Suntory Not Selling a Drop of Liquor Operations, 5/29/2013 – Wall Street Journal
Suntory Holdings Ltd. has long been known as one of Japan’s unlisted giants among others including contractor Takenaka Corp., urban developer Mori Building Co. and fastener maker YKK Corp. But that is about to change, at least partly. Suntory received the green light Wednesday from the Tokyo Stock Exchange to conduct a $4.7 billion initial public offering of its key unit Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd., whose sales account for more than half of Suntory’s groupwide revenue. Still, despite having finally decided to embrace the idea of listing, why has the company stopped halfway, leaving its liquor operations privately held? Its whiskey business is a case in point, because of high-end, premium whiskey’s long aging time of 12 years, 18 years and more at storage warehouses. It also famously spent 46 years before it generated a profit from its beer business and 14 years developing what most scientists considered impossible: Creating a blue rose using genetic-modification techniques. Read more!
All the Rage | Japanese Whiskey Takes Manhattan, 5/24/2013 – The New York Times
Over the past week, hordes of bartenders, distillers, liquor reps and booze hounds have descended thirstily upon New York City for the fourth annual Manhattan Cocktail Classic, one of the biggest spirit conferences in the world. Their goal: to discover the next big thing in drinks. At the lavish kickoff gala at the New York Public Library and at tasting panels across the city, the buzz among mixologists and connoisseurs was of the rapid ascendancy of Japanese whiskey, which has captivated drinkers with its exceptional quality, lighter flavor profiles and one-of-a-kind terroir. Read more!
Cleveland Whiskey Ages Bourbon In One Week, 5/29/2013 – Forbes
The process of making bourbon whiskey hasn’t changed much in decades. A sour mash is fermented, then distilled into a clear spirit. After making the spirit, a distillery places it into charred, American oak barrels to age. Usually for several years, with premium bourbons often aging for nine years or more. But in Cleveland, Ohio, Tom Lix aims to disrupt the traditional aging process of bourbon. He’s developed a process to accelerate the aging process of whiskey from years into about a week. After years of development, he believes he has it. His company, Cleveland Whiskey, started selling its bourbon on March 1 and they’ve been flying out the door – over 14,000 bottles so far. Given that they produce whiskey at the rate of about 1,000 bottles per week, that basically means they’re selling out. Which is why the company is already working to expand its production capacity. Read more!
Alcohol prices rise at restaurants, bars, 5/24/2013 – Nation’s Restaurant News
Alcohol pricing in restaurants and bars over the past seven months has increased dramatically, with wide variations by segment, and researchers suspect restaurants may be making up for lost margins during the recession. Restaurant Sciences LLC, a market research firm that tracks food and beverage consumption across the foodservice spectrum in North America, tracked millions of transactions at a period roughly between October 2012 and April 2013, breaking down price increases on various product categories by segment. According to the research, mass-market beers, like Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon, showed the highest price increases within the beer category — except in family dining concepts, where beer prices for that level of product remained steady. Despite the popularity of “ultra-premium” craft beers, price increases for those products were relatively low. For liquor, the biggest increases were seen in fine dining — where the price of spirits grew more than 11 percent — and also in family dining, where prices increased 4.5 percent on average. The casual dining and bar/nightclub sectors, where most spirits are sold, saw virtually no increase. Read more!
Flavor trends boost spirits category, Technomic finds, 5/28/2013 – Beverage Industry
These flavor trends are continuing in 2013, according to Technomic. “Included in the 120 new spirits products introduced in the first quarter of 2013, which we record through the New Product Tracker in our Drink database, were 21 flavored vodkas, 23 cordials and liqueurs, seven flavored rums, and six flavored whiskeys,” Crecca said in a statement, noting that suppliers are going beyond traditional flavor profiles to attract consumers. “We’re seeing unexpected flavors, such as Pernod Ricard’s Mama Walker’s line of breakfast-inspired liqueurs involving flavors like Maple Bacon and Blueberry Pancake. The dessert trend is continuing in vodka with Smirnoff Sorbet Light in Mango Passion Fruit and Raspberry Pomegranate launching and Beam adding Rainbow Sherbet to the already extensive Pinnacle lineup. Spice is showing up in whiskeys and liqueurs, and exotic fruit and floral flavors are also still on trend.” Technomic projects continued growth for flavored vodka, whiskey, tequila and rum, as well as expansion in cordials and liqueurs in 2013. Read more!
‘Smoking’ alcohol is a highly dangerous trend among the calorie-conscious, 5/29/2013 – New York Daily News
In an effort to gain a greater buzz for fewer calories, some young drinkers are inhaling their liquor – either pouring it over dry ice or ‘freebasing’ it and sucking up the vapors. Either way, going around the stomach and liver is incredibly risky, doctors say. Read more!
Women Set New Whiskey Trends in Korea, 2013 – The Korea Times
A rising number of powerful and independent women in Korea are working to change that female stereotype. A new trend suggests that today, a woman is more likely to sit down next to a man and say, “What do you know about whiskey?” The whiskey industry in Korea is going through massive changes as increasingly more companies market to women. Some of these companies believe women appreciate liquor better than men. Women in their 20s and 30s, who grew up believing they are a man’s equal, are more inclined to spend and to participate in cultural activities. “With the increased role of women with our society, they’ve also retained the role of deciding what the family drinks in occasions,” said an official for an overseas liquor producer operating in Seoul. “They are an important measurement for us for what kind of products consumer wants, and the de facto decision maker.”