THE BEVE R AGE N E T WO R K ’ S 2011
Chile’s New Frontiers Introducing BACARDI OakHeart
A Sipping Story T
he story of Appleton Estate Reserve
begins in the heart of the beautiful Nassau Valley
of Jamaica in 1749. That’s when Appleton Estate first began producing some of the world’s most extra-
ordinary, sought-after rums.
Using oak barrels for ageing and a unique, small-batch, copper
pot still distillation method, Appleton was able to masterfully blend wonderfully complex rums that enhanced
the most special, sophisticated occasions, making them…
well, perfect. Today, over
260 years later, we are as committed now, as we were then, to providing a truly superior and refined rum
experience. A rum of great character with full, rich flavors and lush aromas. A rum that still needs nothing
other than a glass,
maybe some ice and time to enjoy. So you see, when you present
Appleton Estate Reserve, you’re giving your customers a rum that is second to none and making
them a part of a story as rich as the rum itself.
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Appleton Estate Reserve Rum © 2011 Kobrand Corporation, New York, NY. 40% ALC. BY VOL. Please sip responsibly.
MAGENTA BOUNDING RULE DOES NOT PRINT CLIENT: KOBRAND / APPLETON JOB NO.: 1-KAPL-016 A CAPTION: “A SIPPING STORY” 1DAG HAMMARSKJOLD NY, NY 10017-2205 (212) 832-3800
TRAFFIC/PROOF READER PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR DIRECTOR PRINT SERVICES ART DIRECTOR COPYWRITER ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE ACCOUNT SUPERVISOR MANAGEMENT SUPERVISOR CREATIVE DIRECTOR CLIENT
SPACE UNIT: PG 4/C BLEED (B: 8.875” W x 11.375” H, T: 8” W x 10.75” H, L: 7” W x 10” H) PUBLICATIONS: TRADE - JUNE/JULY/AUG 2011 APPROVED
ART FILE NAME 20432_ROCKS.tif 20433_RESERVE_BOTTLE BigReflect.tif AE.GoldBackground.tif AE.RESERVEflourish.eps AE.ReserveSTAMP.eps barrels.tif jamaica.tif Sip_Up.eps facebook_logo-2.tif twitter_logo.tif
Date Created: 04/27/11
Date Revised: 05/11/11
MECH SCALE 6.8% 15.9% 112% 62.1% 68.6% 20.1% 25.3% 28.4% 4.3% 9.5%
EFFECTIVE RESOLUTION 5845 dpi 2506 dpi 89 dpi illustrator eps illustrator eps 1490 dpi 1184 dpi Illustrator eps 1671 dpi 3140 dpi
PRINTED AT 100%
MUST BE 21 TO ENTER! FEaTURES
24 MiXOlOgiSTS TO WaTCh The Beverage network presents its annual 10 Up & Coming Mixologists, as they make their mark in the industry.
48 gOldEn TiMES Kentucky bourbon showcases the health of the american whiskey business.
34 WhERE aRE ThEy nOW? a spotlight on what some of our previous Up & Comers are up to now.
4 PUBliShER'S MESSagE 7 SUPERinTEndEnT OF OhiO liQUOR COnTROl REPORT 9 MESSagE FROM ThE OlBa EXECUTivE diRECTOR 10 & 11 lEgal iSSUES
36 RaiSing ThE BaR Pernod Ricard USa's Simon Ford inspires a new crop of bartenders.
13 laST Call 15 EvEnTS & BEnEFiTS
17 PERMiT hOldER in ThE SPOTlighT 19 ThEBaRBlOggER.COM
36 44 ChilE'S nEW FROnTiERS Producers experiment with non-traditional grape varieties and new regions, and rediscover old vines.
54 aCES FOR Fall With no shortage of new brands in the wine pipeline, here are three that may have an edge. 56 ThE 2011 vinEXPO U.S. retailers seek the latest trends and products at the Bordeaux wine fair.
21 ChEFS CORnER 64 ShOPPing nETWORK 67 WhOlESalE PRiCE liST 77 viOlaTiOnS
SEPTEMBER 2011 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly 3
Publisher's Message By PhiliP a. CRaig going along with tips and ideas for making money, also get tips on how to keep your establishment's Facebook fans impressed. hopefully you attended Barry Chandlers seminar at the expo about growing your business through social media. you can also check out his article this month on page 19. Philip a. Craig, Publisher
want to thank all of the vendors and everyone attending or who just attended the 2011 Buckeye Bar Expo at the Bluestone! The Buckeye Bar Expo is one of our most exciting events of the year and we work hard to bring you a bigger and better show each year! if you visited the OlBa booth then you learned that the OlBa has a new opportunity for bartenders. Make sure to get the details by reading Events & Benefits on page 15. it is the OlBa's intention to allow bar and tavern owners the opportunity to do what they got into business to do in the first place, to make money running an establishment! hopefully you stopped by the Bevinco booth, but also make sure to read The last Call on page 13 for tips and ideas for doing so.
ThE BUCKEyE BaR EXPO iS OnE OF OUR MOST EXCiTing EvEnTS OF ThE yEaR and WE WORK haRd TO BRing yOU a BiggER and BETTER ShOW EaCh yEaR! My staff and i welcome any comments from attendees and vendors who attended or participated in the Buckeye Bar Expo this year. We want to know what you enjoyed or what you think we can improve, so please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-678-5995 with those comments and, again, thank you to all who took part in another successful expo!
Ohio Beverage Monthly volume 2, no 9 (iSSn 1065-9846) www.ohiobeveragemonthly.com
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BaR EXPO EXhiBiTORS!
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Ohio Beverage Journal (iSSn 1065-9846) September 2011, vol. 2 no.9. Postmaster, send change of address information to Ohio Beverage Monthly, 37 W. Broad St, Suite 480, Columbus, Oh 43215 Ohio Beverage Monthly is published monthly for $20 per year and $28 for (2) years.
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SEPTEMBER 2011 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly 5
6 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly SEPTEMBER 2011
MiCROdiSTillERiES MEan BUSinESS and JOBS FOR OhiO The Trend is growing
By BRUCE d. STEvEnSOn, SUPERinTEndEnT OhiO diviSiOn OF liQUOR COnTROl
icrodistilleries. The latest trend in craft food and beverage is growing at a rate some experts estimate at 20 new businesses a year across the country. Ohio is an exception, not because of a lack of interest, skill or vision. Rather, the law prohibits these small, private distilleries from selling their product on premises, making it difficult to generate interest when they do not produce enough for wider distribution. The craft distillery permit, the a-3a, is the permit issued to a manufacturer that produces less than 10,000 gallons of spirituous liquor per year to sell the products they manufacture directly to consumers for carry out. Current law allows only one a-3a license to be issued per county with greater than 800,000 residents. Only Cuyahoga, Franklin and hamilton counties qualify. That means only three are allowed in the entire state. Two are currently assigned, the third is pending. But there’s a plan to change that. hB 243, introduced by Representatives Casey Kozlowski and Ron young, has passed the Ohio house and when the legislature returns in September, the Senate insurance, Commerce and labor Committee will take up the issue. The bill would change the limitation on the number of a-3a licenses. lt. governor Mary Taylor has provided support
through the Common Sense initiative. The department of Commerce supports the expansion of the a-3a permit throughout the state based upon local option, as passed by the house.
iT’S a TREnd ThaT’S SURE TO COnTinUE naTiOnWidE, BUT Will iT gROW aS a BUSinESS OPPORTUniTy in OhiO? Consumers are seeking something unique. a recent nielsen study of 21-34 year old “Millenials” found they are: • more likely to purchase wine and hard liquor than previous generations • fickle when it comes to the type of alcohol they purchase • willing to explore new, different, locally-made products. The use of local and often organic ingredients and the experimental quality of some of their products, like seasonal pumpkin-infused vodka, is what sets these small, craft distillers apart. The demand for products with local flair explains why, despite the recession, people opening craft-spirit businesses in neighboring states and throughout the Midwest are holding their own financially and
Bruce d. Stevenson, Superintendent
finding an audience for their products. it’s not necessarily that people are drinking more, they are drinking differently. Craft or artisan distilling has migrated out of California, once the leader in smallscale distilling, and into the Midwest. This part of the country, with its abundance of grain and fruit, stands poised to capitalize on the trend sweeping the country. agri-business has been able to generate tourism and tax dollars and now it could be a big contributor to the microdistillery trend, as well. These small distillers would provide an alternative market for the farmers’ products. Even colleges and universities, like Cornell University, are giving courses and workshops on artisan distilling. it’s a trend that’s sure to continue nationwide, but will it grow as a business opportunity in Ohio? Find out more about hB 243 this fall by following us on Twitter @Ohioliquor.
SEPTEMBER 2011 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly 7
Broadcast your bar Online & on the iPhone
FREE iPhone App
Visit hotbarspot.com/contact or call
8 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly SEPTEMBER 2011
OlBa OFFERS OPPORTUniTiES FOR PERMiT hOldERS Find Out how you Can get involved
he OlBa works hard to ensure we are offering on premise liquor permit holders unique opportunities to grow, operate and enhance their business. Two opportunities i think hit these targets. First, as i have written before, skillbased amusement machines offer your patrons another entertainment option. With language now added to the law clarifying that $10 gas cards are a legitimate award, i would strongly encourage you to get machines in your establishment! Second, the OlBa is proud to host the 10th annUal BUCKEyE BaR EXPO on Monday, September 19, 2011 at the Bluestone in Columbus. The Buckeye Bar Expo has something for everyone! if you own, operate, manage, serve or work in any capacity at an establishment with a liquor permit, then this show is for you. Contact the State Office today for more information on either skill based amusement games or tickets for the Buckeye Bar Expo. We always look forward to your call at 800 6785995! SChEdUlE OF EvEnTS 12 P.M. TO 5 P.M. TRadE ShOW Companies display the latest products and innovations for the alcohol beverage industry.
By PhiliP a. CRaig
9 a.M. TO 12:30 P.M. - TEChniQUES OF alCOhOl ManagEMEnT Sign up now to get all of your servers trained at the Expo. Certification lasts five years and can help lower the insurance rates that you pay. 12 P.M. TO 1 P.M. - gROW yOUR BaR BUSinESS USing SOCial MEdia learn how to save time, grow your customer base and promote your event using social media! 1 P.M. TO 2 P.M. - dO'S and dOn'TS OF liQUOR laW don't let ignorance of the law be an excuse for not following it. Come find out what is legal and what's not at this always popular informative seminar. 2 P.M. TO 5 P.M. - SElF dEFEnSE FOR BaR STaFF do you wonder how your staff would react if a patron became violent? Teach them how to respond in a manner that will protect them and your business. in this seminar your staff will learn about Ohio's Use of Force statute, as well as, non-violent restraint techniques they can use to protect themselves. 1:30 P.M. TO 7 P.M. - livE EnTERTainMEnT On ThE PaTiO Come for the trade show stay for the fun! Enjoy music on the patio.
Phil Craig, Executive director
7 P.M. TO 11 P.M. - FEaTUREd EnTERTainMEnT gin BlOSSOMS
COnTaCT ThE STaTE OFFiCE TOday FOR MORE inFORMaTiOn On EiThER SKill BaSEd aMUSEMEnT gaMES OR TiCKETS FOR ThE BUCKEyE BaR EXPO. WE alWayS lOOK FORWaRd TO yOUR Call aT 800 678-5995!
SEPTEMBER 2011 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly 9
lEgaliSSUES FaMiliaRiZE yOURSElF WiTh WhaT ThE laW allOWS do not Jeopardize your Business By Placing your liquor Permit at Risk By davE RaBER
hio has a wide selection of beer, wine and spirituous liquor products. like many other states that i have visited recently, the regulatory scheme in Ohio allows for a varied selection at competitive prices. i have been in a few liquor permit establishments and have
dave Raber, OlBa legal Co-Counsel
observed the sale of beer, wine and spirituous liquor products that have not been approved for sale in Ohio. Possessing a liquor permit in Ohio is a privilege and all laws must be adhered to or you place your liquor permit in peril. Ohio law provides that no permit holder shall possess any beer or intoxicating liquor not purchased from the division of liquor Control (“division”) or from the holder of a permit issued by the division. The law clearly states that “[n]o holders of retail permits shall purchase any beer *** for resale, except from holders of a or B permits.” The statute continues: “[n]o holders of retail permits shall purchase spirituous liquor for resale except from the division of liquor control ***.” What this means is that a retail permit holder is prohibited by state law from reselling any alcohol products that were not purchased at wholesale from your assigned beer and wine distributors (B permit holder) or State of Ohio liquor agency. For example, if a retail permit holder has a bottle of spirits on its premises for resale that was not purchased from its assigned state liquor agency store you will be cited. The first thing all retail permit holders must know is if you run out of a product, state law prohibits you from going down the street and purchasing more product from a fellow retailer.
This is prohibited by law and the liquor Control Commission has in at least one instance revoked a retailer’s permit for this type of conduct. But in every case i have reviewed, the liquor Commission dealt harshly with retailers that knowingly broke the law and purchased alcohol from an unauthorized source.
POSSESSing a liQUOR PERMiT in OhiO iS a PRivilEgE and all laWS MUST BE adhEREd TO OR yOU PlaCE yOUR liQUOR PERMiT in PERil. now there are exceptions. a retail permit holder can obtain special consent from the division. if you are unfamiliar with this procedure, the best way to learn of this procedure is to contact your liquor attorney. another option is to have the Manufacturer of the alcohol product that you would like to sell in Ohio contact the division. any Manufacturer of an alcohol product can file an application to register their product for sale in Ohio. i am aware of a recent instance of a retailer being cited for having a bottle of spirits on his premises that the State of Ohio does not sell in any of their agency Stores. i am also aware of retailers being cited for having a popular brand of beer for sale in their premises when the beer has not been approved for sale in Ohio. Such conduct is grounds for citation. The alcohol distribution system is set up to incentivize citizens to obtain permits while using fines, suspensions and revocations of permits as a disincentive from conduct which is not in accordance with the law. Familiarize yourself with what the law allows and requires and do not jeopardize your business by placing your liquor permit at risk.
10 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly SEPTEMBER 2011
Call yOUR STaTE REPRESEnTaTivE and STaTE SEnaTOR your voice and input Matter
bout this time every year, you read a similar article in this column (you are reading this every time, right?). This year is no different . . . . now is the time to call your State Representative and State Senator and meet them for a cup of coffee or lunch. The reality is that while we have legislators with a myriad of experiences and knowledge in many areas, they still rely upon you, their constituents, to fully understand the full impact of legislation. While they understand what any given bill does based upon information from the legislative Services Commission, Committee hearings and Caucus meetings, including input from staff and various interested parties, perhaps no input can be more valuable than the input of a constituent that is directly impacted by the proposed legislation. For example, $10 gas cards as prize for a successful skill based amusement machine. Many meetings, reviews and input may lead one to think that this is nothing more than a slot machine . . . . until they learn that there is no random number generator and that a person’s skill directly impacts the outcome of the game. additionally, it is only talking to a local bar owner that a member of the legislature can fully appreciate the impact these games can have on attracting patrons into your establishment. it is also only talking to you that they can visualize the placement in the bar, the oversight and the reality that two, three or even five of these machines in an establishment does not make a mini-casino! Or, as was requested several years ago, the change from 1 p.m. to 11 a.m.
By JaCOB EvanS
the time at which Sunday sales could begin. Key to the passage of such a change hinged on input from permit holders across Ohio. While it would seem obvious to many permit holders that people come in early for football and races, or come to brunch after church, legislators may not have been in the business of hospitality before; thinking “hey, the game starts at 1, so beginning to sell at 1 makes sense” may appear reasonable on its face. however, your expertise in hospitality can refute that, well, six ways to Sunday!
ThE REaliTy iS ThaT WhilE WE havE lEgiSlaTORS WiTh a MyRiad OF EXPERiEnCES and KnOWlEdgE in Many aREaS, ThEy STill REly UPOn yOU, ThEiR COnSTiTUEnTS, TO FUlly UndERSTand ThE FUll iMPaCT OF lEgiSlaTiOn.
Jacob Evans, OlBa legal Co-Counsel
chance for the legislator to meet you will prove well worth the time. Finally, with the passage of the “guns in Bars” legislation, the owner or lessee of a permit premise may post a sign banning firearms from the premises. The OlBa has signs for you to post: contact the State Office today to get yours!
The point is this: your voice and input matter! Probably much more than you realize. additionally, the members of the Ohio general assembly are good people interested in making things better for Ohio. They also recognize they do not have all the answers and nEEd yOUR inPUT. Take a couple of minutes to call their State Office and find out how to contact your member in the district. you do not need to have pages of talking points. Just the
SEPTEMBER 2011 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly 11
12 OHIO BEVERAGE MONTHLY SEPTEMBER 2011
Profitable Suggestive Selling By ChUCK dEiBEl
hat drink is most profitable? “What ya have?” how many times have you or your bartenders heard that one from a guest walking up to the bar? how many times have your bartenders asked your guest “What are you having”? hi and welcome back to The last Call! This month’s column is devoted to profitable suggestive selling. We are also going to review whether it is more profitable to sell a bottle of beer, wine, draft beer or liquor? The first one to cover is do you have a menu of highly profitable mixed/ signature drinks? if not, you need one! When you have guest that isn’t sure what they want to drink or they ask you “What’s good here?”, you want your bar staff to be able to provide them a list of drinks that can make you more money. and your bartenders need a list of drinks they should be suggesting to everyone the first time, just to help your bottom line! generally, you would rather sell a customer a signature mixed drink than a bottle of beer or pint of draft beer. here are the black and white facts. Profit to sell a bottle beer averages in the range of $1.30 to $2.20 (averaging out domestic and import pricing) Profit to sell a pint of draft beer might range from $1.75 to $2.75, depending on the product mix. Profit to sell a liquor drink might range from $2.30 to $3.40. These are averages for an entire bars product mix. The lower range ones in the mid to low $2.00’s are usually campus bars, offering value well shots to their customer base. here is a smattering of signature or mixed drinks and their profitability (after the costs to make the drink have been factored out): lemon drop - $4.57, long island $5.22, grey goose Martini - $4.15, Bombay Martini - $4.35, Cosmo - $6.42, Top Shelf long island - $5.46, White or Black Russian - $4.59, and Margarita on the rocks with well tequila - $4.65. Just selling a shot of grey goose at $5.00 yields a profit of $3.15 (1.50 oz pour), a $5.00 Tanqueray shot yields
a profit of $3.61. and a shot of Ciroc yields a profit of $3.77. look at this illustration as to how this affects your bottom line. if you were to serve 1,000 people 2,000 beers, you would make an average of about $4,000. if you were to serve that same 1,000 people 2,000 signature drinks at an average profit of $4.38, your bar would make $8762. This would be more than double what you would make selling bottles of beer. it’s important for me to restate those numbers are after the costs of the product have been eliminated. So it’s what you have left over for fixed expenses and your profit. Even just selling shots of liquor overall, averaging out all the price groups and your bar would make about $6,000 or 50% more.
yOUR BaRTEndERS nEEd a liST OF dRinKS ThEy ShOUld BE SUggESTing TO EvERyOnE ThE FiRST TiME, JUST TO hElP yOUR
or featured on a board will help your customers make up their minds. identify a top 3 or 4 drinks to have your bartenders push to people who don’t know what they want. it’s better to sell 1,000 drinks that make you $4.50 each then to sell 1,000 bottles of beer that make you about $2.50 less each. Feel free to write me at deibel@ beinvco.com with questions. i will be at the Buckeye Bar Expo in September. Come visit me at the Bevinco Booth and see you next month!
BOTTOM linE! Up-selling from well to top shelf priced drinks will also increase your profit per drink. Well shots might yield in the range of $2.35 to $3.00 per drink in profit, while top shelf and premium products will yield over $4.00 - $5.00 per drink. as you can see in comparing the numbers and profit per drink between bottles of beer and signature drinks, it’s far more profitable to sell liquor based drinks than bottles of beer or draft. Create a signature drink menu. Even just taking a basic long island and spinning the name to make it seem special by calling it a deibel’s long island for example and putting on a menu that can be handed to the customer
When you did your inventory last week, how many shots of Crown Royal were you missing? how many pints of draft beer were you missing? if you can’t answer those questions you should give us a call at 800-891-1012 or go to www.bevinco.com Our clients do know how much.
SEPTEMBER 2011 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly 13
14 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly SEPTEMBER 2011
MEMBERShiP OPPORTUniTy FOR BaRTEndERS Join the OBa Today!
By MOlly MCKEE
Molly McKee, OlBa Management Team
he Ohio licensed Beverage association has created a membership opportunity for bartenders! The Ohio Bartenders association (OBa) is a membership service organization representing bartenders in Ohio. The Ohio licensed Beverage association, a group of permit holders, wanted to create this association so bartenders could also be involved with every aspect of the business and network with other bartenders. By uniting with bartenders who care about their profession, they will be able to network, learn what’s new in the industry and meet decision makers in the industry. as a member of the OBa, bartenders will be invited to attend quarterly OlBa meetings held in various cities across the state. at quarterly state meetings, the OlBa hosts important state leaders as keynote speakers and often welcomes state representatives who come to address the members at local board meetings. So the bartender too will be able to voice their concerns within the industry. We are here to protect your interests and
give you an opportunity to join forces with other bartenders and permit holders so your of the TaM course is to upgrade the skills voice can be heard! and professionalism of beverage retailers and servers and to teach them detailed The OBa provides a variety of other benefits, information about state laws. TaM is a including: complete, easy-to-understand educational package that is ideal for any bartender or gaS Bill SavingS server. OBa members can take advantage of as a member of the OBa, you can enroll d i s c o u n t e d Te c h n i q u e s o f a l c o h o l in a program that offers a competitive Management training (TaM) classes. nonand consistent gas price for your home or members pay $60 but OBa members only business. you can save up to 1/3 of what pay $25! For further information on how you you are currently paying. The Ohio licensed can sign up for a class, please call the OlBa Beverage association has partnered with State Office at 1-800-678-5995 or visit www. Consumer Choice Marketing in order to offer olba.org. you better energy service with a lower energy cost. Signing up is easy, call our office for more hEalTh inSURanCE information, 1-800-678-5995. as a member of the Ohio Bartenders EXCiTing EvEnTS association, you can enroll in several health insurance options offered exclusively to OBa Every year the OlBa has a trade show called and OlBa members. For more information or the Buckeye Bar Expo, hopefully you've heard questions on the coverage plans please call of it! The Expo is the most exciting event of Cindy Craig at 614-921-9100. the year for permit holders and bartenders! The show features product sampling and demonstrations, educational opportunities Other Exciting Membership Benefits include: and great entertainment. The OlBa schedules a variety of other • Free access to legal counsel regarding laws productive networking opportunities each year that you will be invited to as well! annual and regulations (a $50 per use value) lobbying days, quarterly meetings and an annual convention provide members with • a full-time lobbying staff to protect your the chance to interact with one another and others dealing with the industry. as a member interests in the state legislature of the Ohio Bartender association, you get four free tickets to the expo each year! • Free subscription to the Ohio Beverage Monthly (an $18 value) TEChniQUES OF alCOhOl ManagEMEnT don’t get busted! TaM can help you Call our office at 1-800-678-5995 or fill out the prevent an unnecessary citation! TaM, the Techniques of alcohol Management program, form below to join the OBa today! is the leading server training program for the licensed beverage industry. The aim
Application for Membership
Annual Dues Annual Dues $ 25.00
______________________________________________________________________________ Name ______________________________________________________________________________ Place of Employment ______________________________________________________________________________ Address City State Zip ______________________________________________________________________________ E-Mail Address ________________________________(_____)________________________________________ County Phone Number
Please return this application with your payment to: Ohio Bartenders Association 37 W. Broad Street, Suite 480 Columbus, Ohio 43215 800.678.5995 Or Charge to: ___Visa ___Mastercard #__________________________________ Expiration Date___________ Signature___________________________
SEPTEMBER 2011 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly 15
16 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly SEPTEMBER 2011
PERMiThOldER in ThE SPOTlighT
The varsity Club
Stop By To Watch a game! By ChRiSTina ShaW
-h! yes, it’s that time again! Time for the leaves to change, time for the football games, time for the scarlet and gray, and time for the varsity Club tailgates! anyone who has spent any portion of their college football seasons in Columbus, Ohio has heard
of the varsity Club. located near The Ohio State University’s football stadium commonly referred to as the Shoe, this club is not only seen as an icon of OSU football, but the place for family, friends, OSU alumni, and passersby to share their love for the Buckeyes. hosting live bands, dJ’s, and crankup parties during Ohio State’s Saturday home games, the varsity Club provides the epitome of the traditional Buckeye game atmosphere as if you had attended the game itself. Their back parking lot
The varsity Club’s versatility allows for a large menu to choose from and seemingly endless amounts of booths for dining or drinking. vC offers lunch specials Monday through Friday, mouthwatering appetizers such as fried zucchini and cauliflower, homemade soups, the varsity “Club” sandwich, homemade meatball subs, create-yourown pizzas with toppings galore, and savory dinners. So whether your visit is business, pleasure or appetite, the varsity Club has you covered. The varsity Club was founded in 1959 and is currently managed by Tony Mollica. Co-owned by his father, Joe Mollica, and Jim Ryan, their collective goals are to, “provide the best service and product to OSU fans." One of the
lOCaTEd nEaR ThE OhiO STaTE UnivERSiTy’S FOOTBall STadiUM COMMOnly REFERREd TO aS ThE ShOE, ThiS ClUB iS nOT Only SEEn aS an iCOn OF OSU FOOTBall, BUT ThE PlaCE FOR FaMily, FRiEndS, OSU
Ohio State games as well as acting as a matchmaker for the fans.” The manager has seen his share of marriages arising
after a night at the vC. after 52 years of helping people make memories and dreams come true, his word of advice to someone just starting out in the bar industry is, “location, location, location.” So this season and for seasons to come, stop by the varsity Club to watch the game on any of their 15 indoor televisions, patio televisions, or the JumboTron. you can even check your fantasy football using their free wi-fi. hope to see you there! The varsity Club 278 West lane avenue Columbus, Ohio 43201 Phone: 614-299-6269 Website:http://www.myvarsityclub.com/ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ myvarsityclub
alUMni, and PaSSERSBy TO ShaRE ThEiR lOvE FOR allows you to catch the plays on their JumboTron and sing “hang On Sloopy” while high-fiving your neighbor with one hand and holding a cold beverage in the other.
ThE BUCKEyES best and most rewarding aspects of the industry according to Tony is, “providing a great atmosphere before and after
SEPTEMBER 2011 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly 17
aROUndOhiO WiTh RndC
Michael Petruso, Giant Eagle State Liquor Manager with Pinnacle Whipped for the summer
RNDC group in Ireland visiting Jameson distillery in Dublin.
Kristin Celian, Rachel Allen, Jericho Mendieta and Phil Mackesy enjoying the summer at Cranberry Resort in Indian Lake with their favorite spiced rum, Sailor Jerry.
18 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly SEPTEMBER 2011
Tasting in Cincinnati
Agency #789, Giant Eagle in Heath Ohio with Angela Nice and Pinnacle Vodka.
Stephanie Syvuk, Shannon Malhelik, Melissa Christopher, Travis Toy (Rascal Flatts), Meghan Novisky and Kelly Wilms at Blossom in Cleveland for the Fire Fly Sweet Tea promotion which Rascal Flatts helped promote.
yOUR FaCEBOOK FanS aRE WaTChing Why you Should never Remove Facebook Comments, Even The Bad Ones By BaRRy ChandlER
verybody loves to read something nice. That goes double when the something nice is about your business. “had a great time Friday night!” “The
new sound system rocks!” “your toilet paper is the softest!” it’s all good. But what happens when a customer (gasp!) has a complaint? Be it food quality or customer service, the always-right patron will occasionally have a beef with some aspect of their experience. in the world of social media that dissatisfaction will most often manifest itself as a comment on your business’ Facebook page. Somebody will verbalize his or her complaint in language ranging from constructive criticism to downright nastiness. your first reaction will be to use your admin powers to delete the comment, preventing current and future customers from reading what you probably feel amounts to bad press.
But we want you to make sure you resist that temptation at all costs. negative Facebook comments are the make-lemonade-fromlemons of the social media world and by deleting a critique you are literally passing on an opportunity to bring in more business and strengthen your ties with existing customers. Seriously.
nEgaTivE FaCEBOOK COMMEnTS aRE ThE MaKE-lEMOnadE-FROMlEMOnS OF ThE SOCial MEdia WORld and By dElETing a CRiTiQUE yOU aRE liTERally PaSSing On an OPPORTUniTy TO BRing in MORE BUSinESS and STREngThEn yOUR TiES WiTh EXiSTing CUSTOMERS.
brand. it would be logical for your Facebook fans to think you aren’t interested in feedback of all types, just the kind that is positive. The smartest thing you can do is ask the commenter how you can make things right. The level of apology is up to you (one word, two syllables: Supersize!), but making sure that you demonstrate a legitimate concern here is the critical element. your Facebook fans are watching, ready to gauge the size of your brand’s heart. it is not a stretch that your herculean patience with this squeaky wheel will bring you additional business. if you handle it correctly, that skunked beer or cold side of fries might end up being your best friend.
look at it this way: Social media is all about communication and two-way conversation – it’s not a dictatorship. So by publicly criticizing your establishment this disgruntled customer has presented you an opportunity. The important thing at this point isn’t the customer’s so-called bad experience, it’s how you deal with it in a very public forum. if customers see a negative comment, then notice it has disappeared, they could potentially lose faith in your
SEPTEMBER 2011 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly 19
aROUndOhiO WiTh SOUThERn WinE & SPiRiTS
20 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly SEPTEMBER 2011
Make Football Season Profitable
es my fellow Buckeyes, the time has come. it is once again that magical time of the year where anyone you see in scarlet and gray is your equal, and those in maize and blue are still beneath us, and appalachian State. Football season has arrived and, as always, fans that are not fortunate enough to have tickets to the big game are looking for
Quinn allen, CSC
the best possible place to watch our Buckeyes! Sometimes all they want is a minimal bathroom line and hot dogs that aren’t five dollars apiece. is your business that place? and if not, why isn’t it? Football season in Ohio is the one time of the year when it seems that everyone’s disposable income level jumps up about 50%, and it is for this reason bars need to be ready on all fronts to take care of the high volume of guests. in order to be properly prepared, you should consider: staffing, menu, and drink specials. Focusing on these three things can make your business shine above the rest on Saturdays during the fall. When you are in the world of taverns, restaurants, and bars, you need to know how to maximize your labor cost. When it comes down to a
By QUinn M. allEn CSC
game day and you notice people are at the bar, or at a table waiting on drinks, think to yourself how much money is staying in the customers pockets and not making its way into the register. With the wages for bartenders and servers being highly affordable, what is the harm of having too many? Typically, a server or bartender pays for his or her labor cost for the hour within the sale of the first two drinks. anything else they sell over the course of that hour is pure profit. always overstaff and if need be, make cuts. Secondly, how is your menu? is it streamlined to the point that you can handle a packed house? are there some items that should be removed to speed up ticket times? Or maybe there are some items that need to be added to increase interest while earning a significant profit. included in this article is my very own, what was “secret”, recipe for 50/50 sliders, a delicious and delicate appetizer/“hor devour” for tailgating season. Feel free to use it; just send me the commission check and spell my name right! Finally, make sure you offer something to bring people in. When fans go out, they want the same comforts they would want if they were going to the 'Shoe. They want good food, great seats, and a short line for the bathroom. and now, since they chose your business they won’t have to sneak in a flask. Use this to your advantage. Promote a drink special! Every other bar on the block will. you don’t have to completely gouge your profit margin, just shave a little off the top until the end of the fourth quarter. Remember, you just need to get people in the door. if you do that, they will be planted in their seat until you kick them out. Once the game is over, prices go back to normal and everyone keeps drinking.
it’s a beautiful thing. Make this football season a profitable one by knowing your customers and knowing your business. as always, feel free to write in to me with any questions, comments, or concerns about my sliders, or your business/ kitchen. go Bucks!
50/50 SECRET SlidERS RECiPE 1lb uncooked bacon 1lb uncooked ground beef 12oz cole slaw 12oz smoked provolone cheese (or your choice) 12 dinner rolls or slider buns a/n fresh basil a/n garlic Butter 1. Place the bacon into a food processor and process until fine. 2. Combine bacon and ground beef, mix until uniform and portion into 2.5 oz sliders (approx. 12) 3. On a flat top griddle or in a frying pan place 2 sliders in 1 Tbsp of garlic butter and cook over medium-high heat until med-well. 4. Melt 1 oz of smoked provolone cheese on each slider and remove from the pan/grill 5. Brown the top and bottom of the buns in the same pan used to cook the sliders with the bacon grease and garlic butter. 6. assemble the sliders like so; bottom bun, slider, 1 Tbsp cole slaw, 1-2 fresh basil leaves, top bun. *To make them even better use a cole slaw dressing consisting of 1C mayonnaise,1 Tblp sugar, 1/3C white balsamic vinegar, tsp celery seed, and 1/2tsp black pepper. Enjoy! SEPTEMBER 2011 OhiO BEvERagE MOnThly 21
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Jim BeamÂŽ, Jim BeamÂŽ Devilâ€™s Cutâ„˘ Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Red Stag by Jim BeamÂŽ Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Infused With Natural Flavors and Jim Beam BlackÂŽ Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 40%, 45%, 40% and 43% Alc./Vol. ÂŠ2011 James B. Beam Distilling Co., Clermont, KY. *Beverage Testing Institute, Inc. â€“ 2008 Professional Tasting â€“ Chicago, Il. Compared to other top-selling North American whiskeys including Woodford ReserveÂŽ, Wild TurkeyÂŽ 101, Jack Daniel'sÂŽ Gentleman Jack, Crown RoyalÂŽ Blended Whisky, and Jack Daniel'sÂŽ No. 7 Black **Based on Nielsen data 11/20/04 â€“ 10/17/09
THE BEVERAGE NETWORK’S 2011
10 WATCH TEXT BY ALIA A KKAM
ypically, chefs can be found where they feel most at home: in the kitchen. Yet with the advent of the Food Network, it seems they’ve managed to find as much time to stand in front of the camera as behind the stove. As a flood of cookbooks and coveted restaurant reservations reveal, we are still in the throes of the celebrity chef era. And, in recent years, it seems this golden touch has rubbed off on bartenders, too. Behind the bar will always be a barkeep’s favorite perch, but as Tales
PORTRAITS BY ANDREW KIST
of the Cocktail revealed this year, bartenders are fast becoming revered for their dynamic personalities as much as for the innovative libations they are dreaming up. For the past seven years, The Beverage Network Publications have acknowledged the exciting future of bartending by naming 10 Mixologists to Watch. Once again, for this year’s roster we turned to the extremely talented pool of Tales of the Cocktail apprentices— those dedicated guys and gals who after a night of partying manage to be up at
7 a.m., focused and ready to juice lemons. Whittling down this group to only 10 is quite a task, but we are confident the folks you’ll meet on the following pages—photographed at The Roosevelt Hotel’s elegant Sazerac Bar—are going to take the industry by storm. While they chat about their passion for the craft, putting in hours with their respective United States Bartenders’ Guild chapters and finding synergy with chefs in the kitchen, this crew understands a bar’s greatest asset: the true meaning of hospitality. ■
The Sazerac Bar, inside the iconic Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans
This page photographs courtesy of The Roosevelt Hotel and The Sazerac Bar
David Delaney Jr. WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS
While figuring out what to do with his degree in Computer Information Systems, a decade ago David Delaney, Jr. became a barback. But soon, it became clear making cocktails was in the cards—not technology. “I’ve always needed an outlet for creativity, and the bar became my blank canvas,” he reveals. Delaney, Jr. has worked for Worcester, MA-based Niche Hospitality Group for six years, helping open a number of different restaurant concepts. Now the BarSmarts alum and USBG Boston member is busy at the group’s wine, cheese and chocolate bar, The Citizen, and full-fledged cocktail lair, Still & Stir. Here, Delaney makes his own rhubarb bitters; ages mezcal/Green Chartreuse/sweet vermouth cocktails in new Kentucky bluegrass barrels; and deconstructs falernum smoke. Despite his innovative streak, Delaney Jr. is a stickler for hospitality. “Never underestimate the value of a smile or a quick nod.
Maggie Meskey PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA
Maggie Meskey loves Skinos, the Greek liqueur made from resin found on native Mastic trees. “Skinos doesn’t taste like anything else—it’s slightly sweet, earthy, piney and woody. The first time I smelled it I was instantly reminded of waking up on a warm, dewy morning after camping on a soft forest floor,” she reflects. For Meskey, who works behind the small cocktail bar (“virtually no storage space whatsoever”) at Salt of the Earth in Pittsburgh, PA, Skinos is just one offbeat ingredient she likes tinkering with in her cocktails. Vinegar is another, translating to shrub concoctions in flavors of red berry and lavender-peach. “My approach to creating cocktails is strongly influenced by what is going on in the kitchen. We have access to some of the best produce and ingredients, and there is a lot of dialogue between me and Kevin Sousa, the chef and owner.” Currently, Meskey is most excited about the recent launch of the United States Bar-
“No matter how many Negronis I have had in my life, it still intrigues me that such a simple, three-ingredient drink can taste anything but simple. It proves that there is a true art in the harmonious blending of ingredients.”
Customers need to know that they have been noticed and that their bartender will be over to help them as soon as possible,” he explains. “Making drinks comes second at my bar; making sure the customer has an overall experience like no other truly needs to be first. I try my absolute hardest to not say ‘no’ at my bar. We serve a lot of rare and unique spirits, most of which people have not heard of, so when I’m approached and asked for a specific brand that I don’t carry, it is imperative that I say ‘I’m sorry I don’t carry brand A, but if you like that, then you have to try brand B.’ Get the customer excited to try something new; gain their trust and they’ll be doing shots of Rittenhouse before you know it.”
tenders’ Guild Pittsburgh chapter, something she and fellow bartenders have longed for: “That is a big indicator of the city’s evolution, and we are all overjoyed to be welcomed to the Guild. In the past year, Pittsburgh has had some great new chef-owned restaurants open, and they are all showing a focus on creative cocktails.” Because of Salt of the Earth’s diminutively-sized bar (“we only carry one vodka—Boyd & Blair— which is an award-winning and locally produced potato vodka”) sometimes customers are chagrined to learn their favorite bottle is not in stock. “A lot of people are used to ordering the same thing when they go out, and if we don’t have exactly what they want it can be a challenge to get them to try something new,” Meskey shares. “However, I’m passionate about what I do, and am always confident that I can make them something they’ll like. I want people to think about what they are drinking, and why they are drinking. It’s fun to tell them the stories behind some of
“Gone are the days of 45 different vodkas sitting dusty on the backbar. Instead, bartenders and chefs are looking for ways to inspire and do something new.”
the spirits and how much thought we put into creating these original cocktails.”
Michael Saccone ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA
Michael Saccone is lucky; he gets to work for Todd Thrasher, one of the country’s most prominent bartenders who completely revolutionized the Alexandria, VA, drinking scene with his cocktail programs at Eat Good Food Group establishments such as Restaurant Eve, PX and the Majestic. Saccone started his career at the casual Majestic, and is now in the midst of a decidedly different experience, working under Thrasher’s guidance at the new Virtue Feed & Grain, where beer-infused cocktails strike a chord with guests. “Working for Todd has been a great experience; he has high expectations and will push you on a daily basis to be better,” Saccone reflects. “It is nice being able to bounce ideas off of him, and he is always open to letting you try something new and different— but he will also be the first one to tell you how bad it is if it doesn’t turn out well.”
Fable Thomas Jeon DECATUR, GEORGIA
After film school, Fable Jeon started tending bar as a means to support himself while “struggling to make headway as a professional photographer. My binding obsessions with precision and detail, hard-earned and hard-won sentiment and storied narratives made me focus sharply on the unsung bar-
“I fell into bartending like most people: I started working at the Majestic after finishing college as a break before going to law school and fell in love.”
Saccone’s inventive predilections have paid off. Earlier this year, he snagged Best Presentation Award in
Macchu Pisco’s D.C. competition for the “Centennial Macchu Pisco Sour” with the “Punjabi Sour,” his Indian-inspired concoction made with carrot juice and housemade garam masala-coconut syrup. “I find that with pisco, people either love it or have no idea what it is, so I love using a Pisco Sour as a way to introduce them,” he points out.
keep. I just gravitated to the heritage and lore of the craft. Standing behind that stick cuts the romantic against my working class roots to where it just fits.” Atlanta-based Jeon may be best known for The Last Scofflaw, what he deems “a transient experiment” in cocktail parties. In the past he had dreamed up various concepts for a number of private drinking socials, but “having thrown some considerable off-the-grid cocktail functions in Atlanta, these Scofflaw parties were a different way of wearing an old hat. We delivered ambitious, elevated cocktails within the scope of very specific environments,” he ex-
plains. One of The Last Scofflaw events this spring even attracted Dale DeGroff. Now, Jeon has formed Gentlemen of Spirit with fellow bartender Eric Simpkins. “Events and consulting are central focuses moving forward. There are some early discussions about contributing to a column for a local publication, which could be a really enjoyable enterprise. I’m keeping the crowd in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward from going thirsty on Friday and Saturday nights, with slow-paced cocktails and conversations during the week,” Jeon says. “I’m revisiting the fundamentals of what makes a sip from your tried and true bar so much better than any other swig from anywhere else. Crafting the perfect cocktail, while perhaps structured in technique, is contained by more than just the glass.”
“Know that the side of the stick you’re on isn’t a platform for grandstanding; make the drink you were specifically asked for without the hard sell. Be a good barkeep, first and foremost.”
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Logan Lavachek CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
Graduating with a finance degree in the midst of an economic meltdown propelled Logan Lavachek to make a career change. She’s worked in bars ever since she was an 18-year-old food runner, so Lavachek’s next steps were clear: “Behind the bar is cramped, but nowhere near as cramped as an office cubicle.” Lavachek, who most recently did double duty tending bar at two disparate Chicago hotspots, the restaurant Sepia and the clubby Double A, can now be found at the flashy ROOF, atop The Wit hotel, where the classic martini, thanks to her dad’s love of Tanqueray, remains her favorite drink. “I’m a better bartender because I worked at two completely different places simultaneously,” she shares. “I found myself using ideas I’d come up with at one bar for the other the next week, or finding customers would follow me to either place to see what I was doing that night.”
“When I was in third grade, my Girl Scouts troop had Career Day. When asked what we wanted to be when we grew up I said I wanted to be a bartender, ‘like Sam on Cheers.’ I didn’t get the greatest reaction.”
As a former bartender enrichment brand educator for Cointreau throughout Chicago, Lavachek has a particularly keen perspective on the industry. “While a bartender should always keep their customer in mind, this job required me to really think about my customer’s customer,” she explains. “What are these bars trying to accomplish and how can we help them do that? How can I share as much information as possible about the brands they support to give them the tools they need to make sure everyone who leaves that bar absolutely loved their cocktail experience?” All this insight has helped Lavachek accelerate her own evolution as a bartender: “First you do everything the hard way, each drink is its own challenge—un-
Justin Lane Briggs BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Applewood opened on a sleepy residential block of Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood back in 2004. At the time, Chef David Shea’s farm-to-table approach to cooking was quite progressive. When Justin Lane Briggs was hired, he realized while a solid bar program was in place, it didn’t engage “with the restaurant’s concept the way it really could.” Briggs’ first move “upon grabbing the reigns was to ensure that everything we poured, from wine to beer to spirits, was small-batch, local or sustainable—
I grew up on and around organic farms in Vermont, and as a child I was always obsessed with things like cider-making and figuring out the recipe for a real Orange Julius on my own.
til you realize you don’t have to re-invent the wheel for every customer; that’s when the fun part comes in.”
more in keeping with the restaurant’s goals. My second was to develop a bar program that kept pace with the kitchen. The menu changes so frequently because local agriculture can change from week to week; from day to day, in fact. We often don’t even know what ingredients will arrive until a few hours before service. When all I have is roots in the winter, what do I do with, say, turnips? A caramelized turnip-madeira reduction, paired with agave nectar and Tequila, makes for an earthy, vegetal agave take on the Old-Fashioned.” And so infusions were introduced, along with homemade syrups and bitters (like the notorious smoked salmon variety) to “float in and out of traditional and original recipes the same way ingredients were traded between fish, salad, grill and pastry in Applewood’s mightily creative kitchen.” The parings, then, are inevitably natural: “The same hands grew the rosemary in my cocktail that grew the tarragon on tonight’s lobster dish.”
Mike Henderson DENVER, COLORADO
Undoubtedly, Denver’s a beer city, but since 2007, when the Colorado chapter of the United States Bartenders’ Guild was first formed, the cocktail scene has made great strides. “We’ve got a group of about 20-30 professional bartenders all working very hard to put Denver on the cocktail map,” assures the Guild’s president, Mike Henderson, who can be found behind the stick at Root Down. “We have places like Steuben’s, The Bitter Bar and Colt & Gray all serving up ‘classically oriented cocktails’ and at the same time places
“I think the future of our industry doesn’t necessarily lie with ‘mixologists’ but rather beverage professionals, who are equally educated on beer, wine, coffee, tea and water.”
Katie Emmerson NEW YORK, NEW YORK
When she first started working at Raines Law Room in New York City, Katie Emmerson was “an eager waitress who loved Manhattans” and customers weren’t thrilled at the thought of switching out their favorite cocktail for one more adventurous. “Two years ago it was nearly impossible for me to convince someone to try something new,” she recalls. A lot has changed since then. For starters, Emmerson sees customers “starting to pay attention to what they are drinking, almost in a similar way to food.” She also now spends her time holding court at the bars of the esteemed Death & Co. and Lantern’s Keep, the intimate hideaway in the back of New York’s Iroquois Hotel. “Both have been incredible learning experiences. Death & Co. already has such a solid reputation so we are always pushing ourselves and each other to grow and make it even better,” she notes. “Splitting
my time over at Lantern’s has been the perfect balance. There we have a space to grow as young bartenders and develop our own ideas under the wing of Meaghan Dorman, our mother hen.” Guiding both Emmerson’s bartending jobs is her passion for classic cocktails. “There’s a reason these drinks have been around for so long and they’re always a good jumping-off point. Trying a new rum? See how it holds up in a Daiquiri and then go from there,” she says. The appeal of the classics is particularly strong at a hotel bar like Lantern’s Keep where Emmerson says “it can be a challenge to get people to try something outside of their comfort zone. However, that’s what makes it all the more rewarding when you can. People come in drinking vodka-
“One of the bartenders put a jigger and an old bottle of Applejack filled with water in my hands and told me to start practicing pouring. From there I fell down the rabbit hole.”
like Linger, TAG, Chloe and Root Down serving up the more modern ‘market fresh cocktails.’ All in all, the cocktail movement has changed the face of bar programs across this city for the better and it’s still growing; I’m very proud of where we started and where we’ve gone.” At Root Down, the growth of culinary cocktails is one of Henderson’s favorite trends. “When putting a new menu together the first person I go talk to is our chef to see what he’s going to be bringing in for the new season, what’s abundant, and affordable, and what he’s going to have extra of that I can utilize,” Henderson shares. Henderson began his career in Madison, WI, when as doorman at a bar he was called in to help the short-staffed crew inside make drinks, eventually becoming a regional brand ambassador for St-Germain. His penchant, however, for education remains: “Within the trade it’s probably the single most important aspect to keeping our industry going.”
tonics and leave drinking Old-Fashioneds and Negronis. It’s pretty spectacular.”
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Ali Tahsini SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
Don’t misunderstand Ali Tahsini. He certainly has a lot of fun making cocktails at the renowned Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco, but the 13-year industry vet would also like “to see the bartender be put back behind the bar again.” As he explains, “With the cocktail renaissance we have witnessed over the years, I am seeing people enter the bartending game with a focus on cocktails at the expense of focusing on their guests. A bar should be a place where one can enter and celebrate, leave their worries behind and ultimately have a great time, and the bartender is the facilitator of this experience.” Along with his affinity for a proper dose of hospitality, Tahsini, as you would expect of any Bourbon & Branch barkeep, is devoted to the craft of the cocktail. Right now, for example, he’s
Sean Thibodeaux NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Sean Thibodeaux, like all good New Orleans bartenders, loves the Sazerac, the first craft cocktail he ever made. “As the most debated cocktail, everyone has an opinion and mine is that it’s easy to learn
tinkering with ingredients such as tarragon, lavender and saffron in his creations. A predilection for the exotic is nothing new for Tahsini, who grew up surrounded by his family’s native Persian foods—dates, orange blossom water, pomegranate. Still, Tahsini has a reverence for classics such as the OldFashioned: “It’s simple yet dynamic, strong and straight to the point; it’s a cocktail with limitless class.”
“As a kid, my father owned a bar named Chelsea Pub in San Francisco, back in the ‘80s. The bar was kind of like my afterschool program: I played pinball and Ms. Pac-Man, selected songs on the jukebox and learned how to use the soda gun.”
but difficult to master. It began with ingredients that were only available in New Orleans and has pretty much kept its same form for at least 140 years,” notes the bartender at Loa, inside the International House Hotel. “When we find something we like down here we don’t mess with it. It’s a tradition and we honor that every time we make one. And by the way, I still toss my glass to rinse it.”
These classics, according to Thibodeaux, are the foundation of modern mixology. “As bartenders we’re all walking on the shoulders of giants. We look at what people were stirring and shaking 150 years ago and use it as a guideline,” he points out. That said, it doesn’t stop Thibodeaux from playing with Champagne–vinegar gastriques, acid phosphates and mineral salts, or writing recipes built around seasonal, local culinary pairings. For example, he makes a gazpacho-inspired version of the Daiquiri using watermelon, jalapeno and cucumber. “When I’m bartending, it really is the smile on a guest’s face or turning someone’s day around that inspires me to keep on making drinks night in and night out,” he shares. “This is the hospitality industry, and everyone who walks in is my guest, and I am their host.”
“As a hotel bartender you also double as a concierge; you are an ambassador to the city.”
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WHERE THEY NOW? ARE
SINCE 2005, THE BEVERAGE NETWORK HAS SHOWCASED 10 MIXOLOGISTS TO WATCH. HERE'S A LOOK AT WHAT SOME OF OUR PAST HONOREES ARE UP TO. BY ALIA AKKAM
something simple, but just a bit different, and never sacrifice on quality.”
MIXOLOGIST TO WATCH 2006
Jackson Cannon MIXOLOGIST TO WATCH 2007
Jacques Bezuidenhout MIXOLOGIST TO WATCH 2007
Duggan McDonnell opened Cantina four years ago in San Francisco, and immediately it was lauded for it’s á la minute drinks that boldly embraced Latin spirits, including the bar’s signature cocktail: the Pisco Punch. At the time, he says, there was no known recipe for the drink, which “had been the classic and defining cocktail of San Francisco during the Barbary Coast era. It was a huge success and today, Pisco Punches are being slung at bars and restaurants throughout the city and across the country.” McDonnell, a fifth-generation barkeep, was so enamored of pisco, that he launched his own brand, the Peruvianmade Encanto de Campo, last year along with sommelier Walter Moore and distiller Carlos Romero. In its inaugural year, it already won the Best Pisco of Peru award and the National Pisco Sour Championship in Lima. As McDonnell shares, “My approach to creating the brand and flavor of Campo de Encanto was the same as when I opened Cantina: surround myself with talent, create
By now a vast majority of consumers have come to the realization that Tequila isn’t just for frat boys. One of the people who have helped spread that gospel is Jacques Bezuidenhout, brand ambassador for Partida Tequila, whose efforts were recognized by snagging the 2011 award for Best American Brand Ambassador at Tales of the Cocktail. “The biggest challenge is the general misunderstanding of the entire category. If someone had a bad experience once on bad Tequila, they are suspect of trying it again. Getting them to try premium 100% agave Tequila can be a challenge but once you do they see the light,” he explains. For Bezuidenhout, who also keeps busy designing cocktail menus “with local appeal” as resident mixologist for Kimpton Hotels & Resorts, a spike in Tequila interest reflects an expanding palate at the bar: “Today’s consumer is more open to robust and interesting flavors.”
“The evolving and educated consumer has become the norm,” says Jackson Cannon, who helms the bar programs at Eastern Standard and Island Creek Oyster Bar at the Hotel Commonwealth in Boston and makes his own lovely rose and amber vermouths when he’s not serving guests. “Five years ago people might ask if you have a ‘martini menu’ to try to find a brand that they know, with industry types being the only ones who would trust you on the first encounter to help guide them to a house specialty. Now, even the average guest potentially will look over the cocktail menu, and if nothing jumps out at them will be willing to say to the bartender, ‘I like this or that flavor and I really need something to help me cool off. What do you make here that’s like that?” When the Commonwealth opens its newest bar, The Hawthorne, later this fall, Cannon will really have his hands full. He’s up for the challenge, however, of crafting cocktails specific to each of his bars: “I make drink recipes hoping someone will enjoy drinking that drink in a particular place.”
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Simon Ford is running a little late. Most people would with his schedule this sultry July Saturday in New Orleans: he’s wrapping up the final details for the most anticipated bartender party of the year, complete with a surprise wedding; preparing for the rehearsal of a major awards event; chasing down visa snafus that threaten to derail a working vacation through Russia, China and Mongolia; and fielding phone calls and text messages from international bartenders seeking tickets, invitations and information—all this with a sketchy Internet connection and the inevitable disconnects that make any New Orleans event a challenge. And that’s just part of today’s schedule. Since Wednesday, Ford has also been planning a major bartender event in New York, spoken at three seminars, dropped in on others and hosted and bartended at a dinner and cocktail bash, to say nothing of the late-and later-night parties he’s attended.
At one seminar, hosted by Ford, a bartender in the crowd mutters his amazement that the man who helped close last night’s latest party is sharp and ready to lead the panel. Ago Perrone, co-panelist and head bartender at The Connaught Hotel bar in London, says there must be a twin somewhere. Everyone burns the candle at both ends at the annual five-day drink extravaganza, Tales of the Cocktail, but few take on a workload comparable to the 38-year-old Brit. Ford’s already got plenty to do as director, trade outreach and brand education at Pernod Ricard USA, but his record indicates that the company’s faith in him is well-placed. Among the accomplishments to which he can lay at least partial claim is the resurgence of gin at high-level cocktail bars, the resuscitation of Plymouth gin in the U.S. market and the personality shift of Beefeater from an old man’s brand to a bartender favorite. He’s also been instrumental in helping establish
a brand ambassador culture that influences U.S. bartenders, and expanding a broader interchange between them and their UK counterparts. Now there’s talk that his portfolio will expand: Absolut Vodka, which he propelled as sponsor of the bartender TV competition, On the Rocks, may be calling on him to help invigorate the brand at bars. There’s also talk of Jameson Irish Whiskey angling for more bartender attention and the recent surprise deal Pernod Ricard has made with Avión Tequila. In every case, there’ll be lots of work for the slew of ambassadors Ford has assembled. The rumpled rep even gets credit from many observers for helping transform Tales from an industry insider cocktail celebration to an international bartender and consumer drinkfest. The birth in 2008 of the Plymouth-sponsored landmark “Bartender’s Breakfast” to close Tales helped cement its international reputation, and now bar folk flock from the UK, Italy, the Czech Republic,
Photographs by Jennifer Mitchell
PERNOD RICARD USA’S SIMON FORD IS INSPIRING A WHOLE NEW WAVE OF BARTENDERS BY JACK ROBERTIELLO
RAISING THE BAR
At Tales of the Cocktail, Ford (left) hosts the Spirited Awards and a few hours later greets attendees at the Bartenders’ Breakfast
Simon Says... The spirits industry has changed considerably, especially on-premise, since Simon Ford first came to the U.S. Here are the top 10 improvements he’s seen since: 1. Dale DeGroff now gets paid what he deserves (I hope). 2. Customers don’t have to drink blue drinks in steak bars. 3. Menus offer more than just Cosmopolitans, Appletinis and Chocolate Martinis. 4. It’s not just vodkas that are getting launched and there are lots of exciting new ingredients in the market. 5. Bars are a lot more interesting than they used to be. 6. Fresh ingredients are increasingly taking over from artificial ingredients, especially with fresh lemon and lime. 7. People are drinking gin again for the right reasons. 8. Most bartenders can make a decent Manhattan, and the Negroni has become fashionable. 9. Bitters are more popular, and many types are available. 10. An international community of bartenders has been created.
Australia, New Zealand, Russia and elsewhere to swap tales and reignite friendships. His plan—to bring bartenders at Tales the brand experience—is now apparently everyone’s goal.
FAVORITE TEACHER Ford’s influence is key; so well-known is he among bartenders—as a jovial host of serious educational seminars, or as a visitor to their bars, or as a friend—that during Tales, young bartenders eagerly approach him hoping that they’ll be on his list when his next event comes to their town. “What I do best, I think, and what I love to do is educate bartenders about products and spirits and bartender knowledge—the return on that can’t be calculated,” Ford says as he waits to be interviewed for a documentary on bartenders. “You can give someone a barspoon at a show or you can teach someone how to use it.” According to “King Cocktail” Dale DeGroff, he references something he recently wrote in a book to best describe how Ford has made his mark: “As the international brand ambassador for Plymouth Gin, Simon took his passionate approach to bartending and harnessed it to the mission of educating young bartenders about the category of gin. He has created good will for the brand and for gin in general in the United States, opening the lines of communication between bartenders now driven by a single purpose: to learn all they can about their profession.” The rote criticism of brand ambassadors is that they don’t really build volume to warrant the attention—and the budget—their activities receive, and that
they don’t reach the average bartender. Ford would be the first to admit that his focus has been to develop relationships with the influencers among the cocktail scene, those who are likely to develop cocktail recipes and menus for chain and local restaurants alike, who operate consultancies or travel for other brands, rather than the mass market. Super-premium trends aren’t often built at the local bar, even though the cocktail renaissance continues to reach smaller cities and bartenders not part of the “in crowd.” Charlotte Voisey, portfolio ambassador, William Grant & Sons, noted the model Ford had crafted in building bartender relationships when she came to the U.S., and credits him with a generous helping hand. “Simon is still what a brand ambassador should strive to be,” she says. “How do you measure that? Just ask around the bartender community. Their regard for him is the proof.” Dushan Zaric, co-owner of Employees Only in NYC, recently made that point to me; people learn to trust the good brand ambassadors, and will take seriously their suggestions about all they bring to the table. That helps explain the response to last year’s “Sensory Analysis” three-city tour Ford set up for Absolut (as a vodka and a giant brand not currently considered a bartender favorite) with famed Chicago molecular chef Grant Achatz.
THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIPS Forging alliances with nationally-known bartenders is good long-term business as well, because as always, the spirit business is as much about relationships as any-
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RAISING THE BAR
thing else. Not so long ago, bartenders rarely made buying decisions, but today’s bartenders hired to craft drink programs insist on significant input on, if not control of, the spirits served. It’s obvious now, but was a concept more ignored than acted on when Ford arrived here. Ford’s success at gathering great bartenders into his ambassadorial fold might keep him on the outside looking in today: he launched his career in retail, as a store runner for now-defunct UK wine and spirit chain Oddbins. He turned a small store into one of the company’s biggest producers and then moved to the unit on London’s Strand near the famed Savoy Hotel when the awardwinning Peter Dorelli was the head man at the American Bar there. “I sat down with Peter and must have tasted 50 spirits, everything with him, and it gave me a completely different perspective on spirits and bartending,” Ford says. He also gained inspiration from the first time a whiskey brand ambassador brought him un-aged spirit as an educational tool. It struck him that more could be done with bringing brands out from behind the production curtain to make them more accessible and transparent, and he’s built his gin presentations around the botanical ingredients and qualities of the spirit. About that time the former owners of Plymouth Gin, who were aiming to resuscitate the once-popular brand in the U.S., came calling. Ford got on board, and survived the brand’s sale to the Absolut Spirits Company and then subsequently to Pernod Ricard. He’s helped set on course Pernod’s move to build long-term relationships with America’s career bartenders. And while the gin resurgence evident at bars may not have translated into booming sales at retail, it has helped make room for the explosion of new gin products in recent years, as smart suppliers realize the gin game is open and younger consumers and bartenders are ready to give the botanical spirit a try.
MAN ABOUT TOWN F o r d ’s e v e r y w h e r e d u r i n g Ta l e s , hosting a dinner with drinks writer
David Wondrich, playing pétanque at a Ricard competition, greeting friends at the Beefeater opening night p a r t y, i n s p e c t i n g event sites as they are built out. In between, there are brand meetings, planning sessions an d oth er P ern o d Ricard US A h appen in gs —Ford’s there, because as far as the bartending community is concerned, he is the face of Pernod Ricard.
Simon Says... A Solid Education Brand ambassadors are both envied for their expense accounts and high profiles, and derided as frivolous cost centers with low ROI. Simon Ford, who’s been at the forefront of the emergence of the brand ambassador’s role, shares his thoughts on brand education. ~ Better knowledge leads to better drinks. With a generation or more of bartenders unschooled about gin, rye and bitters, folks representing those categories have made classic, quality drinks accessible and fashionable. ~ A high quality spirit can get traction in the marketplace against products that get their advantage from high marketing spends. ~ Good brand educators can inspire younger bartenders. Ford still recalls the first time a brand rep offered him a taste of an unaged American whiskey, and he found the opportunity to discover how a spirit evolves compelling. ~ Teaching an appreciation of the quality and story behind spirit brands will elevate the image of the American drinking culture.
Ford makes time to play pétanque at a Ricard competition
On Thursday in New Orleans, Ford spends half the day breaking down and restocking Tujague’s bar along with its bartender Paul Gustings, Wondrich and New York bartender Toby Cecchini. That evening’s meal, a 19th century New York City “beefsteak” where copious meat is served without utensils, is to be bracketed by service to a crowd of professional drinkers of handmade juleps, slings, toddies, flips, fixes, smashes and crustas, all with ingredients and implements as close to the Jerry Thomas-era standard as possible. As attentive to historical detail as he is, Ford later points out the importance of restricting the cult of historical accuracy so widespread at cocktail bars today: “You don’t go to a bar for the drink—you go to a bar for an experience.” But as usual with a Ford event, the experience is complete. It’s his attention to detail in a field where follow-through was often lacking that has set him apart. “I’m happiest and I think I’m at my best when I’m involved in the details and creative aspects of these events,” he says. But as he assumes more responsibility at Pernod Ricard, he may have to cede some control, as more will be asked of him. But that doesn’t mean he won’t keep setting himself challenges that seem risky to the outsider; on his working vacation in Russia, he’s volunteered to instruct Moscow bartenders about vodka. It’s a tough task on the face of it, but no harder than rebuilding gin from a summer commodity into a drink geek’s favorite, and even money bets that some of those Russian barkeeps are about to make a new friend. ■
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The organic vineyards of Casa Lapostolle
PRODUCERS EXPERIMENT WITH NON-TRADITIONAL GRAPE VARIETIES AND NEW REGIONS, AND REDISCOVER OLD VINES BY KRISTEN BIELER
f you think you know what Chile’s wine industry is all about—well-priced, straightforward Cabernets and reliably tasty Sauvignon Blancs—it’s time to revise your one-dimensional impression. This South American powerhouse is offering a far greater range of wines and styles as a growing number of vintners—small and large—experiment with new grapes and regions. As they begin to uncover the country’s barely tapped potential, Chile is emerging as one of the most diverse wine regions on the planet. COOLLIN NG OFFF The De Martino winery has been making wine in Chile for over 75 years, since the founders arrived from Italy in the 1930s. Like most producers at that time, they based themselves in the Maipo Valley which was well-established and in close proximity to Santiago, and began grow-
ing Cabernet, Malbec and Merlot (really Carmenère) as well as some Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. It wasn’t until the late ‘80s, when the family began focusing more intently on exports (which today represents about 80% of De Martino’s 150,000 case production) that the journey to other regions began.
“We realized that while Maipo is good for Malbec and Cabernet, it is not right for Pinot Noir, Syrah and Carmenère,” says Marco De Martino, current generation at the helm. “If you are serious about white wine and cool-climate reds, you need to look elsewhere.” De Martino went to Limarí in 2000 when most of the region’s grapes were used only for pisco production, and soon concluded that “Limarí is by far the best region in Chile for Chardonnay. The cool climate and ocean influence help, but it’s the limestone-rich soils which make the real difference,” says De Martino. De Martino is also working with dry-farmed vineyards in the cool Itata region near Bio Bio; they will release a red and a rosé from there this year. And De Martino’s Syrah
CHILE’S NEW FRONTIERS
from the Choapa Valley, a newly discovered and little known region famous for high acid grapes, is one of the country’s most elegant renditions of the grape. For José Manuel Ortega of O. Fournier as well, it’s all about temperature. The O. Fournier group, which has wineries in Spain’s Ribera del Duero and Argentina’s Uco Valley, started looking at Chile in 2004; three years later Ortega decided on San Antonio for whites and the Maule Valley for reds. “In all the countries where we produce wine, we aim for a fresh style, so we look for the coldest regions,” says Ortega. “Maule has great temperature difference between day and night. Although it’s only 600 feet above sea level, its gets low temperatures from latitude (it is very far south) not elevation. I define Maule as Bordeaux in an exceptional vintage.” Even large, established wineries are making moves towards coastal and cooler regions, and the resulting wines are truly impressive. San Antonio (particularly its Leyda sub-region) and Casablanca were the first pioneering areas for coolclimate winemaking and many of the country’s high-volume brands are now sourcing Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, as well as Syrah and Pinot Noir, from vineyards there. Concho y Toro now has a Chardonnay from Limarí, and the behemuth Viña San Pedro (famous for its Gato Negro brand) produces a delicious Syrah from Elquí Valley in the far north, thanks to pioneering winemaker Marco Puyo. The large Viñedos y Bodegas Córpora wine group planted over 600 acres in Bío Bío, one of the country’s most southerly regions, and the resulting wild yeast-fermented Chardonnay and Pinot Noir illustrate the up-and-coming area’s potential.
© Photographs courtesy of
Wines of Chile
NEW ATTTEENTIO ON FOR OLD VIN NESS The hunt for new terroir turned up something else, as well: pockets of forgotten old vines. “In most regions in Chile, old vineyards were pulled out and replanted in the 1970s and ‘80s, but Maule still has quite a few left,” says Ortega. “I call my vineyards the ‘Cinderella Vineyards’ because for years these grapes were going into bulk wines, which is a disgrace.” The
Chilee’s oldd vines aree exttraaorddinary thaanks too theeir ancieent andd deeep rooot networks. most southern part of Chile’s large Central Valley region, the overlooked Maule features the area’s coolest climate. O. Fournier is famous for old-vine Carignane—“Maule is Carignane,” says Ortega, “it’s one of the only places you’ll find it in Chile and it’s the most exciting grape there.” Odfjell and the Garage Wine Company also work with old-vine Carignane in Chile. While the grapes are mostly used in blends, O. Fournier is introducing an entry-level 100% Carignane from 80-year-old vines for $11. Ortega also stumbled upon 100-year-old Cabernet Franc vines, which he’s been making wine from for four years. Chile’s old vines are extraordinary thanks to their ancient and deep root networks. Because the vines must go so deep to find water—up to 20 feet in some cases—they yield grapes with unparalleled minerality and intensity. (By comparison, in regions with ample water supply such as Bordeaux, roots would never need to go that deep.) O. Fournier is experimenting with grafting new varieties to old vines to take advantage of those root networks.
THE PROBLEM—AND PROMISE —OF PINOT NOIR any consider Pinot Noir to be the next big thing from Chile. However, a serious challenge according to many has been getting access to the right clones: Due to the country’s strict policy regarding the importation of plants, there is only one clone available to growers, and some feel it’s inferior. That soon will change. Chilean nurseries have been working with Burgundy clones, and the seven-year quarantine will soon be up, meaning that winemakers will have higher-quality Pinot Noir grapes to ferment. Stay tuned for more—and more delicious—Pinot Noir from Chile.
De Martino had a similar experience. In the south, his team discovered many old vineyards whose grapes were going to bulk-driven co-operative wineries. Growers had no idea of the quality they had in these old vines, he explains, which were planted in the late 1940s. Most are field blends—a single vineyard may be planted with Carignane, Malbec, Cabernet, Carmenère and Cinsault—and must be handharvested, so they are time-consuming to manage. But they’re worth it, De Martino insists: “These wines are especially concentrated with good acidity, and they are complex, since the different varieties ripen at different times.” In a vineyard with Malbec and Carmenère, for example, De Martino picks when the Malbec is very ripe and the Carmenère is still a little green, which gives a fruit-driven wine high in acidity with notes of greenness which he maintains “is not a bad thing, contrary to what experts at U.C. Davis say.” De Martino makes 10 single-vineyard wines to showcase the character of each place. Respecting the design of old vineyards yields superior wines, agrees Ortega: “Old vines allow us to see what our ancestors knew. Chileans have farmed grapes for over 300 years—these farmers knew the land better than any expert. The crooked rows in these old vineyards were intentional: to allow dry-farmed vineyards to retain the maximum rainfall.”
BEYO OND D CABEERN NET Outward expansion away from the Central Valley has led to an explosion of interest in other grapes. One unconventional pioneer is Giorgio Flessati of Viña Falernia in Elqui Valley, a full five hours north of Santiago and one of the world’s highest wine regions. The Italian native (who also makes wine in Italy and Russia) started here in 1999 after visiting his cousin, one of the largest pisco producers in the area. Flessati wanted to use traditional pisco grapes—Pedro Ximenez, Torontel and Moscatel—for quality table wine. At first, he admits, it was a tough sell, but today his PX (at under $10) sells 60,000 cases worldwide. “PX is an easy grape to grow here; the climate is fantas-
CHILE’S NEW FRONTIERS
Hiighlligghtinng reggionnal difffereences iss key too placcingg higgh-end winees. tic for it. Elqui has the altitude, light and sun to make it the best place for a winemaker,” he says. There’s new attention on Elqui—a handful of producers buy grapes from the region—but Falernia remains the only winery. Flessati works with traditional varieties as well, including an outstanding Sauvignon Blanc and an award-winning Syrah. But there’s nothing typical about his Carmenère, which he crafts in the style of Italian Amarone, or his Ripasso-style Syrah-Carmenère blend: “The soft tannins and high acidity of Carmenère lends itself well to the Amarone style.” Both of these are under $15. “We are offering something completely different from other Chileans. We have a truly different terroir and we focused from the beginning on different grapes,” Flessati explains, adding that he is interested in trying Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Italian grapes like Nero D’Avola and Aglianico. “We have such potential for so many varieties here; Argentina might be our neighbor, but it doesn’t have the same diversity in terroir, so it’s not capable of Chile’s range.” Larger producers see the potential in other varieties, too: Casa Lapostolle will soon debut its estate-grown Viognier from Apalta, and its Colchagua Syrah will be co-fermented with Viognier (in the Rhône style). “It’s very exciting and interesting for us to move away from Cabernet and Chardonnay,” says Andrea Leon, winemaker for Casa Lapostolle. “We’ve been working with Petit Verdot with compelling results, and are doing small trials with Mourvedre and Carignane.”
ITT’S S GETTTING G EASIERR TO BE GREEEN N “Lazy winemaking is the only reason not to go organic,” believes De Martino, who began switching to organic farming in
“Elqqui has the altituude, ligght annd sun to make it the best place foor a winnemaker..” – Giorgio Flessati of Viña Falernia
1997. A strong sentiment for sure, but his point is valid: In Chile’s dry climate, it’s easier to practice organic viticulture. “The combination of geographic conditions and a healthy climate allows us to more easily take the risks necessary to move to organic viticulture,” says Leon. “Today, organic management is an alternative that is more economically viable, too, since natural nutrients and enzymes are more available and competitively priced often than pesticides. The whole country is going down this environmentally-friendly path and once you do, you see it’s not much more expensive. Buyers also are putting the pressure on for more organic grapes.” Casa Lapostolle recently received it’s LEED certification, the global standard for environmentally-friendly business practices. Lapostolle’s 900-plus acres of vineyards in Casablanca, Cachapoal and Colchagua Valley are all managed organically and biodynamically (the winery is working towards official biodynamic certification). One of the most progressive organic producers, Nativa was the first Chilean winery to make wine entirely
with organic grapes in 1999. Now part of the Santa Rita Group, Nativa remains one of the most commited producers to organic viticulture and works with grapes throughout Maipo and its own vineyards in Colchagua. At Cono Sur, in addition to a line of wines made from organic grapes, the winery has made big strides certified towards ISO-certifi ed sustainability since the late 1990s, promoting environmentally-friendly winemaking, not just in Chile, but around the world. A unique aspect of Chile’s commitment to sustainability is just how collaborative it is, spearheaded largely by The Wines of Chile’s Sustainability Program. Created in May 2010, the program establishes guidelines for wineries to increase their sustainable practices by measuring social responsibility, energy efficiency and carbon footprints. The project includes the first network of meteorological stations throughout all of Chile’s winegrowing valleys. The 33 stations provide real-time, online information about temperature, humidity, solar radiation and wind velocity with the goal of better understanding each region’s terroir.
COMIN NG OF AGE As the Chilean peso gets stronger against the U.S. dollar squeezing profits as it rises, it’s more important than ever for C Chilean wineries to show the world that tthey are capable of high quality, says Leon. L Lapostolle wines score famously well with ccritics across the price spectrum, but “we ccan’t be isolated; the whole country has tto move in this direction. We still have a w way to go in this regard.”
CHILE’S NEW FRONTIERS The goal, says Falernia’s Flasseti, is to bring attention to wines in the $15-$20 range. “You can’t get similar quality wines from California at these prices,” Flasseti assures. It’s a matter of communication, points out Ortega: “We have to develop our reputation as a fine wine producer.” One way Chile is achieving this, believes De Martino, is by highlighting these regional differences that Chilean winemakers are discovering: “With high-
end wines, people are paying for wine with a real sense of origin—we need to communicate to the trade the differences between Maipo, Alta Maipo and MidMaipo, for example.” One important step in this direction is the newly approved appellation system championed heavily by Mario Pablo Silva of Viña Casa Silva winery. Producers now have the right to use three terms on their labels, Costa (coast), Entre Cordilleras (central) and Andes (eastern), in an effort to help clearly
distinguish each region. To taste is to believe. Ortega recalls a wine journalist who once compared Chile’s wines to a Volvo—“well-made, but uninspired.” The same journalist returned to Chile to explore Maule Valley and Leyda Valley; after witnessing the diversity and quality there, he changed his assessment. “He told me Chile is one of the most exciting wine producing countries in the world,” Ortega remembers. “Now, we just need to spread the word.” ■
CHILE’S REGIONS TO WATCH Elquui Valleey Almost all of Chile’s most northerly wine region, Elqui, is still known primarily for pisco (Chilean brandy). The high elevation vineyards (some 6,500 feet above sea level) here benefit from the hot, dry climate and a distinctive type of pure light. Stand-out grapes here include Pedro Ximenez, Sauvignon Blanc, Carmenère, Chardonnay and Syrah.
former table grape region’s potential for outstanding Chardonnay. Located in the north, Limarí is hot, dry and desert-like, but the Pacific Ocean’s cooling breezes and ample river irrigation allow vines to thrive. Another key advantage: Limarí’s limestone soils are rare in Chile, and yield Chardonnays with a coveted minerality.
of the nation’s oldest vines here in dry-farmed vineyards planted with Carignane, Cabernet, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Carmenère.
Mallecco Valleey Located farther south than any other wine region in Chile, Malleco is near the more talked-about Bio Bio Valley. Not much is planted currently, as the cool temperatures and abundant rain make it one of Chile’s more challenging regions for grapegrowing. Early efforts, however, prove Malleco to be an exciting place for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Limaarí Valleey Though Limarí is far from undiscovered (vines were planted here in the 16th century), it is attracting an increasing number of vintners who are just now recognizing this
Situated at Chile’s narrowest point where the Andes and Coastal Mountains more or less run into one another, Choapa has two sections: Illapel and Salamanca. While there are no wineries here, vineyards—mostly Syrah and Cabernet—produce low yields of outstanding grapes marked by high acidity.
Mauulee Valleey One of Chile’s oldest regions is also one of its most underappreciated. Until now: Visionary vintners are rediscovering some
This coastal region, originally planted during colonial times, is in the midst of rediscovery, with ancient vines farmed alongside new plantings on vertical slopes. Much more exploration is in Itata’s future; so far Moscatel, Cabernet and Chardonnay make up most of its limited production.
Bio Bio Valleey This cool, damp region in the country’s far southern reaches has been generating big buzz for its Pinot Noir potential. Crisp Sauvignon Blancs also shine here and vintners are experimenting with aromatic whites like Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Viognier. It’s at the forefront of organic viticulture in Chile.
CHILE WINE REGIONS Elqui Valley Limarí Valley Aconcagua Valley
Maipo Valley Casablanca Valley
San Antonio Valley Leyda Valley SANTIAGO SA S AN A
Rapel Valley Cachapoal Valley Colchagua Valley
Central Valley (From Maipo to Maule)
Maule Valley Itata Valley
Bio Bio Valley Malleco Valley Argentina
or all the talk about how popular American whiskey is today, the proof that the future is rosy seems strongest on the ground in Kentucky. The prime example is in Lawrenceburg, where Wild Turkey this summer unveiled the state’s first major distillery expansion in decades. The $50 million, 134,000square-foot facility will allow Wild Turkey to double in production to meet a growing global demand. Retailers are used to oneoffs and limited releases being in short supply, but when brands as big as Wild Turkey increase capacity, something’s afoot. Especially given such uncertain economic times, the health of the American whiskey business is remarkable. Bourbon and Tennessee whiskies already make up the fourth largest category by value, and are pegged to pass Canadian whisky soon to become fourth in volume as well, according to 2010 figures released by DISCUS. Overall, American straight whiskey volume is up 2.5%, and more importantly, at the super-premium level up 16.2%. The continuing growth, driven by the cocktail renaissance and a greater appreciation among American consumers for homegrown spirits, has emboldened suppliers to continue developing limited editions and roll out new brands, something the industry had previously seemed loath to do.
For instance, Brown-Forman early this year introduced a new/old version of Early Times called Early Times 354 Bourbon, harkening back to the days when the brand was a true bourbon (Early Times itself is classed as a Kentucky whiskey because it’s not aged exclusively in new American oak, as all bourbons must be). Beam Global keeps rolling out new brands as well: at the higher end, Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve in February. “We’ve seen a tremendous amount of success and have already exceeded our annual forecast in the first few months,” says Rob Mason, director, U.S. bourbons for the company. “Its success reinforces for us the fact that consumers are looking for new and different expressions in the bourbon category.” That’s a view endorsed down the road. “The landscape in this category has changed a lot in the last five to seven years,” says Larry Kass, director of corporate communications for Heaven Hill Distilleries. “There was a time as a really large producer we would do a lot of private labeling and bulk sales, but that has changed for good reasons—we need the whiskey. Our brand building has been so successful, and that’s a pretty good indicator of what’s going on in the category.”
FLOURISHES IN KENTUCKY BY JA C K R O BE R T I E L LO
EXPRESS YOURSELF Kass notes the industry as a whole is doing a better job of product development, mining their customer base with existing products and maximizing opportunities for expansion through new expressions and limited editions, like the hit Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage and the Parker’s Heritage Collection, whose next bottling will be a 10-year-old finished in Cognac barrels selected by Alain Royer, who worked on the first famed Distiller’s Masterpiece Cognac-finished bourbon with the late Booker Noe. (Recently, the company also joined the ranks of white whiskey sellers—see sidebar). 1792’s Ridgemont Reserve Barrel Select, a celebration of the year of Kentucky’s statehood, is another example of capitalizing upon historic occasions, whereas Eagle Rare’s 10-year-old Single Barrel Reserve is alluring because of the complexities that come with its long age time. Bringing in new consumers is just what Jack Daniel’s had in mind with its latest, Tennessee Honey, according to Jennifer Powell, senior brand manager for Jack Daniel’s. “Our strategic intent is to bring in new consumers and new occasions, and it’s pretty early but initial indications are that the brand is doing
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GOLDEN TIMES: BOURBON
exactly what we hoped.” Not only women, but African American and Hispanic consumers as well seem to be responding, groups JD hasn’t traditionally attracted. JD Tennessee Honey is only the latest in a series of flavored whiskies released, but the major innovations occur as distillers tinker at the edges of bourbon rules and look for novel ways to satisfy consumer tastes within the straight whiskey arena. Take Beam’s Devil’s Cut, launched in July, which the company says takes a “proprietary process” to extract liquid absorbed by a barrel during the aging process. Once extracted, it’s combined with six-year-old bourbon for a 90-proof spirit with a bold flavor profile, says Mason. Like most companies, Beam reps are aware of the halo effect limited release and brand extensions have on invigorating interest in the flagship brands. “One of the reasons we go with innovation is we believe it has a positive impact. We’re seeing growth on Jim Beam White that we haven’t seen in many years; we’re doing other things, but we believe Devil’s Cut and Single Barrel will have an effect on Beam and Knob Creek,” Mason explains. To that end, the company redesigned Jim Beam Black, repackaging it to be less similar in appearance to Beam White, with changes meant to reinforce premium cues to buyers.
Jimmy and Eddie Russell christen Wild Turkey barrel
ROOM FOR RETAILERS Wild Turkey will be making a new iteration in its expanded facility as well: Wild Turkey 81, meant to appeal to younger drinkers. In addition, the Wild Turkey line in the U.S. will get a packaging refresh as well as a new marketing campaign called “Give ’em the Bird.” Wild Turkey 81’s edge is in the age make-up, according to master distiller Jimmy Russell. The 81 replaces an 80proof Wild Turkey made from younger whiskies. “Most whiskies at this proof are younger—this is made up of six, seven and eight-year-olds, with the same spicy flavor as 101 but made to be more mixable for cocktails. Or even just straight,” says Russell. Like other distillers, Russell constantly looks for something special to create limited editions: he’s now hunting for something as good as last year’s 14year-old American Tradition. All this brand extending is having an effect at retail, even though most stores already are overstocked with the
B O U R BON MEN U |
new spirits flooding the market, according to Jonathan Goldstein, proprietor of Park Ave Liquor Shop in New York City. “There’s definitely some carryover to other items. The problem is for the rare items, like Van Winkle, they come in and go out in two days, so people who are new to the brands are going to have a tough time finding them, since they’re gone before I can even get them on the shelf.” As a major innovator with many limited edition whiskies like George T. Stagg, Sazerac Rye as well as Van Winkle in its portfolio, Buffalo Trace’s distiller Harlen Wheatley is familiar with the retailer’s plight, whether it’s too many products or fighting for allocated editions. “I think when they know it’s coming from somewhere that makes a good product it helps, but it is tough,” says Wheatley. “But when we have something like the Experimental Collection, or our Single Oak Project whiskies, well, we have zero trouble finding someone to take them.” Wheatley says as much as he and other whiskey sellers like bourbon’s innovative evolution, it’s hard to claim credit: “The thing about it is, we didn’t start out because we thought it would help sales—we were trying to drive flavors and do some different things.
a selection of bourbons
ONE ISLAND. FOUR MAGNIFICENT MALTS.
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The Isle of Jura, nestled off the west coast of Scotland, offers a wide and diverse range of single malt Scotch whiskies. From the unpeated ﬂavours of Origin 10YO and Diurachs’ Own 16YO to the peated expressions of Superstition and Prophecy, the distinctive qualities of our malts have not gone unnoticed. All four expressions have superb BTI ratings and have more than their fair share of international accolades. Their appeal is spreading and with more people becoming part of the growing consumer community, stocking just one may not be enough.
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In A World Of Its Own
UR A S I NGLE
© 2011 The Isle of Jura is a registered trademark of Whyte & Mackay Limited, The Isle of Jura Single Malt Scotch Whisky 43% Alc./ Vol. (86 proof), Prophecy 46% Alc./ Vol. (92 proof), www.isleofjura.com, Imported by Shaw-Ross International Importers, Miramar, FL – www.shaw-ross.com. Drink responsibly.
GOLDEN TIMES: BOURBON
WHITE DOG BARKING hether driven by a micro-distiller’s need to earn some cash while their bourbon matures, or by the bartender’s need to scour the Earth for unique products, white whiskey has made a sudden surge of popularity, much to the pleasure of some big whiskey makers.
New York City retailer Jonathan Goldstein, who carries Buffalo Trace’s White Dog and white whiskies from Heaven Hill, Tuthilltown and High West, says the curious customer may be a bartender, a shopper new to the category—or a whiskey lover looking for something different. “There’s so much variation in it, and it’s a little bit trendy and novel and might have more legs than absinthe which took off like a rocket a few years ago,” he says. Small distillers have been at the forefront of the trend, with such brands as Death’s Door from the Midwest making regional marks. But the big guys are slowly entering the field. Larry Kass of Heaven Hill compares the emergence of white whiskey to the freshness some Tequila buyers so appreciate in blanco Tequila. The flavors in white whiskey are decidedly different without the oak seasoning, but there’s an educational attraction that makes sense for many outlets. “My contention is the real aficionado may not buy bottle after bottle of a new make, but it’s a sign of a pretty healthy category when there’s a market for unaged whiskey,” says Kass. To that end, Heaven
Hill has plans to make its Trybox New Make Series a continuous release. The first two bottlings were made from mash bills destined to become bourbon and rye, while wheat and corn whiskies will soon follow. Buffalo Trace’s popular White Dog was originally intended to sell in the gift shop as an educational tool. But local requests begat inquiries from more markets, and distiller Harlen Wheatley expects to continue offering it up. “We don’t think it will reach a million cases or anything, but there is a demand for that type of product and we might as well be in it,” he says. Beam Global is “monitoring” the situation, says Rob Mason, director, U.S. bourbons: “The bulk of the flavor comes from time spent in a barrel, so we’re trying to better understand a segment that doesn’t involve the aging process and see if there’s an opportunity.” Meanwhile, as Kass says, it’s nice for an industry used to carefully controlling barrel aging to be able to turn on a spigot and sell a product right off the still. Already, like with aged rye, Heaven Hill’s New Make rye is in big demand and may be allocated as well. Allocated white whiskey: an accountant’s dream.
Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace distiller
His various experiments have gone well enough that the company is developing a release plan for both: he expects spring and fall releases for the Experimental whiskies, and three or four annual releases of the Single Oaks, which use oak with different grains, drying methods and chars to develop as broad a flavor profile as possible. Retailer interest in innovation depends on the quality of the innovation, says Mason. If they are different interest will be there. But some say when me-too products sometimes have a problem getting on shelves that’s where bartenders come in. “We think a lot of the excitement and passion from the category is coming from the on-premise environment, and believe that the bartender is playing a big role,” Mason adds. Bourbon’s relative value is only part of why bartenders have adopted it as their go-to brown spirit. “As our native spirit finally we see it coming full circle to a time when it was the preferred beverage of the American public,” says Marcos Tello of Tello Demarest Liquid Assets, who currently directs the cocktail program at the 1886 Bar in Los Angeles. “Now in the hands of well-trained bartenders it is used in not only a whiskey lover’s beverage.” Between the popularity of limited editions like the forthcoming Master’s Rye Collection twin 375ml package and the growing interest among women in whiskey cocktails, such brands as Woodford Reserve continue to post double digit growth, says brand manager Laura Petry: “Cocktails are huge with the younger consumer who was once turning to vodka-based cocktails and are now turning to bourbon.” It’s the traditional formula: gain trial on-premise and brand loyalty off, says Kass, and the dynamic is very strong in American whiskey: “There’s such a sense of place, provenance and even terroir with these products. People understand that there aren’t that many producers, that it’s a more finite universe than some of the other categories—it’s part of the trend sense of discovery.” Which is an amazing luxury in the whiskey business today for those who remember the not-so-good-old-days. Kentucky has a long memory, and knows that nothing lasts forever, but for now, it is producing the best whiskey it can for a very appreciative audience, and reveling in the results. Nothing wrong with that. ■
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