What We’re Reading: New Collaboration Beer Puts The ‘Creamy’ In Milk Stout; St. George Spirits’ New NOLA Coffee Liqueur Pays Tribute To New Orleans; Craft Distillers To Gather At Spirits Expo Downtown In May; Craft Beer Boom Continues To Brew, Sales Up 20%; Diageo Shakes Up Executive Team; ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ Label Dispute Put On Ice; Bye Bye Baijiu? Moutai Says Sales Growth To Slow; 10 Things Probably Missing From Your Home Bar; 5 Headaches Only Whiskey Drinkers Understand

March 28th, 2014 — 5:03pm

Creamy Milk Stout
New collaboration beer puts the ‘creamy’ in milk stout 3/27/2014 – Los Angeles Times
One of San Diego’s best breweries has joined forces with one of L.A.’s oldest breweries on a collaboration beer that celebrates the little-known connection between the two California companies. The name of the new beer, Dairy Tank Collaboration Milk Stout, references the converted dairy equipment that it was brewed on, tanks that Eagle Rock Brewing acquired from AleSmith in 2008 when the San Diego brewery was expanding. The ad hoc brewhouse was built in 1995 when AleSmith was being cobbled together by a group of homebrewers going pro, and those brewers developed some of craft beer’s enduring classics (AleSmith IPA, Speedway Stout, Anvil ESB) on the reappropriated dairy hardware. The substyle of the dark, roasty stout was born in Britain, and the style has become popular among Southern California craft brewers recently. Besides the perennial favorite Udder Love from Beachwood BBQ, Noble Ale Works introduced Man’s Milk to much acclaim (and plenty of crass jokes), while Golden Road’s vegan-friendly take on the style, Almond Milk Stout is coming soon. Read the rest here!

St. George Spirits’ new NOLA coffee liqueur pays tribute to New Orleans  3/27/2014 – Los Angeles Times
New from St. George Spirits in the Bay Area is distiller Dave Smith’s NOLA coffee liqueur. Smith met his wife in New Orleans, so this is his tribute to a place that’s close to his heart. I admit, with a decades-old memory of Kahlua’s cloying taste still fresh in my mind, I wasn’t exactly eager to try this. But open the bottle I did, and what a surprise. It isn’t sweet, or not very, and carries the taste of very good dark-roast coffee to an absurd length. By that I mean the taste of coffee lingers on the palate, along with notes of hazelnut and the earthy bitterness of chicory. The result is fresh and sophisticated. It’s made with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans roasted medium-to-dark, French chicory root and Madagascar vanilla. Per usual, the Alameda-based distiller pays attention to the details. The beans are roasted by Jewel Box Roasters in Oakland. And when they couldn’t get the right grind with a coffee grinder, they turned to a grain mill. The coffee is then infused at low temperatures to extract maximum flavor and minimal astringent components. Oh, you could sip this coffee liqueur straight. But St. George Spirits has some suggestions, most of which include brushing up on your mixology skills. I’m kind of thinking “The City That Never Sleeps” could be the one: 1-1/2 ounces Breaking & Entering Bourbon (St. George Spirits’ own whiskey), 1 ounce St. George NOLA coffee liqueur, 1/2 ounce dry vermouth and 2 dashes bitters. Stir all ingredients with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Luxardo cherry. Read the rest here!

Craft Distillers 2
Craft distillers to gather at Spirits Expo downtown in May  3/25/2014 – Los Angeles Times
The first ever Los Angeles Spirits Expo will celebrate craft spirits by bringing together distillers, bartenders, bottlers, label makers and the public over two days in May for seminars, tastings and panel discussions. On May 9 and 10 at L.A. Center Studios in downtown L.A., the expo will host exhibitors serving tastings of small batch spirits, and speakers will offer insight to the burgeoning craft spirit industry. “It’s a forum for producers, where in one place they can discuss the micro-distillery movement that has boomed,” says organizer Maricela Lopez. It’s a place for new producers coming to market to gather information, Lopez says. How to get a distributor, how to package, how to brand and market. “Having worked on the marketing side of the spirits industry, I know first-hand the challenges of breaking into the L.A. market and wanted to create a supportive place where those in the business can exchange ideas and learn from each other.” Read the rest here!

Craft beer boom continues to brew, sales up 20%  3/21/2014 – Los Angeles Times
It doesn’t take industry experts to tell you that craft beer is growing in America (and Los Angeles especially) — a trip to any beer bar or liquor store will offer more than a few new beers and new breweries competing for your beer money, but the Brewers Assn. provides details on just how much craft grew in 2013. While the overall beer industry continues to slump, craft brews grew by 20%. The association’s new report — also in handy infographic form — breaks down the number of new breweries that opened in 2013 (413 against 44 shuttered breweries), how much more beer was brewed last year (75 million gallons), and the all-important growth of craft beer’s overall market share — up to 7.8% of beer in 2013. Read the rest here!

diageo shakes up
Diageo Shakes Up Executive Team  3/28/2014 – Wall Street Journal
Diageo DGE.LN +0.24% PLC Chief Executive Ivan Menezes on Friday moved to shake up his senior management team and stamp his authority on the drinks giant, less than a year after taking the top job from longtime CEO Paul Walsh. Mr. Menezes said Gilbert Ghostine, currently president of the Asian-Pacific region, would become president for Greater China and India and will take on the newly created role of chief corporate development officer, focusing on business development. He added that Nick Blazquez would become president of Africa, Eurasia and Pacific. The role means Mr. Blazquez will now take full responsibility for markets in North Asia, Southeast Asia and Australia, alongside his existing oversight of Africa, Turkey, Russia and Eastern Europe. Read the rest here!

‘Tennessee Whiskey’ Label Dispute Put on Ice  3/25/2014 – Wall Street Journal
A debate over what can be called “Tennessee Whiskey” was put on ice Tuesday after divided lawmakers in Nashville, moved the matter to “summer study” instead of taking it to a vote. It means any reworking of existing legislation governing the designation won’t happen before next year—if at all—in a feud pitting globe-trotting liquor giant Diageo DEO +0.48% PLC against U.S. whiskey heavyweight Brown-Forman Corp. BFB -0.25% U.K.-based Diageo is lobbying the state to roll back last year’s law championed by Kentucky’s Brown-Forman requiring anything labeled “Tennessee Whiskey” to be made in the state from at least 51% corn, filtered through maple charcoal and aged in new, charred-oak barrels. That is the decades-old recipe for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, which is owned by Brown-Forman and is the top-selling American whiskey. Diageo, the world’s largest liquor company by revenue, owns Johnnie Walker blended Scotch whisky but is a distant No. 2 in Tennessee Whiskey with its George Dickel brand. Diageo says distillers shouldn’t have to copy Jack Daniel’s and should be allowed more flexibility in how they make Tennessee Whiskey—including whether or not to use new barrels amid potential supply shortages. Read the rest here!

Baijiu
Bye Bye Baijiu? Moutai Says Sales Growth to Slow  3/25/2014 – Wall Street Journal
If there’s one bellwether to gauge the health of the luxury sector in China, it’d be Kweichow Moutai Co.600519.SH -3.18% Ltd, makers of a high-end liquor that packs a punch and is the preferred drink at official and business banquets.

The company said its 2013 profit rose by 13.7% when it announced its year-end results late Monday. That figure beat analyst estimates, but it’s also far below the 52% growth it posted in 2012. The on-going government crackdown on Chinese corruption has curbed consumption of indulgences such as Moutai’s expensive baijiu, a colorless liquor distilled from sorghum and rice that’s known for its potent alcohol levels and distinct odor that fans say is a perfect complement to Chinese cuisine (detractors would liken it to paint thinner).  Moutai said such a trend is likely to continue, saying that the baijiu market is entering a “slow growth” period for 2014 and adding it’s unlikely it will return to the boom of previous years. The stock market reacted accordingly, with company shares declining over 5% on Tuesday morning. Read the rest here!

10 Things Probably Missing From Your Home Bar  3/28/2014 – Liquor.com
It’s hard to say how many times we’ve started to make a drink at a friend’s party, only to realize that we’re missing a muddler or a strainer. And while we’re no strangers to getting creative to solve the problem, why not make sure you’re prepared next time? A while back, we asked our Facebook fans what tools and other supplies they thought was most often missing from home bars. We got more than 150 responses—everything from cocktail shakers to corkscrews—but there were a few that really stood out. And it’s not all bar tools. So no matter if you’re making complicated cocktails or are just looking to ramp up your whiskey-drinking game, we rounded up 10 essentials you should always have on hand. Read the rest here!

Bad Ice
5 Headaches Only Whiskey Drinkers Understand  3/27/2014 – Liquor.com  
Exorbitant pricing; too-short pours; sad, melty ice: These are problems we whiskey fans know all too well. We’ve collected the most common—and infuriating—situations whiskey-lovers run into. Click through and commiserate. It’s nice to know there’s someone else who understands. Read the rest here!