What We’re Reading: Epic Advisory Panel Supports The Golden State of Cocktails, CA’s First Annual Cocktail Celebration, Asia’s Speakeasy Scene, Bartenders Are Doing More Than Taking Orders, Why Ice Is Better in Whiskey, Booze Sales To The Rescue In Ohio, Ohio’s Booze-backed Bond Deal Could Be Trend Setter, A Hangove In Booze Stocks, Scotch Guide, Inauguration Cocktails

January 30th, 2013 — 12:16pm

Epic Advisory Panel Supports The Golden State of Cocktails, CA’s First Annual Cocktail Celebration, 1/28/13 – Eater LA
Last night, at the top of the Los Angeles Times building downtown, three dozen cocktail fans, makers and shakers gathered to celebrate the announcement of The Golden State of Cocktails, a new three-day conference and celebration of California’s cocktail culture. In what used to be the Chandler family apartment, complete with a glassed-in atrium, plenty of mahogany and brass and some great views of downtown LA, The Golden State of Cocktails advisory board gave attendees a sneak peak of what was to come at the first conference, to be held next January 26-28, 2014. Read more!

Asia’s Speakeasy Scene Takes Off, 1/17/2013 – Wall Street Journal
Speakeasies have their roots in the U.S., where the 1920 Prohibition Act gave rise to underground clubs, bars and saloons that poured liquor freely during the driest of times. These days, alcohol is no longer illegal, but the speakeasy is still going strong—so much so that the concept has made its way to Asia, a region where the best bars are often the hardest to find. While establishments of yore were all about breaking the rules, the modern speakeasy often embraces them, with regulations that range from secret passwords and disguised doorways to strict seating policies and dress codes. Drinks, however, remain the focal point—often served, fans would claim, in a carefully crafted atmosphere of hushed calm and hard-won exclusivity. Read more!

Bartenders Are Doing More Than Taking Orders, 1/22/2013 – The New York Times
Around the neck of every bottle from the fledgling spirits outfit the 86 Co. — the gin, the vodka, the tequila, the rum — is a small glass ridge. To the untrained eye, it looks like a packaging flourish. It is not. The ridge is there to make it easier for a bartender to grab the bottle, upend it and pour. It was the suggestion of the Los Angeles mixologist Eric Alperin, one of many bartenders sounded out by Simon Ford, Dushan Zaric and Jason Kosmos before they and two other partners started the liquor line last year. Read more!

Why Whiskey Stones, Balls And Rocks Will Never Be Better Than Ice, 1/22/2013 – Huffington Post
Whiskey wants ice. We would argue that it needs it. A little bit of water melting into whiskey helps it to bloom — by which we mean brings out all the flavors and aromas that sometimes get trapped under the bracing hit of alcohol. Now, no one wants watered-down whiskey, so make sure the ice you’re using is BIG. This way, your whiskey will be cold, kissed with enough water to make it perfect and you’ll finish your glass long before the whole ice cube melts. If you must spend money on anything (aside from really great whiskey, that is) drop a few dollars on a silicone ice cube tray that will make you big, slow-melting, glorious blocks of ice. Then sit down, and enjoy your whiskey the way it was meant to be drunk. On ice. Read more!

Liquor Stores NA Ltd About To Put More Money In Your Pocket, 1/25/2013 – Forbes
On 1/29/13, Liquor Stores NA Ltd (Toronto: LIQ) will trade ex-dividend, for its monthly dividend of $0.09, payable on 2/15/13. As a percentage of LIQ’s recent stock price of $19.23, this dividend works out to approximately 0.47%. Read more!

Booze Sales to the Rescue! Ohio Bond Deal Touts Job Creation, 1/24/2013 – Forbes
Just as Ohio officials were preparing to issue about $1.5 billion of bonds backed by sales from liquor, the state Supreme Court announced that it would review a challenge questioning the legality of the entire funding plan. The announcement came on yesterday, the same day the state began pricing the tax-exempt and taxable bonds. The deal, the brainchild of Gov. John Kasich, has been a long time in the making. One of the governor’s goals after coming into office in 2010 was to create more jobs in the state. Plans evolved to entail creating a private company that would eventually be funded by the state’s lucrative liquor sales. Eventually, the company that would issue the bonds, JobsOhio Beverage System, came to fruition. Read more!

Ohio’s Booze-backed Bond Deal Could Be Trend Setter, 1/18/2013 – Forbes
In what could be one of the largest mixes of taxable and tax-exempt bond deals of its kind, Ohio officials are moving forward with a roughly $1.5 billion offering that will be secured with profits from the sale of liquor. The deal has been mired in controversy since it was concocted years ago. However, one thing that potential bond buyers may not have to worry about is the bonds going into default. This week, the state’s liquor control division announced that state liquor sales set a record last year. Given the rate of consumption of liquor in the Buckeye State, I believe there is little reason to think that the strong sale of beverages containing it (or on the rock pours) in the state won’t continue in future years, providing a more than adequate revenue stream to back the bonds. Read more!

A Hangover In Booze Stocks?, 1/23/2013 – Forbes
For the past year, it’s been a swinging-from-the-chandeliers party in booze stocks. High-end alcohol distillers have kept investors buzzed in an otherwise sobering stretch. Diageo, the biggest and best diversified of the lot, is up 37% over the past 52 weeks. But Pernod-Ricard and Beam, Inc. are both up more than 20%, and Brown-Forman Corp, the maker of the iconic Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey, was up by nearly 35% through early December before backing off recently. Furthermore, in their branding, high-end spirits companies have major intangible assets that take decades to build and are almost impossible to replicate. To give an example, in much of South America “whisky” does not refer to a type of distilled spirit. It specifically means Johnny Walker scotch, and usually Black Label. This kind of branding power creates incredible barriers to new entrants. It would be virtually impossible to start a new scotch brand today and this is a fact that is not lost on investors in the sector. (see “Diageo: the Ultimate 12- to 18-Year Play”) An exception would be high-end vodka, which is subject to trendiness and tends to have trouble building a dedicated clientele. The “it” vodka at posh bars tends to change from year to year. There is a reason for this. Vodka doesn’t have to be aged and has no “official” standards. Anyone with a deep-pocketed marketing team can create a new “premium” brand, mass produce it in a factory, and pimp it at bars a week later. I digress, but my points stand. Liquor is a fantastic business to be in. Read more!

Scotch Guide: Burns Night, 1/25/2013 – Liquor.com
Irish whiskey drinkers have St. Patrick’s Day and bourbon drinkers have the Kentucky Derby, but what do Scotch drinkers have? Burns Night. The holiday, which is tonight, celebrates the birth of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, back in 1759. Honor the man by trying one of these new single malts. Read more!

Inauguration Cocktails, 1/21/2013 – Liquor.com
It’s never an easy job, even in the best of times: impossibly long hours, incessant wrangling with self-important blowhards, crackpots to the right of you and loonies to the left and everybody in the whole world second-guessing every little thing you do. In the worst of times, it’s all that, plus a war to win. Small wonder that a great many of our presidents have liked a good, stiff drink every once in a while. Read more!