Posts Tagged ‘USA’

(Image courtesy Captain Grooviss)

(Image courtesy Captain Grooviss)

 

Hard cider sales are showing remarkable growth in the U.S. market as new brands inject dynamism into the category. Eagerly tapping into the trend, brewers including Boston Beer Co., MillerCoors, Anheuser-Busch InBev and others have all jumped into the cider pool.

The U.S. market’s top 10 cider brands increased by 62.6% to 9.58 million 2.25-gallon case depletions in 2012, according to Impact Databank. Most major brands, particularly domestic entrants, showed double-digit increases, including category leader Woodchuck, which grew 25% to 2.53 million 2.25-gallon cases.

Boston Beer Co. launched its Angry Orchard brand in 2011, and it did just 40,000 cases in that year. But last year it gained national distribution and grew to within striking distance of Woodchuck, hitting 2.2 million cases.

In February 2012, MillerCoors’ Tenth and Blake craft-import unit purchased Crispin Cider Company of Minneapolis. Crispin, which was launched in 2008, quickly gained a presence beyond its regional base once MillerCoors took over. Last year, brand volume more than doubled to 714,000 cases.

 

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Kids and Booze!

Kids and Booze!

 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) plans this summer to recommend ways that the alcoholic beverage industry can better protect underage viewers from seeing its advertisements online.

Distillers, brewers and wineries pour millions of dollars into brand promotion on Twitter, Facebook and other social media, and industry critics contend they are not doing enough to prevent young consumers from receiving these messages.

 “We’re doing a deep dive on how they’re using the Internet and social media,” said Janet Evans, a lawyer with the FTC, which is conducting a year-long study due to be released by early summer. “We’re focusing on underage exposure.”

She would not elaborate on any potential recommendations that might come out of the study, which began in April 2012.
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New device allows the user to directly inhale alcohol – increasing the effects on the body
Experts have warned that the Vaportini – which is available to buy online – could be used by impressionable and inexperienced teenagers
Parents have been warned of the dangers of a simple new device freely available online which heats alcohol and allows it to be inhaled – reportedly giving the user an instant but intense high.


Released in December, the $35 Vaportini acts in a manner similar to a traditional vaporizer, heating and releasing intoxicating vapors which are breathed through a straw after being heated by a candle to 140 Fahreneheit.
Bypassing the digestive system, the Vaportini causes alcohol to be ingested directly to the bloodstream through the lungs, potentially causing dangerous levels of intoxication – especially if abused.
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US_teens_use_vodka_soaked_tampons_to_get_drunk_faster-topImage

It’s a troubling trend. A form of extreme drinking where teenagers attempt to get drunk by soaking tampons in alcohol.

Time to get a life?

Time to get a life?

 

Left, right, center — in Washington, it pays to keep track. But the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies didn’t. That misstep has bubbled into a controversy with a Sonoma County winery at its center.

The placement in a press release of the word “California” to the right of the word “Champagne” — instead of the left — has French Champagne industry lobbyists up in arms.

The Champagne Bureau, the French industry’s U.S. lobbying arm, has objected to the committee’s announcement that “Korbel Natural, Special Inaugural Cuvée Champagne, California” is to be served with the dessert course of the 2013 Inaugural Luncheon on Jan. 21.

Quelle horreur!

“Champagne only comes from (the region of) Champagne, France,” the bureau’s director, Sam Heitner told The Hill, a newspaper that covers Congress. He vowed to write the committee to set it straight.

“Because at the end of the day, we want everyone to know where their wine comes from,” Heitner said.

The Internal Revenue Service tax code permits some American wineries to describe their sparkling wines as champagne only if the word is used after its appellation, or where its grapes originated.
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U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

 

Plus, a slap on the wrist for Champagne fraudsters, a new wine supports marriage equality, and why professional athletes may want to hide their wine collections

In just 10 days, President Barack Obama will be sworn in for his second term as Commander in Chief, meaning we at Unfiltered have four more years of executive wine pairings to look forward to reporting on. (Check out the sidebar for some of the many wine stories featuring Pres. Obama that we’ve run in the past five years.) The 57th Inaugural Ceremonies are taking place Jan. 21, and the wine-and-food pairings have been announced. Korbel will be there, for the eighth time, with a special Inaugural-labeled edition of Korbel’s Natural Russian River Valley. “Such a historic celebration deserves to be toasted with American champagne with roots in our country’s most memorable occasions,” said Korbel president and owner Gary Heck in a press release, “We are honored.” Also on hand in Statuary Hall for the luncheon will be two New York state wines, Bedell Cellars Merlot 2009 from Long Island and Tierce Dry Riesling 2010 from the Finger Lakes. Tierce is a collaborative effort between three of the Finger Lakes’ top winemakers, Peter Bell of Fox Run, Johannes Reinhardt of Anthony Road and David Whiting of Red Newt Cellars.

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A Brown Stink Bug Nymph.

A Brown Stink Bug Nymph.

 

 

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is now in at least 39 states and is a major economic threat to orchard fruits, garden vegetables and row crops.

 

First detected in the United States a decade ago, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is now in at least 39 states, is wreaking havoc in homes and gardens, and is a major economic threat to orchard fruits, garden vegetables and row crops. It’s no wonder the USDA ranks this pest as its top “invasive insect of interest.”

But help may be on the way: USDA scientists at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Invasive Insect Biocontrol and Behavior Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., are searching for ways to control the stink bug by deciphering its genetic toolkit, studying the pheromones it releases, and evaluating potential attractants for use in commercial traps. ARS is the USDA’s principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.
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Or is it?

Or is it?

 

America’s wine industry is booming.

But a new study from Michigan State Professor Philip Howard shows “industry” maybe something of a misnomer.

While you may see a wide variety of American labels at your local wine shop, the vast majority are merely offshoots of mega producers, most of them concentrated in California, Professor Howard found.

Click to read on and see the incredible browsable map he produced:

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wine_writing_0

For who are you writing?

So where have all these wine bloggers and writers been living for the past 10 years? Under a rock?

Last week, a professor at Michigan State University named Philip Howard made the news by publishing an article with a semi-nifty interactive graphic, entitled Concentration in the U.S. Wine Industry.

The article has been tweeted, its graphics stolen and republished (usually with proper credit given to the professor), and dozens of articles have been written by bloggers and mainstream journalists about the “news” that about 50% of the wine sold in America has been produced by just three large companies: E&J Gallo, Constellation, and The Wine Group. These articles range in tone from scandalized to awestruck, which prompts the question, if you write about wine and you didn’t know this already, what do you imagine most of the people in America actually drink?

I’ve been frankly nonplussed at the reaction to this information, and somewhat dismayed at what seems to be its clear implication: namely that a lot of people writing about wine are quiet out of touch with the average wine drinker in America.

Of course, most people writing about wine aren’t writing for the average wine drinker. You know, the one that buys most of their wines at the grocery store, or at chain restaurants where they eat out for dinner on occasion? These aren’t the folks reading wine blogs, wine magazines, or even wine columns in newspapers.
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A Californian brand with a risqué name is seducing U.S. wine drinkers. Jennifer Ashcroft has the story.

American consumers are flocking in their millions to have a threesome. The brazen Californian wine brand Ménage à Trois has made conservative drinkers choke on their claret with its sexual-innuendo-filled marketing, but as the latest figures show, sex really does sell.

Named as Wine Brand of the Year in 2009 by U.S. beverage industry publication Market Watch, it continues to be hot property, with sales up 13 percent to $61.5 million in the past 12 months. These impressive figures place Ménage à Trois among the biggest-selling brands in the country, behind Chateau Ste. Michelle, Cupcake Vineyards and Robert Mondavi Private Selection, according to Wines & Vines magazine.

But for its savvy owners, Trinchero Family Estates, Ménage is not the biggest seller. That position is reserved for the company’s first brand, Sutter Home. Nevertheless, Ménage à Trois has “done well because that’s a slightly risqué name and even people that don’t know French know what that term means,” says Dr Liz Thach, a Master of Wine and professor of management and wine business at Sonoma State University in California.

Catchy names that are easy to pronounce and remember are proving popular with more-casual wine drinkers in the U.S., and retailers’ shelves are steadily filling with gimmicky labels, such as Gnarly Head and Cupcake Vineyards.

Thach praises Ménage à Trois for its “phenomenal marketing.” The double entendre of the brand’s name is only the beginning. Sexual innuendos abound on the brand’s website, with wines described as being “guaranteed to satisfy,” “ready to make you its latest conquest” and “the perfect threesome.”

While the company’s public relations specialist, Carissa Abazia, believes that Ménage à Trois resonates with consumers because of its approachable style, price and slightly “edgy” name, some more-traditional consumers view it less favorably. Are the producers scraping the bottom of the barrel in a bid to sell some grape juice?

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