates. And don’t even get us started on ginger beers! We crafted Stormy Ginger Beer to harmonize perfectly with Black Seal into the ultimate Dark ’n Stormy.


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n late 2012 a new category of wine hit the U.S. market that challenged the way Americans thought about French wine. Vin de France—a category under which producers are free to blend wine from different regions and create novel combinations of grape varieties—was a very fundamental shift in a country that has historically defined wine entirely by regionality. While it seemed radical at first, the market quickly responded. Today Vin de France wines account for 15% of all still wine exports from France and are some of the best-selling French wines in the U.S.: the category was up 20% in value and 18% in volume last year alone. If the goal was to unleash French winemaking creativity and enable producers to make wines that were more in tune with the way consumers drink today, Vin de France has been a resounding success. “Winemakers in France are able

nay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and others are more accurately termed French varieties. Their origins began in the vineyards of France, and appearing on the labels if Vin de France wines serves as a significant reminder of that reality. VARIETAL ADVANTAGE “I cross-market these wines in varietalVarietal labeling is critical for success in labeled areas, not just shelved with wines most newer wine drinking markets and is from France. And we’ve seen an increase permitted under Vin de France. “Having in sales, most notably in Sauvignon Blanc, a grape variety on the label helps make which offers particularly good quality people confident in the quality of the alternatives for our customers,” says Dan product,” says Arnaud Saget of Saget La Pastore, Wine Buyer at Kings Markets. Perrière Wines, one of the largest, most Cross-regional blending makes it easier dynamic players in the category. “Vin for producers to hedge against vintage de France has been a door-opener variability by delivering wines with VIN DE allowing us to find new conFRANCE more consistent taste profiles, as ACCOUNTS FOR sumers in the U.S.” well as wines that represent real In fact, varietally-labeled value for retailers and consumwines carry a double-benefit. OF ALL FRENCH ers—most retail between $9EXPORTS Though frequently called “in$15 SRP. “Value is the core of TODAY ternational varieties,” Chardonthe VdF strategic proposal and the to leverage this artistic license to better adapt to global palate preferences,” says Charles Slezak, Wine Buyer at Lowes Foods. “My guests respect tradition, but they also admire new and unconventional wines—there’s room for both.”


 Some winning wine examples featured at the Best Value Vin de France Selection 2018 competition:

La Perrière A l’Origine Sauvignon Blanc Saget La Perrière a.saget@ sagetlaperriere.com

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Patriarche Sauvignon Blanc Patriarche hsurville@sur-ent.com

La Châsse Chardonnay Maison Gabriel Meffre aurelien-darzac@ meffre.com

Horizon de Bichot Chardonnay Maison Albert Bichot christian.ciamos@ albert-bichot.com

Tussock Jumper Chardonnay Wineforces moliveira@ tri-vin.com

Aimé Boucher Chardonnay Famille Bougrier nicolas.bougrier@ bougrier.fr

A Capella Colombard / Viognier Famille Gassier t.gassier@ famillegassier.com


Modern labels Ú faster consumer adoption

Affordable price Ú greater profitability

Excellent quality-to-price Ú improved sales velocity

VDF Ú New styles, cool brands, great wines!

primary reason I carry these wines,” says Slezak. “The value these wines deliver is exactly what consumers seek.” Innovative winemakers are starting to utilize Vin de France to push boundaries at higher price points as well, crafting wines that will cast an aura of additional prestige on the category going forward. “Additional price tiers is the next logical step for the category,” notes Slezak.

Le Val Grenache Rosé Vinadeis broussillon@ vinadeis.com

Pyrène Négrette Rosé Lionel Osmin & Cie europe@osmin.fr

Pastore adds, “Without the strict guidelines and laws from traditional wine regions, a winemaker can use their best judgment in handling fruit and making a wine that expresses the grape itself. There seems to be enough freedom for a winemaker to push for something special.” Above all, what producers are learning is the value the consumer places on France as a point of origin. “I think France is a geographical ‘terroir’ in itself that is well understood by consumers, many of whom are often more interested in taste and quality rather than more specific places of origin,” believes Laurent Delaunay, of Badet Clément, another producer in the category. “This is why Vin de France is such an opportunity for French producers and is allowing us to capture market share.” ■ Discover the full list of medal winning wines at: vindefrancewines.com

Maison de la Villette Pinot Noir Badet Clément sophie.bonnetdoux@ badetclement.com

Bouchard Aîné & Fils Héritage du Conseiller Pinot Noir Boisset La Famille des Grands Vins ruane.n@boisset.fr

Kosmos Syrah / Grenache Gérard Bertrand k.hamelin@ gerard-bertrand.com

“We’ve seen consistent and steady sales growth from Vin de France wines. They are outpacing the category, which is already growing at a healthy rate.” — Charles Slezak, Wine Buyer, Lowes Foods

“At the recent Vin de France tasting in Paris, I found the wines to be of excellent quality; most show careful and balanced winemaking. They offer wonderful varietal expressions.” — Dan Pastore, Wine Buyer, Kings Markets


trend spotting


A sampling of beers from Neighborhood Restaurant Group demonstrates how eyecatching and Instagram-friendly they can be. / Taphouses have become a profitable adjunct for small brewers; Stephen Kirby pours a cold one at Hogshead Brewery in Denver, CO. / BELOW: The Lagunitas brewery in Petaluma, CA.



as the beer world turned upside down? Craft brewers are making lagers, the very style that once drove them to pursue something different. IPAs, once known for their bitterness, can now be found in hazy, sweet renditions. And even craft breweries may not be craft anymore, at least as the Brewers Association defines them, since large international companies have snapped up a number of leading little guys. Here are six trends that are changing the face of today’s beer scene.

CRAFT BEER BREWERS FOR SALE Larger companies continue to buy up craft labels and operations. The pace accelerated

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in 2015, when AB-InBev purchased Elysian, Golden Road, Four Peaks and Breckenridge; the following year MillerCoors purchased three breweries, and Heineken bought a 50% share in Lagunitas, which snapped up several other breweries in its own right. Constellation Brands and other investment groups have also indulged. Many beer geeks are aghast, but being integrated into these larger companies has stabilized distribution for many of these brands and even opened up overseas opportunities. Passionate fans assume the large, industrial brewers will insist their craft breweries adopt the same, mass-market brewing techniques. “We’re letting our actions and our beer

speak for us, “ says Karen Hamilton, Director of Communications at Lagunitas Brewing, which became wholly owned by Heineken last year. “Lagunitas still brews all of our beers with the same recipes and we work and brew with the same enthusiasm and fun-filled atmosphere as we always have.” Hamilton says that focusing on creativity and quality are their tools for both assuaging concerned fans and reaching new ones.

BEHOLD THE TAPHOUSE In terms of physical breweries, beer keeps growing, but the breweries are getting smaller. Especially in beer-centric cities like Denver, the taphouse—selling most of its beer on site rather than through distribution—is becoming more and more common. “I think the people that are going to suffer the most are those that are trying to take on that distribution network,” says Stephen Kirby, brewer and co-owner at Denver’s The Hogshead, which specializes in English-style cask-conditioned ales. “I think we’re going to see a slowdown in that. There are people locally that aspire to be the next Breckenridge, but I think that boat has sailed.”

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The taphouse model has been aided by the rise of food trucks, saving brewers from having to become restaurateurs, too, and lowering the capital needed to get started. Still, Kirby argues that too many new breweries don’t have a focus that will help them stand out. “I can only think of a few Denver breweries that have something that nobody else does. Everybody else seems to be a catch-all brewery; they want to do everything from a sour to a lager.”

THE OTHER LOCAL Another way breweries are keeping things local is focusing on local ingredients. For example, Sierra Nevada now has 11 acres of hops and almost 100 acres allotted for barley at their estate in Chico, California. In some states, new laws are assisting; New York’s Governor Cuomo’s enacted the Farm Brewing law in 2013, which calls for farm breweries to use increasing amounts of New York state hops and grains. “In 2015 we started looking into

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Craft beers may be hitting a plateau—but that plateau is big enough that signage at Binny’s, with multiple stores primarily around Chicago, distinguishes between “Local Beer” and “Midwest Beer.” / Greg Engert, Beer Director at Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s Bluejacket Brewery, believes the so-called New England IPA, being smoother and less bitter than IPAs, is helping craft beer’s popularity. / 1886 Malt House is not a brewer, but rather a brewery supplier—growing both hops and barley for New York State brewers specifically.

the farm brewing law,” says Erin Tones, Marketing Manager at 1886 Malt House, “and realized there was a need for locally sourced and malted grains for New York breweries.” They opened in upstate New York in September 2017, sourcing grains exclusively from New York growers and selling malt to the state’s breweries. New York now has more than 30 acres of hops and almost 900 acres of malting barley.

LAGERS ARE BACK Ales, made with top-fermenting, more expressive yeasts, were once craft brewers’ answer to yellow, mainstream lager. But more and more brewers today are embracing lager. “Lagers take time,” says Roger Adamson, Beer Educator for the retailer Binny’s in Illinois, “and time is money [lagers require more time aging than ales]. Now that many craft breweries are expanding their operations, they have the time and tank space to experiment with lagers.” Adamson says many brewers differentiate their lagers from mass-produced examples by not using adjuncts like rice,

which can thin a beer, and by exploring less familiar lager styles like German Schwarzbier, a dark beer which combines stout-like roastiness with the crisp lager character. Brewers may also hybridize making, for example, a lager with the strong aromatic character that comes from dry-hopping.

A CLOUDY FUTURE Dry-hopping, along with oats, wheat, and haze-inducing (low-flocculation) yeasts lie behind a new take on craft beer’s most popular style, the IPA. “The new hazy beers,” says Greg Engert, Beer Director of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, “are sweeter, more fruit-forward, hazier, and tend to be carbonated at a lower level so they’re creamier and silkier on the palate.” Engert says that while these so-called New England IPAs may be opposite in many ways from the classic, bitter IPA, they share the emphasis on hoppy aromas, and their distinctive, cloudy appearance makes them eyecatching and Instagram-friendly.

© 2018 J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, San Jose, CA






2018 BIN 65


Funny how old becomes new again. The hottest new package in wine these days is cans—a marketing shift arguably not possible without craft beer having already blazed the aluminum path. Meanwhile, Oskar Blues— one of the first craft brewers to use cans—is now offering a shrinkwrapped 24-can variety packs— indicating confidence in larger-than-sixpack formats. Heineken, always at the front edge of trends, has launched Tecate in 7oz bottles and expanded their “Blade” draught beer system to include the Italian import Birra Moretti. In the promotional arena, Heineken, the official beer sponsor of the MLS, is leveraging their soccer authority to embrace the World Cup with soccerthemed POS and a “Raise Your Scarf”promotion.

the 4.7% ABV, 135-calorie beer. Keeping up with the American Joneses, Canada’s oldest and largest independent brewery— Moosehead—is releasing their Moosehead Pale Ale across the U.S. Brewed using the same recipe since 1933, the sessionable, top-fermented ale (5% ABV) built a loyal following in Canada.


B:24.5” T:24” S:23.5”


*Visit http://linkto.us/goal1 for additional information.

By participating, you agree to receive up to two (2) reply text messages about the Program from HEINEKEN USA. Message and data rates may apply. ©2018 HEINEKEN® Lager Beer. Brewed in Holland. Imported by HEINEKEN USA Inc., White Plains, NY.

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The self-dubbed “America’s Oldest Brewery,” is adding a new beer to its core line for the first time in 17 years; Yuengling Golden Pilsner is “highly sessionable and full of flavor,” notes sixth-generation brewer Jen Yuengling, describing

66 BIN 2018






Flavors continue to resonate in the beer world—seeming to grow more unusual in specificity even as they become more common on shelves. Consider Iceland’s Einstök Arctic Berry Ale, made using pure glacial water and handpicked Icelandic bilberries. Shiner Sea Salt and Lime, the newest seasonal from the Texas-based craft brewery, plays off the popularity of the margarita, with just a dash of salt and a squeeze of lime in the 4.0% ABV beer. Also this year, Shmaltz Brewing Company’s Pastrami Pilsner launched (5.5% ABV) nationally. Don’t smirk— the rollout came after the savory brew proved a hit in 2017 at multiple Barcade locations in East Coast cities.

Keith Villa, formerly with Blue Moon, is aiming to dealcoholize beer, then add THC, the pyschoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Meanwhile, providing evidence that flavored beers have gone mainstream, Budweiser has released a refreshed Bud Light Lime and brand new Bud Light Orange. Brewed with real lime and orange peels, they jibe with the big brewer’s market research citing citrus flavors now accounting for 84% of the overall flavored category. No surprise, then, to see MillerCoors getting fruity. Purportedly the first low-priced mainstream beer launched in 20 years, MillerCoors’ new Two Hats arrives in Lime and Pineapple, taking aim at the taste and budget of a new generation of drinkers who aren’t currently big on beer.

“I do think that this evolution of the IPA could help,” says Engert. “It’s taken one of the most popular but most polarizing flavors of craft beer bitterness and came up with a solution for it.” Other styles, like traditionally bitter, roasty stouts, also now have sweeter versions.

OTHER SORTS OF HAZINESS? The steady expanding legalization of marijuana has encouraged brewers to play with cannabis-derived aromas, but until now, most have avoided working with cannabis’s active ingredient, THC; doing so would bring unwanted federal attention. So these beers, like Lagunitas’s SuperCritical, might have the hop-like, skunky, terpene aromas associated with marijuana, but no psychoactive components. Ceria, a new brand from Keith Villa, creator and former brewmaster of Blue Moon, is changing that. Starting with classic craft brewing, Villa plans to dealcoholize the beer, thereby removing it from the TTB’s jurisdiction, before adding THC. Villa’s position is that Ceria is about making legalized cannabis more social: “We took a look at the cannabis industry and there wasn’t really a lot of social ways to partake of cannabis.” Smoking, vaping, and edibles aren’t an evening’s-worth of activities, “so the only true way to socialize is to mimic the alcohol world and have cannabis beers of different degrees of strength so that you can have fun and socialize with your friends and family.” ■




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2018 BIN 67

At St. George Spirits in Alameda, CA, their first crush was about 80,000 pounds of pears; in 2017 they crushed over half a ton. / At Catoctin Creek, outside Washington, DC, production includes peach brandy—described as a true labor of love due to labor-intensive pitting and low juice level.




n central New Jersey, famed applejack maker Laird’s has been doubling production each fall for the past five years. Out in Indiana at Huber’s Starlight Distillery, new orchards have been planted and brandy production has been increased

to accommodate booming sales of apple and peach brandies. It’s not a universal story, but a number of American producers of fruit brandies have something to crow about as the cocktail renaissance finally seems to be getting around to the country’s first spirit. No, not rum or bourbon or even moonshine—fruit brandy can claim to be the first spirit produced by European settlers in the New World. Wherever apples, pears and peaches grew, farm-level 68 BIN 2018

production sprung up. Staten Island was home to the first brandy distillation in the New World in 1640. George Washington distilled not only whiskey but also apple and peach brandies, the latterreserved as a gift to dignitaries and friends. Post-Prohibition, however, fruit brandies lost their place at the table. Imported versions, notably French apple brandy Calvados seeped in, but never

really made much of a dent. The return of pre-Prohibition cocktails like the Jack Rose and many colonial-era tipples, such as Fish House Punch which uses peach brandy, have helped stir some action. But we should not discount the modern maturity factor: producers making the effort to harvest orchards and laboriously distill tree fruits are taking their business quite seriously—and arguably making better brandy than previous generations.

Quick Upswing Laird’s, whose first commercial transaction was in 1780, has seen demand ebb and flow over the decades, but the current wave is showing real intensity. Lisa Laird Dunn, Vice President for the family-owned distiller, even notes that some of their products left the market or went into allocation in the last few years, notably the 100 proof apple brandy, because sales had such a quick upswing. Now all Laird’s products, including the bottled in bond version, will be back by the end of the year. “There’s definitely a lot of buzz surrounding American fruit brandies,” says Laird. “Our hope is that it will break away


U. S .



2018 BIN 69

from being a niche product. One of the biggest problems is shelf position. It’s a brandy, not a fruit-flavored brandy and the average consumer is a little confused about the distinction.” Laird says even some distributor reps are confused about the category; she thinks retailers should consider creating American brandy sections to help resolve confusion. Lance Winters, Master Distiller at the acclaimed St. George’s Distillery, Alameda, California, says things have changed dramatically in the years he’s been making fruit spirits: “When I first started in 1996, we’d crush about 80,000 pounds of pears a year and sold about 85% of what we made in Europe. In the 2017 harvest, we crushed over half a million pounds of pears, and the domestic demand for our pear brandy has been so great that it’s all sold here in the United States. That’s been driven primarily by on-premise business as bartenders start to see real value in using flavor-forward fruit brandies to make delicious cocktails.” In Indiana, Ted Huber has been expanding brandy production over the last three years, and he credits bartenders as well: “Mixologists have done a great job bringing it out in front of people. Consistent exposure matters, which is why momentum has picked up over the

St. George Spirits makes both pear and raspberry brandy. / Apple harvest at Calvados Groult in Normandy, France.

last several years. Apple has taken off as our number one brandy selling product.” Growth, as might be expected from such a small category that depends on major urban cocktail markets, isn’t universal. Scott Harris, co-founder and GM of Catoctin Creek in Purcellville, Virginia, and his wife, distiller Becky Harris, have produced apple, peach and pear as well as grape brandies for nearly ten years but the company hasn’t seen much growth recently. “There’s a lot of education needed in the category.” He admits. “We spend so much time telling people just what fruit brandy is because they don’t really get the difference between brandy and liqueur.”

French Entry, Local Flavor

BRANDY VS EAU DE VIE It is useful to underline the distinction between fruit brandy and classic unaged eau de vie. The latter tradition is mainly European, whose main purpose is capturing the essence of fresh fruit rather than encouraging it to evolve in oak. Like in Cognac, early American producers found that storing in barrels added desirable qualities to what could be raw and fiery, and most American producers still age their fruit brandies in wood. 70 BIN 2018

Meanwhile, the largest volume apple spirit, Calvados from Normandy, had a surprisingly bad year in 2017, according to Christine Cooney of Heavenly Spirits, who imports three brands. “There has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride but a general increase over the past 15 years, and then last year down quite a bit—it

was a shock to all of us,” says Cooney. But she does expect a return to the longterm growth trend: “One of the best things you can do is to get feet on the ground and an ambassador in the market for the region.” The Calvados Pays d’Auge designation (made by Heavenly Spirits’ Roger Groult and other widely respected brands like Drouhin) calls for pot stills and tends to be pricier, while the Domfrontais region and the overall Calvados AOC call for column stills that can produce a style less expensive and more easily accessible to novices. Meanwhile, the latest episode of “As the Apple Turns” might well turn our attention to brand new locales of fruit brandy excellence. Craft distillers are making their mark with local fruit; examples include Harvest Spirits Farm Distillery, makers of Core applejack and peach brandy, in Upstate New York; Westward Hills in Connecticut makes mostly eaux-de-vie, but also an aged apple brandy; and Traverse City Whiskey Co. in Michigan has been turning local apples into brandy for the last few years, and aging it in bourbon barrels. Winters’ patience has paid off, so much so that St. George Spirits is maxed out on fruit brandies. “Based both on our distilling bandwidth here and our ability to source fruit that meets our standards, we’re at capacity right now for our fruit brandies,” notes Winters. “Educating the trade and the consumer will always be the most important aspect of what we do.” ■

1 0 0%




2018 BIN 71

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Profile for Beverage Industry News

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