H I S HOL I DAY SE A S ON, let’s raise a glass.
Here’s to keeping spirits bright and serving up cheer.
Here’s to you!
Limoncello 500 mL Tito’s Handmade Vodka 1-2 cups simple syrup 4 lemon peels
Peel the lemons, avoiding the white pith. Combine Tito’s Handmade Vodka, simple syrup, and lemon peels in a glass jar. Let sit for 1-2 weeks and strain when the infusion has reached the desired flavor.
SEPTEMBER 2020 COVER IMAGE Veggies Made Great PUBLISHER MICHAEL POLITZ Michael@fb101.com EDITOR-IN-CHIEF LAUREN KANE Lauren.Kane@fbmagazine.com NATIONAL SALES DIRECTOR COLLIN MILLINGTON Collin@fb101.com NATIONAL SALES MANAGER JEFF TIMM Jeff.Timm@fbmagazine.co NATIONAL SALES MANAGER RON STERN Ron.Stern@fbmagazine.co DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMMATIC SALES BARB ROGERS Programmatic@fbmagazine.com PODCAST ENGINEER BRAD JONES Brad@marque.media CORPORATE EXECUTIVE CHEF JOSH GREEN Chefgreen35@gmail.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS JENNIFER ENGLISH LAUREN MCINDOO MICHELE TELL TARRY HART KAIULANI DELGADO MATT FROHMAN VEDO PITNJAKOVIC DEBBIE HALL
We honor and remember the support of Chef Kerry Simon, Gary Cantor, Robin Leach, Chef Paul Prudhomme, & Gary Coles Food & Beverage Magazine® is owned and published electronically by Beautiful People, LLC. Copyright 1995-2016 Beautiful People LLC. All rights reserved. Food & Beverage Magazine® and distinctive logo are trademarks owned by Beautiful People, LLC. “fb101.com” is a trademark of Beautiful Peopl,e LLC. No part of this electronic magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of Food & Beverage Magazine. Requests for permission should be directed to: Lauren.Kane@fbmagazine.com. The information contained has been provided by such individual, event organizers or organizations. The opinion expressed in each article is the opinion of its author, organization or public relation firm. Food & Beverage Magazine is not affiliated with any other Food&Beverage or Hospitality publication.
Cover Feature Story
Inside this issue
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“The results we’ve seen since installing the M-iQ have been simply incredible. It uses less water, power, gas and cleaning agents. In our first year, we saved over $30,000 on the cost of supplies and almost $75,000 in payroll costs.” L A R RY G R E E N , P E A K E V E N T S E R V I C E S
The M-iQ flight-type conveyor dishwasher is so smart it actually improves your bottom line. It delivers the perfect balance of cleanliness and efficiency, while minimizing resource consumption. That means less water. Less energy. Less chemicals. And savings that add up fast! Rentals Unlimited (now PEAK Event Services), a premier rental and event company in the Boston area, saves big on labor, water, energy and chemicals, thanks to M-iQ. The company invested in the very first M-iQ dishwashing machine in the U.S. a decade ago, and their investment paid off. After 10 years of using a M-iQ, it is estimated the savings could exceed $1,000,000!
MEIKO’s M-iQ technology has been certified by the internationally known HygCen Institute to inactivate coronavirus in a SINGLE WASH CYCLE.
CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF MEIKO’S M-iQ FLIGHT-TYPE DISHWASHERS SAVING OUR CUSTOMERS MILLIONS
A million reasons to choose
$ 74,646 in labor $ 13,909 in water
See how your company
A 10-year savings of
$ 9,720 in detergent
can save BIG with a M-iQ
$ 6,899 in energy
(Independent Fisher-Nickel study)
* Based on the M-iQ’s first year of operation, it is estimated that PEAK Event Services (formerly Rentals Unlimited), a premier rental and event company in Stoughton, MA, that purchased the very first M-iQ dishwashing machine in the U.S., has saved more than a million dollars.
w w w. m e i k o . u s
RumChata® Reaches 50 Millionth Bottle Milestone as New RumChata Limón® Creates A Big Summer Splash RumChata has reached the 50 million bottles-shipped milestone this summer. The achievement comes during the highly successful introduction of the spirit’s first-ever brand extension, RumChata Limón. “Fifty million bottles of RumChata, it’s so hard to believe” said Tom Maas, RumChata Founder and Master Blender. “When I started this company with my father a decade ago using a recipe developed in my kitchen, we never could have imagined this. I’m so grateful to each and every person who has picked up a RumChata bottle over the years.” RumChata Limón started rolling out in February to prepare for the spring and summer cocktail season and is experiencing a tremendous response from both the consumer and trade. RumChata Limón blends Caribbean rum with real dairy cream, vanilla, and lemon in a sweet, smooth cream liqueur with a fresh lemon finish. It is packaged in a bright yellow version of the iconic RumChata bottle, complete with the familiar gold cap. In its first five months since the retail launch, RumChata Limón has shipped more than 45,000 9L cases. Already in 48 states, each of those states have reordered since initial shipments, representing a 100% reorder rate. The early success of RumChata Limón in the U.S. has led to the recent expansion in select Provinces of Canada. Based on these numbers, RumChata Limón will be one of the best new product introductions in the spirits business in 2020. Experts agree, as RumChata
Limón was recently selected as Best American Cream at the 2020 World Drinks Awards. “We pride ourselves on the quality of our products; it’s quality you can taste,” continued Maas. “And I personally guarantee everyone will enjoy drinking Limón. If you try it and don’t like it, send it to me and I’ll drink it – that’s my guarantee.” The brand will continue its ‘family strategy’ of leveraging the power of the RumChata name as it plans to roll out two additional flavor extensions by the end of 2020: RumChata Cold Brew and RumChata Peppermint Bark. Each starts with original RumChata's same award-winning recipe of Caribbean rum and real dairy cream, and then expertly blended with its own unique flavors. “The family strategy has been a great way to introduce the brand to those who have not yet experienced it,” said Maas. “For example, only fifty percent of Limón consumption is from RumChata Original drinkers, indicating that the other fifty is new recruitment. We are working hard to keep that fifty million number growing.” 8889:3*+*-./'9;"3
RUMCHATA COLD BREW add alcoholic cold brew coffee to your brunch menu today!
RumChata Cold Brew™, Caribbean Rum, Neutral Spirits With Real Dairy Cream, Natural & Artificial Flavors and Caramel Color, 12.5% alc/vol. Produced and Bottled by Agave Loco Brands, Pewaukee, WI 53072. Please Enjoy Responsibly. RUMCHATA, FRAPPACHATA and CHATA are registered trademarks of Agave Loco, LLC.
ALTITUDE. Elevate your next wine pairing with LE GRUYÈRE® AOP, made for over 900 years from the purest cow’s milk in the Swiss Alps. Gruyère AOP’s nutty complexity sings with Chardonnay, boosts a Beaujolais, and perfects a Pinot Noir. For more information and some great recipes and pairing ideas, visit us at gruyere.com.
Cheeses from Switzerland. www.cheesesfromswitzerland.com
Congress Must Act Now to Save the Restaurant Industry By Elizabeth Blau During the Great Recession of 2008, "Big Banks" went to Washington and made the argument that they were "Too Big to Fail" and received their now infamous bailout! Welcome to 2020: we are the restaurant industry—amid the catastrophic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic—we are desperate for help because our industry is “Too Important to Fail.” Restaurants are a vital, cornerstone institution, a fabric of American life that stretches back to the founding of this country in colonial taverns. Yet, we have been felled by outside forces, by the inaction of our Congressional leaders at a time of national crisis. As American restaurants die so dies the American Dream. A dream that used to begin anew every year when millions of teenagers across America entered a rite of passage: a restaurant job. For many of them- for many of us, this was their first experience in discovering the indelible lessons and rewards of hard work, maturity, responsibility and pride in a job well done! Ours is a business that welcomes all people, employing 15 million from all walks of life and backgrounds. The lessons learned in our business serve as a stepping stone for many of our future leaders, doctors, lawyers, teachers, actors, athletes and restaurateurs. Restaurants reflect our values, diversity, work ethic, and passions in every satisfying order, be it a hamburger, hot dog, bowl of gumbo, plate of barbecue, fried rice and everything in between. Restaurants are our favorite meeting places. We conduct business there. We escape there. And even more extraordinary, we are the site of some of life’s
most important events - proposals, weddings, graduations, and anniversaries. But now, the restaurant industry is intubated— lying on its deathbed struggling for air and fed an intravenous drug cocktail called PPP (the expired Paycheck Protection Program) and the Small Business Administration’s EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan). It’s not enough. America’s restaurants are DYING, falling like dominoes in the wake of governmental inaction. We read their obituaries daily, and gasp when one of our favorites shutter for good. At the current rate, this will not stop. Only 1 out of 5 restaurant owners say they can survive the COVID crisis. Four out of 10 restaurants have already closed. A staggering 90% of restaurant workers have been furloughed or lost their jobs for good. We need to support, we are out of time, and yet Congress has failed to reach another stimulus plan or aid that specifically targets our essential industry. We need immediate action. Legislation must address multiple issues: business liability insurance protecting restauranteurs, tax credits incenting restaurants to remain open or reopen, enforcement of business interruption insurance, expanding eviction time-lines, clear explanation of what constitutes a restaurant as compared to a bar or tavern and the ensuing capacity limitations and ways landlords and tenants can reach mutually beneficial resolution caused by the forced closures and limited capacity among the most important. We can’t survive on pick up and to- go, delivery or a few scattered tables in the street. Congress is failing our restaurant industry, and in doing so, failing the American people and forsaking the American Dream. No American city will rebound from this crisis without its restaurants! As a 35-year veteran of this industry, I urge you to make your voices heard. If you don’t want to see your favorite restaurants close, contact your elected officials and demand legislation that will help our industry survive because it is “Too Important to Fail.” Please support our efforts by calling your local congressman or by donating to the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) at https://www.saverestaurants.com/.
August was National Black Business Month nated by issues of racial injustice over the p the negativity, violence and hostility there striving to make positive change.
Jordan Buckner, the founder of TeaSquares those that is choosing to use his compa support black business owners. TeaSquares half years ago when Buckner completed g Chicago. He found himself drinking vast am day which caused him to experience stom wanted to ﬁnd a healthier way to stay alert an he created an energy bar with ingredients naturally, eliminating the effect of crashing
Since starting his company, Buckner has outreach by creating jobs in underprivileg wood, Chicago. TeaSquares hires young adu ties and previously incarcerated individual Currently the company’s focus is on socia Covid-19 and racial injustice as it is affectin Buckner.
July 2020 in Chicago there were a series groups came in and began looting which c for a couple of weeks for the safety of their w to employees having banking issues since accounts, rely on prepaid credit cards or co the banks being closed. Buckner had to ﬁnd while they were struggling to make ends m
Buckner started his other company, Good F time that Covid-19 was on the rise. They pu was geared towards supporting healthcare w to Northwest Community Healthcare in C concern of Covid largely affecting minority do with the lack of nutrition and healthy opti to action.
The idea for August’s box came together af Following the tragedy, he noticed that there lives and black-owned businesses. Lists o makers were being widely shared via socia great start, Buckner wanted to create some
h. The news cycle has been domipast few months. Rising up past e are individuals and companies
and Good Food Brands, is one of any’s platform to highlight and s was founded about four and a grad school and moved back to mounts of coffee throughout the mach aches and migraines. He nd focused. To solve his problem, like matcha that deliver caffeine later.
s been focused on community ged communities such as Engleults from underserved communils who committed minor crimes. al justice, surrounding issues of ng many of their employees and
of peaceful protests until other caused TeaSquares to shut down workers. The business closures led e some of them don’t have bank ouldn’t cash their paychecks with d a way to support his employees meet.
Food Brands, in April around the ut out their ﬁrst snack box which workers. All of the proceeds went Chicago. Buckner said that his populations, which partly has to ions available, is what called him
fter the murder of George Floyd. e was increasing support for black of black-owned businesses and al media. While all of this was a ething that would bring multiple
creators together in one place. Instead of customers having to go to each individual seller and make separate purchases from these lists, he decided to create a snack box to highlight black food founders. He reached out to those that he personally knew and others he had discovered from the lists that were being shared. A unique feature of this box is that each creator’s story is highlighted on goodfoodbrands.org. Consumers can get to know who they are supporting with their purchase and why the company’s cause is important. Good Food Brands wants to go beyond just the look and taste of products. Their core values are to provide products that are: “good for your taste buds, good for your health, and good for the community.” The Black Business Month Box features seven different brands of full sized food and beverage products. The snacks included are: Partake Foods Allergen-Free Cookies, TeaSquares Crunchy Energy Bars, Do Well Hand Crafted Cocktail Syrup, Triple A Chin Chin West African Snacks, Pat's Granola Blend, A Dozen Cousins Soulfully Seasoned Beans, and Emily's Foods Paradise Icing Snax Pax of Gluten-Free Pretzels and Icing Dip. The box is available through September or until supplies run out. You can visit goodfoodbrands.org to purchase a box for $39.99. The proﬁts are directly supporting the founders and businesses that have contributed their products to the box. In the future, Buckner wants to continue to highlight important causes that are relevant to communities all around the country. He hopes to create more snack boxes that are representative of cultures, as a way to highlight diverse sets of makers. He is passionate about uplifting others by telling the stories of what inspires food and beverage founders. “Food is such a culturally important part of our lives,” said Buckner. “People gather together and have traditions surrounding food.” Through these difﬁcult times Buckner is working to collaborate with and highlight those that are doing good in their communities for others. Written by Lauren Hyde
Minna Launches Nostal Fourth Flavor, Sparklin Cherry Cacao Green Te
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with Vedo Pitnjakovic
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Anthony Nader @52chefs
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Vedad “Vedo” Pitnjakovic is a freelance spirits & cocktail writer and contributing writer for Food and Beverage Magazine. vedo is based out of Las Vegas and has Ten years of experience as a bartender, consultant, and brand ambassador. Follow Vedo On IG & Twitter @V_isabartender
Throughout its 10-year history, Veggies Made Great has made changes to its product line to deliver delicious veggie-rich foods. Product offerings evolved to include more familiar flavors, more variety of veggies, and more portable formats. Huss and his team have reshaped the company portfolio to include hand-held product lines that are very popular Whether for breakfast, a snack, or dessert, their line of muffins is made with nearly one-third vegetables including zucchini and fresh carrots creating a moist and sweet muffin. Flavors include Double Chocolate, Blueberry Oat, and Banana Chocolate Chip with 120 calories or less. For more savory tastes, Veggies Made Great launched a Superfood Veggie Cakes in 2016, quickly becoming a best seller. The 2-ounce cake made the perfect plant-based breakfast, snack, or side dish delighting taste buds with a blend of seven different vegetables, brown rice, and egg. Its flavor profile was then expanded to include Butternut Squash, Harvest Root, and Quinoa. With such strong consumer acceptance of its first foray into savory muffins with the veggie cake line, Veggies Made Great broadened its selection with a line of veggie-rich frittatas, launched in 2018. The key drivers for Veggies Made Great Frittatas’ immediate success include their combination of convenience (45 seconds in the microwave, and portable), and great nutritionals (cage-free whole eggs or cage-free egg whites, 70-80 calories and 5 grams of protein). Original products Spinach Egg White and Veggie Bacon & Potato Frittatas were such big hits that Broccoli Cheddar Egg White and Mushroom & 3 Cheese Egg White were added to the line. Veggies Made Great was first launched 10 years ago as Garden Lites; fresh, family-prepared meals as part of the New Classic Cooking family with limited distribution. Huss had been part of the founding group of New Classic Cooking since 2004, feeding his passion for the frozen food industry.
“What we found over the years is that consumers in the broader market were buying and enjoying the healthy meals as a way to get their veggies. Our customers told us that they enjoyed the meals because they felt they were eating something good for them that was also delicious,” says Huss. Consumers explained they loved the product because, for them, the meals were an excellent way to include vegetables in their diet. The perception was that time was needed (shopping, preparation) to add vegetables; consumers were also unsure how to prepare veggies and make them delicious. Many consumers also felt it was inconvenient to keep fresh produce at home on a daily basis, and others were dissatisfied with other frozen options marked “healthy” that was available to them in the marketplace. Garden Lites transformed into Veggies Made Great offering plant-based food before it was a trend. The philosophy is— if an 8-year-old can’t pronounce it, it’s not in the food or on the label. Veggies Made Great products are created by culinary experts, not food scientists, using ingredients consumers can find in their own kitchens. “We’re so thankful for our consumers and brand loyalists,” says Huss. “We have seen such a growing affinity towards the brand, and it’s really helped shape who we are and who we want to become.” As a plant-based company that has played in the space for a while, they understand the importance of being transparent and authentic. As a health food brand, they understand that consumers must trust products with the ingredients listed. Transparency, clean labels, creative flavors, and new formats have led the brand to the top of the frozen food category. “There is so much opportunity on the horizon for Veggies Made Great. We are excited about launching new distribution, new product lines and expanding into interesting formats and flavors,” explains Huss. “The pandemic has certainly affect-
ed our business, as I’m sure it has most businesses. We have seen positives and negatives, on a positive note, we have seen an increase in our own online sales and retailer’s online sales, which have really helped strengthen our relationship with retailers.” The response of retailers to Veggies Made Great’s products is demonstrated with remarkable distribution gains in programs already in place in key retailers including Costco, Target, Walmart, Publix, Kroger, Shop Rite, Giant, Meijer, HEB, Stop & Shop, Fry’s, Ralph’s, and The Fresh Market. Harris Teeter has very quickly become a top retailer carrying all six of its best sellers. After the success of the 4-count muffins at Hy-Vee, they recently upgraded to the larger box size (6 count) and added two more bestsellers to their offering: Spinach Egg White Frittatas and Superfood Veggie Cakes. Meijer has added the top three Muffins and Superfood Veggies Cakes to their lineup. The Spinach Egg White Frittatas were so successful in US Costcos that they are now selling in Costco Canada, Costco Japan, and Costco Taiwan, with international distribution expected to continue. Target has added two new SKUs to the set and transitioned the items from the gluten-free door to the mainline breakfast door, hitting new internal milestones for Veggies Made Great. In the future, Walmart will begin to carry six of Veggies Made Great items in the mainline breakfast door in 3,500 stores in the US. Costco will run the Spinach Egg White Frittatas on promo, for the first time, in every Costco warehouse in every Costco region in the US. In terms of product line extensions, Veggies Made Great has partnered with Beyond Meat, a leader in plant-based proteins, to deliver two new Veggies Made Great Frittatas: Sausage, Egg & Cheese and Sausage & Pepper. This marks the first-ever Veggies Made Great product made with a branded ingredient, a collaboration that brings together the future of plant-based meat alternatives and veggie-pack,
plant-based products. “The products we created with Beyond Meat are so unique in plant-based foods; both brands believe this is a step towards an evolution of a better-for-you planet and its people,” Huss states. “Although we keep our innovation pipeline top secret, we are excited to deliver even more ways for consumers to enjoy our delicious, veggie-rich products. We see tremendous opportunity to expand our portfolio to include new flavors, formats, and eating occasions. We are working to create new products that will excite and delight our current consumer, while also expanding to those who may not have tried us before.” Earlier this year, Veggies Made Great launched the community of Veg Heads for their most loyal consumers so they can take part in missions, surveys and offers in exchange for access to health experts (nutritionists, dietitians, personal trainers), an opportunity to earn free product and to talk one-on-one with the brand. The community has grown to over 10,000 committed members in less than a year, and it speaks volumes about the loyalty seen and heard from consumers. “We have a lot of space to play in and a lot of opportunities to capture, given our mission. We are not just a brand of products; we are a lifestyle and a way of life. We are part of a balanced diet, and we make it easy for consumers to make better choices when it comes to their diet,” says Huss. “Beyond just building a lifestyle brand, Veggies Made Great is a brand, our current consumers believe in and a brand, our future consumers will learn to trust. When someone chooses a product from Veggies Made Great, they can count on us, knowing we’ve kept all the greatness in and left all the bad stuff out. I am so excited about our future and the continued support of plant-based veggie-rich brands from consumers and retailers.” For more information about Veggies Made Great, including products, sizes, and prices, and to find out where to buy them, visit www.veggiesmadegreat.com or www.thehealthfoodstore.com.
Restaurants like: Small town Virginia diner Mac and Bobs who declared bankruptcy over a 7 figure lawsuit regarding their dishwashers. Award-winning sushi restaurant Maru in Detroit, who paid $1.5 million for tipping discrepancies. Seattle Celebrity chef Tom Douglas, known for dozens of fine eateries and the in-flight meals of Alaska Airlines, who settled a $2.4 million dollar lawsuit with employees. Starbucks was forced to pay $20 million in MA, and paid nothing in NY despite identical tipping procedures due to discrepancies in state laws.
Protect Yourself from Upcoming Tip-Sharing Lawsuits Kirk Grogan is a VP at TipHaus, a software solution dedicated exclusively to solving restaurants tip distribution headaches. It’s no surprise that restaurateurs are in for a tough time when they choose to open a dining establishment. An industry that touts a 60% closure rate in the first year for new restaurants is already a seemingly doomed proposition, and with the novel Coronavirus leaving so much uncertainty, it is not a time for the faint of heart. Unfortunately, the adjustments restaurants have had to make by increasing delivery, adding contactless ordering, and strange rules on takeout food and alcohol is about to make problems much worse. Tip sharing, tip pooling, and any form or tip outs, collectively known as tip distribution, are challenging components of any restaurant, and any restaurateurs or managers reading this will know just how difficult it has been during Covid-19. Who should be tipped out when you are only open for take-out? As states have legalized to-go cocktails, how much do you tip share to the bartender who is now non-revenue facing? This is not simply an issue of upset employees or updating your excel sheet daily. Rather, we will see an influx of class action lawsuits over the next 12 months as managers struggle to keep employees happy while abiding by burdensome and often confusing state and municipal laws. This was already a hidden cause of many restaurants' demise during non-pandemic times.
Covid-19 has meant rapid and rushed changes to restaurant strategies with takeout and delivery becoming their primary source of revenue. It is with these changes, and the rushed decision on how to tip-share and tip-pool from these sales, that will lead to massive legal action within the service industry. Not even the nationwide multi-billion dollar delivery services have it figured out, with DoorDash defending an ongoing lawsuit of not distributing tips to drivers. Thankfully, there are some actions you can take to help protect your legal liability. Our team at TipHaus analyzed the data for thousands of service individuals using our software, and found some interesting trends, tips, and ideas to help your establishment. 1) First and foremost, always keep up to date with your state laws, and be aware that there are many temporary adjustments occurring during the pandemic. 2) Utilize ghost or phantom employees to pool tips for abnormal job codes such as take-out, and make sure to zero out these accounts by allocating all of these tips at the end of each shift. 3) Have open discussions with employees and shift leads to find transparent and agreeable terms with employees. 4) Always remember that tip distribution policies MUST be shared with all impacted employees. Every change must be communicated by law. 5) Denote one manager to be responsible for double and triple checking your tip out procedures, whether using spreadsheets or dedicated software. 6) Many states will compensate employees for reduced wages and shifts. Research your state's laws and offer employees streamlined opportunities to apply to avoid layoffs while keeping employees adequately compensated. 7) Offer employees shift data that matches your states unemployment timelines. They will be required to fill out hours worked each week, and providing them this data in a timely manner ensures they stay eligible for additional government subsidized wages. Thankfully, it seems we are slowly exiting the worst of the times. Nationwide, TipHaus restaurants saw 82% fewer transactions during the peak of Covid related closures, but have seen many restaurants return to within 10-15% of pre-pandemic sales as things have normalized. While employees are earning far less on tips overall, reduced shifts means that tips per shift has actually remained steady. It is an unfortunate reality that Covid-19 will continue impacting the restaurant industry for months to come. However, with a plan and focused managerial efforts, no restaurant should have to defend themselves against the upcoming lawsuits from monetarily motivated class action legal firms.
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Spirited Bubbles in a Beverage
written by Debbie Hall
appeal. “I’ve always developed innovative beverages with multiple points of differentiation. As a beverage entrepreneur, I believe that’s the best way to grab market share with minimal marketing. We don’t compete head-to-head with the major corporations. Our products fill voids.” The hard seltzer category emerged in 2016. In 2019, consumers spent more money on hard seltzers than on vodka. It started with a small brand that was later acquired by Anheuser-Busch and later renamed Bon & Viv. Nationally distributed brands include market leaders White Claw and Truly, as well as newer entrants Bud Light Seltzer, Corona Seltzer, Coors Seltzer and Vizzy. LYTT is now strategically entering the category using a unique angle.
LYTT Hard Seltzer Teas kick taste buds with Guaranà Hard seltzers now quench the thirst of consumers with a sales forecast (according to VinePair) of $2.5 billion by the end of the year, offering over 65 brands. Always the trendsetter, LYTT will be releasing its own twist on the growth-leading category. Michel Myara, founder and CEO of LYTT, has been formulating beverages since 2005 and creates niche concepts with mainstream
“My goal as a supplier is to be a niche version of Mark Anthony Brands, who leads both the flavored malt beverage and hard seltzer segments with Mike’s Hard Lemonade and White Claw, respectively. Research indicates that 90 percent of consumers who drink flavored malt beverages don’t drink hard seltzers,” explains Myara. “There would be no little to no cannibalization, or dilution of one line of products by the other. They both appeal to very different demographics.” Myara admits he resisted entering the hard seltzer market with his intention of focusing on his LYTT flavored malt beverage line. While keeping a close eye on developments within the segment, the opportunity to create an offering that is totally different from the popular brands became clear. “I was waiting for someone to do something original and it didn’t happen. All I’ve been seeing are White Claw ‘me too’ brands. So I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. I 8889:3*+*-./'9;"3
wanted to develop the hard seltzer with the most points of differentiation," he says. “If I was going to enter this space, it had to be with something no one else is doing. It is also branded as LYTT, which is the same brand as my flavored malt beverages. The brand has distribution in several states with established distributors and went viral on TikTok with millions of views. It made sense to leverage and grow the brand equity.” The paragraph on the side of LYTT Hard Seltzer cans (which Myara wrote) starts with “Who said premium had to be boring?” This sums up the concept. “Nothing bores me more than the sea of hard seltzers using white 12-ounce sleek cans. I wanted colorful cans and a different format. Same with the ingredients. I wanted exotic and exciting. The competition is ‘basic trying to look premium.’ LYTT is ‘premium doesn’t have to look basic." LYTT Hard Seltzer is packaged in eclectic 12-ounce soda cans. Ingredients include brewed organic tea, organic tea essence and Guaranà, a mysterious seed from Brazil’s amazon basin that Myara claims helps cover up notes from fermented alcohol. It is also known for its invigorating properties. Myara explains that the term “Guaranà” usually cannot be prominently featured on the label of an alcoholic beverage. This could be interpreted as “touting a health benefit," according to labeling and advertising rules that govern malt beverages, spirits, and wines. However, since the product does not derive any of its alcohol by fermenting malt, it can be labeled as a food. The alcohol used in the vast majority of hard seltzers is obtained by fermenting sugar. Aside from adding a touch of flavor, brands do very little to cover up the taste of fermented alcohol that Myara has discov-
ered many consumers really don’t like. LYTT blends traditional seltzer alcohol (keeping it classified as a beer to maximize potential points of distribution) with organic cane alcohol. The balance of fermented and distilled alcohol gives LYTT Hard Seltzer teas a crisp taste at 5 percent alcohol by volume. With its blend of organic tea ingredients and natural flavors, the character is flavor forward without having to acquire a taste for it. While consumers complain about the lack of flavor strength in most products, the calorie count and sugar content weigh a lot when making a purchase decision. A can of LYTT Hard Seltzer is 100 calories, has no sugar and is naturally gluten-free. LYTT Hard Seltzer is being released in three varieties: Moroccan Mint Tea, Raspberry Black Tea, and Peach Black Tea. In keeping with the exotic formula, the first two are sweetened with monk fruit, native to China and Thailand, a natural sweetener with no calories and not offered by any other company. Peach Black Tea is unsweetened. Myara has been innovating beverages in the industry since 2005 and started with non-alcoholic beverages. He launched RAGE Liquid Energy, the first high potency zero sugar energy drink to be formulated with a “pre-workout" energy blend including ingredients like creatine. This type of energy drink has grown over the years into a multi-billion dollar category. In 2016, he launched LYTT flavored malt beverages, modernizing a segment that lacked innovation with zero sugar, and herbal-infused high alcohol concoctions. Myara influenced the industry then and continues to be ahead of the curve today with the launch of LYTT’s unique hard seltzer teas. For more information, visit www.getlytt.today #$$%&'&()*)+,-)&.,-,/01)&& &&&2)34)56)+&7889)
Juroku Cha, One of Japan’s Most Popular Bottled Teas, Now Available in the U.S. Asahi Group’s Top Selling RTD Brand Now Sold via Amazon & Select Retailers Nationwide. Asahi Soft Drink Ltd, a subsidiary of Asahi Group Holdings which is a global alcoholic, beverage and food business group, is thrilled to announce the U.S. availability of its top selling beverage in Asia, Juroku Cha, a traditional Japanese grain and botanical tea made up of 16 all-natural ingredients. Unsweetened and naturally free of caffeine and gluten, Juroku Cha is one of the most popular ready-to-drink teas in Japan, and is now available for purchase on Amazon and at most Asian grocers and specialty retailers nationwide. “Juroku” meaning sixteen and “Cha” meaning tea, this traditional Japanese beverage is acclaimed for its authenticity and unique toasted flavor. Packed with all-natural ingredients, Juroku Cha is brewed with a variety of healthy grains and botanicals including guava leaves,
shiitake mushrooms, jujube, and kelp, along with ancient grains. Each of the 16 carefully selected ingredients are individually roast-
ed to create an uplifting one of a kind taste. “We’re excited to introduce Juroku Cha to American consumers as an all-natural beverage option that is ideal to stay refreshed and hydrated while also convenient for grab-and-go,” said Mr. Yoshikazu Nammoto, President of Calpis Beverage USA Inc, a wholly owned US subsidiary of Asahi Soft Drink Ltd. “In Asia, Juroku Cha is enjoyed by all ages day or night since its free of sugar and caffeine, and its unique nutty taste pairs well with most foods. We’re hoping our U.S. customers will also appreciate the 16 natural ingredients, each chosen for their health and nutritional properties.” Juroku Cha was inspired by the ancient Chinese tea-making process of blending various grains and botanicals to maintain a healthy and balanced body. Juroku Cha achieves this harmonious effect with the perfect balance of its 16 ingredients creating a beverage that is ultimately designed to improve moods and boost spirits. Nammoto continued, “Juroku Cha is a beloved drink and household staple in Japan, and we are confident that the appreciation for an all-natural beverage as unique as ours will transcend continents.”
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2020 International Winner
ROCK ‘N’ ROLL NEVER DIES
ROCKHOUSE LIVE INTERNATIONAL™ Launches Hybrid Live/Virtual Entertainment & Foodie Spots Late August, Jock Weaver, former president & visionary force of the international phenomenon Hard Rock Café, announces a partnership with music tech guru/entrepreneur Zach Bair in ROCKHOUSE LIVE INTERNATIONAL™, an exciting new hybrid Live & Virtual entertainment-themed restaurant and venue operation. Bair originally conceived RockHouse Live in 2006, after selling majority interest of the company he founded, Immediatek, to Mark Cuban of “Shark Tank” fame. Bair is known as the pioneer of "instant live recording”, and has worked with/produced major artists over the last 17 years (Slash, Frampton, Devo, Blondie) all around the world, and most recently international superstar Rob Thomas. Partner Jock Weaver is armed with the hands-on experience of expanding the iconic Hard Rock Café, which grew under Weaver’s leadership from one $750k location to a multi-unit $200 million enterprise. Weaver teamed up with Bair after he fell in love with the prototype for Blair’s new venture in Memphis, Tenn. In spite of the global Pandemic, Weaver sees an entertainment Renaissance about to explode across the globe, with consumers of all ages starving for live music in a social setting filled with elevated American pub food plus proprietary music technology. In a strong nod to the Pandemic,
!"#$#%& ROCKHOUSE LIVE INTERNATIONAL™ is also designed to offer live VIRTUAL concerts along with plenty of take-out food to boot. Using technology developed and operated by the company of which Bair is CEO, VNUE, Inc. (OTC: VNUE), fans can have concert audio within minutes of the end of a show, delivered directly to their mobile devices via the set.fm website (www.set.fm) or the set.fm mobile application.
The disruptive new hybrid model for
ROCKHOUSE LIVE includes: • Markets that are high traffic tourist destinations, entertainment zones, and waterfront/beachfront locations. Given the current state of the market, there is an unprecedented opportunity to introduce new and exciting experiential live music entertainment themed restaurants to these spaces.
• A combination of nightly entertainment, including local, regional and national artists, state of the art streaming and content development/delivery capabilities, great reasonably priced food and amazing service, for locals and tourists alike.
The opportunities to grow another epic hundred million dollar plus entity, as Weaver explains, is clear. “ROCKHOUSE LIVE represents the next exciting development in experiential live music entertainment themed restaurants and venues,” said Weaver. “With the focus on nightly entertainment, combined with state-of-the-art streaming and content development and aggregation capabilities, including "instant content" capabilities by set.fm, great reasonably priced food, and amazing service, RockHouse Live will differentiate itself from competitors, and will be a true destination for locals and tourists alike.”
"Jock and I, better than anyone, know how to utilize music, entertainment and food service to build an iconic brand, and to keep it contemporary and relevant for fans and customers that will go to RockHouse Live to Eat, Drink and ROCK!™", noted Bair.
• Live concerts broadcast from their own location PLUS other RockHouse locations. Fans will also be able to download the content instantly using VNUE's set.fm technology. Set.fm allows fans to have concert audio within minutes of the end of a show, delivered directly to their mobile devices and the www.set.fm website. !""#$%$&'(')*+'$,*+*-./'$$ $$$0'12'34')$5667'
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PR%F Awards 2020:
Specialty Categories Shine
Winners will include women-owned, ready-to-drink, CBD-infused, and other categories. PR%F Awards 2020 honors the diverse and distinctive categories of international and domestic spirits, wine, and other beverages. This prestigious honor for winners selected by beverage industry buyers is the ultimate competition in an industry that serves more than traditional spirits but over 300 categories. The private judging competition will be held at Green Valley Ranch Resort later this year on Dec. 1-2. One of the biggest trendsetters, according to CBS News, is canned wine. The sales of wine grew by 11 percent from July 2019 to July 2020. However, canned wine sales have surged by 68 percent from last year resulting in over $188 million in sales. PR%F Awards 2020 stays ahead of the trends and offers canned wine categories, including white, red, rosé, flavored, and sparkling. There is also a revival in the canned wines category of different wine coolers with several varietal and fruit wines. “Our selection of canned wines, made from 100 percent Prosecco, has grown in sales as we move quickly into the US by way of California and Nevada,” said Eugene Lee, director at Casa Luigi Prosecco located in Fossalta di Piave village, north of Venice, Italy. “Winning Double Gold medals for our brands in last year’s PR%F Awards last was highly responsible for us gaining visibility in the US, and we are excited to be a part of the competition again this year.” Along with canned wine are several ready-to-drink packaged beverage (RTD) categories. This includes RTD cocktails, wine, fusion, margarita, bloody Mary, and bourbon. Already new drinks are being created for niche markets and consumer preferences. For example, one company recreated the Transfusion cocktail—vodka, ginger ale, and Concord grape juice—and packaged it as a RTD golfer’s beverage cart can. The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States reported profits of $351 million in 2019 from the sales of RTD spirits and cocktails. As a trendsetter, PR%F Awards 2020 will select the best to continue the growth in 2021. “We have seen substantial growth in the last year as consumers increasingly value RTD canned cocktails for their convenience, single-serve sizes, and wide range of flavors,” says Joe LeVecke, President of LeVecke Wine, Beer, and Spirits.
“The ready-to-drink wines and spirits category continues to be the most innovative, fastest-growing category in the industry,” adds John B. Harrison, CEO of American Beverage Ventures and guest Chief Consultant of Opulent Wines & Spirits Distributorship of Las Vegas. “The ability to experience a quality cocktail at the tip of your fingers without having to go out and buy several ingredients and follow a recipe is enticing to so many, especially the younger generations who don’t know many traditional cocktails of the past. Also, with the current world climate, ready-to-drinks require less direct contact with various surfaces, making for a more hygienic and safer cocktail experience.” As for other spirits not in a can, brands are being founded and led by women as well as female master distillers, blenders, executives, and mixologists. According to Constellation Brands, female-led business is the fastest-growing segment of entrepreneurship in the US. PR%F Awards 2020 celebrates the female force behind a great cocktail or spirit drank straight from the bottle. Americans love their carbonated drinks, and spirited seltzer climbed in sales with a forecast (according to VinePair) of $2.5 billion by the end of the year. In 2019, consumers purchased more spirited seltzer by volume than vodka. Spirited seltzer just doesn’t include spirits but also wine-based and brewed malt. Part of its popularity is due to fewer calories and carbs per serving. PR%F Awards 2020 credits this important category with seltzers, spirited, and nonspirited, as essential components of the industry. Regionally and locally produced cider sales skyrocketed with double-digit increases, especially in the Pacific Northwest, with two-thirds of the market accounting for cider sales. Cider, made from apples, and hard cider, created from fermenting the juice of apples, appeal to the consumers’ taste, and has developed into another category for PR%F Awards 2020. In fact, sales of regional roséand pineapple-flavored ciders grew extensively in 2019. Mixers include coffee (caffeine and caffeine-free), tea (caffeine and caffeine-free), energy drinks, fruit, tonic, ginger beer, and water. CBD-infused drinks, including water, spirits, wine, coffee, teas, and energy drinks, are considered mixers.
Through the roof is the best way to describe sales of RTD CBD-infused drinks with a reported 3,609 percent increase in sales in 2019. Triple-digit percentages for growth in sales include CBD-infused coffee, tea, water, juices, and carbonated beverages. Consumers buying CBD-infused water are expected to spend $1 billion by the end of the year. With the increase in the consumption of wine, CBD-infused wine is a market to watch, and the PR%F Awards 2020 honors those at the cutting edge of this new trend. “The water market continues to dominate in the media world with daily press releases landing on my desk for mineral, artesian, electrolyte, vitamin, coconut, hemp, and CBD water brands rapidly growing and expanding—adding flavors and nutrients and other unique health benefits” says Michael Politz, publisher of Food and Beverage Magazine. “Seltzers, both spirited and non-alcoholic, offering unique and irreverent flavors, also have gained traction and popularity.” Mocktails also embrace the new era of spiritless. Delightful cocktails and straight-up “drinks” can now be enjoyed without the actual spirit. Choices include vodka, rum, gin, tequila, and bourbon. In fact, according to Fortune magazine, this could be the year mocktails go mainstream. It was reported an estimated 1 in 5 Americans participated in “Dry January” when casual drinkers gave up drinking spirits, wine, or beer. When a survey was conducted with bartenders in 15 US cities, the consensus was consumer demand has grown for spiritless cocktails and faux wine. This means sales and those at the forefront of this new demand can enter and showcase their product. All categories offer a sub-category of Kosher, organic, or gluten-free. One product or beverage can be entered in multiple categories, so for example, if it is also gluten-free, it can be entered in the gluten-free category as well. Other new trends and new categories encompassed by PR%F Awards 2020 include champagne, sparkling wines, New World whiskey, novelties, coffee liquors, frozen concoctions, boxed wines, ciders, and expansion of RTD individual categories. The diversity of the PR%F Awards 2020 matches the multiplicity of buyers judging them. “We are thrilled with the recent response for the upcoming PR%F Awards 2020 and how much the entrants have embraced our newest categories. This includes wines, sparkling wines, ciders, and over 40 new spirits and non-alcoholic beverages with over 300 categories,” says Michele Tell, executive director of the PR%F Awards.
“During this tough period in the world, our spirits brands must remain visible in the marketplace and online, where everyone’s eyes are looking for most of their news and content. The PR%F Awards helps with that push with social media posts and other press announcements. Our entrants get a chance to be tasted by top beverage buyers from across the US in December, which will help jumpstart the brand’s sales capability for next year as we move out of this somber 2020 experience.” Along with taste and quality, labels, packaging, and point-of-sale are equally essential, and the PR%F Awards Design Distinction will be held simultaneously. Artists, creatives, and marketing expert judges will award those expressing the most innovative and powerful elements for the beverage industry. The most progressive resource in the food and beverage industry, Food & Beverage Magazine, reaches over 12 million monthly readers, as noted by Amazon’s Alexa rating system. The medal winners will be announced and showcased in several upcoming Food & Beverage Magazine issues, including its special January 2021 issue. The awards and its winners will also be broadcast on various New York City- and Los Angeles-based podcasts featured on the Food & Beverage Podcast Network (fbpodcasts.com). Partner Delta Sky Club (delta.com/us/en/delta-sky-club/overview) offers the industry’s most innovative beverage program in its 54 airport locations with handcrafted cocktails, premium wines, and craft beers. The PR%F Awards 2020, presented by Food & Beverage Magazine, will be held at the AAA Four-Diamond Award-winning Green Valley Ranch Resort (greenvalleyranch.com). The resort features a restaurant collection offering over 10 choices from fine dining to casual. The property’s gaming includes race and sports book, table games, bingo, and over 2,100 slots/video poker machines. Each judge plays a vital role as a top decision-maker for distribution, retail, and purchasing. The PR%F Awards private judging competition by this panel of experts is scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 2. All bottles must be received by Nov. 1. Mail submissions to Opulent Wine & Spirits, 4691 S. Valley View Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89103. Entry forms, rules, and information can be found by visiting proofawards.com or calling 888-959-7260. Written By Debbie Hall
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Guide to Restaurant Success
Written by Michael Politz
My Start as an Entrepreneur Usually, other “experts” would begin their book by telling you about their many successes in the food and beverage industry, hospitality industry, and business in general. I am very successful, but more importantly, I want you to understand me as a person and entrepreneur. Using my guidance, you can open a restaurant without having millions of dollars to spend. I can open one today for as little as $25,000. How? The steps will be explained throughout the book. For now, let’s start at the beginning. I was 8 years old, and I found a way to sell greeting and holiday cards. If I sold enough cards, I got points to pick a prize. Something inside of me said that I could move these cards by lugging boxes and selling them door-to-door. Making money this way, I would get to pick whatever prize I wanted. I selected a shiny, new, brass-plated trumpet—and I have no idea why I picked that trumpet or what happened to it. My eye was on the prize, and while I remember the feeling of the importance of selling enough cards to select a reward, I can barely remember the prize itself. As an entrepreneur, even at such a young age, that feeling kept me going. I realized that if I could sell those cards, I’d get that prize and much more. That was a defining moment that influences my life to this day. However, my parents urged me to pursue a career as a professional. I do wonder where I would be today if I had become a lawyer or doctor. My dad (and everyone else) told me to do a lot of soul searching when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do as a career. I was a little envious of others at the time; many people in my world already knew what they wanted to do and where their paths were going to take them.
I love and respect my family, especially my father, so I decided to attend college and obtain a degree. I had no plans or goals professionally; I was focused on getting an education. My personal plan was to attend college, learn everything I could, and hang out with my friends. What’s more important than friends, fast cars, motorcycles, and good times? Then a funny thing happened. I graduated from high school and planned to attend college, and I needed to make money, but I didn’t want a job. Now I am going to show my age, but before the internet, there were classified advertisements in newspapers. They were like apps for buying and selling, except printed on paper. I always read the classifieds, especially businesses for sale. I can’t explain why, but I loved reading that section daily. One day, I discovered an ad looking for people to rent an ice cream truck. “Wow, that would be fun,” I thought. “I can drive around all day.” Gas prices at the time ranged from 89 cents to 99 cents per gallon. I wanted to do this, so I managed to get my best friend and cousin, Mark Mandel, involved (even though at the time he was not as inspired as I was by the idea and just wanted to sleep the summer away). I had to go to an area that not desirable to rent the truck, but I could keep the truck at my place. I was on my way. Then I realized I had to buy the product wholesale to sell it retail. I called my friends and discovered that Alex Mates, my friend Paula Kaufamn’s boyfriend (now husband), operated a frozen foods business that supplied ice cream products to big grocery store chains. I knew I had to meet him. I got my products from him wholesale, and I thought my ice cream truck was the greatest business ever. We loaded up the truck and
used a loudspeaker to get people’s attention by playing music. I even had friends who would breakdance on the roof. I offered raffles, so when you bought something, you got a raffle ticket. One of the prizes I offered was a doll from the movie Gremlins. Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard lived in one of the neighborhoods where I drove the ice cream truck, and his son Ray Jr. won the toy. Ray and I are still close friends, and he swears he doesn’t remember any of this. We just laugh about it now. That is the fun part of the story. People would break into the truck and steal food and other items late at night. I soon realized that it was my responsibility if the truck broke down, I didn’t get the right product, or people didn’t feel like working that day. At the end of the summer, we had made enough to cover our product costs and pay for gas. I loved it. I learned about commerce, people, food, licensing, and being my own boss. Since that experience gave me access to other frozen food products at wholesale prices, I offered other products to customers for retail prices. Operating this business taught me a lot about that aspect of the food and beverage industry. Then I attended the University of Maryland as a hotshot freshman at the age of 18, and somehow I ended up in the t-shirt business. I sold t-shirts across the campus from a backpack. Once I transferred to the American University business school in Washington, D.C., I started a flower business. I sold roses for $9.99, walking around with the same backpack, this time full of flyers that I stapled them to walls around school, and making sales.myself.
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Carlos’ Food & Wine Fine dining made simply... Made at home.
By J.C. Martin Writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez would have referred to it as “Love for food (and wine) in the time of COVID-19” but what Carlos-Food-Wine.com has done is simply glaze with elegance, while simplifying sophistication, the many options we can create with the ingredients in our kitchen cabinets. The story starts “long, long ago, in a galaxy far away” before Carlos Sarmiento graduated from the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts with a degree in Filmmaking, before Miami Dade (then Community) College, even before obtaining a driver’s license, there was a boy and a passion for the culinary arts. A love that originated as the result of being exposed to different cultures. From early childhood, Carlos and his family moved around Europe, while maintaining a firm grip on his Latin roots, this Venezuelan/Cuban/Peruvian boy found himself staring at his own reflection on the windows of some of the most renowned restaurants around the globe. And by the time he reached his teens, he began recreating dishes and experimenting in the kitchen. The great Galileo once said, “Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” Carlos was soon blinded by that light. It is not surprising that any young man would be willing to taste a bottle of wine, but what sets this story apart, is that from the beginning, this particular boy was more interested in the history behind the grape than the flavor it produced. He wanted to know what made wines so different, more importantly, he wanted to learn WHAT, WHEN and WHERE. The WHY would only come with time. Wine pairing is nothing short of an intricate game of seduction, finding the perfect amalgam of solids and spirits, that can only come from two places: experience and divine inspiration. Realizing this, Carlos slowly undertook the unbeatable task of trying new wines, following a formula that has been written, changed, tampered with and then written again. Plan your meal, cook your
food, open a bottle, if that does not work, drink it and open another, and another and another. Eventually you will have the perfect pairing, even if you cannot remember it the following day. Time, that old foe and nemesis of ours, allowed for many seasons to march. Carlos found himself in the world of public relations, communications, and government affairs, yet his first and greatest love was deep inside of him...dormant, waiting for a chance to resurface. COVID-19 inadvertently created the conditions for a triumphant return. Like many of us, Carlos found himself “safer at home.” As a single father of one, he wanted to create a magical world for his daughter, and what better than an elegant meal? How about an elegant meal done together with your child? By the next morning, the tastes and aromas of years gone by, began to parade. The inspiration now was unstoppable. Carlos wanted to cook, but beyond that, he wanted to inspire people, he wanted others to find a way to make something good out of our new strange situation. Quite the conundrum. How to help people create magical dishes with simple ingredients? Enter the perfect solution, a forum where recipes can be followed and a guide to find the perfect match to the perfect dish...a website that would showcase what can be accomplished with a few steps, lots of love and a nice bottle of…Oh yes, the other dilemma. From suggestions you get options, from options you obtain choices, and choices produce variety. Carlos knows that an integral part of the success of a meal resides within the palate of every individual, and it is that very sense of individualism what makes the world of cooking such a magical experience. No two people are alike; thus, no two people will have the same taste or taste the same. Carlos-Food-Wine.com represents a guide in an infinite highway, an oracle of sorts that will recommend a road or two, but it is YOU, the user, who has the final say, as it is YOU and your palate alone, who will enjoy the benefits of this wonderful journey.
To savor more, visit and subscribe at: www.carlos-food-wine.com Twitter: @palmtreepics Instagram: Carloslsarmiento
J.C. Martin is a freelance writer and government consultant.
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