What We’re Reading: The Creamy, Fuller-Flavored Case for Rye Beers, Booze From Local Crops Booming, Blue Ice Vodka, Maker’s Mark Alcohol Content Mistake Causes Sales To Soar, Mix It Up With Blood Orange Cocktails For Sprint And Summer

May 7th, 2013 — 3:39pm

“The creamy, fuller-flavored case for rye beers,” 5/3/2013 – LA Times
Rye is another grain more known for its use in bread, but as craft brewers experiment and take inspiration from historical beer styles, rye is becoming more popular as a brewing ingredient. Rye lends a creamy head to a brew, and it can make for a fuller, more rounded mouthfeel. The hearty grain also tends to dry-out beer and can impart a subtle spicy flavor. The influence of rye on a beer’s taste is difficult to describe, but lovers of rye bread will know the distinctive flavor it supplies. The grain gets used in many craft beer styles, from the traditional roggenbier like those made by TAPS Fish House or LA Aleworks, to pale ales like Ohana Brewing’s Live and Let Rye or County Line Rye from Surf Brewery in Ventura. In recent years, rye has found its way into the grist of many IPAs, and the qualities that rye provides are a great match for the hop-forward flavors of IPAs. Read more!

“Booze From Local Crops Booming,” 5/3/2013 – Huffington Post
With all the orchards and corn fields that dot the Hudson Valley landscape, Tuthilltown Spirits doesn’t have to look far for the grains and apples to make their whiskey, vodka and gin. The 10-year-old company crafts many of their liquors from ingredients grown no more than a few minutes away, the bounty of the rolling hills that surround it. The process is sometimes referred to as “grain to glass” – the beer-and-whiskey version of the foodie slogan “farm to table.” Both phrases imply a connection to fresh, local ingredients. Tuthilltown is part of a larger hand-crafted booze movement that has Wood Creek Distillers in Colorado growing its own potatoes for high-end vodka and Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh using local, organic heirloom rye. Read more!

“Blue Ice Vodka’s Certification As ‘Gluten Free’ Revives Debate Over Distilled Spirits, Celiac Disease,” 5/3/2013 – Huffington Post
This week, 21st Century Distillery announced that its flagship Blue Ice Potato Vodka had become the first distilled spirit to be certified as “gluten-free” by the federal government. Specifically, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau — “TTB” for short — approved a request by 21st Century Distillery to change the label of the vodka to include a red sticker that says “gluten free.” Thomas Gibson, the company’s chief operating officer, told The Huffington Post that the company initially applied for this designation two and a half years ago. Getting it, he explained, required extensive testing of the vodka and distilling plant by the TTB. But he said the approval was worth the work. “We’re the first spirits product that can put gluten-free on the label,” he said. “We’re going to be changing our packaging so that moving forward, all the bottles will have that seal. We’re really excited about that.” Read more!

“Maker’s Mark Alcohol Content Mistake Causes Sales To Soar,” 5/2/2013 – Huffington Post
Sales of Maker’s Mark soared 44 percent after the company announced it would lower the alcohol content in its bourbon because of a limited supply of whiskey. A consumer outcry led Beam to quickly reverse that decision, but not before die-hard fans stocked up. The company said it had benefited from the timing of ingredient costs, selling a higher proportion of more-expensive products, price increases and a shift in advertising spending to the second and third quarters from the first quarter. The company affirmed its full-year forecast, which called for earnings before one-time items to grow at a high single-digit percentage rate from the $2.40 per share it earned in 2012. It said it still expected 2013 free cash flow of $300 million to $350 million. Read more!

“Mix It Up With Blood Orange Cocktails For Spring And Summer,” 5/1/2013 – Forbes
Blood Orange season comes to a close in March, but you can keep this fruit’s vibrant, slightly bitter juiciness alive with a summery blood orange cocktail. Named for their ruby red interior, the blood orange tastes much like a regular orange but with a spicy, slightly bitter kick. The fruit originated in Sicily and of course the Sicilians found a clever way to keep the blood orange spirit alive by crafting a liqueur: Solerno. Made exclusively from Sicilian blood oranges, Solerno is the creation of master distiller Lesley Gracie, (also the creator of Hendrick’s Gin). Essential blood orange oils are combined with fresh Italian lemons and a neutral spirit base, and then lightly sweetened with natural sugar, sucrose…not corn syrup. Solerno’s heady orange aromas make this liqueur intoxicating enough to drink over ice, or with lemon flavored sparkling water, but it plays quite nicely in the cocktail format. Read more!

Music Monday: Manhattan Murder Mystery Live at Casey’s May 11th

May 6th, 2013 — 3:48pm

That rowdy rock n roll band that is an LA favorite is going to take the stage at Casey’s May 11th. They’re punk, they’re rock, they’re bad ass and it’s a band that is a must see. They go well with a few Jameson shots and don’t mind if you get as rowdy as them!

Seven Grand DTLA Whiskey Society: Derby Day Viewing Party, Sat. May 4th at Noon!

May 2nd, 2013 — 4:50pm

This coming Saturday, May 4th is Kentucky Derby Day, and we will be hosting our annual Viewing Party, with specially-priced Woodford Reserve Mint Juleps (The Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby,) $5 shots of Old Forester, and if you present your paid-up Whiskey Society membership card at the bar, first shot is on us!

Doors open at Noon, so dress up nice, grab a date, and come on down!

This event is open to the public, so feel free to forward this invite to your friends!

Please RSVP on the link below:

Register Here!

For more information on the Seven Grand Whiskey Society, hit the link beneath my signature. We also offer Private Tastings, you can learn more on that by hitting the Seven Grand Flight Menu link.

Memberships are $120 a year, can be purchased at the bar, and entitle the bearer to bring a guest to any event.

We hope to see you on Saturday!

Pedro, currently sipping Angel’s Envy Seven Grand Selection (we just got it in, you have to come try it! Strawberries, bright caramel and fig, it will put a smile on your face.)

Pedro Shanahan,
Spirit Guide, Seven Grand Whiskey Bar L.A.
Co-Curator, Whiskey Society

If you’re going to stay at home and watch the Derby, at least make yourself a decent Mint Julep. Here’s the beautiful Brent Falco, Bar Manager at Cole’s, giving a great demonstration:

What We’re Reading: South Korea’s Soju War, Diageo Drinks to American Health, Diageo, Remy Flag Asia Woes, Book Review: The Drunken Botanist, Craft Distillers Aim to Pour It On, Fizz Ed

April 30th, 2013 — 11:30am

South Korea’s Soju War, 4/26 – Wall Street Journal
The struggle to dominate the market for the world’s best-selling spirit has escalated from an advertising skirmish to an all-out legal war in South Korea, distilling into not one but two court cases. The principals: Lotte Liquor BG Co., one of the nation’s largest alcoholic-beverage makers, and rival Hite Jinro Co. The subject: soju, a vodka-like drink made from rice, sweet potatoes and other starches that is the nation’s favorite hard liquor.

Diageo Drinks to American Health, 4/18 – Wall Street Journal
Diageo DGE.LN -0.20% PLC should be grateful Americans haven’t lost their thirst for hard liquor. The U.K. spirits giant said that European and some emerging-market sales had been weak in the first three months of the year. But North America, which generates nearly 40% of Diageo’s operating profit, delivered a roughly 7% increase in organic sales last quarter. But how much more can Diageo squeeze out of the U.S. drinker? Much of the recent revenue growth is the result of a series of price increases implemented since last May, which have continued to boost sales. In just a few weeks, the anniversary of those price increases will raise the question of whether more will be needed to boost revenue growth.

Diageo, Remy Flag Asia Woes, 4/18 – Wall Street Journal
LONDON—Diageo DGE.LN -0.20% PLC and Rémy Cointreau SA RCO.FR -2.00% warned Thursday of slowing sales growth in some of Asia’s most lucrative liquor markets, highlighting a new source of trouble for European distillers. U.K.-based Diageo, the world’s largest spirits group by revenue, said Korea—one of its largest markets in the region—is showing weak consumer trends, while Rémy Cointreau followed French rival Pernod Ricard SA RI.FR -2.94% in warning that sales during the crucial Lunar New Year season slowed this year. European drinks makers, along with other consumer-goods companies, have pushed deeper into developing markets such as China and Russia in recent years, hoping to offset slowing sales of premium spirits in austerity-hit Europe. But the industry is finding it difficult to sustain growth rates in the developing markets.

Book Review: The Drunken Botanist, 4/12 – Wall Street Journal
Thanks to Amy Stewart, they can stroll through a bibulous garden. “The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks” goes beyond the shaker and the still and takes readers down an enchanting path overflowing with grains and berries and stone fruits. Ms. Stewart, co-founder of the blog Garden Rant, is a bit of a wizard herself. She makes plants and insects fascinating, even for those of us who hear the words “phyla” and “taxa” and think “April 15.”  Ms. Stewart divides her exploration of plant life into three categories: plants that can be converted into ethyl alcohol, plants that can flavor a liquor, and, in the shortest section, plants that find their way into a drink just moments before being served, like strawberry or mint. “The Drunken Botanist” is more an attractive reference book than a narrative, and it is especially fine for casual reading. One fact often leads to another, and then another. The book might best be approached as if you were exploring a cocktail list: Read. Savor. Sip. Try another.

Craft distillers aim to pour it on, 3/21 – Los Angeles Times
ALAMEDA — In a 65,000-square-foot structure that once housed Navy fighter jets, Lance Winters of St. George Spirits makes popular Hangar One vodka, along with gin, bourbon, rum, whiskey, liqueurs and even absinthe. Unlike vast distilleries in Kentucky and Tennessee that make and bottle hard liquor by the millions of barrels, Hangar One is produced by one of a growing breed of small-batch, craft distillers. There are already more than 30 of them in California, and — like wineries and microbreweries — they want to charge for tastings and sell bottles for their visitors to take home. But in recent months, the craft distillers have run up against the powerful liquor lobby in Sacramento, led by wholesalers opposed to changing state law. A legislative hearing is set for next month, and the battle is on.,0,7067682.story

Fizz Ed, 4/26 – Tasting Table
A learning resource for the cocktail-minded

Bartending schools are typically known for teaching long pours of prepackaged sour mix and Rose’s Lime Juice. There is one grand exception: the Beverage Alcohol Resource (B.A.R.) certification programs, each so rigorous that most industry veterans worth their salt swear by them. The five-day program ($3,750), conceived by drinking monarchs Dale DeGroff, Steve Olsen, David Wondrich, F. Paul Pacult, Andy Seymour and Doug Frost, is comprehensive and geared toward professionals. But now that same dream team has smartly introduced DrinkSkool, a free online database of the lessons in abridged form. From the very first article, the site offers enough knowledge to successfully stray from the recipe book and mix the contents of your liquor cabinet without hesitation. DrinkSkool also offers technique videos, spirit histories and how to properly taste.