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Allergies and Hops
Guardians of the
Seeking the Connections:
Alcoholism and Our Genes
Green Whisky Better by Half
Blackwood Losses up, but turnover rises
Island Brewery Gets Ready for Summer
Old island distillery to be recreated using 'all-green'
European drinks firms keen on India, seek tax cuts
They Just won't let it
Slainte! Scotch whisky cheered by Indian plans to slash import
SECOND ANNUAL CAMRA VANCOUVER BEER AWARDS ANNOUNCED
Canada's first Sake winery opens in Vancouver
Nova Scotia whisky distiller can keep Glen Breton label
Sauvignon allowed in Rioja
Asia Pacific Breweries Invests In
Fifth Brewery In Vietnam
Put a Stop in it - Screw caps vs. Corks
Rising Barley Costs Could Mean Higher Prices for Beer
Strong Dark Brews add new meaning to "coffee bar"
Think & Drink
Change a Brewin
Canada Says Yes To Genetically Modified Yeast With Reduced
Cancer Causing Compounds
Sleep-Lulling Grapes (or
"I thought it was called passing out!")
Not for Profit Beer?
Some Beers Really do Get Getter
Globalization - Who owns
What (this will shock you.....)
Alcohol sharpens your
brain, say researchers
Booze: Health Helper
Bluecoat American Dry Gin
Pernod lifts whisky production
October 31, 2007
Ricard said yesterday it is planning to
expand its whisky production and storage
facilities after announcing sales
results that showed burgeoning demand
for the Scottish product from emerging
markets and less established markets
such as France.
of its 15 key brands rose an average of
16% in value between July 1 and
September 30 but within that, its
whiskies did particularly well. Sales of
Ballantine's were up 22% while Chivas
Regal rose 19% and The Glenlivet gained
13%. Overall, net sales rose 6.9% to
1.6bn (£1.1bn) In Asia, imported whisky
brands led the way. The company reported
that sales were up 30% driven by
Ballantine's and Martell brandy.
Ballantine's and Chivas Regal did
particularly well in India.
North America, The Glenlivet expanded
strongly while Chivas Regal sales
increased slightly. The latter also did
well in Venezuela. Pernod Ricard
reported sales rose by 34.1% across
central and South America as a whole.
The French, too, appear to be developing
a taste for whisky. Overall sales in the
country were up 5% to 157m, but while
aniseed product sales actually declined
because of bad weather during the
summer. Chivas Regal, Aberlour and The
Glenlivet soared, in part due to heavy
promotion of the products.
also announced that it would increase
its stocks of whisky products such as
Chivas and Ballantine's this year to
keep up with strong sales growth and
said it plans to increase ints
production and storage capacities for
its whiskies as well as Martell and
champagne. As a result, its debt
reduction will be limited in its 2007-08
plan pays off
Press & Journal
October 19, 2007
Scottish Development International's
2007 direct marketing campaign aimed at
securing meetings with potential
investors in Canada and the US has been
a silver award at the Direct Marketing
Associations International Echo Awards
held in Chicago.
empty whisky decanter and documents
outlining Scotland's key sales messages,
was delivered to a prospect's address
along with a note explaining that, if
the recipient would agree to meet with
an SDI manager, they would receive a
bottle of rare malt whisky to accompany
Americas president, Lorna Jack, said:
"From the mailing in January to 217
targets we've secured 62 meetings so
far. "That's nearly a 30% response rate
which far exceeded the industry average
and everyone's expectations."
group back in the black
Press & Journal
October 17, 2007
company Glenmorangie - which distills
whisky at Glenmorangie Distillery, Tain;
Glen Moray, at Elgin and Ardbeg, in
Islay - continued to pay compensation in
2006 for terminating distribution
agreements after integrating
distribution channels with those of the
much larger Moet Hennessy Group.
followed the acquisition of Broxburn-based
Glenmorangie in early 2005 by Moet
Hennessy Invetissements, part of the
giant French luxury products group LVMH.
Compensation in 2006 was just £170,000,
however, compared with almost £17million
the year before, according to the whisky
company's latest report and accounts
just released by Companies House.
helped Glenmorangie to return to profit
last year after posting losses in 2005.
accounts show that Glenmorangie made
pre-tax profits of £7.31million against
pre-tax losses of £3.94million in the
nine months previously.
Turnover for 2006 was £68.44million, up
from £58.21million in the nine months to
the end of 2005.
accounts also show the company's unnamed
highest-paid director, thought to be
chief executive Paul Neep, received
£435,000 in basic salary,
performance-related pay and benefits
during the year, against £334,000 in the
nine months to the end of 2005.
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Isle of Islay, Argyll, Scotland, PA49 7UN
October 11, 2007
anti-counterfeiting laws announced by
the Scotch Whisky Association this week
may have more sinister implications.
Critics claim a fait accompli by
the SWA, which wants to define whisky
as ‘single malt’, ‘blended whisky’,
‘blended malt’, ‘single grain’, and
‘blended grain’. Most distillers
disapprove of ‘blended malt’ title which
replaces the existing term ‘vatted
malt’ in use for over a century for a
bottling of several single malts
Bruichladdich Distillery MD Mark Reynier:
“We welcome most of the new proposals
but experience tells us that changes
usually reflect a vested interested of
the Big Boys. The new term, ‘blended
malt’, deliberately confuses two older
titles, the widely accepted ‘blended
whisky’, and the emotive but highly
misleading term ‘pure malt’. This new
suitably bland and innocuous looking
term will be a charter for deception.
Overseas consumers are less likely to
differentiate between the two similar
terms. But that appears to be precisely
what the SWA’s members want to achieve
following the Cardhu debacle. Ambiguity
in front of the consumer”
Cardhu, a single malt, was to become a
vatted malt (whisky from several
distilleries – not one) so that the
limited supply could be increased at
will. But highly misleadingly, the
vatted malt was to look almost the
same as the prestigious single malt
presentation - the general consumer
would be none the wiser. This led to
fierce accusations by the rest of the
industry of bully boy tactics by Diageo,
and the SWA risking the credibility of
the whole single malt sector.
mighty annoyed when they couldn’t get
away with it then - so here they are
changing the laws instead to suit their
marketing needs instead."
proposed law is to supersede the Scotch
Whisky Act 1988 and the Scotch Whisky
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Fire on West
4th hits popular Kitsilano pub
CBC.ca (including all photos)
October 1, 2007
Firefighters battled a large blaze at
Bimini's Tap House at 2010 West 4th
Avenue near Maple Street on Monday
morning. Ken Hogg, a garbage truck
driver, was driving through the alley
when he saw workers running from the
building. He then called 911.
as I pulled into the lane, I saw flames
starting to shoot out the side of the
building and the guys came running from
inside," said Hogg. Firefighters were
first called at 7:30 a.m. PT. By 8 a.m.,
the fire was burning out of control at
the back of the building and smoke could
be seen from across the city. Half an
hour later, crews had the fire under
control. The fire did not appear to have
spread to neighbouring buildings.
are no reports of any injuries.
Renovations were being done to the
building overnight, said the owner, Pete
Uram. The large wooden structure was
built in 1910. There were no reports yet
on what may have caused the fire. Uram
said it's too soon to say when Bimini's,
one of B.C.'s first neighbourhood pubs,
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Isle of Islay, Argyll, Scotland, PA49 7UN
September 21, 2007
totally blind men have been let loose in Hebridean
distillery for a week to make whisky. The ultimate test in
sensory perception – sound, smell and touch – took place
this week at the Bruichladdich Distillery on the Island of
Islay. Martin Roberts from Ipswich – a self-confessed
“bolshy, abrasive, blind bastard” – and David Williams from
Worcester, both blind since birth, donned overalls to
distil. The two men, whose interest in single malt started
at university, had long dreamed of work experience roles
but had continually been denied by their perceived
have much time for the patronising and the politically
correct”, says Martin, “the catch-all term “disabled” means
society actually prevents you from taking part in it. “We’re
all bracketed together regardless. I’m blind, it’s as good
an Anglo Saxon word as any, and I work in computing but can
do pretty much anything if only given a chance”.
heard on the web about Bruichladdich’s whisky Academy where
the public get a full hands-on experience in all aspects of
distilling and making single malt whisky. But he feared the
three day event – more work experience than scholastic -
would be out of bounds to him once he announced he was
disabled. But he was to be surprised:
Bruichladdich MD Mark Reynier: “When Martin said he wanted
to do our Whisky Academy despite being blind as a bat I
thought it was some PC discrimination test. I had long
thought it would be an amazing sensory experience to
follow the distilling process - blindfolded - relying on
smells and sounds of this Victorian machinery. It’s
compelling when you stop and listen, really listen,
which we so rarely do, and the barley smells are delicious
too. BBC Radio 4 recorded it for the Sounds of Britain.”
other registered ‘disabled’ people. One is as deaf as a
plank but what a worker! I’d employ him over most
“able-bodied” folk. He’s a regular dynamo. I was more than
happy for Martin and David to give it a go. They’re no
shrinking violets these guys, expecting special cotton wool
treatment…they just get on with it.”
blind men took part in the whole of the distilling process
from barley to bottle culminating in filling their own
cask of Bruichladdich that they had helped make. Their
heightened sense of smell was an advantage in blind tasting.
And their extra sensitive hearing won them the record for
being the fastest at bottling.
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Cheese and wine are in worst
ruins the flavours of wine and makes fine vintages
indistinguishable from cheap plonk, research has revealed. While
the two are often served together in the belief they make a
sophisticated combination, scientists have discovered even
expert tasters could not distinguish between wines after eating
California asked trained wine tasters to try eight different
cheeses before presenting them with four different varieties of
cheap and expensive wines.
evaluated the strength of various flavours and aromas in each
wine both alone and when preceded by the cheeses. Cheese was
found to curb just about everything including berry and oak
flavours, sourness and astringency, making it virtually
impossible to distinguish them.
overpowered the flavours more than milder varieties, but
flavours of all the wines were smothered, meaning there was no
magical wine and cheese pairing.
Hildegarde Heymann and Bernice Madrigal-Galan of the University
of California in Davis, who conducted the research, found cheese
only enhanced wines with a butter aroma. They suggested this was
probably because cheese itself contains the molecule responsible
for the buttery wine smell. Another theory from the research,
published in New Scientist magazine today, is that fat from the
cheese could coat the mouth, deadening the taster's perception
of the drink's flavours.
The findings come
as no surprise to both wine tasters and cheese experts who said
that wine and cheese was never a natural combination.
wine expert and editor of Wine and Spirit, said the trend for
cheese and wine being consumed together took off in the 1970s
when people copied their contemporaries in an attempt to appear
trying to be chic but really it has become clear that red wine
and cheese is a pretty ghastly combination which most people in
the wine trade are well aware of. It is a bit like the terrible
fashion for pairing chocolate with champagne.
cheese flavours and white wines harmonise such as Jacob's Creek
and cheddar. But cheese is particularly pungent and will
overpower almost everything." Mr Holter said that experts in the
wine trade taste everything in isolation. "The film Sideways set
in the Napa Valley in California showed how popular wine tasting
and New World wines have become. You will have noticed no food
Paul Thomas, of
Iain J Mellis cheesemongers in Edinburgh, said: "This research
comes as absolutely no surprise. It is actually difficult to
find a wine to suit the majority of cheeses. The combinations I
would suggest are those such as Montgomery mature cheddar and
cider and Lanark Blue with Laphroaig malt whisky. Basically what
you're looking for is something crisp like a white wine from the
Loire to go with the saltiness of the cheese."
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Suck it and see: French launch carton of wine with a
September 13, 2007
To the traditionalists, the idea of drinking
wine through a straw may indeed be the last straw.
Yet after wine in glass bottles (seen as "lame
and fusty" by the youth of today, according to one expert), wine in plastic
bottles, wine in cartons, and even wine in cans, the junk-food approach could
become France's latest attempt to conquer a declining youth market.
Tandem wine is already being tried out in
Belgian supermarkets, where the 25cl cartons are selling at more than 1,000 a
week. At €1.25 a container (85p), the red, white and rosé Bordeaux wines can be
found amid the snacks and salads, aimed at customers popping in for a sandwich
and eating "on the go".
Drinking from the special straws is said to
recreate the sensation of tasting wine from a glass. "Bringing small wine
containers with straws to a party is more amusing than arriving with a bottle,"
was the verdict of one 21-year-old Parisian.
There is some evidence that increasing numbers
of young people are indeed enticed by "alternative" packaging, designed to boost
a gloomy market. The company hoping to launch the wine is not a
multinational out to impose the latest American-inspired gimmick. Cordier
Mestrezat describes itself as a long-established expert in marketing Bordeaux
Grands Crus and other top-quality wines.
"We are aware that the idea may seem
controversial," said Pierre-Eric Sabatier, Cordier's director of exports. "It's
neither going to interest nor please everyone." But he is convinced that new
methods need to be tried to encourage young people to drink wine sensibly - and
perhaps turn them away from the potentially more damaging alternative - alcopops.
"Young people want something different from the
traditional lunchtime bottle on the table that their parents and grandparents
put out," he said.
If all that sounds like a slightly desperate
ploy, sales of "bag in box" wine cartons almost quadrupled between 2001 and
2005, and a company selling wine in little aluminium designer bottles is hoping
to double its sales this year.
Cordier Mestrezat is in discussions to market
the wine from next year. However it might do well to heed two studies
carried out this year by Vinexpo, the bi-annual international wine salon based
in Bordeaux, and the wine merchants Castel Frères. They found many young people
wanted wine made more accessible, but not trivialised. Wine was a symbol of
maturity, they concluded.
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Michael Jackson's Obituary
Whisky News (The Guardian)
September 5, 2007
The enduring legacy of Michael Jackson, who has
died aged 65, will be that he elevated beer from the belief that it is a simple
refresher to its true status as one of the world's great alcoholic drinks, with
a long tradition and deep roots in the history and culture of many societies.
Jackson was a tireless writer and lecturer. He showed to the millions who read
his books, heard his talks or watched his television programmes and videos that
beer comes in many styles and is often made with the addition of fruit, herbs
and spices alongside malt and hops. He broke beer free from the narrow concepts
of ale and lager and revealed the myri ad varieties available, some - such as
the lambic beers of Belgium or the sati beers of Finland - so obscure they might
have disappeared but for his enthusiastic support.
Jackson was born in Wetherby, Yorkshire, and he
remained proud of his Yorkshire stock, though it was a stock that had a major
input from the Jewish community of Lithuania. His grandfather, Chaim Jakowitz,
had emigrated to Yorkshire from Kaunas. His son, Isaac, married a gentile,
Margaret, from Redcar, and they had twin sons - Michael's brother died shortly
after birth - and a daughter, Heather. Isaac Jakowitz anglicised his name to
Jack Jackson, unaware that a popular band leader and radio disc jockey shared
the same name.
Isaac/Jack continued the musical connection by
naming his son Michael Jackson, which was to cause amusement in later life with
the arrival of the American singer. Jackson used it to good effect: he started
his TV series, The Beer Hunter, with a piece to camera in which, wearing one
white glove, he said he was called Michael Jackson but he didn't sing, didn't
drink Pepsi but wrote about beer.
The Jackson family moved to Leeds in the hard
postwar years. They lived briefly above a fish and chip shop, but moved first to
a council house and then, with Jack, working as a truck driver, bought their own
The young Michael quickly developed a taste for
rich home cooking, inspired by Jewish and eastern European traditions. He was to
put this love of food to good use in later years when his books matched beer
with food and recommended beers to use in the preparation of a range of dishes.
He went to King James grammar school in Almondbury and from there became a
trainee reporter on the Huddersfield Examiner.
Jackson's writing style was deeply influenced
by his early journalism - short sentences shorn of adornment. Newspaper work at
that time was a heady mix of hard graft and hard drinking, and Jackson's
devotion to good beer stemmed from that period. However far he travelled, he
always waxed lyrical about the pleasures of a pint of Taylor's Landlord or other
good Yorkshire brews.
He went to London, where he worked on the Daily
Herald, the then TUC-owned newspaper. He moved to a small and unimpressive
journal called World's Press News, which he transformed into Campaign, a weekly
paper that covered the developing sectors of advertising and marketing and which
stood out from the crowd as a result of its fresh and scintillating design. In
1976, when another writer failed to deliver a promised manuscript, Jackson
stepped in and wrote The English Pub. The bug had bitten. A year later he
produced the book that made his reputation, the World Guide to Beer.
Those of us who naively thought that Britain
brewed ale, the Irish made stout, while the rest of the world produced lager
were forced to rethink our ideas. Beers brewed by Trappist monks, sour red
beers, spiced wheat beers and lambic and gueuze beers made by spontaneous
fermentation put Belgium on the map.
It was a theme Jackson was never to abandon.
His book The Great Beers of Belgium ran to five editions, the last published in
2006. The success of the World Guide turned Jackson into a full-time beer
writer. He launched what proved to be the first of seven editions of his Pocket
Beer Book, which divided the world into beer-producing countries and then gave
detailed tasting notes of the best brews within each country.
Readers were regaled by descriptions that
lifted beer from the mundane and informed them that malt could be biscuity,
juicy and roasty and have hints of toffee and butterscotch, while hops added
citrus, perfumy, spicy and peppery notes as well as bitterness.
Jackson's reputation led to many invitations to
visit the United States, where he discovered a new world of beer. He became a
champion of the new wave of American beers and made many tours of the country to
conduct beer tastings. In 1990 he reached a new audience with his TV series The
Beer Hunter, six programmes that described the beers of the world's great
brewing countries. Shown first on Channel 4 in Britain and the Discovery Channel
in the US, it has been endlessly repeated worldwide.
Having conquered beer, Jackson turned his
attention to malt whisky, inspired by the fact that whisky is a distillation of
ale without hops. He rapidly achieved even greater recognition as a whisky
writer. His Malt Whisky Companion (1989) is the bestselling book on the subject
and has been accompanied by the Guide to Single Malt Scotch and Scotland and its
Whiskies (2001). His last book, called simply Whisky, was published in 2005 and
has already won five international awards.
Jackson was garlanded by many honours. They
include the Glenfiddich trophy and five Glenfiddich awards, the André Simon
award, the literary medal of the German Academy of Gastronomy and in 1994 the
Belgian Mercurius award for service to Belgian breweries, presented by Crown
Jackson remained a prolific journalist. His
articles appeared in a vast range of magazines and newspapers, including
Playboy, the Washington Post, All About Beer, Whisky Magazine, Slow Food and
Zymurgy - the last named being the final word in most dictionaries and is the
scientific name for fermentation.
As a beer writer, his aim was to encourage
people to treat it as being as worthy of attention as wine. In arguably his
greatest book, the Beer Companion (1991), he wrote: "No one goes into a
restaurant and requests 'a plate of food, please'. People do not simply ask for
'a glass of wine', without specifying, at the very least, whether they fancy red
or white, dry or sweet, perhaps sparkling or still ... when their mood switches
from the grape to the grain, these same discerning people folk often ask simply
for 'a beer', or perhaps name a brand, without thinking of its suitability for
the mood or the moment ... beer is by far the more extensively consumed, but
less adequately honoured. In a small way, I want to help put right that
injustice." He succeeded, in no small way.
Michael Jackson had been suffering from
Parkinson's disease for 10 years. He died at his home in Hammersmith, west
London. His first wife, Maggie O'Connor, died in 1980 after 13 years of
He is survived by Paddy Gunningham, his partner
for 26 years, his stepdaughter Sam, her children Ben and Emily, and his sister
Article Courtesy of The Guardian
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There’s a Gin Revival
Going Down :: So Take That, James Bond!
Date: September 4,
Note: Interesting Article - too bad they don't
give us more details on the tasting notes and
which gins were tasted!!
Sure, we all
like a good Vodka… what’s not to like? But I
really think the envelope has been pushed to the
ultra-max, with the almost daily offering of yet
anther infused flavor. (Most recently a
The NKOTB (new
kid on the block) Gin is really an old one
making a major comeback. Gin, a much more
complex spirit than vodka, is distilled from
grains and flavored with several with a variety
of different botanicals, although the juniper
berry is considered the main ingredient.
Since I missed
its first go-round in popularity, I was eager to
take part in a private Gin tasting event,
conducted by Master Distiller, Sean Harrison of
Plymouth’s English Gin. Sean provided a
fascinating overview of gin’s history and
distillation process, and guided us through our
tasting: swirl, sniff, taste with no spitting
involved. Gotta tell you… this is one
fascinating spirit, and would make a great
did you know that:
1. There are
only 22 gin master distillers in the world.
2. The secret
recipes are guarded like the Holy Grail. For
example, there are only 2 people in the whole
world who know the 214-year-old recipe for
making Plymouth Gin. (And Sean’s wife is not the
second one.) I did manage to find out that Sean
searches the world over for his seven magic
botanicals: Juniper Berries, Angelica Root,
Sweet Orange Peel, Cardamom Pods, Orris Root,
and Coriander Seeds
3. In 1743, Gin
was so popular that London was producing nearly
20 gallons per adult!
4. In the old
days, Plymouth Gin was the official gin of the
British Royal Navy; the sailors would blend it
with their lime juice they took daily to prevent
scurvy to “help the medicine go down.”
5. Plymouth Gin
was the favorite of such famous martini
aficionados as, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston
Churchill and IAN FLEMING! (And just for the
record, the perfect gin martini should always be
“Stirred and not Shaken,” since otherwise the
flavor becomes diluted.)
tasted four of the top-selling gins and our
favorite for flavor, bouquet, balance, and
complexity I’m happy to report, really was
Plymouth’s English Gin. Gin is rapidly becoming
bartenders’ spirit of choice for it’s
distinctive and yet refined flavor allowing them
to create remarkable cocktails utilizing
surprising ingredients such as lavender, rose
petals, cucumber and turmeric
tasting was held at
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, San Francisco,
which had top mixologist and author, Bartender
Jeff Hollinger, providing us with a variety of
fantastic martinis. If you stop in, ask him to
create you something special.
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Cheers! Your petrol tank could soon be smelling like a
SCOTLAND's whisky industry
could become the source of eco-friendly biofuels for cars, with
motorists powering their engines from the by-products of
distilling. The concept of turning the husks from the malted
barley and other cereals used in the manufacture of whisky and
other distilling and brewing processes into a source of fuel is
being explored by researchers at Abertay University's School of
They have been awarded a grant
from the Carnegie Trust to investigate the feasibility of
developing new methods to turn spent grain into bioethanol, a
more environmentally-friendly alternative to fossil fuels. The
main advantages of bioethanol over traditional fuels are that it
is neutral - it produces 65 per cent less greenhouse gas
emissions - and it also burns at a higher temperature. Professor
Graeme Walker, who is leading the one-year study, said:
"Scientists all over the world are trying to find a simple and
cost-effective way to produce more biofuels from waste or low
"The supply of fossil fuels is
finite - some estimates suggest that around half of the world's
oil reserves have been used up in the last 200 years - and the
race is on to find more environmentally-friendly alternatives."
He explained: "At the moment, a lot of spent grain goes towards
animal feed, but quite lot of this material up and down the
country ends up being composted or going to landfill. We
want to look at possible alternatives - using biotechnology to
convert this material into biofuels. And the biofuel that we are
interested in is fuel alcohol - bioethanol."
Professor Walker said: "We are
not alone in looking at converting such material. Brazil and the
US have been very successful in creating bioethanol from
sugarcane and maize starch, respectively. Between them, these
countries produce over 70 per cent of global supplies. However,
the methods used in these countries are open to criticism since
they create an increased demand for land for growing energy
crops. In countries like Brazil, this may also threaten tropical
forests and perhaps cancel out any benefits from using biofuels."
Professor Walker said: "We are
looking at ways to break down the husk material which, you could
say, is a rather tough nut to crack. We are looking at a
combination of physical, chemical and biological breakdown
technologies to release the sugars which in turn can be turned
into alcohol. But there are technical problems with all of
Asked if the new biofuel would
smell of whisky, Prof Walker replied: "It certainly would be
pure alcohol, once it was distilled. Whisky doesn't smell like
whisky until it's been matured in oak barrels for a number of
years. But it would certainly smell like strong alcohol." He
added: "Although there is interest from industry in such a
project, the whisky industry are quite conservative and are
conscious that they don't want to tarnish the image of Scotch
whisky in the eye of the consumer."
The use of alcohol as a fuel
for internal combustion engines has been given much attention
because it is greener and cheaper than fossil fuels. But there
have been plenty of other ideas over the years for alternative
biofuels for vehicles. Denny Klein, president of American
company Hydrogen Technology Applications, created his
water-powered car last year. And in 1994, a team of Royal
Engineers stripped down the engine of a Land Rover and converted
it to run on vegetable oil. Wood and paper are another two
materials that can be converted into eco-friendly fuel. As well
as being used to heat homes, generate electricity and operate
communications systems, solar energy can also be used as a
source of "fuel".
2007 Canada Cup of Beer - Award Winners!
Date: August 20, 2007
Canada Cup of Beer awards were very highly contested with hundreds of ballot
sheets filled out. Thank you to everyone who voted - these awards are very
important to the venders at the festival and to
If you haven't checked out the website yet
here are the award winners, as voted on by the 2007 Canada Cup of Beer Patrons:
Favourite Canadian Lager - Red
Truck Lager - Red Truck Beer Company (North Vancouver)
Favourite Canadian Ale - St.
Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale - McAuslan Brewing (Montreal)
Favourite Import Lager -
Obolon Lager - Obolon Brewing (Ukraine)
Favourite Import Ale - Innis &
Gunn Oak-Aged Beer - Innis & Gunn (Scotland)
Favourite Microbrew - Dead
Frog Brewing (Aldergrove, B.C.)
Favourite Booth - Rickard's
Best Booth Display - Rickard's
Friendliest Servers - Tree
Brewing (Kelowna, B.C.)
Favourite Beer Name - DUDE -
Pacific Western Brewing (Prince George, B.C.)
Favourite Beer T-shirt - 2007
Canada Cup of Beer Souvenir T-shirt ("Great Days Always Start With A Little
Bit Of Head")
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Black to the future for Famous Grouse
as Edrington challenges Islay malts
Date: August 18,
EDRINGTON, the privately owned
Scotch whisky group, is trialling a new version of its iconic
Famous Grouse brand in a bid to take on the popularity of the
Famous Grouse Black, a heavily
peated blend, aims to tap into the new breed of younger Scotch
whisky consumers who prefer the strong, iodine flavour of Islay
malts but cannot afford their hefty price. The move, which comes
just months after the group cancelled its 17-year sponsorship
deal with the Scottish Rugby Union, is evidence that the
Perth-based group is repositioning Scotland's most popular
whisky brand. Famous Grouse director Gerry O'Donnell plans to
roll out the Black variant across the Scandinavian market and
then introduce it into the UK.
He said: "We're aiming to bring
more innovation to the marketplace through expanding the Grouse
portfolio. Black Grouse was designed primarily for the Nordic
market, where we were quick to spot there was a group of
consumers that were a little bit younger than the usual Scotch
consumers and who were interested in a fuller flavoured delivery
of Scotch whisky. The traditional Islay malt whiskies are
probably out of reach in terms of price. Black Grouse delivers
an Islay flavour in a format most consumers can afford as well
as carrying the benchmark of Famous Grouse."
Famous Grouse is the
top-selling blended whisky in Scotland and number two in the UK
behind Diageo's Bell's brand. Last year it saw volume sales rise
5% and is now selling more than three million cases for the
first time. But the success of its range extensions - such as
the blended malt that was introduced into Taiwan and is now the
number one bestseller - has encouraged Edrington to extend the
range. One industry observer said: "The problem is you can
dilute the main brand. People can get bored with their brand and
every new marketing director wants to do something different.
"Grouse users are getting older
and they recruit new people by constantly reinventing the brand.
But they have to be careful not to take it so far away from the
core values that it becomes no longer Grouse."
The news comes on the back of
Glenmorangie unveiling its first major branding exercise in a
bid to tap into emerging markets such as China and India. Last
month Bacardi announced plans to invest £120m to expand the
production of Dewar's Scotch and in February, Diageo, maker of
Johnnie Walker, said it would build a £100m distillery.
O'Donnell added: "One of the great phases for Scotch whisky is
now on our doorstep. The trick is to withstand some of the
pressures to promote and discount in the more mature markets
while opening up new, interesting fronts for Scotch."
Edrington, which employs around
800 staff, is one of Scotland's largest private companies.
Including the Macallan, Highland Park and Cutty Sark sales, the
company puts itself at number four in size terms in the global
Scotch whisky market, with a 9% share.
Back to Top
What is The Most
Posted: August 17, 2007
The Dalmore collection boasts the most precious malt
whisky ever sold at auction
with the 62 Years old going under the hammer at £25,877.50.
Although this whisky is labelled as a 62 year old, that is of course the
youngest of the whiskies, it includes whiskies from 1868, 1878, 1926 and 1939 -
link for details.
In 2005, the last remaining
bottle from the Nun's Island Distillery in Ireland went up for auction - the
starting bid was
£100,000.....as far as we know, this
bottle is still for sale :
In April 2005, a bottle of Dalmore was
bought and consumed in a London bar for £30,000.......next time, can we
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Eco-Friendly Vodka Debuts in US
July 18, 2007
The launch of the
world’s first eco-friendly vodka was announced
by McCormick Distilling Co. and Premier Beverage
Co., one of Florida’s largest wine and spirits
distributors. The 360 vodka applies advanced
eco-friendly production and packing processes,
in an effort to protect Earth’s resources. Each
bottle features a recyclable flip-flop closure
that can be mailed back for reuse via a postage
paid envelop. “We are proud to introduce a 100
percent American vodka produced and distributed
in an environmentally friendly manner,” said
Bill Sullivan, regional vice-president southeast
division, McCormick Distilling Co. For complete
article, please click
Back to Top
Quattro on Fourth introduces new Pastry Chef
Source: Quattro email
Date: July 26, 2007
are pleased to announce that Merri Schwartz has joined the Quattro
family as Pastry Chef at Quattro on Fourth. Merri brings loads of talent
and experience to Quattro including an apprenticeship at Cocoa West
Chocolatier on Bowen Island, and workshops at the Valrhona Chocolate
Institute in Lyon, France. She was also the Pastry Chef at C. Outside
the restaurant, Merri is the founder and director of Growing Chefs!
Chefs for Children's
You'll love Merri's
new dessert menu which includes caramelized white chocolate mousse with
ricotta strudel and roasted apples; warm almond and pear cake with
almond brittle fruit crisps and lemon creme fraiche; organic vanilla
bean panna cotta with rhubarb and vanilla shortbread; and for chocolate
lovers, chocolate pate tart with whipped milk chocolate and candied
Back to Top
Decanter.com Releases Power List
Date posted on Dipsophilia: July 15, 2007
The most influential people in the wine world have been voted for by
decanter's readers, and the reader's choice top 20 have been compiled
into this list. Also present is the official power rating by decanter on
the reader's top 20 choices, mentioned in brackets.
1) Robert Parker (1)
2) Jancis Robinson MW (9)
3) Michel Rolland (8)
4) Hugh Johnson (17)
5) Piero Antinori (21)
6) Richard Sands, Constellation (3)
7) Steven Spurrier (16)
8) Oz Clarke (46)
9) Bernard Arnault (11)
10) Angelo Gaja (47)
11) Christian Mouiex (43)
12) Marcel Guigal (31)
13) Joseph Gallo (7)
14) Miguel Torres (19)
15) Dan Jago, Tesco (12)
16) Mel Dick, Southern Wines & Spirits (2)
17) Eric de Rothschild (28)
18) Patrick Ricard, Pernod Ricard (6)
19) Simon Berry, Berry Bros & Rudd (26)
20) Georges Duboeuf (44)
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Drinks Americas to Launch Trump Super Premium Vodka Flavors in Coming
Source: Yahoo Finance
Date: July 12, 2007
Drinks Americas Holdings, Ltd., a leading
developer and marketer of premium beverages associated with renowned
icons, today announced it will launch Trump Super Premium Vodka flavors
in the Company's second fiscal quarter. The selections will include up
to five flavors to be unveiled next month. The line extension adds
to Drinks Americas' remarkably successful Trump Super Premium Vodka.
Launched in October 2006, Trump Super Premium Vodka is on track to sell
approximately 100,000 cases in its first 12 months, the largest
introduction of a new spirit product in the industry's recent history.
Similar to the original, the line extension will be created by third
generation distiller and craftsman Jacques du Lat and produced by A.H.
Wanders, B.V. in Holland, master distillers since 1658. For the full
the Year Awards
Source: Whisky Magazine Forum
Date: July 13, 2007
Winners for the World Whiskies
World's Best Single Malt Whisky
Talisker 18 Year Old
World's Best Blended Malt Whisky
Taketsuru Pure Malt 21 Year Old
World's Best Blended Whisky
Suntory Whisky Hibiki 30 Year Old
World's Best American Whiskey
Baker's 7 Year Old
World's Best New Release
The Balvenie Vintage 1972
World's Best Whisky Liqueur
Back to Top
- the Oxymoron of the definition of Vodka (Hit me with your Best Shot).
Date Posted: July 12, 2007 (article Dates
For the author's full review please check out
the web site:
Vodka's reviewed and score given:
Ciroc (France) - zero
Turi (Estonia) - one shot glass
Absolut (Sweden) - two shot glasses
Belvedere (Poland) - two shots and a
Stolichnaya (Russia) - three shots glasses
Grey Goose (France) - three shots glasses
Ketel One (Holland) - three shots glasses
and a chaser
Zyr (Russia) - three shots glasses and a
Jewel of Russia Classic - four shot
Armadale (Scotland) - four shot glasses
and a chaser
Chopin (Poland) - five shot glasses
Back to Top
A Six Pack to Kick off Summer
Source: Vancouver Sun
Date: June 28, 2007
An article about BC's craft breweries. Not
much detail was given, but it did summarize who is selling what craft
Crannog Ales - available in Draft
at "bars such as the Raven in Deep Cove or O'Doul's at the Listel Hotel"
Dead Frog Brewery - "Widely
available on tap at establishments ranging from the Italian Cultural
Centre to Chambar and Raincity Grill".
Mt. Begbie Brewing Company - Widely
available on tap in the interior, as well as by the bottle at BCLDB
Russell Brewing Co. - Available at
numerous pubs, clubs and restaurants around the lower mainland.
Storm Brewing - Only available in
Draft, and are "especially popular among beer connoisseurs and foodies.
(they are available on tap at Vij's for example)"
Vancouver Island Brewery - Widely
available in Victoria bars and restaurants as well as by the bottle from
Back to Top
The History of Vin &
Spirit AB (Absolut Vodka company)
Date posted: June 29, 2007
An interesting article on the history of
Vin & Spirit AB (a state-owned Swedish company incorporated in 1917.
Includes a discussion of Swedish prohibition, and a description of how
the company became a global player in the vodka industry.
Link to full article.
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The Great Vodka
Date: Dec 12, 2006
This article reviews a number of Russian
Vodkas - Putinka Limited Edition, Etalon, Veda Black Ice, G8, Imperia,
Flagman Night Landing. The author has a drunken night, and there
are a number of vodkas that don't get reviewed. An entertaining read.
Link to full article.
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You Can do a Lot with
Source: Vancouver Sun
Date: June 21, 2007
A new cidery opens on Canada Day weekend -
Vancouver Island's Sea Cider (Saanich) will open it's doors for the long
weekend and will be open through the summer from 11 am to 7 pm
Wednesdays through Sundays, as well as holiday Mondays. The
10-acre property boasts views on the San Juan Islands and the Strait of
Georgia. In addition to the half acre apple trees already on the
property, the new owners (the Jordans) have planted an additional three
acres of apple trees, all organically grown. Cider apples are
different from eating apples - they are more acidic and have more
tannins, giving them the structure and depth of flavour when they are
pressed and fermented. They are currently producing two ciders: a
light, fruity Italian style cider called Kings & Spies and a robust
ultra-dry amber cider called Wild English. In the future they plan
to offer eight different ciders, some still, some sparkling, some sweet
and some dry. Alcohol content varies from 7.5 % to 16 %.
Back to Top
Allergies & Hops
Source: CAMRA (Rick Green)
Date: April 18, 2007
Ale Therapy for
Hay Fever -
No wonder my hay
fever has gotten better since my beer consumption has increased! A
new preliminary study released by the Japanese Red Cross Society’s
medical center in Wakayama Prefecture appears to show marked relief in
alleviating sneezing and running noses for hay fever sufferers from a
flavonol compound in hops.
who co-sponsored the research, filed for a patent on the process of
extracting the hay fever-fighting flavonol, which involves pulverizing
the hops and then soaking them in water (sounds very technically
challenging). Of course, Sapporo plans on coming out with a hay fever
beer. But considering the size of their study was only 20 people, it's
hardly a scientific sample. I think they need some more volunteers.
Back to Top
Guardians of Glenlivet
Date: March 30, 2007
As a Guardian of The Glenlivet, you
will receive advance news about product offers and all new bottlings.
There will be on-line tastings and a range of other activities and
events to enjoy. Guardians visiting The Glenlivet Distillery or
attending specified events for The Glenlivet elsewhere in the world
will receive special membership privileges.As custodians of The
Glenlivet's remarkable heritage, Guardians are uniquely placed to
share the priceless legacy of the Original Single Malt. Sign up on
the web site
Back to Top
the Connections: Alcoholism and Our Genes
Date: March 30, 2007
Identifying genetic influences on vulnerability to alcohol addiction can
lead to more targeted treatments and help those at risk to make informed
choices about their own lives .....for the full article, please click
By John I. Nurnberger, Jr., and Laura Jean Bierut
Back to Top
Title: Green Whisky
Better by Half
Source: Glasgow Daily Record
Date: March 27, 2007
A WHISKY distillery is aiming to make the
world's greenest tipple. Bruichladdich bosses on Islay hope to use biomass,
hydro-electric and woodchips to meet their energy needs. The scheme will be used
at a new site not far from their current base at Port Charlotte. Managing
director Mark Reynier said: "Without a doubt, this would be the greenest whisky
in the world. "Our new plans will focus on our energy requirements for steam,
heat and electricity.
"Steam is needed to heat the stills and is our
biggest need. For this, we are looking at either burning woodchip or using
bio-gas, not unlike a giant compost facility. Heat will come from heat pumps and
electricity from a hydro-electric system."
The project is being backed with £400,000 from
an Executive scheme to promote green biomass energy. Bruichladdich hit the
headlines in 2003 after a mix-up led US spies to suspect the distillery of
having weapons of mass destruction.
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Blackwood losses up,
but turnover rises
Source: The Herald
Date: March 20, 2007
Blackwood Distillers has said its planned
distillery on Shetland "would be built by now" if it had stuck with its original
site at Catfirth near Lerwick, a plan to which it is returning to following an
aborted attempt to build on the island of Unst. Blackwood was forced earlier
this month to abandon plans, announced last May, to redevelop an RAF site on
Unst, though founder Caroline Whitfield said yesterday that the plan had been
"the right thing" to try, given island economics. The original site had been due
to start construction two years ago. She said: "It is frustrating not getting a
distillery built but we are now back at Catfirth. The regulatory environment in
which we work is one of the toughest, not only (HM) Customs but environmental
practice ... (where) there has never been a distillery before."
She added: "We have got to go to our
contracting suppliers and get everything recosted ... 10% either way on £2.5m
would be a lot of money for us." The company has published results for 2006
which show a loss widening from £2.16m to £2.44m, though turnover rose 11% to
£1.28m and gross profits were up 35% to £319,000. Blackwood has been developing
white spirit brands to bridge the gap to whisky production, originally due to
start next year. Joanna Dennis, finance director, said: "We have been focusing
this year on building long-term profitable business and have stopped activities
such as consumer shows, which brought in revenue but on which we were making a
"Our growth in underlying sales of key
customers has been improving and these provide better margin sales." Whitfield
added: "People think nothing is happening but getting planning permission and
full consent to operate on Catfirth has, in total, cost us over £400,000 hard
cash. We have received no public money, no loans, no grants - this has been
entirely financed by private shareholders."
Blackwood also launched its Diva vodka in test
markets in Edinburgh and Singapore with an investment of £90,000, and continued
to invest in Blackwood's Gin, which has added Majestic Wine Warehouse and
Oddbins to its UK-wide listings, which also include J Sainsbury. "This has been
funded by ongoing private investment in the business including an additional
£750,000 of further investment since the accounts were approved," Whitfield
Back to Top
Brewery Gets Ready for Summer
Victoria Times Columnist
Date: March 2, 2007
Vancouver Island Brewery was
getting ahead of the summer beer rush yesterday, taking delivery
of three massive aging tanks that will allow the company to
increase production in the busy months ahead. The privately held
brewery is also adding a new filtering system from Switzerland
and a draft keg filling machine from Germany as part of a
$2.5-million investment in equipment to meet a growing demand
for its line of beers.
"We were brewing to full capacity last summer and we were still
having problems meeting the demands of our customers," said
Vancouver Island Brewery operations manager Brent Pottage. "We
couldn't go through another summer without planning this
expansion and making room to produce more beer." Part of the
expenditure plan also included a German bottle filler and a
Sympak canning line from Italy, both installed last year. The
brewery also added a new truck to service areas on the north
The canning line has increased
demand for the brewery's products as more consumers prefer
aluminum to glass during the spring and summer months, said
Pottage. That pushed the company to make room for the three new
tanks, which will allow Pottage the capacity he needs to
"properly age" best-selling beers Pipers Pale Ale and Island
Lager. The stainless steel vessels, manufactured by Specific
Mechanical in Central Saanich and trucked down the Pat Bay
Highway yesterday morning, will collectively hold the equivalent
of 241,920 bottles of beer. The cost of designing and
manufacturing the trio was $188,000.
A wall inside the brewery was
knocked down to fit the tanks. Workers maneuvered them into
place within inches of beams and pillars. Pottage said filter
installation and plumbing will take the better part of a month.
Extra canning and bottling line shifts were added in February to
stockpile beer while the tanks are installed. Vancouver Island
Brewery, founded in 1984, is the largest craft brewer on
Vancouver Island and the oldest of the big craft operations in
British Columbia, opening just before Okanagan Spring, now owned
by Sapporo, and Vancouver-based Granville Island.
Although the company does not
disclose volume or sales figures, it is a minor player compared
to the national brewers which have a 90 per cent share of the
beer market in Canada and about 85 per cent of the sales in B.C.
Vancouver Island Brewery is considered the best-seller on the
Island, but has been facing increasing competition, particularly
at the bar taps, from smaller operations such as Phillips
Brewing Co. and Lighthouse Brewing in Esquimalt and brew pubs
like Swans, Canoe and Spinnakers.
About 60 per cent of Vancouver
Island Brewery sales are retail in government and private stores
with the remainder flowing from kegs in restaurants and bars.
Company president Barry Fisher, a former dairy farmer and major
player in building Island Farms, owns about 60 per cent of
Vancouver Island Brewery while the remaining shares are spread
among 35 shareholder groups. Fisher said the brewery sells only
about 10 per cent of its volume outside the Island, and the
intention is to keep the focus on a local market. "We are all
Islanders and we make beer for the people here," he said. The
same philosophy is in place for suppliers such as Specific
Mechanical, the company that designed the newest tanks and about
12 others in the facility.
"They have been our business
partners since we started to produce beer and have met our
stainless-steel requirements since 1984," said Fisher, 69. "It
is important to support the local community, which has given us
so much support. This type of thinking has been the common
thread in all my business practices, and has been a big
contributor to our success." The brewery, which employs 40,
produces five lines of beer. Last year, it released a Pod Pack,
a dozen that contains three different lines. This spring, the
brewery will start selling a 15-pack of Island Lager cans.
Source:City of Glasgow web site (http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/)
Date:March 15, 2007
curry-loving public voted for India Quay, Ashoka Flame, Panjea, Ashoka Ashton
Lane and Mother India as their favourite winning restaurants.
Liz Cameron said: “I’m delighted that our five winning restaurants will now go
forward and represent the city in what will be a very close competition indeed.
“I’m sure the people of Glasgow will show their support and vote for their city
competition, now in its seventh year, sees sixteen cities going head to head to
win the prestigious title of Curry Capital of Britain 2007. Glasgow is the
current Curry Capital of Britain after winning the title for the third time last
year. It was also awarded in 2002 and 2003. The city council is again backing
the bid to support the Glasgow restaurants in its quest to be crowned Britain’s
curry capital for a fourth year.
Each participating city will now be judged on its five nominated restaurants.
Each venue will be visited secretly by a team of 13 independent judges before
the winning city is announced in May.
Curry enthusiasts have until 13 April to vote
Glasgow to win. To vote, go to
www.ethnicityshowcase.com before Friday 13 April.
Back to Top
Title: Old island
distillery to be recreated using 'all-green' concepts
Date: March 9, 2007
An Old island distillery is to be reborn in a
multimillion-pound initiative which aims to create 10 jobs while using the
latest environmentally-friendly concepts for whisky production.
Bruichladdich, which already runs a successful
distillery on Islay, also owns the site of the old Port Charlotte stillhouse,
which closed in 1929 and was demolished to house a garage and parking area. Now
the company is to apply for planning permission to recreate Port Charlotte
Distillery, at a cost of £3-4million, inside the shell of the original warehouse
buildings, which are still intact.
Bruichladdich managing director Mark Reynier is
excited at the prospect of creating an environmentally-sustainable distillery
from scratch. He said: "We have the chance to create an entirely 'green'
distillery, with a genuinely zero carbon footprint, by using all the latest
environmentally-sustainable concepts. "The environmental movement is strong on
the theory but weak in the practice. It will be quite an engineering challenge
to see what really is possible."
The first turf for the project, which is
scheduled for completion in the winter of 2008, will be cut during the Islay
Whisky Festival on Sunday, May 27. The new full-sized distillery, which will
benefit from a separate visitor centre, will have a maximum capacity of
1.2million litres and will be producing Port Charlotte brand whisky.
A heavily-peated whisky called Port Charlotte
has been distilled at the Bruichladdich depot since 2001, so when distilling
gets under way at the new distillery it will be in the unusual situation of
having an eight-year-old stock on its first day of production. The distilling
equipment for the Port Charlotte project has already been acquired from the now
closed Inverleven Distillery, Dumbarton, having been saved from demolition by
Bruichladdich in 2003.
The entire single malt plant was dismantled by
a team from Bruichladdich and the machinery was then shipped to the island on
barges where it has been in storage, with some parts used for spares.
Bruichladdich is a private Scottish company controlling 0.5% of single malt
capacity and was itself reborn as a distillery in 2001.
The company returned its first profits in 2004,
doubled them in 2005, exceeded forecast levels in 2006, and has vowed to
reinvest all profits in the whisky business. Mr Reynier said: "As progressive
Hebridean distillers, we believe strongly in the Islay appellation and artisanal
distilling. One set of stills was never going to be enough for us.
"This new distillery will allow us to diversify
our skills, provide new options and allow further scope for our new ideas." He
said that, although there is spare capacity at Bruichladdich, which employs 40
people, the company wants a separate distillery to specialise in the production
of heavily-peated whisky.
Built in 1829, the original Port Charlotte
Distillery changed its name to Lochindaal shortly afterwards, but closed in 1929
at the time of Prohibition. Article Courtesy of Press & Journal
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European drinks firms keen on India, seek tax cuts
Date: March 11, 2007
European drinks makers are keen to increase their
presence in India’s fast-growing $1.8 billion alcoholic drinks market, but want
better trademark protection and lower tariffs on imported wines and spirits. The
European Union is pressing for lower duties on wines and spirits, which it says
are as high as 550 percent on spirits and 264 percent on wines due to federal
and state levies.
‘India also has an interest in solving this problem
because it affects how we do trade,’ EU Farm Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel
told reporters. ‘The taxes put our wines and spirits at a huge disadvantage. If
we do not see a clear sign from India, we are considering raising a panel for
dispute settlement,’ she said.
If the World Trade Organisation forms a dispute
settlement panel and rules against India, the EU could impose retaliatory
tariffs on imports from India. Diageo Plc., Pernod Ricard and LVMH’s Moet
Hennessey are among European firms setting up operations in India. Moet
Hennessey’s local unit imports about 50,000 cases of champagne, cognac and wine
annually, and the firm plans to double sales in three years.
‘We believe India will be among the top 10 champagne
markets for us,’ said Yves Benard, director of Moet Hennessey’s champagne
activities and wine resources. ‘Maybe not No.2 or No.3, but in the top 10.’ Moet
Hennessey has a minor stake in Indian wine maker Grover Vineyards, and may
consider making wine in India, he added. ‘India is a wine producing country and
it could be an interesting proposition for us,’ Benard said.
India’s spirits and beer market is dominated by the UB
group, which is close to acquiring Scottish spirits maker Whyte & Mackay to
bolster its portfolio of premium brands.
But the head of the Scottish Whisky Association, which
has Whyte & Mackay among its 53 members, cautioned that if UB became a member,
it would also have to take up the association’s fight to protect trademarks and
intellectual property rights worldwide. ‘We look forward to having (UB’s) Vijay
Mallya join us. It will give us a different perspective,’ SWA Chief Executive
Gavin Hewitt said. ‘But, along with the privileges, are responsibilities and
obligations, and we have a zero tolerance policy.’ The SWA has opposed the
registration of UB’s popular McDowell’s whisky brand, and pursued other local
Indian brands for using names that suggest a Scottish lineage. It recently won a
case against an Indian brand called Red Scot, Hewitt said.
‘It took us 20 years to win that, but we are very clear:
no Scottish names, no tartan, no stag’s head,’ he said. UB, whose United Spirits
Ltd. is the world’s third-largest spirits maker by sales, wants the EU to relax
the description of whisky to permit Indian whisky, made from molasses, to be
labelled as whisky in Europe. But Hewitt is firm. ‘We have no difficulty with
Indian whisky coming in, but it must be labelled as that.’ ‘Just as we are
providing you with market access, we want you to be able to go to a shop here
and be able to buy a Scotch whisky at the same price as your local whisky.’
Article Courtesy of Press & Journal
Back to Top
Title: They Just Won't Let it Go.....
Date: March 9,
Scotland's whisky makers are
going to have another legal shot at Glenora Distillers International
Ltd., the Cape Breton distillery that makes a single-malt tipple.
The Scotch Whisky Association is following up on an earlier threat
to appeal a Canadian regulatory decision that allowed Glenora to
call its whisky Glen Breton.
distillers argued that the word "glen," based on a
Celtic word meaning deep valley, should only be applied
to whisky made in Scotland. The name Glen in the
Canadian whisky might confuse drinkers into thinking
they're sipping Scotch whisky, they claim.
Glenora, based in Glenville, Cape Breton,
next to the community of Glenora Falls in a
province named New Scotland (in Latin), said
that the name incorporated the local names.
In January, the Trade-marks Opposition Board
in Ottawa sided with Glenora, ruling that
lots of international whisky makers use the
word glen and Canadians aren't going to
think that Glen Breton is Scottish simply
because of its name. It's that decision that
the association is appealing, claiming that
Glenora is "unfairly trading on Scotch
whisky's international reputation." The
association's website says there are strict
legal rules governing the use of the term
Scotch Whisky, necessary to protect Scottish
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NAKASHIBETSU, Hokkaido — A brewery here has succeeded in producing a low-malt
beer with milk, after the drink was suggested as a product that would help use
up surplus milk. The drink, called “Bilk” will go on sale on Feb. 1. It
reportedly has a fruity flavor that its brewers hope will be popular among
women. The idea for the drink was conceived after dairy firms threw out a huge
amount of surplus milk in March last year. The son of the manager of a liquor
store in Nakashibetsu, whose main industry is dairy farming, suggested the idea
of producing the milk beer to local brewery Abashiri Beer. Since one-third of
the drink is milk, the drink has been viewed as a good way to use up milk in the
town. The drink got the thumbs-up from 30-year-old resident Kaori Takahashi, who
took part in a tasting session. “It’s got a fruity taste, so it will probably go
well with sweets as well,” she said. Each 330 ml bottle costs 380 yen. For the
time being sales will be restricted to Nakashibetsu, with six liquor stores
selling the drink.
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Title: Slainte! Scotch whisky cheered by Indian plans to
slash import tax (WILLIAM LYONS)
Source: The Scotsman
Date: January 28, 2007
The Scotch whisky industry is poised for a surge in
sales to India following indications that the country will reduce its punitive
import duties. Industry sources expect the Indian government to
announce a cut in next month's budget to comply with World Trade Organisation
rules. India is under international pressure to reform the system which subjects all
imported spirits to an additional duty of between 25% and 550%. Recently both
the US and Australia have added their weight to the WTO consultations.
Publicly, the industry is still adopting a wait-and-see approach but
privately many are now preparing for reductions in February's budget with a view
towards complete access by 2012. One industry executive who has just returned from a visit to India said: "The
signs are very good. The Indian government realise that with the recent economic
growth they need to adhere to the WTO regulations. I think we will see the first
evidence of a reduction in the tariffs next month and I expect a totally level
playing field within five years."
In recent weeks the Scotch Whisky Association has been making pre-Budget
representations to the Indian government and both the Chancellor, Gordon Brown,
and the Trade Secretary, Alistair Darling, have raised the issue during their
recent visits to India. The pressure will be upped at this weekend's World Economic Forum in Davos
when Peter Mandelson, the European Commissioner for Trade, will lock horns with
India's commerce minister Kamal Nath. Many analysts predict it will be a lively meeting. Effectively India is in
the last chance saloon as the EU has made it clear that if no steps are taken to
reform the discriminatory regime the matter will be referred to a WTO panel for
India is keen to protect its domestic business, and fears that Scotch's
cachet as a drink for the rapidly expanding middle class will quickly erode its
market share. Analysts believe domestic interests are using traditional Indian
protectionist instincts for "agricultural" or grain-based products to keep
John Wakely, a former managing director of investment bank Lehman Brothers,
who has been analysing the drinks market for more than 20 years and is now a
strategic consultant, suggested that the potential takeover of Whyte & Mackay by
Vijay Mallya's UB Group could force the government's hand. The two companies are still negotiating over a possible takeover. The major
stumbling block appears to be Whyte and Mackay's £500m price tag.
Wakely said: "If Mallya gets Whyte & Mackay he has an obvious incentive to
promote lower excise taxes so that he can utilise his distribution channels
against the threat of foreign owned vodka companies establishing their own
channels." Despite all the hype surrounding potentially enormous emerging markets in
South America and the Far East, they still pale into insignificance compared
with that of India. And a snapshot of emerging markets across the world shows
that, even with India's exorbitant tariff barriers, the country still buys more
Scotch whisky than either Russia, China, Poland or Turkey. The latest export figures from the SWA show that in 2004 only 700,000 cases
were shipped to China, 600,000 to Russia and Turkey and just 200,000 to Poland.
This is compared with one million cases sent to India.
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Title: SECOND ANNUAL CAMRA VANCOUVER BEER AWARDS
chapter of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale Society) BC is pleased to announce the
results of our second annual Vancouver Beer Awards. Designed to recognize
excellence in both local and regional brewing and beer service in B.C., this
year's recipients exemplify the "Best of the Best" in British Columbia's
thriving beer culture.
Vancouver Beer Award recipients are:
Best Local Brewpub 2007
1. Mission Springs Brewing, Mission
2. Dix BBQ & Brewery, Vancouver
3. Steamworks Brewing Co., Vancouver
Best BC Brewery 2007
1. Phillips Brewing Co., Victoria
2. Storm Brewing Ltd., Vancouver
3. Crannog Ales, Sorrento
Best Local Beer Cafe, Pub or Restaurant 2007
1. The Whip Gallery Restaurant, Vancouver
2. The Railway Club, Vancouver
3. The Raven Neighbourhood Pub, North Vancouver
CAMRA Vancouver congratulates this year's winners for
their dedication to showcasing the best of the brewing arts in this province.
Through the innovation and craftsmanship of B.C.'s brewers, there has never been
a better time to enjoy the ales, lagers and specialty beers of Western Canada.
Comprised of beer lovers, home brewers and brewing professionals, CAMRA BC is a
membership organization that is dedicated to the promotion and responsible
consumption of better quality beer. With groups in Victoria, Vancouver,
and throughout the province, B.C. beer lovers are invited to join CAMRA BC and
to participate in the many brewing-related events held each year throughout our
region. You can find out more about joining CAMRA BC on our web site at
where you can learn about upcoming meetings, beer festivals, promotions &
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Title: Canada's first Sake
Winery Opens in Vancouver
Source: Vancouver Courier,
Date: January 26, 2007
Quoted from the courier "After months of jumping
through bureaucratic hoops (mainly to satisfy the city of Vancouver), Osake, the
country's first premium sake winery has opened on Granville Island (1339
Railspur Alley, 604-685-7253)". Some points made by Tim Pawsey,
Courier reporter, include: They work in small batches only, using an imported
special sake press, hand stirring Junmai rice, yeast and water mixture in a
blanket cooled vat that ferments the mixture very gently at around 7oC. The
mixture is placed in tube shaped bags and gently pressed. The resulting liquid
is transferred to glycol-cooled storage tanks where it settles before bottling.
The license allows them to sell retail as well as to restaurants, and Tojo's has
already signed up. The price is $24.95 for 750 ml.
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Title: Nova Scotia
whisky distiller can keep Glen Breton label
Date: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 | 3:38 PM AT
only single malt whisky distiller in Canada has won a trademark battle over its
product's Glen Breton name. Nova Scotia's Glenora Distillery said
Wednesday that the Canadian Trademarks Opposition Board has rejected the
arguments of the Scotch Whisky Association.
The distillery is based in Glenville, Cape Breton, next to the community of
Glenora Falls. The company decided to call its product Glen Breton Whisky as a
way of incorporating these place names. However, the Scotch Whisky Association
took issue several years ago with the label and argued that the name Glen might
confuse whisky drinkers into thinking they're sipping Scotch whisky.
group argued that "glen" is a Scottish term, and only whisky produced in
Scotland should be called Scotch whisky. The Scotch Whisky Association said the
ruling goes against international case law and it plans to file an appeal.
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In good news for those who dislike tussling with
corkscrews, screw-tops have been hailed as the answer to sealing off wine -
cheap, hassle-free and a safe alternative to corks. They unscrewed a world of
wine buying and storing snobbery. But, amid a whiff of sulphur, the all-stopping
properties of screw top wine bottles have been called into question.
Tasters at the International Wine Challenge, testing
thousands of bottles of wine, found a small proportion - 2.2% of 9,000 bottles -
smelt not of a pleasant bouquet of fruit and grasses, but of sulphur.
How to keep it?
The problem comes because the sulphides, used in wine as
a preservative, are kept in by airtight screw tops as they break down into thiol
- which gives the eggy smell. Corks, however, allow a certain amount of oxygen
in to the bottle to neutralise them.
More than half of wine bottles sold in the UK each year
now come with a screw cap. Many producers have switched in the past decade
because of concerns about the reliability, and relative inconvenience, of cork.
It is the latest twist in the unpredictable science of
storing wine - a science that is especially important in a multi-billion
industry, where investment in bottles to store is key alongside consumer sales.
So does the newly-sniffed out problem spell the end for
screw caps and a search for something new? Certainly not, says wine expert
Malcolm Gluck, the future is still screw cap. Like the straight banana,
anti-Europe brigade, there is a cork lobby in the wine industry keen to seize on
any hiccup, he says.
"It's rubbish," he says. "Any bottle can suffer from
sulphidisation." Sulphur is added to wine as a preservative - without it, open
wine would turn brown just as a cut apple does. "Even organic wines have to have
The problem lies, he says, with a minority of producers
who have not yet got the level of sulphur right, when wine is sealed with a
screw top, rather than a cork, which allows a small amount of air in over time.
Say what you smell
And the argument that corks are better for storing wine
over a long period? That valuable bottle of fine red you want to lay down?
"I would say the opposite is true," says Gluck. Screw
top wines can be kept for longer before they mature. The effects of stopping the
end of an ageing bottle with a cork can differ from bottle to bottle - "and it's
not always a congenial difference". It's more important to store the wine at the
right temperature and away from light - hence cellars. And to decant it before
But humble quaffers should also have the confidence to
speak up when the wine is off, even if the waiter is removing a modern screw cap
with a flourish, says Guy Woodward, editor of Decanter Magazine.
"It's important that consumers are aware of the possible
problems and they shouldn't be afraid to question a bottle that they've bought -
especially if it's in a restaurant where they're probably being overcharged
anyway." But, as he points out, at 2.2% of the bottles tested, the problem
affects about half the number that tend to be corked, 5%. And that proportion
was picked up at the wine fair, by buffs who "could smell a rotten egg at 50
As for the future answer to fault-proof packaging and
storing wine, for those who baulk at a screw top, there is more to come.
Tetrapaks for wine were tried 10 years ago and didn't catch on, but the market
may be ready to accept them now, says Gluck. And why not? They are a food
approved container and if it is good enough for milk...
And, nobody tell the mother-in-law, the solution may
also lie in super-sized wine boxes that will in future come in five-litre sized
containers. So where would that leave the wine festival buffs?
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barley costs could mean higher prices for beer, analysts say
Source: The Associated Press
Date: Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Before making a beer run, lager-lovers may soon need to start searching
suds-soaked sofas for a few more dollars and cents thanks, in part, to the
rising cost of barley.
Production numbers are down and costs are up for the grain, one of several used
to make beer. Combined with soaring energy costs and the high cost of other raw
materials, like aluminum, analysts caution those extra dollars and cents may
soon be passed along to consumers.
In fact, several breweries are already raising their prices due partially to raw
material costs. Anheuser-Busch Cos. of St. Louis is planning a price increase
for early this year, and earlier this month, Mexican brewing and bottling firm
Femsa said it will raise beer prices to recover the higher costs of aluminum,
glass bottles and barley and to keep up with inflation.
Those price increases are not always felt in consumers' pocketbooks.
Distributors and retailers frequently eat the costs themselves. But with prices
shooting up quickly, that could soon change. "Raw material costs have gone
up so much in such a short period of time, it's unavoidable that you will see
some price increases eventually," said Morningstar analyst Matthew Reilly.
Barley prices have steadily inched up each month, ending 2006 averaging $3.19
per bushel in December — an increase of about 24 percent from December's average
price of $2.57 in 2005. Meanwhile, production has fallen 15 percent to 180
million bushels, down from 211.9 million in 2005, mainly due to droughts in
Australia and the Midwest and more farmers choosing to grow different crops like
corn and soybeans.
Bernstein Research analyst Robert van Brugge forecast that this year's barley
price increases will impact brewers' cost of goods sold — or the cost of the raw
materials used in production — by 1 to 2 percent in 2007.
The analyst said he believes brewers will be forced to pass along some of that
increase this year to consumers.
And, not surprisingly, consumers are not always happy to shell out more cash. A
1 percent increase in the cost of goods sold typically translates to 0.5 percent
reduction in volume, meaning consumers typically buy less, van Brugge said.
Molson Coors Brewing Co. may be in more danger than competitor Anheuser-Busch
since Molson will be faced with spiking aluminum costs. The Golden, Colo.
company's aluminum price cap expires this year. Aluminum prices for
Anheuser-Busch, meanwhile, are capped. Aluminum accounts for about 20 percent of
brewers' cost of goods sold while barley makes up 8 to 12 percent typically.
The situation may improve later in the year — a prospect smaller breweries are
counting on to help with costs. Mark Stutrud, president and founder of Summit
Brewery in St. Paul, Minnesota, said he was hoping prices fall somewhat in July
and August. "If there's an increase in the amount that cultivated, that would be
good news," Stutrud said.
Summit Brewery is the third largest brewery in Minnesota and makes more than
60,000 barrels of beer a year, including an extra pale ale popular in the Twin
Cities area. Its beers are available from distributors in 13 states in the
Midwest and Great Plains.
Stutrud has had to increase costs modestly each year since early 2000 to keep up
with price increases and inflation.
He said his customers have not reacted too harshly to paying more for their
brew. But Reilly said both small and large breweries know that rising prices do
not typically make for happy customers.
"They are all very aware of the price pressures they're under," he said.
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Title: Beer: Strong, dark brews add new meaning to
Source: By Bob Batz Jr., Pittsburgh
Date Posted on Dipsophilia: January 14, 2007
What's hot in beer? Coffee. Brews -- technically, ales -- brewed with
coffee are hot sellers hereabouts right now. "All of our flavor-infused beers
have been picking up, particularly chocolate and coffee," says Eric Heinauer,
specialty brand manager at A.M. Lutheran Distributors.
Pours are percolating with two new coffee brews: Atwater Block Brewery's Vanilla
Java Porter and Lagunitas Brewing Co.'s Cappuccino Stout. Those two are
"on fire" at 3 Sons Dogs & Suds beer store in Pine, says owner Bill Sukitch.
He's also selling a lot of another dark seasonal, Bell's Java Stout. All three
beers are made with actual coffee, which might sound weird until you think about
how coffee is one of the flavors of the dark-roasted malts with which these
porters and stouts are made.
A related malt flavor is chocolate. Another brew 3 Sons is selling a lot of
these days, Brooklyn Brewery's Black Chocolate Stout, doesn't even contain
chocolate; those flavors come only from the blend of malts. That's also the case
with August Schell Brewing Co.'s 2006 Snow Storm, described by the New Ulm,
Minn., brewer as "a style rarely seen in the United States, a London-style sweet
stout. If you love coffee and chocolate, you'll love our sweet stout."
Actual cocoa or chocolate or chocolate flavor is added to many other brews, such
as Newport, Ore.'s Rogue Chocolate Stout. From 6 to 8 p.m. tonight, you can
sample all six of these coffeeish and chocolatey brews, and maybe more, during
the complimentary tasting at 3 Sons (724-940-7667 or
The tasting is titled "If Starbucks made beer." In fact, Starbucks coffee was
right on the label and in the Double Black Stout that Redhook (another Seattle
company) concocted in the mid-1990s but no longer offers. That brew was flavored
with Starbucks coffee extract. Lagunitas, in Petaluma, Calif., actually made a
coffee beer before Redhook, in 1995, but federal authorities denied its
application for a label. "They said coffee is not an approved beer additive,"
says Lagunitas' "beer weasel," Ron Lindenbusch. They apply organic ground
Hardcore Coffee over the mash using a (bought new) Scott's fertilizer spreader.
It's amazing the different ways and different times craft brewers add
flavorings. At Bell's, production manager John Mallett notes, the brewery now
pour pounds of ground Sumatra and Italian roast coffee -- from the Water Street
Coffee Joint across the street -- into the hot wort as it whirlpool cools, then
lets it steep for 15 to 20 minutes. He says they figure that's "about a half cup
of coffee per bottle" of the stout, which is one of many they make. Caffeine?
"We assume so."
Atwater Block Brewery in Detroit also adds the ground Colombian coffee -- in
cheesecloth -- to the whirlpool, pre-fermentation. Other brewers add brewed
coffee or espresso. At Greensburg's Red Star Brewery, brewer Jeff Guidos
has tried various methods to put the coffee in his Coffee Porter. Alas, the
batch he put on around Thanksgiving just kicked. But then, between the caffeine
and the 6 percent alcohol, it kicked when sipped, too.
"You needed to drink about three to get the full effect," Mr. Guidos says. "You
wanted to get up and run around the room, but you couldn't." If you missed
it, you might want to try the Espresso Stout that brewer Brant Dubovick plans to
debut at the Church Brew Works in Lawrenceville in two weeks. (He notes he
originally planned to add oats and lactose, too, to make it a "breakfast
Ray Daniels, director of publications and (until recently) craft beer marketing
for the Brewers Association trade group, says he's seen an "uptick" in coffee
beer (along with more beers aged in barrels and on wood).
They're not as rare as you might think: A search of
www.ratebeer.com returns 97 beers with "coffee" in the name and 46 with
"java." At this year's Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Mr. Heinauer
says, he noticed that "the big brewers are recognizing this [flavored beers] as
a category on the move." This holiday season, Michelob released Celebrate
Vanilla Oak, aged on bourbon barrel oak and red vanilla beans, and Celebrate
Chocolate, aged on cocoa beans. The festival's competition actually has had
since 2002 a separate category for "Coffee Flavored Beer."
Last year, there were 28 entries, up from 26 in 2005 and 18 in 2004. Competition
manager Chris Swersey says that with the public appetite having grown in recent
years for all bigger, more flavorful, often darker beers, "I would see the
growth trend of coffee beers as going hand-in-hand with that general theme." The
World Beer Cup competition (that Swersey also manages) also has a
coffee-flavored category. The 2006 gold medal went to Meantime Coffee from
Greenwich, England, brewed with fair-trade Arabica Bourbon beans from the
Abuhuzamugambi Bakawa co-operative in Rwanda, no less. Last year's GABF coffee
beer gold medal was taken by Capitol City Brewing Co. of Arlington, Va., for its
Sumatra-infused Imperial stout called "Fuel." Good name, but not as good as
"Buzz Beer," the mythical caffeinated coffee brew from the Drew Carey Show.
The idea of stimulating beer is still comical to people such as Mr. Daniels, who
quips, "I always thought that's why smoking was popular in bars." The coffee
beers we're considering shouldn't be confused with the "energy drinks" that also
are popular now. As noted in this space this summer, there's an unusual lager
beer in this market that contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee -- 69
milligrams -- called Moonshot, made by New Century Brewing Co. of Hingham, Mass.
No, the coffee beers we're talking about here are about flavor and are to savor.
Mr. Heinauer offers that the Atwater Vanilla Java Porter is well-balanced, with
the vanilla in the finish. "There's certain creaminess on draft that I find even
more appealing than coming out of the bottle." As for the Lagunitas Cappuccino
Stout, "I find it a little more subtle. ... It's definitely more toward the
roast side than the sweet side." It's sold in 22-ounce bottles.
Vecenie Distributing's Tony Knipling says the java flavor is at the forefront
with the Bell's Java Stout. "I tell people, if they like coffee, they'll like
this beer." But even if you don't like coffee, you might like it, as well as the
Lagunitas, as they're both fine, rich, nearly black stouts. For more about
the subject of coffee beers, listen to the guys at Craft Beer Radio tasting four
of them at
If you have trouble getting your hands on a coffee beer, you could always make
your own. That's what they do at the Backstage Bar at Theater Square, Downtown.
They serve a drink called the Dark Star by pouring about an ounce of Starbucks
espresso liqueur into a beer glass and topping that off with 12 ounces of Penn
Theater Square Cabaret manager Randy Kirk says it's popular and delicious. "The
two go together so well." Other bartenders make chocolate-covered cherry or
raspberry drinks by mixing Brooklyn Chocolate Stout with cherry or raspberry
Belgian lambics. Even on its own, a stout like this pairs well with chocolate
and other desserts. A stout like Bell's Cherry Stout can
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Think and Drink
Source: Globe & Mail, Jan 5, 2007
Date Posted on Dipsophilia: January 7, 2007
Books and booze have always made cozy -- if
slightly tipsy -- bedfellows. Authors such as Fitzgerald, Lowry, Hemingway and
Poe were famous not only for their poetry and prose, but also for their blind
imbibition. So what better place to start a book club than at one of Vancouver's
favourite watering holes?
"I've always thought that bookstores are a real
neighbourhood thing, and the Railway Club just sort of feels like home," says
Jason Queck, a manager at the Book Warehouse on Seymour and co-organizer of the
monthly event. "So it just seemed like a natural fit for a book club." At the
inaugural meeting in December, patrons discussed Blindness by Jose
Saramago. And earlier this week, they chatted about John Vaillant's
Governor-General award-winning book, The Golden Spruce.
Queck -- who used to be a sword swallower and
human pin cushion -- says he's selecting books that are already out in more
budget-friendly paperback, and that lean toward the literary. As he puts it:
"With the Railway crowd, you can be a bit adventurous."
The Book Warehouse Book Club is held the first
Tuesday of every month from 6:30 p.m. Free. The Railway Club, 579 Dunsmuir St.
For next meeting's featured title, contact the Book Warehouse, 552 Seymour St.,
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Title: Change a Brewin'
One of the pleasures of a B.C.
road trip is small breweries in small towns, home to many of our best brews.
Kamloops Brewery, Mt. Begbie in Revelstoke, Crannóg Ales in Sorrento, Nelson
Brewing, Fernie Brewing, Tree Brewing in Kelowna and Cannery Brewing in
Penticton make for a good Interior trip. Howe Sound Brewing Co. is a worthy stop
on the way to Whistler, while Fat Cat and Longwood in Nanaimo, the Craig Street
Brew Pub in Duncan and the Gulf Islands Brewery on Salt Spring preview the
ferment of activity in Victoria—the brewing capital of B.C. Increasingly,
though, you don't have to go on the road to sample at least some of these beers.
Small breweries can't survive on local sales alone and more and more are
bottling—usually in the big bottle 650-mL format but sometimes, like the
Phillips Brewing Phoenix Gold Lager, "exported from Esquimalt," in six packs of
Bart and Tracey Larson left their
Vancouver jobs as nuclear physicist and veterinary assistant for a small town
life of hiking, mountain-biking and skiing in Revelstoke. To make a living, they
turned to Bart's home brewing hobby, and started "making beer not war," opening
Mt. Begbie Brewing Company 10 years ago. This year they were a strong contender
for the Canadian Brewing Awards brewery of the year.
Innovative from the start, they make a Cologne-influenced kölsch, a pale ale, a
brown ale and a stout, adding a new Attila the Honey ale to celebrate their
anniversary. Now they need a bigger brewhouse. Tracey Larson reckons that
they've benefited from the growing interest in small producers of all kinds of
food and beverages—coffee, chocolates, wine, fruit and vegetables. "We don't
have a stereotypical customer," she says."Older, younger, male, female—anyone
looking for better quality likes our beers."
Closer to Vancouver, Larry Caza—another
onetime home brewer—founded Old Yale Brewing Co. in Chilliwack six years ago
with the ambition of making beer that's as good as California's legendary Sierra
Nevada Brewing Co. Twenty years ago, as a jet pilot with the Canadian Forces in
Goose Bay, Labrador, he started drinking the original Budweiser brought in from
Czechoslovakia by German air crews. He's been on a quest to make authentic beer
ever since, deploring the travesties from mainstream beer companies, and aiming
for a sharp hoppiness that's much more familiar in the rest of the Pacific
Northwest than in B.C.
Mt. Begbie and Old Yale are at the
micro end of micro brewing. Vancouver Island Brewery, one of the original 1980s
pioneers, is much bigger, but is now one of the only major independent craft
brewers left. It's a brewery that's gotten much better at what it does—a
built-to-order facility with lots of high-tech quality control helps—as well as
one that's successfully combined its Island roots with contemporary German
experience. Brewmaster Ralf Pittroff marries the best brews of original
brewmaster Hermann Hoerterer with a solid range of new ones, making for strong
local appeal. Island people support Island food and drink.
Craft brewing in B.C. isn't quite
the success that it is south of the border, but we're still doing a decent job
of making beers that put passion and place into the glass and the bottle. Forget
Corona and Coors Light. Have your own Oktoberfest and try some of our own.
Top of the Hops
Three of B.C.'s Gold Medal winners from the 2006 Canadian Brewing Awards:
BEGBIE BREWING CO. TALL TIMBER ALE
Tall Timber was the first of Mt. Begbie's brews and is still their best seller.
A brown ale, reddish and coppery like weak coffee, with a slim head but a
delicious, Christmas-y smell, all nuts, fruit cake and oranges. Made for red
meat and hearty, robust dishes—goes with just about anything except fish.
Specialty listing, $4.25/650 mL.
OLD YALE BREWING CO. SERGEANT'S IPA
Consistently one of the best B.C. India Pale Ales, it's based on the beers
shipped to slake the thirst of the British troops in India, boosted with hops
and alcohol to survive the journey. Reddish-brown, hoppy, aromatic, almost winey;
sausages, burgers, steaks, salmon—cook with it, marinate with it, or just drink
it. Specialty listing, $4.61/650 mL.
VANCOUVER ISLAND BREWERY HERMANN'S DARK LAGER
Lager isn't just a golden summer brew but any beer in which the yeasts ferment
at the bottom of the container rather than the top. Europeans love dunkel or
dark lager. Hermann's looks like a dark espresso, sweet as treacle but with a
nice sharp fruitiness that makes it great with a steak or anything on the grill.
Specialty listing, $10.86/six-pack.
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Title: Chardonnay & Sauvignon allowed in Rioja
Date: January 23, 2007
Rioja winemakers can now use Chardonnay, Sauvignon
Blanc and Verdejo in their white wines, the region’s wine body has decreed.
The OIPVR (Organización Interprofesional del Vino de Rioja) said the grapes will
be allowed from the 2007 vintage onwards, although none of them may be made as
varietals, or in as a major part of a blend.
Apart from the stipulation that the three noble varieties may not, together or
individually, make up more than 49 percent of the wine, there are no other
limits on the use of other permitted grapes.
The decision follows nearly two years of debate since the foundation of the
OIPVR, which was created to oversee marketing and regulation, absorbing in the
process the Consejo Regulador (CRDOCa), which remains a policing authority.
One of the major sore points for winemakers in the region was the paucity of
grape varieties available for making white wines. There were only three: Viura (Macabeo),
Malvasía Riojana and the rare Garnacha Blanc.
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Title: Asia Pacific Breweries Invests In Fifth
Brewery In Vietnam
Date: January 22, 2007
Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) is acquiring the
assets of Quang Nam Brewery (QNB) in Vietnam as part of the ongoing expansion in
one of its best performing markets. This acquisition will be carried through via
Vietnam Brewery Limited (VBL) in which APB owns a 60 percent stake.
To extend its presence and further tap on the beer market in central Vietnam,
VBL entered into an agreement with Quang Nam Electric Construction Company (QNEC)
to establish a joint venture company, VBL (Quang Nam) Ltd (VBLQN). VBLQN will
acquire the existing assets and business of QNB.
Koh Poh Tiong, chief executive officer, APB, commented, "Central Vietnam
provides a strategic launch pad for the continuing enlargement of the mainstream
brands of QNB and the Da Nang brewery, namely, the Larger and Biere Larue brands
"We will continue to enhance the brand equity of these mainstream brands and
complement them with our popular premium brews - Tiger and Heineken, to achieve
a broader brand portfolio to better satisfy the varied tastes of the Vietnamese
drinkers in the long run and extend further market coverage in that region."
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Title: Put a Stop in it
- Screw caps vs. Corks
Source: BBC News
Date: January 17, 2007
Screw tops have been called into question as wine
buffs found some bottles that smell of rotten eggs. From demijohns in rustic
garages to the finest cellars, storing wine remains an unpredictable science -
so what's the solution?
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Canada Says Yes To Genetically Modified Yeast With Reduced
Cancer Causing Compounds
Source: Food Navigator
Date Posted on Dipsophilia: January 4, 2007
Environment Canada has approved the import and
manufacture of a genetically modified yeast variety that is designed to reduce
the levels of the carcinogen ethyl carbamate, a compound that can naturally
occur in fermented foods and beverages, such as wine, beer and bread. Developed
by biotech firm First Venture Technologies, the propriety yeast claims to be
able to reduce ethyl carbamate levels in red wine by up to 89 percent, and in
bread by up to 54 percent.
The global market for wine, brandy and sake yeasts is
estimated to be in excess of 12,000 metric tons of yeast, which is estimated to
produce 30 billion liters of wine, brandy and sake. Current prices, depending on
the specific strain of yeast, are in the range of US$20 to US$140 per kilogram.
First Venture Technologies said its pricing for wine yeast strains targets the
high end of this price scale.
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Sleep-Lulling Grapes (or "I thought it was called passing out!")
Source: Journal of the Science of Food and
Date Posted on Dipsophilia: January 5, 2007
A recent study in Italy has
suggested that grapes have sleep-lulling effects. According to the study
published in the Journal of the Science of
Food and Agriculture, Italian scientists have reported that certain
grape varieties contain high levels of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our
sleep patterns. These findings might help to explain why drinking a glass of red
wine lulls some people to sleep. Lead researcher Marcello Iriti from the
University of Milan was quoted as saying: "The melatonin content in wine could
help regulate the sleep-and-wake patterns, just like the melatonin produced by
the pineal gland in mammals", as reported by Channel News Asia.
Traces of the sleep hormone were found in extracts of eight types of grapes:
Nebbiolo, Croatina, Sangiovese, Merlot, Marzemino, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet
Sauvignon and Barbera. Test results revealed that Nebbiolo grapes contained the
highest level of melatonin, with other grape varieties showing some, but varying
amounts of melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by a small gland in our brain, telling the body
when it is time to sleep. Melatonin levels rise in the mid- to late evening and
drop in the early morning hours, thus helping to regulate our sleep and wake
Top of Page
Title: Not for Profit Beer?
Source: Dipsophilia Archives
Date Posted on Dipsophilia: January 2006
Friday, January 6, 2006 marked the launch of Uberbru in Vancouver. What is
heralded as the first “not for profit” beer in the world was first introduced in
Montreal in the fall of 2005. The beer is a fund raiser for Uberculture, who
promote an alternative approach to the overbearing corporate culture which has
enveloped our society, and who encourage students to become politically active
to combat the growing apathy and resignation of the younger generation.
is a well chosen vehicle as nothing characterizes the corporate appetite for
globalization more than the brewing industry.
keeping with their anti-global philosophy each beer is indeed brewed “locally”.
The Montreal beer is brewed by Le Chaudron. The BC variety is a Hemp Amber Ale
brewed by west coast microbrewery partner
more information visit
http://www.uberbru.com/. The West Coast brew is available at:
(2301 Main St.)
• Rime (1130 Commercial
• Railway Club (579 Dunsmuir St.)
• WaaZooBee Cafe (1622 Commercial Dr.)
Top of Page
Title: Some Beers Really do Get Better With Age
Jeff Boda, International Herald Tribune
Dec 12, 2006
This year's vintage was good. The bottle from
1997 was even better, with the flavors coalescing into something special. But it
was the 1970 edition that really opened eyes to what aging a bottle can do.
Not a bottle of wine, but a bottle of beer, in
this case Chimay Grand Reserve. Gone were the telltale signs of beer: the
bitterness, the carbonation and the foamy head. In their wake was a thick brew
that tasted solely of chocolate with a little dried fruit, something to be
savored with only the best of friends.
"It's an alternative to cognac after meals,
with a cigar or chocolate," said Dominique Denis, the brewmaster for Chimay,
nestled inside a Trappist monastery a few kilometers from the French border in
For a select group of beers, their ideal place
is in the cellar, alongside red wines, ports and whiskeys, where their rough
edges can mellow and their flavors evolve. Kept in cool conditions and away from
light — the same conditions for storing wine — any yeast left in the bottle will
continue to ferment in the bottle for a few years. As the beers gently oxidize,
the tastes will evolve from brash to refined, as the alcohol flavor fades away.
The beer's aroma changes and the bitterness melts away, replaced by drier,
"At first you taste this and this and this
flavor, but later you get a marriage of flavors and a certain smoothness," said
Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery in New York and author of "The
Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food." He
added, "The fruit and earthy flavors step forward, the bitterness steps back."
Most beers shouldn't be aged. The most common,
the mass-market lagers such as Heineken, Stella Artois and Carlsberg, are
designed to be drunk as soon as they leave the brewery. So are Belgian wheat
beers (Hoegaarden) German weisses (Schneider or Hacker-Pschorr) and American
pale ales (Sierra Nevada).
"It's a relatively small group of beer that are
robust enough to age," Oliver said.
But beers that have alcohol levels of 8 percent
or higher and are full-bodied can cellar. More alcohol means there's more sugars
and flavors that can evolve.
Look for beers that have big malty flavors;
that's a sign they will sweeten over time. Avoid those with lots of hops
flavors, which break down over time, leaving an unpleasant tealike flavor,
Oliver said. Skip beers that are pasteurized, which stops the brewing process
altogether. If there is yeast in the bottle, that's good. The yeast will
continue its fermentation for a few years, changing the existing flavors and
adding new ones, before it dies out and adds its own taste, a biscuity flavor
found in old Champagnes, Oliver said.
"The rules for aging beer are very similar for
whether or not a wine is suitable to age," he said. "You want enough residual
sugar, or enough fruit or body, to carry through over time, but at the same time
enough bitterness to hold up too."
How long beer should age depends on ingredients
and how it is brewed. Magnums can age for longer periods than 33- centiliter, or
11-ounce, bottles, while a British barley wine can age for years, even decades,
longer than an Orval from southeast Belgium, which usually peaks after a few
years. Age a beer too long and the flavors will eventually fade.
"All beers don't age the same," said Nasser
Eftekhari, owner of Beer Mania in Brussels, a specialty beer store that ships
Belgian beers suitable for aging to customers around the world. "Usually, brown
beers age better than light beers, and the big beers twice as long as small
bottles." He added, "Alcohol and aging have a direct relationship. More alcohol
is usually better for aging."
One exception is a special type of Belgian
beer, called lambic, Eftekhari said. Dry and sour, it usually contains between
five and six percent alcohol, but is made for aging. "The older, the better," he
Eftekhari recommends aging beer in a dark room,
at no more than 20 degrees Celsius, or about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Oliver
recommends 10 to 13 degrees Celsius. If the bottle is corked, keep it on its
side, Oliver said, and watch out for temperature fluctuations and light, which
can ruin the beer. Like wine, beer can spoil during aging if air enters the
bottle or if the cork or cap is infected.
After a year, open a bottle and compare it to a
fresh bottle, and you'll start to see the difference age makes. "Beer isn't
better after a few years, but different," Eftekhari said. "It's not the same as
wine, in one vintage is better than the other," Denis said. "Here the evolution
will remain. The product will evolve, these aromas with time evolve."
Back to Top
Title: Globalization &
Source: Dipsophilia Archives
Date Posted on Dipsophilia: June200 6
In this age of
globalization, the Booze industry has suffered (or benefited, if you're on that
side of the fence), more than most.
there will always be small micro brewers producing high quality local beers, the
brewing giants have been gobbling up competitors faster than you can knock back
a pint of ESB. This is happening at all different levels; locally, nationally
In Canada, we have
gone from the “big three” Canadian brewers, (Labatt, Molson and Carling O’Keefe)
to an industry totally dominated by foreign owned companies in less than a
decade. The boundary between the hard liquor industry and the brewing
giants is blurring.
The more capital
intensive distilleries are steadily being consolidated in two large companies,
Diageo and Pernot-Ricard who recently took over Allied Domecq. Here are
the brands owned by each of the major distillers:
In Progress - please
check back later
produces, markets and sells a portfolio of around 220 brands of spirits and
wine. We also sell a further 130 brands in partnership with third party agencies
through our strong distribution network around the world. ”
produces, markets and sells a portfolio of around 220 brands of spirits and
Mumm, Perrier Jouet
Church Road, Corbans, Deutz Marlborough Cuvée, Lindauer and Stoneleigh
Clos du Bois,
Gary Farrell, Buena Vista Carneros, Haywood Estate, Wattle
Creek and J.Garcia wines from Sonoma County; Jakes Fault and
Callaway Coastal from the California Coastal regions; and William
Hill Winery, Atlas Peak Vineyards and Mumm Napa fom the
Back to Top
Alcohol sharpens your brain, say
Daily Telegraph (for full article)
Date Posted on Dipsophilia: January 5, 2007
It is news guaranteed to raise a cheer among
those who enjoy a glass or two: drinking half a bottle of wine a day can make
your brain work better, especially if you are a woman. Research to be published
tomorrow by academics at University College London has found that those who even
drink only one glass of wine a week have significantly sharper thought processes
The benefits of
alcohol, which are thought to be linked to its effect on the flow of blood to
the brain, can be detected when a person drinks up to 30 units of alcohol -
about four to five bottles of wine - per week. The researchers were unable to
test the effect of higher levels of alcohol consumption, although drunkenness
probably negates any positive effects on the brain.
have surprised health officials, who issued yet another warning last week about
the dangers of overdrinking.
In the latest
research, a team led by Sir Michael Marmot, a professor of epidemiology and
public health at University College London, gave psychometric tests to more than
6,000 civil servants. The questions ranged from verbal and mathematical
reasoning problems to tests of short-term memory. The civil servants'
performance was then matched against their drinking habits.
The study took
into account all alcohol consumption and was not specific to wine. However, the
results showed that those having even a single glass of wine a week scored
significantly higher in the tests than more abstemious drinkers. Teetotallers
were twice as likely as occasional drinkers to achieve the lowest scores.
were most marked among women drinkers and, to the researchers' surprise, showed
no sign of flattening out with increasing consumption. Those who downed the
equivalent of half a bottle of wine or two pints of beer a day scored best of
all. The effects were apparent even after the results had been adjusted to take
into account factors such as physical and mental health.
appear to suggest some specificity in the association between alcohol
consumption and cognitive ability," said the team. "Frequent drinking may be
more beneficial than drinking only on special occasions."
The team, whose
findings are being reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology, suggests
that the results may reflect the fact that alcohol can reduce the risk of
cardiovascular disease and increase blood flow to the brain - factors linked to
improved mental function.
also speculate that women might benefit more because of the different way in
which they metabolise alcohol. However, they acknowledge that the benefits of
alcohol can be outweighed by the increased risks of getting diseases such as
cancer and cirrhosis, and that the findings should not be used as an excuse for
Dr Guy Ratcliffe,
the medical director of the Medical Council on Alcohol, said that the study
would add to earlier evidence that moderate drinking could be beneficial -
offering advantages such as a reduced risk of heart disease and strokes. "This is a
well-researched study, and it's important that information such as this is
available so that people can make informed decisions about alcohol consumption,"
the policy director of the Portman Group, set up by the industry to promote
responsible drinking, welcomed the findings. "There is a lot
of concern about trends in women's drinking, especially young women, but the
concern is chiefly about women who drink to get drunk. This study does seem to
support the view that moderate drinking is better than none at all," she said.
College team is now hoping to continue the study to investigate whether alcohol
can help slow the decline of mental function as people grow older. A recent
American study suggested that drinkers suffered significantly less cognitive
decline with age than teetotallers, with women again showing the greatest
Back to Top
Title: Booze: Health Helper or Hindrance?
Source: CBS News
Date Posted on Dipsophilia: January 7, 2007
Alcohol is the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the
medical world: Drinking too much causes serious problems, while drinking a
little may help many people's health.
How many drinks provide just the benefits and not the harm? It depends on
whether a person is most at risk of heart disease, diabetes or breast cancer.
But there is one bottom line: Five or six drinks only on Saturday night will
provide no benefits, while a drink or two a night might.
For full article, please use the link above.
Back to Top
Green, CAMRA Vancouver
Date: January 29,
The results of the 2008 CAMRA Vancouver
Bronze: DIX BBQ & Brewing
Best Local Beer Cafe, Pub, or Restaurant
Gold: The Whip Restaurant Gallery
Gold: Brewery Creek Cold Beer & Wine Store
Silver: BCLS Signature Store (39th & Cambie)
Bronze: Firefly Fine Wines and Ales
Gold: The Whip Real Ale Sundays
Silver: DIX Cask Thursdays
Bronze: CAMRA On a Mission to Mission
Best BC Beer
Gold: Central City Imperial IPA
Silver: Storm Black Plague Stout
Bronze: Crannóg Back Hand of God Stout
Best BC Seasonal Beer
Gold: Steamworks Grand Espresso Stout
Silver: R & B Auld Nick
Bronze: Granville Island Merry Monks
Title: Brewery cashes in
on Whistler's high profile
Source: Vancouver Sun
Date: Tuesday, January 22, 2008
What's in a name? Try "Whistler" and watch the
dollars roll in.
Bruce Dean seized on that idea when Alberta's
Big Rock Brewery hired him to find a business
strategy for its languishing assets in British
Columbia -- Bear Brewing Co., Bowen Island
Brewing Co., and Whistler Brewing Co.
The former Gillette marketing executive reasoned
that Whistler is a global brand. Why not turn
Whistler beer into a premium product with a
When the Big Rock board decided to sell the B.C.
business instead of taking his advice, Dean
rounded up a bunch of local investors and bought
The result is Vancouver's NorthAm Group, the
fastest growing beer supplier to the B.C. Liquor
Distribution Branch in fiscal 2007 with ninefold
Bear Brewing has been shelved for the time being
and reinvented as the Kamloops Brewing Co. with
a mandate to promote KB Beer as a local craft
beer for the Interior.
was relaunched as an authentic craft beer at an
affordable price -- less than $10 for a six-pack
-- while Whistler Brewing was positioned as the
There are only two Whistler products -- Whistler
Premium Export Lager and Whistler Classic Pale
Ale -- but the growth focus is on the lager,
Dean said in an interview.
First Whistler beer is positioned like an
import. It's one of the few Canadian beers in an
open six-pack, like a basket carrier. Most
domestic brews come in a closed box.
It is bottled in clear glass, rather than amber,
and labelled with high resolution metal foil
rather than paper, with a distinctive image of
And then, even though the company's brewery is
in Kamloops, it is made with 100-per-cent
Whistler glacier water.
"That what underpins its authenticity," Dean
said. "We literally get Bert's Trucking to fill
a 400-hectolitre truck with glacier water from
the Whistler Water Company, and they truck it to
He said water distinguishes beer "and in our
case the water fell before there was industry or
carbons floating around. We like to say it is
water as nature intended it."
Whistler Premium Lager fetches a premium price
-- about $11.50 a six-pack -- but it helped to
drive NorthAm's $3.36 million in sales to the
LCB for the year ending March 31, 2007, up from
$335,000 during the company's first five months
of life in fiscal 2006.
While different time frames make 903 per cent
growth is misleading, Dean said NorthAm retains
the "fastest growing" crown for fiscal 2007 by
growing close to 160 per cent over an annualized
Now NorthAm is branching out to Alberta and will
start shipping Whistler beer to Japan in
February. The same Japanese distributor who
handles Corona and Carlsberg has chosen the
Whistler brand because Whistler means something
in Japan, Dean said.
"That's great for us but it's also great for
B.C.," he said. "When we export the Whistler
name we actually think we're doing a great thing
for British Columbia and for the Whistler
community, because it is an invitation to come
and visit us."
Australian-born Dean is also delighted the
Japanese will pay more for a premium beer --
about $10 a glass -- than they will for a glass
Admits the 50-year-old who fell in love with
B.C. when he was hired in 2001 to promote such
brands as Mike's Hard Lemonade and Mission Hill
wines: "Frankly, I'm not a wine guy and I never
really got used to swirl and spit. Gulp and
swallow has more appeal to an Australian than
swirl and spit."
FASTEST-GROWING BEER SALES
Fastest-growing beer sales to B.C. Liquor
Distribution Branch for the year ended March 31,
1. NorthAm $3,365,520 Up 903% over 2006
2. Avalon $342,836 Up 121%
3. Phillips $1,610,826 Up 57%
4. R&B $853,105 Up 32%
5. Vancouver Island $6,412,698 Up 20%
Kingswood Arms Burns
One of the city's oldest watering holes -- the
Kingswood Arms Pub -- went up in flames early
like an electrical fire," said pub owner Randy
firefighters battled the 3 a.m. blaze, and the
freezing temperatures caused the water they used
to turn to ice, posing an additional hazard to
"We had three
or four firefighters fall," said deputy fire
chief Ron Beaman. One firefighter was taken to
buildings were evacuated due to heavy smoke.
Arms, which opened in 1976, was Richmond's first
stand-alone pub. Prior to that, the only bars in
town were in hotels. Although Kingswood Arms
regulars will have to find another spot for now,
Craig vows to rebuild.
Title: West gets a new Executive Chef
Date: January 9, 2008
Geraghty, one of London’s celebrated chefs, will make his Vancouver debut as
the Executive Chef of South Granville’s internationally-acclaimed
an extensive search to replace departing chef David Hawksworth, proprietor
Jack Evrensel is pleased to welcome Geraghty to Vancouver. "Warren is
passionate and very talented," says Evrensel. "I have rarely experienced his
level of complexity and harmony on a plate with such clear and vibrant
joins West with a
distinguished resume spanning one, two and three star Michelin
establishments, including his most recent appointment as Executive Chef at
Marco Pierre White’s illustrious
L’Escargot restaurant in Soho.
L’Escargot, Geraghty manned the stoves at other prestigious spots in London
Chez Nico and
Pied à Terre. In Cannes, he
worked alongside master chef Richard Neat as Head Chef of
Restaurant Neat, where during
his tenure, the London Evening Standard noted that he was "instrumental in
obtaining the Michelin star."
West, Geraghty will collaborate
with Restaurant Director Brian Hopkins to lead the all-star team, including
Pastry Chef Rhonda Viani and Executive Sous Chef Stéphanie Noël in the
kitchen, along with Wine Director Owen Knowlton and Bar Manager David
Wolowidnyk in the front of house.
highly anticipated arrival is scheduled for early February. In the meantime,
West’s talented Executive
Sous Chef Stéphanie Noël will act as Executive Chef, leading the brigade to
maintain the exceptional standards that the restaurant is renowned for.
Superb dishes showcasing modern interpretations of classic combinations are
offered at Vancouver’s perennial ‘Restaurant of the Year’. Martinis and
cocktails are pressed to order by ‘Canada’s best mixologist’ David
Wolowidnyk, and the highly awarded wine collection is housed in a
magnificent, temperature-controlled wall of wine. 2881 Granville Street,
Vancouver, BC. 604.738.8938. Valet nightly.
a glass to an old gin palace
Food and Beverage News.com
Date: 05 January 2008
London boasts 4,500 pubs and bars and the ones I like best are
brimful with history - though at the thought of the more gory stuff I may well
need a stiff drink… and then possibly another.
The Viaduct Tavern (020 7600 1863) is at 126
Newgate Street, London EC1. Tube: Chancery Lane or Barbican, then a five-minute
walk. Open weekdays and evenings, with good pub lunches served between noon and
3pm. The Viaduct can also be booked for private functions at weekends, with no
hire charge and a minimum £1,000 spend on drink and catered food.
One of my favourite watering holes is also pretty much my local. It's the
Viaduct Tavern, a wonderfully well-preserved gin palace built at the same time
as the Holborn Viaduct alongside, a spectacular span opened by Queen Victoria in
Designed by City surveyor William Heywood, the 1,400ft viaduct bridging the
valley of the long-covered River Fleet, and connecting Holborn and Newgate
Street, is a marvellous marriage of Victorian art and engineering. It took six
years to construct and cost the truly royal sum of £2.5m.
The bridge crossing Farringdon Street - from which the painted cast-iron
supports rise up like the vaulting of a medieval cathedral - is decorated with
noble bronze statues representing Commerce, Agriculture, Science and Fine Arts.
Four Italian Gothic cum Scots Baronial turret houses stood at the corners of the
span, two and a half of them still surviving - though the losses must be
returned as a preservation/restoration priority.
In remaining turret niches there are statues of Henry Fitzailwyn, the first lord
mayor; Norfolk's Sir Thomas Gresham, founder of the Royal Exchange and Gresham
College; Sir William Walworth, the lord mayor who stabbed Wat Tyler; and Sir
Hugh Myddleton, pioneer of the New River Estate which developed Islington.
Pity the queen - breaking into an eight-year-and-still-going-strong mourning
period for her beloved Albert with a rare public engagement - couldn't have had
a refresher at the Viaduct Tavern's bar. She might have admired all the
mahogany and the mirrors and the gilt, though an interior design deemed palatial
by the brewers also had an air of the grand bordello. The sober monarch would
certainly have been surprised to find that a state-of-the-art public house had
become the first public building in London with electric lighting.
Then again, she couldn't stop long. For she was opening Blackfriars Bridge on
the same day - before diving back into the successive seclusion of Osborne and
But it's back to the Viaduct Tavern for me…
Gin palaces first appeared around 1830, and by the 1850s London had about 5,000
of the glamorous, gaudy and bawdy pubs where the more louche members of the
upper classes could mix with the low-life. Charles Dickens lived nearby as
a bachelor and newlywed, and who wrote Pickwick Papers in a High Holborn house
now occupied by the majestically Gothic offices built for the Prudential
Assurance Company. He could have been thinking of the Viaduct when, in Sketches
by Boz, he wrote of a gin palace being “perfectly dazzling when contrasted with
the darkness and dirt we have just left”.
Now Grade II listed, the Viaduct Tavern remains perfectly dazzling, while most
of its rivals are long since bombed, bulldozed or wrecked by wretched
brewery-wrought refits. Oil paintings of four alluring maidens echo the symbolic
figures on Holborn Viaduct - though Miss Science is more than slightly the worse
for wear, with a wound to one buttock caused by a soldier's bayonet or bullet
during the heady party celebrating the end of the first world war.
At the rear of the bar there is a mahogany and etched glass pay booth where a
dragon of a landlady would sell tokens which could be exchanged for gin via
waitresses attending at the tables. This procedure kept the cash away from
possibly light-fingered staff and also carefully limited the gin so that
customers didn't become too light-headed.
This splendid establishment had a reputation to maintain, after all. Surviving
mirrors look worthy of the Moulin Rouge - though in fact they are superior to
Paris, given their edging decoration of 24 carat gold and silver. Gleaming
with crimson paint, the ceiling is made of beaten copper secured in place by a
gold-topped iron column like the tent of a desert sheikh.
Such an extravagant display of good taste was a fabulous façade, for in a room
upstairs there was a thriving opium den. The upstairs rooms could also be
rented out by the hour - and not just for the reason you might think, but also
for the outlook.
For the Viaduct Tavern had an unrivalled view of Newgate Prison across the
street, a historic hellhole in which Norfolk's Elizabeth Fry had lately been a
ministering angel. It would finally be demolished in 1902 to make way for the
But in a sense the inn missed its moment, for just when it was opening the
public executions on the crossroads outside - which had drawn huge crowds of
baying, drunken spectators - were being ended, with Dickens among the revolted
protesters. Henceforward the killings were to take place inside the
prison, where many other inmates were quietly succumbing to 'gaol fever' and
But then neither was the Viaduct a mere observatory on the hideous nature of
historic British justice. For it occupied part of the site of the Giltspur
Street Comptor - a sheriff's office with a debtors' prison attached.
Designed by George Dance in 1791 and demolished in 1853, the underground prison
held up to 20 detainees - sometimes entire families - to a 12ft by 6ft cell.
The only ventilation and light came from a hole in the ceiling to the street
level, where friends and relatives might drop in food and money, and where those
without connections would beg for alms from passers-by, even grabbing at their
ankles. (But those free souls who liked to see felons hanging would also tip
unmentionable substances down that tiny chute.) One jailer described the
opening of cells in the morning with “the stench being enough to turn the
stomach of a horse”. Amazingly, five of these cells remain, as they were
perfect for pub cellars. When they're not too busy, bar staff are happy to give
customers guided tours.
Some are still used for storage. But one damp, cold and darkened dungeon (the
vent to the street now blocked) is eerily empty. Around the edges there are
shelves which seem to have been designed for crates of beer or cases of wine but
which were in fact ledges for human beings. No wonder the place is said to be
And now I definitely need a drink - though not, for me, the amazing variety of
gins available in this old gin palace (not even the Victorian Hot Toddy with
tanqueray, cloves, cinnamon and citrus).
This is a Fuller's pub, so I'm here for the beer.
Make the most of a few pennies off the price of your favourite beer, thanks to the Jan. 1 cut in the GST. That little break could look pretty flat in the months to come as breweries struggle to contain their costs in the face of a global shortage of hops and soaring prices for barley.
B.C. microbreweries are particularly vulnerable because they are less likely to have long-term supply contracts for key ingredients, and they make greater use of hops to produce distinctive flavours.
"We're really hoping we will be able to keep our prices the same, but we're struggling with it," said Matt Phillips, brewer at Victoria's award-winning Phillips Brewing Co. "Our hop prices have gone up astronomically - somewhere in the order of three-fold. And we've got some beers that are pretty high hop content, so that's a bit of a challenge for us."
The hop deficit has been variously blamed on poor harvests worldwide, farmers who converted to more lucrative crops, growing demand from China, and a 2006 warehouse fire in Washington State that wiped out a significant amount of U.S. specialty hops.
Some craft breweries and brewpubs are dropping hop-laden India Pale Ale from their product line this year, or changing their recipes, said Rick Green, secretary of the Vancouver chapter of the Campaign for Real Ale.
"I think you will see some familiar brands change," said Ralph Olson, owner of Hopunion in Yakima, Wash., the region's biggest supplier of hops. "Not only is there a shortage of hops, but there's a shortage of a lot of varieties. That makes it even more complex unless [brewers] have an open mind and are willing to use something different."
Olson expects hop shortages to persist for the next two years, until new plantings come on stream.
Stefan Buhl, brewmaster at Kelowna's Tree Brewing, expects higher costs to push up beer prices, although he has a secure supply of hops for 2008. Consumers could pay 20 to 30 cents more for a six-pack of speciality beers like India Pale Ale. That compares to a 10-cent reduction in the price of Tree Brewing's Hophead IPA as a result of Tuesday's one-percentage-point cut in the GST. Price increases can be expected this year for Kamloops Brewing, Whistler Brewing and Bowen Island Brewing brands, although president Bruce Dean said they will be driven more by the doubling of barley costs and higher packaging expenses than by the price of hops.
"We're not planning on raising prices in response to the increase of our inputs, but we might have to. We can only deal with it for so long," said Mike Kelly, brewmaster at Nelson Brewing Co. In addition to higher prices for malt and hops, he said costs for shipping, gas, bottles, cans and packaging have risen anywhere from five per cent to 15 per cent. Major brewers are less impacted than the industry's smaller players because they have long-term contracts with hops and barley suppliers, said Marie-Helene Legace, public relations manager with Molson Canada. Craft brewers say the hop shortage has driven many of the bigger companies to buy up the hops usually sought by the smaller players for their flavour. [The big brewers are] using them in really benign ways that basically boil all of the flavour out of them. It's kind of heartbreaking," Phillips said.
Back to top
Tree wins 3
Source: Tree Beer
December 19, 2007
the 5th Annual
Awards in November,
Tree Brewing took
home the GOLD for
Cutthroat Pale Ale
in the English Style
Pale Ale (Bitter)
category, SILVER for
Kelowna Pilsner in
the European Style
category, and BRONZE
for Hophead in the
India Pale Ale
was based on
45 breweries and
over 200 beers
submitted, we are
extremely excited by
our wins at the
Awards. This shows
us that our hard
work and dedication
to crafting great
beers is not only
making beer drinkers
happy, but our peers
are noticing us
The Bar: The 7 Best
Posted: December 6,
original plan was to
just write about
world records, not
to do it in list
form… but I got a
bit excited, had a
couple of beers… and
now it's about 4 AM
and I'm pretty
smashed. So you get
list instead. (BURP)
here for full
Trappist Command: Thou Shalt Not Buy Too
Much of Our Beer
Wall Street Journal
Date: November 29, 2007
WESTVLETEREN, Belgium -- The Trappist monks at St. Sixtus
monastery have taken vows against
riches, sex and eating red meat. They
speak only when necessary. But you can
call them on their beer phone.
Monks have been brewing Westvleteren beer at this remote
spot near the French border since 1839.
Their brew, offered in strengths up to
10.2% alcohol by volume, is among the
most highly prized in the world. In bars
from Brussels to Boston, and online, it
sells for more than $15 for an 11-ounce
bottle -- 10 times what the monks ask --
if you can get it.
For the 26 monks at St. Sixtus, however, success has
brought a spiritual hangover as they
fight to keep an insatiable market in
tune with their life of contemplation.
The monks are doing their best to resist getting bigger.
They don't advertise and don't put
labels on their bottles. They haven't
increased production since 1946. They
sell only from their front gate. You
have to make an appointment and there's
a limit: two, 24-bottle cases a month.
Because scarcity has created a
high-priced gray market online, the
monks search the net for resellers and
try to get them to stop.
"We sell beer to live, and not vice versa," says Brother
Joris, the white-robed brewery director.
Beer lovers, however, seem to live for
When Jill Nachtman, an American living
in Zurich, wanted a taste recently, she
called the hot line everybody calls the
beer phone. After an hour of busy
signals, she finally got through and
booked a time. She drove 16 hours to
pick up her beer. "If you factor in gas,
hotel -- and the beer -- I spent $20 a
bottle," she says.
Until the monks installed a new switchboard and set up a
system for appointments two years ago,
the local phone network would sometimes
crash under the weight of calls for
Westvleteren. Cars lined up for miles
along the flat one-lane country road
that leads to the red brick monastery,
as people waited to pick up their beer.
"This beer is addictive, like chocolate," said Luc Lannoo,
an unemployed, 36-year-old Belgian from
Ghent, about an hour away, as he loaded
two cases of Westvleteren into his car
at the St. Sixtus gate one morning. "I
have to come every month."
Two American Web sites, Rate Beer and Beer Advocate, rank
the strongest of Westvleteren's three
products, a dark creamy beer known as
"the 12," best in the world, ahead of
beers including Sweden's Närke Kaggen
Stormaktsporter and Minnesota's Surly
Darkness. "No question, it is the holy
grail of beers," says Remi Johnson,
manager of the Publick House, a Boston
bar that has Westvleteren on its menu
but rarely in stock.
Some beer lovers say the excitement over Westvleteren is
hype born of scarcity. "It's a very good
beer," says Jef van den Steen, a brewer
and author of a book on Trappist monks
and their beer published in French and
Dutch. "But it reminds me of the movie
star you want to sleep with because
she's inaccessible, even if your wife
looks just as good."
Thanks to the beer phone, there are no more lines of cars
outside the monastery now. But
production remains just 60,000 cases per
year, while demand is as high as ever.
Westvleteren has become almost
impossible to find, even in the
specialist beer bars of Brussels and
local joints around the monastery.
"I keep on asking for beer," says Christophe Colpaert,
manager of "Café De Sportsfriend," a bar
down the road from the monks. "They
barely want to talk to me." On a recent
day, a recorded message on the beer
phone said St. Sixtus wasn't currently
making appointments; the monks were
fresh out of beer.
Increasing production is not an option, according to the
47-year-old Brother Joris, who says he
abandoned a stressful career in Brussels
for St. Sixtus 14 years ago. "It would
interfere with our job of being a monk,"
Belgian monasteries like St. Sixtus started making beer in
the aftermath of the French Revolution,
which ended in 1799. The revolt's
anti-Catholic purge had destroyed
churches and abbeys in France and
Belgium. The monks needed cash to
rebuild, and beer was lucrative.
Trappist is a nickname for the Order of Cistercians of the
Strict Observance, who set up their own
order in La Trappe, France, in the 1660s
because they thought Cistercian
monasteries were becoming too lax. The
monks at St. Sixtus sleep in a dormitory
and stay silent in the cloisters, though
they speak if they need to. Today,
though, Trappists are increasingly
famous for making good beer.
Seven monasteries (six are Belgian, one, La Trappe, is
Dutch) are allowed to label their beer
as Trappist. In 1996, they set up an
alliance to protect their brand. They
retain lawyers in Washington and
Brussels ready to sue brewers who try
use the word Trappist. Every few months,
Brother Joris puts on street clothes and
takes the train to Brussels to meet with
fellow monks to share sales and business
data, and plot strategy.
The monks know their beer has become big business. That's
fine with the brothers at Scourmont, the
monastery in southern Belgium that makes
the Chimay brand found in stores and
bars in Europe and the U.S. They've
endorsed advertising and exports, and
have sales exceeding $50 million a year.
They say the jobs they create locally
make the business worthy. Other
monasteries, which brew names familiar
to beer lovers such as Orval, Westmalle
and Rochefort, also are happy their
businesses are growing to meet demand.
Not so at St. Sixtus. Brother Joris and his fellow monks
brew only a few days a month, using a
recipe they've kept to themselves for
around 170 years.
Two monks handle the brewing. After morning prayer, they
mix hot water with malt. They add hops
and sugar at noon. After boiling, the
mix, sufficient to fill roughly 21,000
bottles, is fermented for up to seven
days in a sterilized room. From there
the beer is pumped to closed tanks in
the basement where it rests for between
five weeks and three months. Finally, it
is bottled and moved along a conveyor
belt into waiting cases. Monks at St.
Sixtus used to brew by hand, but nothing
in the rules of the order discourages
technology, so they've plowed profits
into productivity-enhancing equipment.
St. Sixtus built its current brewhouse
in 1989 with expert advice from the
company then known as Artois Breweries.
In the 1980s, the monks even debated whether they should
continue making something from which
people can get drunk. "There is no
dishonor in brewing beer for a living.
We are monks of the West: moderation is
a key word in our asceticism," says
Brother Joris in a separate, email
interview. "We decided to stick to our
traditional skills instead of breeding
The result is a brew with a slightly sweet, heavily
alcoholic, fruity aftertaste.
One day recently, the wiry, sandy-haired Brother Joris
returned to his office in the monastery
after evening prayers. He flipped on his
computer and went online to hunt for
resellers and ask them to desist. "Most
of the time, they agree to withdraw
their offer," he says. Last year, St.
Sixtus filed a complaint with the
government against two companies that
refused -- BelgianFood.com, a Web site
that sells beer, cheese, chocolate and
other niche products, and Beermania, a
Brussels beer shop that also sells
online. Both offer Westvleteren at
around $18 a bottle.
"I'm not making a lot of money and I pay my taxes," says
BelgianFood.com owner Bruno Dourcy. "You
can only buy two cases at once, you
know." Mr. Dourcy makes monthly two-hour
car trips from his home in eastern
"Seek the Kingdom of God first, and all these things will
be given to you," counters Brother Joris,
quoting from the Bible, adding that it
refers only to things you really need.
"So if you can't have it, possibly you
do not really need it."
Stocking the bar for Christmas bashes
Date: Thursday, November 29, 2007
Hosting a holiday bash always seems like
a good idea -- right up until the moment
you realize just how much work it is.
Take the bar. You probably want to serve
your guests something a bit more festive
than a cooler full of Labatt Blue, but
you probably don't want to spend the
entire night mixing fancy cocktails.
Unless you can afford to hire a
bartender for the night, you'll need to
take some shortcuts.
Luckily, there are plenty of products
out there to make this part of the party
Here are some simple drink ideas.
- MULL IT OVER
The kitchen retailer Williams-Sonoma is
known for many things -- fabulous
cookware, awesome recipe collections and
great kitchen linens -- but one of its
very best offerings is its seasonal
This holiday, one must-have is
Williams-Sonoma's Mulling Spices ($12.75
for a six-ounce tin). This blend of
cinnamon, orange zest, cloves and
allspice makes a fragrant punch when you
simmer it with tea, cider or red wine.
Or try the gourmet hot chocolate mix
($26), which is perfectly delish when
stirred with chocolate-dipped candy
Peppermint North Poles ($20) or
scattered with the candy-cane bits known
as Peppermint Snow ($11.25).
Vancouver's first, long-awaited
Williams-Sonoma location opens Saturday
at 2903 Granville St. For more
- GO FOR THE GARNISH
Sparkling wine is always festive, but to
make it even more special, drop a Wild
Hibiscus Flower into the bottom of the
glass before you fill it with bubbles.
These edible candied flowers from
Australia taste like raspberries and
rhubarb and add a beautiful exoticism to
Wild Hibiscus Flowers are available for
$12 to $15 at retailers including Whole
Food, Gourmet Warehouse and Urban Fare.
For more info, visit the Garnish Girls'
website at www.garnishgirls.com.
- USE YOUR NOGGIN
Nothings says "festive" like a mug of
traditional egg nog, especially if it's
spiked with a good slug of brandy.
The problem is judging how much of this
delicate dairy product you need to stock
up on: too much, and your fridge is
overloaded; too little, and you'll be
making a mid-party dash to the grocery
Not any more. President's Choice has
just introduced a long-lasting version
that's sold in a plastic bottle and sits
in the cupboard until you're ready to
PC Rich and Creamy Egg Nog is $2.99 at
Real Canadian Superstore and Extra
- STIR THINGS UP
If you really want to serve a selection
of fancy cocktails, you can make things
deliciously easy with Stirrings premium
Cocktail Mixers and Drink Rimmers.
The nine available flavours -- including
pomegranate, green apple, lemon drop and
peach bellini --give you unlimited
options for innovative cocktails
Stirrings rimmers sell for $6.99 to
$8.99, and mixers from $12.59 to $14.99,
at retailers including the Market
Gourmet Foods, Gourmet Warehouse,
Cookworks, Famous Foods and select Mac's
For more information and great recipe
ideas, go to www.stirrings.com.
Here's one festive recipe to try:
THE BLUE POMPOM
1 oz. Stirrings Pomegranate
1 oz. blueberry vodka
3/4 oz. vanilla vodka
Handful of blueberries
In a cocktail shaker, muddle blueberries with ice. Add
vodkas and pomegranate mixer. Shake
vigorously and strain into a martini
glass. Garnish with three blueberries on
a skewer. Serves 1.
Ban lifted, spirits go on the block
Date: December 5, 2007
— Across the United States, tipplers
with a sense of history will have an
extra reason to raise a glass today:
Known as Repeal Day, it's the
anniversary of the end of Prohibition.
But among those who know the federal ban
on alcohol consumption was struck down
on Dec. 5, 1933, few may realize that
the 21st Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution didn't exactly legalize
drinking; it merely handed control of
alcohol to the states. And each one took
a different route: Mississippi didn't
permit alcohol consumption until 1966;
Kansans couldn't use credit cards at
liquor stores until 1995.
Last August, New York became only the
eighth state to strike down a ban on
spirits auctions. But it is wasting no
time exercising the new freedom: This
Saturday, Christie's will sell off more
than 100 lots, officially marking the
first auction of spirits in the state
since before Prohibition was enacted in
The auction house is including bottles
of single malt Scotch, Cognac, Calvados,
rye whisky, Chartreuse and Armagnac as
part of its regular end-of-year wine
The initiative by Christie's, known as a
purveyor of some of the world's finest
and rarest art, is a badge of honour for
the Distilled Spirits Council of the
United States, which lobbied the state
legislature in Albany for the change.
"Spirits and the arts, they go
together," said Frank Coleman, the
council's senior vice-president of
public affairs, who neglected to note
that sometimes they go together to
fabulous effect (see: absinthe and
Picasso, Manet and Toulouse-Lautrec) and
sometimes to tragic effect (see: Jackson
Pollock, booze and an Oldsmobile
To underline the refined nature of the
booze sale, and perhaps to put bidders
at its Rockefeller Center flagship
galleries in the paddle-raising mood,
waiters will be circulating at
Christie's with hors d'oeuvres and
glasses of Champagne. (As with every
auction, members of the public are
invited to attend free of charge; the
catered treats, however, are only for
But since those in attendance usually
have some very firm taste preferences,
Christie's wine and spirits auctions are
also BYOB affairs. "People bring their
own bottles of wine, they sit and chat
and share a glass of wine and spend some
time together," says Richard Brierley,
the Christie's specialist who conducts
the wine and spirits auctions. "It can
be a rather social occasion."
They may need the nourishment for
endurance: With more than 1,000 lots up
for sale, Christie's expects the auction
to last five or six hours.
Mr. Brierley will be refraining from
sampling too many of the goods before
the sale. "A fuzzy head and lots of
numbers is not a good combination," he
chuckled this week.
Still, the scene will be a far cry from
the early days of wine auctions at
Christie's, which began after a
Prohibition-era ban on those sales was
struck down in 1994 in New York. Back
then, Mr. Brierley recalls, some bidders
brought packed lunches.
Saturday's auction has attracted so much
attention that rubberneckers are
inevitable; but unlike many of
Christie's auctions (where random
Warhols can sell for $20-million-plus
U.S.), the price of participation is
within the reach of most people. Plenty
of bottles should go for only a few
But there are also prizes for big-game
hunters, such as a 1926 Macallan aged 60
years in a wood barrel that carries an
estimate of $20,000 to $30,000, a 2003
bottle of rye made from George
Washington's recipe ($10,000 to
$20,000), and a so-called superlot of
729 bottles of Scotch ranging in quality
from middling to extraordinary ($70,000
to $100,000). Mr. Brierley anticipates
the superlot being bid on by a hotel or
The sale is projected to take in about
$250,000 - a drop in the bucket, as it
were, compared with its wine sales. Last
year, Sotheby's sold about $130-million
of wine and spirits worldwide;
Christie's sold $58.6-million.
But Mr. Brierley says demand for the
fine spirits is increasing, just as the
market in wine has expanded in recent
years from the stalwart of Bordeaux to
include more Burgundies. And spirits,
with a higher alcohol content than wine,
may actually make better collectibles
because they stand less chance of
degrading over time.
Mr. Coleman from the Distilled Spirits
Council says he knows who will be
buying. "It's Christmas bonus time on
Wall Street and, as any New Yorker
knows, it's the Wall Street bonuses that
drive the economy," at least in luxury
"This is right up the alley of your best
friend who's a bond trader or hedge-fund
manager or other Wall Street bigwig."
Strong suds for the holidays
Date: November 19, 2007
Legend suggests strong
beer was originally brewed by monks to
keep them warm on cold winter nights.
Today there's a more hard-headed reason
for brewing head-banger ales in time for
Christmas. "It's the feast before the
famine," said award-winning craft brewer
Matt Phillips. "After this, we're in
trouble." Phillips, of Victoria's
Phillips Brewing Co., is referring to
the traditional slowdown that afflicts
restaurants and brewpubs alike in
January as customers recover from both
the holiday spending binge and a surfeit
of eating, drinking and merrymaking.
December is often the
strongest sales month for microbreweries
after July, the height of the summer
suds season, Phillips said, but the
festive season is also an opportunity to
brew some special "winter warmer" beers
packed with flavour as well as punch. On
Friday, Vancouver's Granville Island
Brewing Co. rolled out a limited release
doppelbock which boasts rich dark malt
flavours and an 8.7 per cent alcohol
double strong beer and was first brewed
by monks to sustain them through Lent,
but the men of the cloth will be out of
luck if they wait until the fasting
season. "It is brewed here on Granville
Island and available while supplies
last," said marketing manager Caroline
Roussy. "Hopefully it will last until
Christmas but it often sells out here
This week Phillips is
rolling out a dopplebock - the
"Instigator," weighing in at 8.5 per
cent - at private liquor stores in
Vancouver and Victoria. In early
December he'll add a 12 per cent barley
wine named The Grand to celebrate the
brewery's 1,000th batch of beer.
"Christmas is a great excuse to roll out
the bigger beers, and this is the second
year in a row we're bringing out two
beers to celebrate the season," he said.
"There is an appetite for those winter
warmers at this time of the year."
The B.C. Liquor
Distribution Branch agrees and is
running in-store promotions for B.C.
craft brews like Faceplant Winter Ale,
Fat Cat Honey and Tin Whistle Killer
Bee. At six per cent alcohol, Faceplant
can be described as a strong porter and,
like all the beer from the Nelson
Brewing Co., it is certified organic,
brewmaster Mike Kelly said.
LDB figures show that
B.C. craft brewers - excluding the
majors Labatt, Molson, Sleeman's (Okanagan
Spring) and Pacific Brewing - account
for three per cent of packaged beer
sales over the year, rising to 3.5 per
cent over the holiday season.
More than 20 B.C.
microbreweries currently list with the
LDB and many also sell to private liquor
stores or wholesale directly to licensed
outlets, like Surrey's Russell Brewing,
which is offering a full-bodied 7.3 per
cent winter porter for the season,
available only at restaurants and pubs.
Kelowna's Tree Brewing is offering a
winter duo pack exclusively through
Liquor Depot in B.C. and Alberta and a
combination eight-pack through liquor
stores and cold beer and wine stores.
Brewpubs also offer
seasonal beers which are available only
on the premises such as brewmaster
Conrad Gmoser's nine per cent Blitzen
Christmas Ale currently on tap at
Steamworks in Gastown. One Vancouver
event where consumers can sample a range
of seasonal winter beers from local
craft brewers is the CAMRA Christmas
Caskival on Dec. 15 at Dix Barbecue and
Brewing on Beattie Street.
lovers face higher prices as hops
November 1, 2007
A worldwide shortage of hops — a key
beer-making ingredient — could have a
big effect on the taste of specialty
brews and force smaller microbreweries
to hike the price of their products. The
shortage can be blamed on a perfect
storm of events — bad weather in
hop-growing areas of the United States,
Europe and Australia and a depressed
Brian Titus, president of Halifax's
Garrison Brewing Company, said his
brewmaster isn't sure he'll be able to
make some of his beers in the new year
because he hasn't been able to find some
varieties of hops at all. "It's
bordering on disastrous actually. If you
don't have hops then you don't have
beer," said Titus.
A decade-long oversupply of hops that
had forced farmers to abandon the crop
is finally gone and harvests were down
this year. In the United States, where
one-fourth of the world's hops are
grown, acreage fell 30 per cent between
1995 and 2006.
Australia endured its worst drought on
record. Hail storms across Europe
damaged crops. Extreme heat in the
western U.S. hurt both yields and
Prices for the remaining supply of hops
have doubled in recent weeks. With the
low American dollar, European and Asian
brewers are snapping up the remaining
worldwide supply of hops.
The shortage has some breweries
rethinking their brews and possibly
changing beer recipes to cut down on the
use of hops. "So maybe you find
something that smells similar but
doesn't have the same taste profile and
it doesn't have the same bitterness,"
Industry analysts speculate the shortage
could force smaller breweries to hike
the price of some beers by as much as 10
per cent. Larger breweries are less
likely to have to raise prices because
they buy in bulk with long-term
contracts. Craft brewers don't have the
means to hedge against rising prices,
like their industrial rivals.
Mallya of United Breweries, considering
listing his international spirits
business in the London Stock Exchange.
October 17, 2007
Mallya, chairman of United Breweries in
India, owner of Kingfisher Airlines, 50
pct strategic stake in US aircraft maker
Epic Aircraft (Oregon) for US $120
million and after buying up Scotch maker
Whyte & Mackay (W&M) for more than half
a billion dollars is considering listing
his international spirits business in
the London Stock Exchange. He said that
a London listing would make it easier to
raise capital to fund international
deals. He wants to import W&M's brands
into India as well as to China. There is
strong demand worldwide and strong
growing demand within India.
fourth largest producer of Scotch whisky
in the world after William Grant, Pernod
Ricard and Diageo.
paper, The Daily Telegraph
the London listing is unlikely to take
place until next year once W&M's
operations have been more closely
integrated into the United Spirits'
business. It is also unclear what
valuation Mallya would seek for the
Mallya’s United Spirits Ltd (USL)
has decided to come in with single
malts, Dalmore and Jura, besides
Whyte & Mackay blended Scotch
whisky. USL, India’s biggest and the
world’s third largest spirits
marketer. The government of India
waived countervailing duties on
imported liquor to avoid a dispute
at the World Trade Organization.
Each state was expected to come up
with its own tax structure
is the city that accounts for the
most whisky consumption in the
country. All the international
liquor companies in Mumbay, have cut
their imports drastically since the
state introduced this new duty
structure. In the existing duty
regime, the retail prices of premium
whiskies have gone up by more than
22% in the state that increase
translates into an average retail
price of Rs3,600 for a 750ml bottle
of premium whisky.
International Spirits and Wines
Association of India has requested
the state government to reinstate
the earlier duty of Rs200 per litre
for imported spirits. “Putting the
duty back to the old form will
result in a price reduction of
Rs400-Rs500 per bottle.
Title: Business Profile : Vijay
Date Posted on
Dipsophilia: October 31, 2007
Mallya, buyer of Whyte & Mackay, is
fasting so he celebrated with a
marketing meeting. Rory Ross profiles
the man dubbed the Branson of Bangalore.
Mallya, India’s most charismatic
billionaire hailed the King of Good
Times, celebrated the success of his
£595m bid for Whyte & Mackay Scotch
whisky group in uncharacteristically
low-key fashion: a review of the
company’s branding, followed by a
head-to-head with the Scotch Whisky
have celebrated with a grand party,”
said Mallya, as he headed back to India,
“but I am on my annual fast, so am 'on
the wagon’. I’ve not touched alcohol for
evening in southern India, however, the
wagon will screech to a halt. Mallya –
who finds solace in the teachings of Sri
Ravi Shankar – will be in Sabarimala in
Kerala, where he will join thousands of
pilgrims to walk barefoot six miles and
climb 18 golden steps to pray to the
deity. Then the partying will begin. “I
am carrying sufficient stocks of Dalmore
single malt and Jura single malt to
celebrate adequately tonight,” says
Mallya. “Jura was my father’s favourite
whisky.” In Mumbai, the stock market
couldn’t wait. This week, shares in
Mallya’s United Spirits group jumped
the Branson of Bangalore for his
high-profile, impressive sweep of
interests and soaraway Kingfisher
Airlines, the world’s fastest growing
carrier, Mallya comes on as a warm,
friendly, entertaining soul with a
brilliant memory. He always cuts a dash:
his broad-shouldered frame is topped
with grizzled leonine hair, while he is
perennially blinged up with gold and
diamonds, like a maharaja caricature.
Mallya made his first unsolicited offer
for Whyte & Mackay last May. Why did the
haggling take so long? “They [previous
owners Vivian Imerman and Robert
Tchenguiz] needed to make up their minds
whether to sell,” says Mallya. “That
took a few months. Then the price of
whisky went up. Given Whyte & Mackay’s
huge stocks [independently valued at
£350m-£400m], it was like trying to hit
a moving target. We had to figure out
when to freeze the price. That took
another few months. We then did due
diligence. And then the whisky price
rose. Again.” An informal accord was
reached whereby Imerman and Tchenguiz
would not conduct an auction for Whyte &
Mackay unless Mallya’s bid lapsed. “Ravi
Nedungadi, my CFO, and I conducted the
price negotiations ourselves.”
Mackay, the fourth largest producer of
premium Scotch, is “the last whisky
company big enough to be worth bothering
to acquire”, and accounts for 9pc of the
market. Pre-Whyte & Mackay, Mallya’s
Bangalore-based United Spirits arm was
the world’s third-biggest spirits
company on the strength of distribution
in India and the Middle East. Post-Whyte
& Mackay, his aggregated spirits
portfolios vie with Pernod-Ricard for
the No 2 spot behind Diageo. Mallya
reckons he’ll overtake Pernod-Ricard “in
a few months”. “Our premium whisky
portfolio is growing in excess of 20pc a
now, almost all of Mallya’s whiskies
have been molasses-based spirits
distilled in India. Whyte & Mackay,
however, is the real thing. “Scotch is
Scotch,” beams Mallya. “For whisky
drinkers, it is the ultimate. Within
Whyte & Mackay, we have several brands
at different price points. I was amazed
to see them. They were in India 20 years
ago. I am very excited about relaunching
them. Whyte & Mackay is running well,
and with our vast distribution in India,
we can accelerate that momentum. I’ve
spent today redesigning the brands for
Whyte & Mackay deal puts Mallya in an
interesting position. Scotch is “liquid
gold” in India, but heftily tariffed. To
protect his Indian whisky portfolio,
Mallya has staunchly opposed efforts by
the Scotch Whisky Association to abolish
the tariffs. Now, he finds himself in
both camps. For full article