What We’re Reading: Diageo Eyes U.S. Spirits Market For Growth, For Craft Brewers, New Law Opens Door To Competitive Market, Japanese Whiskey: How And Why Suntory Is Taking Over, Exclusive Venue Personalized Spirits Now Available Across The Las Vegas Strip, The Filthy Liar
Diageo Eyes U.S. Spirits Market For Growth Drinks Maker Posts 28% Rise in Full-Year Net Profit 7/31/2013 – Wall Street Journal
LONDON—The new chief executive of Diageo DGE.LN -0.10% PLC is keeping faith with the booming North American spirits market to drive future growth and hasn’t ruled out a possible bid for Beam Inc., BEAM -0.06% owner of the Jim Beam brand of bourbon whiskey, to strengthen its grip on the market. Ivan Menezes, who has been CEO since July 1, said growing economic confidence in the U.S. and a burgeoning cocktail culture was fueling demand for premium spirits in North America, as the U.K. liquor maker Wednesday reported a rise in full-year profit despite some markets showing signs of a slowdown. Diageo has in recent years relied on fast-growing regions such as China and India to offset weak sales in mature markets, but North America has remained its biggest and most lucrative market. As the U.S. has emerged from the financial crisis, sales of top-end brands such as Johnnie Walker Blue Label—which sells for around $200 a bottle—have steadily increased. Read the rest here!
For Craft Brewers, New Law Opens Door to Competitive Market 8/1/2013 – The New York Times
This spring, Infamous Brewing Company, based in Austin, made its first deliveries to retailers, and it plans to produce up to 2,000 barrels in its first year. The efforts of Infamous Brewing and other craft brewers to gain a foothold in the Texas market received help this year with the biggest legislative overhaul the industry has seen in 20 years. Lawmakers this year approved legislation that allows small breweries to sell their products to customers to drink in the brewery’s tasting room. The old law prohibited any direct sales by a brewery, requiring samples to be free. Now these breweries can sell up to 5,000 barrels at in-house bars and beer gardens.
Additionally, brew pubs, which had been restricted to selling only at the brew pub, can now sell to distributors. Read the rest here!
Japanese Whisky: How And Why Suntory Is Taking Over 8/1/2013 – Huffington Post
There’s a new name taking the world of whisky by storm, and you might be surprised by its provenance. It isn’t a Scottish name, or an Irish name or a Kentuckian name — it’s Suntory Japanese Whisky. You might recognize Suntory as the three-time winner of “Distiller of the Year” at the International Spirits Challenge. You might recognize them as the makers of the Yamazaki, Hakushu and Hibiki lines of whisky. You might even recognize them as the luxury whisky brand Bill Murray did some shilling for in “Lost in Translation.” It is possible, for now, that you might not recognize Suntory’s whiskies at all, but we’re pretty sure that’s not going to last very long. Read the rest here!
Exclusive Venue Personalized Spirits Now Available Across The Las Vegas Strip 7/29/2013 – Forbes
Las Vegas has raised their bets when it comes to the beverage game. Restaurants and resorts across The Strip have begun to offer exclusive-to-venue liquor labels distilled in partnerships with some of the world’s top bourbon, sake and wine makers. What does this mean to you? You can go to a particular Vegas resort and enjoy a specific line of alcohol that does not exist anywhere else in the world! For bourbon lovers four Vegas resorts, MGM Grand, Monte Carlo, ARIA Resort & Casino and The Mirage, carry personalized bourbons. The Mirage joined forces with whiskey-giant Jack Daniel’s to create the Single Barrel Mirage Personal Selection, and is now serving the world’s first charcoal-mellowed single barrel Tennessee whiskey. The bourbon has Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel signature dark amber color, but this special-to-resort libation has an oak aroma with a refined finish highlighting the captivating flavors of caramel, maple syrup and a touch of rye and licorice. Read the rest here!
The Filthy Liar (and Other Good Things) The lowly cocktail mix gets a much-needed shot of class 8/2/2013 – Tasting Table
The phrase “premade cocktail mixes” is not exactly mixological melody to the drinks purist’s ears. We’re not above the occasional Bloody Mary mix (like on a plane, say). But just-add-alcohol concoctions tend to bring to mind unfortunate images of supermarket Whiskey Sour mixes in falling-down-drunk-proof plastic bottles.
Happily, two friends from North Carolina have remixed the formula, with the introduction of White Whale cocktail mixers. Dave Staples and Corey Mason relied on their hobbies (home brewing and botany, respectively), plus a love of drink and an odd sense of humor, to stir things up with a line featuring offbeat ingredients (youngberry, Siberian fir needle oil) and cocktail names (Your Older Brother, Auntie’s Old Fashioned). They’re not cheap ($30 for three 8-ounce bottles). But a little goes a long way toward ensuring a more interesting at-home bar experience. Our favorite, The Filthy Liar, combines refreshing lychee with dusty cloves and rosemary oil. Shake it with gin, and you’ve got an odd and oddly refreshing new summer standby. Read the rest here!