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The History of Beer In The U.S.

U.S. hop acreage growth driven by new beer flavors

The Pacific Northwest’s hop acreage (Idaho, Oregon and Washington specifically) is growing rapidly, fueled by demand from craft brewers to develop and produce new beer flavors to satisfy the ever evolving tastes of consumers. “There is a massive desire by craft beer drinkers for brewers to come up with unique, hoppy flavors.” Said a sales representative from Hopsteiner, an international hop grower with it’s US hop farms located in Washington. Hop acreage in the Pacific Northwest is expected to increase by 6.4 percent compared to just 1 year ago according to the USDA-NASS. That equates to 54,135 acres if realized and would mean a record high in that region of the US. Idaho, the third largest hops producer in the US, is forecasted to experience the largest growth of the three states with a projected growth of just over 27 percent compared to last year. The record growth will make the United States the largest hop-growing country in the world (by acreage) ahead of even Germany. Source:...

World’s first underwater winery in Croatia

As if you needed another reason to visit Croatia, with its rich, old world history mixed with new world experiences and amazing food, a new experience is coming to the country that will wow you. Edivo Vina, located on the Peljesac peninsula, will soon begin allowing visitors to dive underwater with staff members to their below-sea level winery and underwater storage area. That’s right… you read that right, underwater winery! As if the dive wasn’t cool enough already, visitors will also get an up-close look at the wine-making process and get a chance to swim past a sunken boat as they dive. Sadly not everything can be done underwater, the grapes are still grown above ground and spend the first 3 months of the aging process above ground before being moved to the storage facility underwater for 1 to 2 years in clay jugs. Interestingly, this unique storage method gives the wine a distinct pinewood aroma. The sea also provides natural cooling making it ideal conditions and the complete silence found underwater is actually shown to improve the quality of the wine. If you love wine and you love the sea, this might just be the next stop for you! Source: Refinery29, July...
Gin Distillery Room

Craft distillers exploring new flavors of gin

A few craft distillers are looking into some interesting new methods of producing gin that are leading to new flavor profiles. Barrel aged gins might be the new crazy soon, even though U.S. regulators don’t technically recognize “aged gin” as a spirit type. Producers have gotten creative with their labeling in order to get around the technicality, resorting to calling their new products “barrel rested”, “barrel finished”, or just plain “barreled”. Others have chosen more descriptive terms like “dark” or “rusty”, but at the end of the day it is all just another way of saying that the spirit has been aged in a barrel similar to bourbon or whiskey production. Aging the gin in barrels adds the smoky wood charred notes that consumers have come to love in their whiskey spirits. Some have even taken to calling the new flavor “ginskey”. Whatever designation up on the label, the new spirit sounds like a great combination of traditional gin flavors mixed with the warming smokiness of a barrel aged spirit, and that’s something that we can’t wait to enjoy! Source: Wine Enthusiast Magazine Online, July...
The History of Beer In The U.S.

Beer and the history of America

Most people don’t tie beer back to the founding days of this country and our growth as a nation, but if you look back through history beer has played an integral role in our growth from immigration to urbanization. In the 1800’s more than 1 million German immigrants came to the United States, the majority of which were beer drinkers and made a major impact on the type of beer that consumers requested influencing the producers to adjust their offerings. They also brought with them new brewing methods, new brewing yeast and introduced the lager to American society. Another interesting note is that in some respects the beer industry has come full circle. In the early days beer was produced in small batches at homebrews. There were typically multiple homebrews in every major city. As industrialization took over in the 20th century large breweries became the norm producing alcoholic beverages for most of the country, but now with the surge in craft beers the trend of the small local brewery that services a city or small region has returned and brought with it more variety and flavors than ever before. Cheers! Source: NPR, July...

Winemakers looking to lighter wines

Lighter wines with lower alcohol content have been rising in popularity in recent years. For a long time the traditional bold, high alcohol content wines dominated the wine market but that trend has been slowly shifting as a new generation of wine drinkers is looking for more diversity in their wine selections. One major factor considered by millennials now is flavor, and lighter wines tend to allow more of the wines flavor to come through compared to the traditional wine selections. Alcohol wine content can vary from as low as 5 percent all the way up to 16 percent. This is primarily dependent on the ripeness of the grapes when they are harvested. The industry trend over the past 25 years was to produce wines trending towards higher alcohol content. Today the trend is swinging back which means that winemakers will need to begin harvesting their grapes earlier in Fall. Since the grapes are pulled earlier the amount of sugar is lower and the acidity slightly higher. Once fermented these wines with lower alcohol content tend to have more natural sweetness due to the unfermented sugars turning into residual sugar in the final product. The most popular of the lighter wines has been the Riesling, which has always been popular but has recently seen a spike in volume sales. Source: Durango Herald, July...

The global liquor industry continues surge in M&A’s

The premium liquor market has seen a steady increase in mergers and acquisitions recently, a trend that is expected to continue according to industry experts. Potential buyers see opportunities for sales growth. One of the fastest growing segments, premium tequila just witnessed one of the largest sales in recent history. The Casamigos brand sold for a higher price than analysts had predicted at a price of $700 million up front with $300 million in incentives based on performance over the next 10 years by brand giant Diageo. Even though the price was higher than expected, the sale came as no surprised to analysts who have indicated that the growth in the U.S. tequila market has been almost exclusively aimed in the super premium segment. Global sales of tequila have now reached 292 million liters in 2016 and are projected to continue to grow to over 335 million liters over the next 5 years. Interestingly, the U.S. accounts for roughly half of global sales volume for tequila and the growth rate here in the U.S. has exceeded the rest of the world by over 2.5 percent (8.6% vs. 6% respectively). The spirits market as a whole has been shifting its focus to the higher tiers of spirits in recent years where margins tend to be greater and there are a limited number of major players to compete against. Source: BeverageDaily, July...

Canadian wines growing in popularity in the U.S.

Most Americans think of Canadian exports being primarily maple syrup or poutine but Canada has steadily been growing its exports of white wines to the U.S. this decade. From 2011 to 2015 alone exports of Canadian white wine have more than tripled. Canadian white wine is known for being dryer than your typical white wine. The Ontario region dominates the Canadian wine scene. The quality and dryness of the wine is derived from the limestone soil in the region, Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment. The Escarpment, a unique feature left from the last ice age, traps the moderating effect of the lake, preventing its influence from diffusing over a wider area which makes it the perfect terrain for producing some of the classic white wines such as Chardonnay, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Cabernet Franc. Next time you order a white wine for dinner, try a Canadian vintage, you just might find that they are as good at wine as maple syrup. Source: Beverage Media Group, July...
The History of Beer In The U.S.

Beer for brunch trend picking up steam

Brewers are working with restaurants and other breakfast/brunch locations to expand beer options to their consumers. New beer cocktails and flavored drinks called “brewmosas” and “micheladas” are catching on. Breweries are also helping by introducing morning-friendly beer options and hosting brunches to encourage people to consider beer at a time that many haven’t previously. Restaurants are also finding that beer on their morning cocktail menus appeals to the diner and brunch crowd who are looking for new and unique flavor pairings or prefer a lower alcohol content option than the traditional vodka or champagne based drinks typically served in the morning hours. Six in ten Americans are considered “likely” to drink alcohol with their weekend brunch and 21 percent say they drink beer at brunch, according to a Nielsen report, so the market is there. Beer and Belgian waffles or ale and eggs could be a new pairing at your local brunch spot soon. Source: WSJ, June...

The margarita keeps its top spot as America’s favorite cocktail

According to the latest Nielsen CGA survey, the margarita is the number 1 favorite cocktail for both males and females in on premise drinking occasions. Nielsen launched their CGA’s OPUS (On Premise User Survey) in May of 2016 to gather data on consumer drinking habits and demographics for on premise retail locations throughout the country. For the second year in a row margaritas remained America’s favorite cocktail. An interesting fact was brought up by Scott Elliott, SVP at Nielsen, “We know that 25 percent of on premise visitors don’t know what category they’re going to drink before entering an outlet.” Cocktails remain a great way to both maximize revenue for retailers as well as enhance the experience of the consumers. The research suggested that the following changes would be helpful to improving those experiences: specifically name drink brands as cocktail components, be explicit with liquor bases and especially the flavor profile and lastly to differentiate cocktails between day/night drinks and occasion/specialty drinks by introducing specific offers and promotions. Source: Nielsen CGA, June...

Nielsen Spirits Update

The latest June numbers were recently released by Nielsen. Distilled spirits dollar sales were up by 2.8 percent in the most recent 4 week period, just below the 3.8 percent growth seen over the last 3 months. In the brown spirits, bourbon, Canadian whiskey and Irish whiskey outperformed the total category, while in the white spirits only tequila outperformed the total category. Distilled spirits volumes were up 1.6 percent, also just slightly below the expected growth rate of 3.8 percent seen over the last 3 months. Volumes were up 1.6 percent. Brown spirits remained strong with Irish whiskey showing the greatest volume growth of 12 percent. Tequila, a white spirit, showed volume growth of 6.6 percent. A few categories ended the month slightly down, sales for rum, gin and blended whiskey all slightly underperformed the total category. Overall the spirits industry remains a strong category in both in the U.S. and globally and continues to stand up well to the recent consolidation trend. Source: Cowen and Company, July...