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People have standards and expectations when it comes to, well, everything. But particularly their alcoholic beverages. Call it “sociability,” or “ritual,” or just plain “thirst.” We call it “engagement,” in this instance an elucidation of how a consumer looks at an alcoholic beverage category and how – and in what way – they compare alcoholic brands to standards they hold for their Ideal in the category. It’s not always articulated as artfully as this, but here's the very best example of I’ve ever heard:

“My dear girl, there are some things that just aren't done, such as drinking Dom Perignon '53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit.”

James Bond, played by Sean Connery in the 1964 film “Goldfinger,” delivered that line. Mr. Bond, also the progenitor of the martini, “shaken not stirred,” might just be a little shaken himself to find out what’s currently happening in the white goods sector – meaning vodka, gin, and rum (but mainly vodka). So pull up a barstool, brace yourself, and let me bend your ear, because there’s good news, better news, but also bad news.

The good news is the alcohol market in the United States continues to grow, The better news is vodka has been the top-selling spirit since the 1970’s, driven by the spirits of Mr. Bond, Don Draper, and Carrie Bradshaw. The bad news is vodka growth has slowed significantly in recent years, with vodka’s popularity on the wane. A lot of that has to do with the introduction of crafted whiskeys and the growth of new, whiskey-based cocktails. Boredom and the search for new experiences plays into the trend as well.

Since Russia invaded the Ukraine, vodka is also facing a challenge to its traditional ties to Russia, with consumers, retailers, bar owners, legislators all calling for a boycott of anything linked ¬ – even just historically – to Russia. Although I’d venture to say, not so much the ”boycott” of Russian vodka itself. That only accounts for 1%of total vodka volume in the United States, so it ends up being pretty much symbolic. Still, it all adds up and symbols are sanctions, too. It’s not the first time vodka’s connection to Russia has affected the sector. In the 1980’s when Stolichnaya was still under Russian control (it’s now Latvian, so feel free to continue to buy it) its consumption diminished significantly during the Cold War.

So now the growth in the alcohol market overall is being driven by what the industry calls, “brown goods,” which includes bourbon and scotch, and mostly whiskey.  Loyalty – for virtually every alcoholic beverage category – is driven primarily by things like appearance of versatility (the critical word being “appearance”) with that appearance having to do with how the brand fits into a consumer’s lifestyle, rather than just the brand’s bottle or country of origin. Sure, vodka brands talk about “filtration,” but brown goods talk about being “crafted” and “handmade,” and stored in “aged barrels,” in ways that harken to a bygone era when a silver dollar flipped onto a bar top got you a shot of whiskey.

Mark Twain noted, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough,” and from an increasing-brown-goods-consumption-perspective, that would seem to be true. I have a preference for single malts, but there’s a famous Churchill quote that goes, “The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whisky. By diligent effort, I learned to like it.: And from recent trends, Americans are apparently following our British cousin’s example.

It could also be those Millennials and their cocktail culture. Or that tastes have changed so much, vodka is no longer in vogue. Consumers have been migrating to other “brown goods” like bourbon, Irish whiskey, and spiced rum. In the same period American and Tennessee whiskey have both climbed nearly 25 percent and 11 percent in the U.S. alone.

It was mob boss and purveyor of various alcoholic beverages, Al Capone, who claimed, “All I ever did was supply a demand that was pretty popular.” And that’s still true. Alcohol is still popular. When it comes to purveying alcoholic beverages today, however, the lesson to be learned is to always keep track of what’s engaging the customer most, and then serve them that. Because an increase in sales is something that every marketer will drink to!

 
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TORONTO, ON: Grant’s Blended Scotch Whisky invites Canadians from coast to coast to celebrate a summer TOGETHER with their crew and Grant’s Triple Wood! Life is a series of twists and turns, ups and downs. One thing is for sure: you’ll go further with your crew. Let’s raise a glass to summer celebrations with our crew. As at Grant’s, we believe the way through is TOGETHER.

Grant’s remains the only blended scotch producer to have its three key team members, the Stillman, the Cooper and Master Blender working together in one location. The result is a multi-award-winning blended scotch whisky that has won multiple prestigious industry awards, including Gold at the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC), one of the industry’s most prestigious competitions, as well as Distiller of the Year and Scotch Whisky Producer of the Year at the International Spirits Challenge.

“Grant’s values togetherness, and there is no better way to celebrate the summer than coming together with your pals over a dram or cocktail featuring Grant’s Triple Wood,” comments Danny Dyer, Global Brand Ambassador, Grant’s Whisky. “When the right people stand together, great things happen.”

Grant’s Triple Wood is aged in three different types of wood: Virgin Oak cask provides spicy robustness, American Oak lends subtle vanilla smoothness and Bourbon refill offers brown sugar sweetness, resulting in a smoother, richer, mellower tasting whisky with a complex, clean note of summer fruits balanced with vanilla sweetness, malty and light floral fragrances. With notes of summer fruits and a touch of florals, Grant’s Triple Wood is the perfect spirit to add to any sun-filled celebration. Whether it’s a weekend getaway, a backyard BBQ or just hanging out with your crew, Grant’s Triple Wood is the ultimate ‘Crew Pleaser’. You see, TWO BARRELS MAKE IT GOOD, THE THIRD MAKES IT GRANT’S.

Grant’s Triple Wood is produced at Grant’s Girvan Distillery, an undeniably impressive structure built in just nine months in 1963. Today, Grant’s Girvan Distillery is home to Grant’s not-so-secret weapon: the Girvan Patent Still, which produces its signature – and coveted – sweet, fruity, and light distillate.

“When creating cocktails with Grant’s Triple Wood, we suggest adding a little ice, cola, and garnishing with an orange wedge to accentuate the fruity character of the whisky,” comments Dyer. “Like the members of a great crew, Grant’s and cola were made for each other. Grab an extra glass. Such a classic tastes better when shared.”

Other liquids from the Grant’s Family available in Canada include Grant’s Triple Wood 12 and Grant’s Sherry Cask 8-Year-Old, each providing an array of distinctive flavour profiles to delight consumers, available in select provinces at fine retailers.

 
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Toronto, ON (June 27, 2022) - Today, Lobos 1707, the ultra-premium tequila and mezcal brand, announces that its Reposado Tequila took home the coveted Best Reposado Tequila award at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition gala, hosted by The Tasting Alliance and ReserveBar. In its 22nd year, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition is the largest and oldest spirits judging in the United States, and is considered by many to be the most influential spirits competition in the world.

“We are extremely proud to have our tequila recognized by the most prestigious spirits competitions in the world,” said Diego Osorio, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Lobos 1707. “My priority has always been delivering on our promise to create an exceptional tasting product, and receiving this award proves that we have done just that. The response we’ve received from consumers to our reposado tequila has been incredible and humbling.”

This year’s competition was the largest ever, with nearly 5,000 spirits from across the world submitted to be judged by more than 50 of the most respected, established experts in the spirits industry. Competing against 100 other reposado tequilas, Lobos 1707 first received a double gold mark, meaning every member of the esteemed panel of judges anonymously and unanimously gave the bottle a gold medal. After various rounds in which bottles that received double gold medals were eliminated by blind tasting group votes, Lobos 1707 reposado came out on top as the winner.

“We are very excited for Lobos 1707 on their epic win in a very competitive category,” said Amanda Blue, COO of The Tasting Alliance. “They were up against tequila brands that have been around for decades and are household names, and they prevailed. This win is a significant feat as they only just launched in 2020. Our recognition speaks to the liquid in the bottle, not the celebrity on the billboard.” 

Lobos 1707 Reposado Tequila has continued to rack up top honors at spirit tasting competitions across the country. Reposado was recognized as finalist and a top 100 spirit at the 2022 Ultimate Spirits Challenge, as well as received a double gold medal at the 2022 SIP Awards, and gold medals at the 2022 iterations of the New York International Spirits Competition, Tequila & Mezcal Masters. 

“The Tasting Alliance awards are all about ‘the juice,’ and that’s what I love about their judging process, and that’s why you can be confident that this is an exceptional tequila,” said Derek Correia, President of ReserveBar. “I love tequila and tasted the final ‘best of’ flight. The competition was fierce, but Lobos 1707 stood out. Like so many of the medal winners, we’re excited that this product is available to purchase on ReserveBar.com for convenient delivery right to your home or office.”

All of Lobos 1707’s tequilas - including its Joven and Extra Añejo - are made from 100% blue weber agave harvested and distilled in Jalisco. The tequilas are then finished in Pedro Ximénez (PX) wine barrels for a unique and elevated flavor profile. For more information or to purchase Lobos 1707 (age 21+ only), visit lobos1707.com.

 
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ST. LOUIS (June 23, 2022) – In response to the devastating floods impacting Yellowstone National Park and surrounding areas, Lebanon, Kentucky-based Limestone Branch Distillery – makers of Yellowstone Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – has donated $25,000 each to the National Park Service (NPS) and to the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) for long-term support of flood-relief efforts.

Additionally, Limestone Branch distillery has agreed to match up to $50,000 in donations made in conjunction with a fundraising event benefiting the Southwest Montana Flood Relief Fund – a joint effort between the Park County Community Foundation (PCCF) and Greater Gallatin United Way – and the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation. The event, hosted by National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), will be held June 28 at the Rialto in Bozeman, Montana.

 “We were saddened to learn of the devastation caused by flooding at and around Yellowstone National Park. Our Yellowstone Bourbon brand shares a long, storied history with the park, and our master distiller Stephen Beam has been an avid supporter of – and visitor to – our country’s national parks for many years,” said Limestone Branch Distillery Brand Manager Caitlin Palmieri Jackson. “We are prepared to match up to $50,000 in donations to support the immediate recovery effort made at the fundraiser event hosted by NPCA in Bozeman, Montana, and we already have donated $25,000 each to the National Park Service and to NPCA in response to this tragedy.”

Yellowstone Bourbon also has set up a website (www.limestonebranch.com/about/yellowstone-gives-back) to provide additional information about fundraising efforts as well as links to vetted support organizations, where consumers can learn more about donating and other ways to help.

The only independent, nonpartisan organization devoted exclusively to advocacy on behalf of the National Park System, NPCA is hosting a June 28 fundraising event in Bozeman, Montana, to rally the community around the immediate flood response and recovery efforts related to the flooding in and adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Southwest Montana Flood Relief Fund – a joint effort between the Park County Community Foundation (PCCF) and Greater Gallatin United Way – and the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation for immediate needs like emergency shelter, drinking water, food, clothing and will also help with clean-up and rebuilding efforts. For more information regarding the fundraiser in Bozeman, Montana, visit https://e.givesmart.com/events/rJK/.

In addition to helping ensure the communities and impacted areas of the region who need support the most receive it at this time – NPCA will advocate for the long-term recovery of the park. Assisted by the funds donated by Limestone Branch Distillery, NPCA will further its bipartisan efforts to help fund recovery efforts and advocate for federal funding for park repairs as the park assesses the full scope of the need on its road to recovery.

As the federal agency responsible for managing U.S. national parks – including Yellowstone National Park, The National Park Service is currently engaging with more than 1,000 partners to assess damage from the flooding, briefing impacted communities and the public at large, assisting with reopening strategies and short- and long-term recovery planning. Funds donated to NPS will assist in these endeavors.

Limestone Branch Distillery’s recent donations and fundraising efforts in response to the flooding at Yellowstone National Park are in addition to its support of the NPCA over the past several years. Earlier this year, the distillery donated $30,000 to NPCA through proceeds from sales of its Yellowstone Select whiskey.

 
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(SAN FRANCISCO, June 22, 2022)Crescere Wines, the luxury, small-production winery from Sonoma known for its site-specific wines and “farming first,” philosophy, today announces the release of their newest vintage of single-vineyard wines, Platt Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019 and Chardonnay 2019 (SRP $120 and $100). Founded in 2016 by the Reynoso family in collaboration with renowned winemaker Philippe Melka, Crescere’s highly-limited 2019 vintage of Platt Vineyard wines reflect a moderate growing season that ultimately brought harvest dates back to their typical mid-October timeframe, following many vintages of extreme heat that continued to pushed harvest dates earlier in the season.

 

“The 2019 season was one of a kind,” says Crescere co-founder and proprietor, Joe Reynoso. “Our goal at Crescere has always been to showcase the place, and both of these wines do a phenomenal job at achieving that. We’re proud to reveal the Platt Vineyard 2019 wines, and thrilled that the abundant spring rainfall and lack of extreme heat in 2019 allowed us to create such extraordinary wines that so clearly express the distinct terroir of Platt.”

Crescere maintains that a site-specific strategy is key for achieving wines with pure varietal expression, and leans on their decades of farming experience in Sonoma to determine which sites are ideal for each variety. For Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Crescere is proud to source from Platt Vineyard, one of the most heralded vineyard sites in all of California, and considered by many to be a Sonoma “Grand Cru.” Its close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, fine sandy loam soil, elevation above the fog line, and influence of Pacific Coast winds combine to create terroir that is particularly well-suited for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

“Our Platt Vineyard wines have a signature minerality and raciness resulting from the influence of the Pacific Ocean, which is only three miles from the vineyard,” says Reynoso. “The mild vintage conditions in 2019 yielded Platt wines that are particularly Burgundian in character, with complex layers of floral notes and incredibly soft tannins defining the Pinot Noir; while the 2019 Chardonnay is bolder and more expressive than previous vintages while still maintaining its signature freshness.”

Tasting Notes

Crescere Platt Vineyard Chardonnay 2019

14% ABV, 750ml, $100 SRP, 92 cases produced, 93 points (Jeb Dunnuck)

Notes of nectarine, pear and melon mix with thai basil, acacia, lanolin and wet stones rise from the glass. On the palate, citrus with orange and lemon are underlined by hazelnut, fresh button mushrooms and basil. The longer the wine is open, the more the fruit moves to the back palate and the wine becomes increasingly savory. Shale and toasted nuts on the finish.

Crescere Platt Vineyard Pinot Noir 2019

14.6% ABV, 750ml, $120 SRP, 70 cases produced, 94 points (Jeb Dunnuck)

Heady aromas of mulberry, blueberry, plum and pine, opening up to notes of rose petal and carnation with a tinge of wet gravel; eventually giving way to cinnamon and ginger. On the palate, notes of Rainier cherry mixed with tarragon and marjoram mingle with an earthy, mossy undertone, along with baking spice notes of cinnamon and ginger.

Crescere Platt Vineyard Chardonnay 2019 and Pinot Noir 2019 are available for direct purchase here and here.

 

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