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AUGUST 2008 www.binonline.



S E R V I N G C A L I F O R N I A’ S B E E R / W I N E / S P I R I T S I N D U S T R Y S I N C E 1 9 3 4

The East’s Feast for the Senses
Brazil's Hottest Import



Inside 20

By Alan Forester, CPA, Attorney


Finest Call is Off to The Races
6 INDUSTRY NEWS with Jose Ancona!



Proximo Spirits is not just another
spirits company…it’s a power-
house with its eye on talent and
the future, especially when it
12 comes to fine tequila.
WWW.ABCLAWYER.COM 1-877-LIQUOR-8 Beverage Industry News

Southern California
Underage drinking in the United States has reached epidemic proportions. In
Business, Production and Editorial Office
response, the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) recently joined the National 160 W. Foothill Parkway, Suite 105-95
Corona, CA 92882
Liquor Law Enforcement Association (NLLEA) in its effort to get communities across 951 272-4681 Fax 951 272-4816
the country to participate in Operation Save a Teen during the month of May. In the PRESIDENT
month of May, NLLEA officers focused on underage drinking enforcement and preven- Michael Chu
tion, with a goal to save one teen at a time, one incident at a time and one day or night
at a time. During 2006, 222 persons under the age of 21 died in alcohol-related crash- Kim Brandi
es in California. 626 377-2510
A variety of statistics indicate that underage drinking in the United States is reach-
ing a critical level. For example, in 2005, about 10.8 million persons aged 12-20 (28% Juan Alverez
of the age group) reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Nearly 7.2 million Kristen Wolfe Bieler
Dale DeGroff
(18.8%) were binge drinkers, and 2.3 million (6%) were heavy drinkers. Data provid-
Jeffery Lindenmuth
ed by the Monitoring the Future survey indicate that 75% of students have consumed Ed McCarthy
alcohol beyond just a few sips, 40% of students have consumed alcohol by the 8th Gregg Glaser
Wilfred Wong
grade and more than half (58%) of the 12th graders report having been drunk at least
once in their life. From the same survey, 20% of the 8th grade students report having EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Victoria Vann
been drunk at least once in their life. 951-272-4681
Statistics like those above are worrisome, as underage drinking is a causal factor
in a host of health, social, and economic problems. Some of these problems include
Sherman Callahan
death, traumatic injury, violent and property crime, high risk sex, fetal alcohol syn- 951-272-4681
drome, alcohol poisoning, and need for treatment for alcohol abuse and dependence.
In 2005, these problems caused by underage drinking cost American citizens approx- Northern California Office
Industry Publications Inc.
imately $60 billion dollars. In 2005, underage drinkers consumed 15.0% of all alcohol 171 Mayhew Way, Suite 202
sold in the United States, totaling $19.8 billion in sales. In contrast, only $2.8 billion Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
925 932-4999 Fax 925 932-4966
of federal resources was available for combating underage drinking in the United
States, through programs such as the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Program David L. Page
administered by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Penalties for engaging in underage drinking activities can be harsh. In California,
Elyse Glickman
attempting to purchase alcohol while underage carries a penalty of a maximum $100 310 497-7157
fine and/or 24-32 hours of community service, in addition to a one-year suspension of
their driver’s license. If they do not yet have their driver’s license, they will be barred Manfred Schaffler
from getting it for an extra year. Someone who is underage and is caught in posses- ACCOUNTING
Industry Publications
sion of alcohol or is purchasing alcohol will be fined $250 and will be required to per- Debi Hull
form 24-32 hours of community service, on top of the one-year suspension or delay
BIN Beverage Industry News USPS 053-880,
of obtaining a driver’s license. If underage and caught driving after having even a sip ISSN 1054-0423. Is published monthly by Industry Publications,
of alcohol, they will be given a one to three-year suspension of their driver’s license. Inc., except combined in May/June and December/January.

Refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test is an admission of guilt to driving under the 171 Mayhew Way, Suite 202, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523.
Subscriptions are $48 per year (tax included),
Alan Forester is an attorney, CPA and an expert witness in Alcoholic Beverage single copies are $12.00 each. Periodicals postage paid at
Control Law. For more information, please visit or call 877- Pleasant Hill, California, and additional mailing offices.

LIQUOR-8 (877-547-8678). ■
Disclaimer: This article is not to be construed as legal advice. Please check with an BIN Beverage Industry News
171 Mayhew, Suite 202
attorney before taking action. Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

2 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7

4 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7
BEVERAGE INDUSTRY NEWS We regret to inform you that Tom Shelton, the former president of Joseph Phelps Vineyards,
died on Saturday, July 26, after a long battle with brain cancer. He was 55.

Shelton joined Phelps in 1992 as vice president of sales and was promoted to president
in 1995, a position he held for 13 years. He was also a spokesperson for the Napa
Valley Vintners, which worked to protect Napa Valley producers and to develop less restric-
tive direct-to-consumer shipping laws.
A statement released by the Shelton family said: "Tom was a wonderful husband, a lov-
ing father, and a great friend who will be missed very much. We are all so blessed to be
touched and inspired by such a caring and outgoing individual."


Research from the Nielsen company and Bevinco indicates that fewer consumers are drinking
at bars, restaurants and nightclubs and that on-premise sales of alcoholic beverages have been
"considerably impacted" by the declining economy.
LESS CONSUMER TRAFFIC. More than 40% of bar managers, bar owners, and bar-
tenders surveyed say they have seen a decrease in consumer traffic, while 25% note a
decrease in the number of drinks ordered and 22% say that customers are ordering less expen-
sive drinks. The casual dining sector appears to be the hardest hit, with 46% of respondents
in this area reporting a decline.
Consumers say they are cutting back too. About 66% of fine dining patrons admit they are
going out less often compared to a year ago, while 65% of nightclub patrons, 55% of bar
patrons, 59% of casino and resort patrons and 52% of casual dining visitors said the same thing.
On-premise venues on the East and West coasts report the greatest declines, with owners
and operators in California and Florida citing significant decreases in consumer traffic: 55%
and 52% respectively. Slightly more than half of Texas operators report a decrease in consumer
traffic, while nearly one-third see patrons ordering less expensive drinks. In addition, 43% of
Florida operators say they've experienced a decrease in the number of drinks ordered. Just one-
third of establishments in Florida and California claim no impact overall.
BEER FAIRS THE BEST. According to Nielsen and Bevinco's research, beer sales are affect-
ed the least by the economic downturn, with wine sales showing the most impact. Nearly half
of people surveyed rated beer as having the "best" sales trend of the three categories, followed
by spirits at 40%, while only 11% cited wine as having the best sales trend of the three.
Go online and discover a "Wine is more likely to be consumed in dining establishments, which have been more heav-
wealth of resources at your ily impacted by the economy than bars or nightclubs," said Nielsen VP Danny Brager. "At the
same time, beer and spirit companies vigorously market their product to bartenders, likely result-
fingertips. ing in greater 'share of mind' compared to wine among servers and bartenders."
SEEKING CHEAPER ALTERNATIVES. Fourteen percent of operators report customers are
• CURRENT ISSUE ordering more well or house drinks, while 13% report greater sales of beer "on draft" rather
than in bottles. Wine drinkers are increasingly opting for house varieties more often than
before, according to 9% of operators surveyed.
ONLINE 6 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7
Patron Spirits Company Kicked-off their Ultimat Vodka. Ultimate, in a beautiful hand blown crystal
decanter, is Polish vodka distilled from wheat, rye and potatoes.The event was held at the Blackhawk
Car Museum in San Ramon with Southern.

Pictured LTR: Steve Lee-V.P. Off-premise, SW&S, Steven Burrows-V.P. Sales & Mkt for spirits, SW&S, Steve Mabry-
Dir. Of Spirits Mkt, SW&S, Marc Smith-Patron V.P., Western Region, Steve Harden-V.P. Gen Mgr. NO. CA., SW&S, Bill
Santos-State Mgr. CA., Patron Spirits, Jim Andrus-V.P Central Valley, SW&S, Bob Klatt-V.P. On-premise, SW&S, John
Palatella-National Sales Mgr., Patron Spirits


Prairie Organic Vodka received an enormously positive response and proved to be a shining star at
the 2008 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, a top-notch epicurean event. The Prairie booth poured
36 bottles total while featuring a brand new, signature drink–Prairie Bootleg, a refreshing mix of
lemon, lime, mint, sugar, sparkling water and Prairie.

1 oz Prairie Organic Vodka
1 oz bootleg mix (see below)
Top off with sparkling water and stir
Bootleg Mix: In a blender combine the following (use organic ingredients if possible): 12 oz frozen
lemonade, 6 oz frozen limeade, 1/2 cup finely minced, fresh organic mint leaves, 1/2 cup sim-
ple syrup. Blend together, place in bottle or pitcher and let sit in fridge for an hour or two. Stir or
shake before serving. Makes 20 ounces, or approximately 20 servings.

Dean Phillips with other Aspen Classic attendees

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From Southern
Hospitality to
Liquid Enlightenment
Planning ahead for next summer? Here are some
reasons why Tales of the Cocktail 2009 and New
Orleans should be inked into your calendar.
Tales of the Cocktail Spirit Awardst, July 19 in New Orleans. There are many great “food towns” in America, but there is nothing
quite like New Orleans. Likewise, there are many bar and restaurant
shows, but nothing quite like Tales of the Cocktail. Though summer
had never been an obvious time to travel to New Orleans, the inno-
vative Ann Rogers-Tuennerman forged a unique way to celebrate
her hometown’s passion for spirits that was both in keeping with
New Orleans’ innovative culinary legacy and its international char-
acter (with people of English, French, Italian, Spanish, Mexican,
Vietnamese and other ancestries calling the city home).
While many brands will be putting on a show at Tales of the
Cocktail 2009 as they did during this year’s event as well as in trade
shows in other parts of the country, it is important to note there’s
more to this “show” than product placement. Indeed, what you’ll
get, in addition to tasting stations, are some inspiring ideas from
the production of fine spirits to their distribution to the seemingly
Pernod Ricard USA launched Ann R. Tuennerman, endless ways they can be spun off into cocktails. It’s also a rare
Pernod Absinthe with traditional fountains. Founder-Tales of the Cocktail
time where one can see the world’s most innovative mixologists,
bar chefs and producers in one place doing what they do best, in
every format from informative seminars to exclusive tasting din-
ners to competitions involving “Food Network”-style showman-
ship and panache to after-hours bartending blow-outs.
In fact, thanks to Tuennerman’s careful and inventive plan-
ning, Tales of the Cocktail lives up to its name by being the
“Sundance” for the Cocktails and Spirits world. Just like Robert
Redford’s independent film festival, established A-listers of the
spirits world mix freely with independent artisans seeking to net-
work with top brass. Superstars of mixology such as Dale DeGroff,
Tony Abou-Ganim and Tad Carducci let seminar attendees in on
their behind-the-bar secrets while our own Juan Alvarez
Desmond Payne, Master Distiller for Beefeater London Dry Gin, accepts a key to the City of (Southern California President of the U.S. Bartender’s Guild)
New Orleans from Ernest Collins, Executive Cabinet Member and Arts & Tourism Executive competed in the highly inventive Ultimate Bloody Mary
Director while Tales of the Cocktail's Dale DeGroff looks on.
Championships presented by Louisiana Cookin’ magazine,, Uluvka Vodka, Tabasco and the United
States Bartenders Guild.
Riedel Crystal, a favorite amongst bar patrons and owners
alike, was once again a sold-out favorite seminar, and the glam-
orous Charlotte Voisey (one of the award-winners at the 2007
Tales of the Cocktail) returned to show being a mixologist (does
anybody use the term “bartender” anymore?) is not exclusively a
men’s métier. In fact, there were many internationally acclaimed
lady bar chefs showing the crowds how to get the job done right,
during the various seminars and demonstrations, including New
York’s Aisha Sharpe, Las Vegas’ Patricia Richards and Chicago-
12 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7

Jamie Terrel, Sagatiba Cachaça and Enrico Caruso,

Kim Brandi, Beverage Industry News President 4 Copas USA
Crawfish Ravioli Lüke Alt
Bacco, New Orleans Lüke, New Orleans
based Bridget Albert. It was the perfect place for established indie-
spirit stars like Allison Evanow (founder of San Francisco-based
Square One Organic Spirits) to mix with the maverick ladies
behind LOFT Organic Liqueurs, and for all attendees to learn why
organic spirits are here to stay.
Of course, to really get the full Tales experience, you need to
take a break every so often and explore other corners of the city.
Though it is most practical for highly involved Tales participants to
stay at the historic Hotel Monteleone, those who want to take a
periodic breather from the action will appreciate there are many
other hotels within walking distance from the Tales festivities…not
to mention some outstanding cocktails and mixologists.
If you like your lodging elegant and traditional, the Omni
Royal Orleans is ideal. Though it is a newer lodging in the French
Quarter (opened in 1960), it is modeled after an earlier historic The Loatini Absinthe and Old Lace
hotel built on that same site and just steps away from pretty much
everything you would want to see and experience in the Quarter
(including some of the best restaurants such as K-Paul’s, Brennan’s,
NOLA and Antoine’s). The bar in their acclaimed Rib Room is
Omni Royal Orleans Classics Loa at the International House
the home of their legendary “Washbucket Martini” as well as their
heady versions of classic Bloody Marys and Sazerac cocktails. Their RIB ROOM SAZERAC LOATINI
1 1/2 oz. of Rye Whiskey 1.5 oz. Absolut Kurant
rooftop pool and health club, meanwhile, are wonderfully scenic Splash of Simple Syrup 0.5 oz. orange juice
spots to work off the sins from the night before. 2 dashes of Peychaud bitters 0.5 oz. pineapple juice
The International House, meanwhile, is New Orleans seen 1 tsp of Richard 1.0 oz. prosecco
through the lens of LM Pagano, the favorite interior designer of 1 lemon peel
Combine first three ingredients into a
Nicholas Cage and Johnny Depp. This ultra-modern hotel, a cou- In a cocktail shaker combine ice, Rye mixing glass. Add ice and shake.
ple of short blocks from both the Quarter and an evolving down- whiskey, simple syrup, bitters and Strain ingredients into a chilled martini
town, soothes tired revelers and travelers with its glam Hollywood Richard. Shake vigoursly, and strain into a glass and top off with prosecco.
rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon peel. Garnish with and edible flower.
Regency-style lobby, subtly seductive electronica and old school
This drink is to be served straight up.
tracks, lounge and comfy minimalist rooms (outfitted with Aveda DOUBLE DOWN
amenities). The cocktail menu of the IH’s Loa Bar captures the OMNI’S CLASSIC BLOODY MARY 1.5 oz. Ten Cane Rum
hotel’s old-meets-new spirit in liquid form. 2 oz. vodka 0.25 oz. marschino liquor
In terms of nourishment, the possibilities are endless…after Zing Zang Bloody Mary mix 1oz. lime juice
Black Pepper 0.75 oz. simple syrup
all, this is the place Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse and John
Tabasco sauce 2 dashes angostura bitters
Besh hang their toques. While it is safe to say there are many Worchestershire sauce
places where you can experience New Orleans’ storied culinary Combine all ingredients in a mixing
glass. Add ice and shake. Strain ingre-
past, it is worth your time to venture into the city’s culinary future. Spiced green beans
dients into a chilled martini glass and
Our favorite picks for this are Bacco, a Brennan’s restaurant where Lemon and lime
garnish with a flamed orange zest.
classic Italian recipes get turned up a notch with some Southern Fill a tall glass with ice. Add vodka, and
influences and Luke, one of John Besh’s newer establishments. Bloody Mary mix, add dash of black ABSINTHE AND OLD LACE
While Bacco’s must-tries include the lobster and crawfish ravioli pepper and worshtishire. Add Tabasco 1.5 oz. Belvedere Vodka
to desired spiciness. Stir to combine all 1.5 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liquor
and exceptionally executed steaks, Luke marries together a classic ingredients then garnish with olives, 5 drops of Kubler Absinthe
French-German menu with locally sourced market-fresh ingredi- spiced beans and a squeeze of lemon
Combine Belvedere and St. Germain in
ents and artisan beers. Yes, and the cocktails at both places are ter- and lime.
a mixing glass. Add ice and shake.
rific, too. For more information about Tales of the Cocktail, visit Strain into a chilled martini glass and top ■ off with the 5 drops of Kubler Absinthe.

Cachaça-ing the Dream

A unique mixology competition reveals Leblon
Cachaça to be a spirit truly international in scope.

id it make sense for Leblon Cachaça, a hot Brazilian spir-
it, to host a bartending competition at Kado (a sushi bar)
at The Grove (one of Los Angeles’ top drawing tourist
Sharelle Walker - Runner Up, Tim Jones of Leblon destinations)? Absolutely!
Cachaça, and Juan Alvarez - 2008 Leblon While the recent mixology event proved to be a great show-
Competition Winner
case for maverick bartenders to strut their stuff--from seasoned vet-
Juan Alvarez - First Place Peach Basket erans to bright young things--it was also the perfect means to
showcase the details that makes this brand stand out from other
cachaças on the market. The raw materials for Leblon Cachaça
are sourced in the heart of Brazil’s cachaça country, with the sugar
cane harvested from Maison Leblon in the fertile Minas Gerais
region. At the distillery, master distiller Gilles Merlet, who hails
from a long line of cognac distillers in France, oversees production
on site and (not surprisingly) approaches the fermentation, distil-
lation, and finishing of Cachaça like a fine wine. Using techniques
from his native land of France, Gilles supervises every detail of pro-
duction, from hand-selection of the cane and his pro-
prietary fermentation approach, to the Alambique
batch-distillation and light-casking, triple-filtering,
and master-blending. Gilles situates the final distil-
late in XO Cognac casks from France, giving Leblon
its trademark delicate, fruity nose and velvety finish.
Sharelle Walker -2nd Place Black Magic
According to Tim Jones, Leblon’s Vice President
of Sales, this competition and other similar events in
Los Angeles presented the brand with a prime oppor-
tunity to educate local bartenders and restaurateurs
on ways to embrace the culinary aspects of cock-
tail culture as mixologists in San Francisco and
New York’s markets have. Though Leblon
does well in volume in Los Angeles, Jones says
he is hoping the involvement of creative bar-
tenders in contests like the one at Kado will
send a message throughout the Southern
California spirits community---that bars and
restaurants should take on a more culinary
approach to Leblon’s usage.
Most consumers and beverage indus-
Jose Ancona - 3rd Place Mangorini try insiders by now
are familiar with the
Caipirinha, Brazil’s
national cocktail.
Though it is as famil-
iar a cocktail on
menus across the
country and the world
as margaritas and
mojitos, Jones and

14 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7
regional sales manager Mylene Primard explained it was the task of
the 14 competitors at Kado to show a local audience that Cachaça
has an astonishing versatility. This proved to be true as one
Leblon-based drink seemed to be better than the next with every
contestant’s entry. The competition was keen, as it took a while to
determine the winners.
Once the votes from the judges were tallied, Juan Alvarez,
Southern California branch President of the United States
Bartender’s Guild and owner of Sunset Beach-based J. King Leblon Flag Flying At Maison Leblon Distillery
Neptune’s took first place with his fresh and fruity Peach Basket,
with Leblon highlighting his mix of tropical, citrus and stone fruits. Frutosa Prado - 4th place Summer Breeze
Sharelle Walker came in second place, thanks to her Black Magic
cocktail, where Leblon’s natural aromas and flavors enhanced her
provocative blend of fresh blackberries and kiwi fruit.
Rounding out the top five was Hollywood Park & Santa Anita
Racetracks’ Juan Ancona with his juicy Mangorini, The Beverly
Hilton’s Frustosa Prado’s Summer Breeze and Keith Humphreys
(Alvarez’s barmate at J. King Neptune’s) with his WaterApple. ■

PEACH BASKET by Juan Alvarez BLACK MAGIC by Sharelle Walker

4 chunks of Pineapple 1 oz. Leblon
4 chunks of Ginger 1 oz. Pama Pomegranate Liqueur
A couple of mint leaves 3 Blackberries
1 tablespoon sugar 1 Kiwi
1 Apricot (cut into pieces) 1/2 oz. soda
1 Peach (cut into pieces) 1/2 oz. simple syrup
2 Kumquats Keith Humphreys - 5th Place Water Apple
1 1/2 oz. Ginger syrup Muddle Blackberries, kiwi, and sim-
2 oz. Leblon Cachaça ple syrup in a shaker. Add Leblon,
Splash of Soda Pama Liqueur and ice. Shake well,
pour into a rocks glass and add
Step 1: Muddle pineapple, ginger, soda.
mint leaves and 3/4 oz. of ginger MANGORINI by Jose Ancona
syrup. Shake well and strain into a of Hollywood Park &
cocktail shaker. Step 2: Muddle Santa Anita Racetracks
apircot, peach, kumquats, sugar 2 oz. Leblon Cachaça
and 3/4 oz. ginger syrup. Shake 3/4 oz. Mango Syrup
well and strain into a cocktail shak- 2 oz. Mango Puree
er with all of the other ingredients.
Take the shaker with all ingredients SUMMER BREEZE by Frustosa Prado
and add Leblon Cachaça and ice. of the Beverly Hilton Hotel
Shake well and strain into a rocks 1 oz. Alize Red Passion
glass. Top with soda water and 1 oz. Crème de Cacao
garnish with a kumquat. 1/2 oz. Leblon Cachaca
1 oz. Pineapple Juice 2008 Leblon Bartenders Competition
1 oz. Mango Juice
Garnish: Orange slice, mint,

WATER APPLE by Keith Humphreys

of J King Neptune’s
Muddled Watermelon and
1 tsp sugar
1/2 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. Leblon Cachaça
Garnish: sliced Pineapple


Angostura orange bitters has the perfect balance of
depth and vigor, which reflects the heritage of
Angostura aromatic bitters. A harmonious balance
of bitter orange fruit and sun-ripened sweet 1
oranges from the Caribbean bring a depth of
orange flavor. With Angostura's distinctive herbs
and spices, you have the perfect ingredient that
gives cocktails an orange zing. For more info please


With over 100 years of experience growing agave,
the Jaime family out of Arandes, Jalisco, mexico
have introduced a true organic tequila – Zicon
Azul. The 100% agave Gold, is aged for 4 to 6
months in white oak barrels, and packaged in
1 liter bottles. While the Reposado comes in a
hand-blown 750ml bottle and has been rested in 2 3
white oak for 1 1/2 years (which really makes it an
Anejo sold at a reposado level). The Anejo is
scheduled to be released by the end of this year.
Contact Dean Sullivan at 541.680.6677.


Line Of Cocktail Mixes under Major Peters and
Jero national brands. Perfect for full line liquor dis-
tributor, bar/restaurants that serve quality cocktails,
and liquor or food retailers that want to stock the
very best. PRODUCT LINE-UP: Full line of
Bloody Mary mixes including Original, Hot &
Spicy and The Works. BAR BASICS INCLUDE:
Lime, Grenadine, Sweet & Sour, Triple Sec,
Cherry Bar Mix and Bar Syrup. FLAVORS
INCLUDE: Pina Colada, Strawberry Margarita/
Daiquiri, Margarita Mai Tai and Mojito.
Manhattan, Lemosa and Limosa.

4 HENNESSY Announces Limited Edition

Hennessy X.O 888 Gift Box Hennessy has
released a limited-edition Hennessy X.O. 888 Gift
Box, featuring one Hennessy X.O. 750 mL bottle
and two Hennessy Baccarat designed glasses in a
decorative gift box. The gift box will be available
in celebration of August 8, 2008, the Opening of 4
the Beijing Olympics in China. The number eight
holds cultural significance in Asia, as a number of
good fortune and wealth. The red and gold gift box
will include text in both English and Chinese.
Suggested retail price is $160.

16 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7
18 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7

Proximo Spirits is not just another spirits company…

it’s a powerhouse with its eye on talent and the future,
especially when it comes to fine tequila

Like other industries built around lifestyle, a spir- LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE
its company has to be up on the next big thing The newly formed spirits company, with Mark
that will keep trendsetters and their followers Teasdale as President, Ed Manning and Mike
interested and alert to succeed in the indus- Peterson heading up sales and Elwyn
try. The fittingly-monikered Proximo Gladstone heading up marketing is bol-
Spirits is keenly aware of consumer and stered by the fact that its founders and top
trade demand for everything new and brass have been around the block a few
why it is so critical to keep a pulse on times in terms of bringing the next big
brands that are poised for being this thing in vodkas, rums, tequilas and other
year’s (or next year’s) breakthrough top shelf spirits to life.
names. However, Proximo’s top brass are plac-
“Proximo means “next” in Spanish, ing their bets on ultra-premium tequila,
and it is quite fitting. The company has with Gran Centenario and 1800 Tequila
four core brands within its portfolio and currently anchoring the portfolio. Proximo
intends to continue to build it through gained the marketing rights to 1800 and
further acquisition and organic develop- Gran Centenario after the brand owner did
ment of new brands in fast growing not renew its former deal with Skyy Spirits.
super-premium spirit categories. The com- From this point, the company is now focusing
pany logo represents a drop of spirit made on implementing this with a stellar supporting
up of eight different parts – each part repre- cast of fine boutique spirits.
senting one of the current or future brands that “Proximo Spirits intends to accelerate the vol-
the company will distribute.” ume and profit growth of a high profile portfolio of
20 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7
super-premium brands through focused consumer brand premise clients to deliver the products and service that will
building,” affirms Teasdale. “It makes perfect sense as help grow their stable of brands.
tequila is one of the most compelling and fastest growing Proximo’s tequila portfolio is diverse as are the mem-
categories in spirits, and has such a broad appeal.” bers of the sales and marketing team. However, in terms
Though Proximo is new on the scene and has the kind of the tequila making process, the company upholds
of portfolio that gives it the look and feel of a “boutique” straight-forward high standards all of the brands must
operation from an industry perspective, Gladstone points meet, even before they hit store and bar shelves. All tequi-
out that even with the company’s size and the status of the las they represent are 100% Agave and harvested from
brands in the portfolio, it is actually thinking “big” both in family-owned agave fields so they are able to control
terms of what’s already inside the portfolio and what the every part of the production process. While the various
future holds. tequilas employ an incredible mix of great traditional pro-
”I think the word ‘Boutique’ is not quite accurate,” says duction methods (ranging from small French-made copper
Gladstone. “We aim to become a very significant player pot stills to adobe clay ovens, French and American oak
in a relatively short space of time. Where ‘boutique’ does barrels), they have a technical team consisting of the best
apply, however, is in the fact that our team has the ability and brightest in the industry who are constantly developing
to develop, market and sell some extremely high quality, new technology to improve quality, efficiency, sustainabili-
high value brands that might be considered “boutique” at ty and make sure our consumers get the best tasting tequi-
least, at the outset. As we have scouted brands for our port- las on the market.
folio, we quickly realized that the main growth of the The technical team also focuses on the aging process of
Tequila market is within the super-premium and ultra-premi- the different tequilas. This involves having an efficient bar-
um arena ($20+). For this reason, we’ve put our focus rel management system and experimenting with new types
100% of our resources and marketing spend in this very of barrels and new maturation programs. “Great tequila
profitable segment. In addition, because we are a family starts in the agave fields, just like great wine starts in the
owned supplier, we control all of our production – includ-
ing the production of agave.”

“Everything we do with our tequila brands has to have an
exceptional point of difference – and to be the best in
class,” insists Gladstone. “We look at all luxury categories
– not just spirits – and look and learn about how to be dif-
ferent and give consumers an overwhelming reason to pur-
chase. We aim to keep on generating category firsts, be
it our new 100 Proof Silver Tequila, 1800 Select Silver or
Maestro Dobel – the world’s first aged tequila (a blend of
Extra-Anejo, Anejo and Reposado) that is crystal clear.”
The Proximo team members are seasoned profession-
als with strong backgrounds in managing and revitalizing
large established brands as well as developing newer,
smaller brands into large scale opportunities. The Proximo
field sales organization led by Ed Manning, Western Zone
Senior Vice President, is based in California. Garrett Yee,
meanwhile, heads up the Western Sales region. The com-
pany is also committed to becoming a preferred partner to
distributors, control state brokers, retail customers and on-
vineyards,” affirms Gladstone. “We are distinctive in that
we have total control of every stage of quality control.
This practice is unique within the spirits industry, especial-
ly when you consider that whisky distillers don’t own their
own corn fields, rum distillers don’t own their own cane
fields and vodka producers typically don’t produce wheat
or potatoes. The way we approach the process for each
brand is part of what makes our organization so special.”


While Proximo is grooming the small artisan tequila
brands for stardom, 1800 Tequila and Gran Cententario
stand as the company’s headliners as they both unite the
best of both worlds—recognizable and established names
with an artisan/boutique sensibility via packaging, pro-
motion and quality spirits inside. Effectively these brands,
along with their cache, reputation and popularity are
excellent ambassadors serving all members of Proximo’s
family. 1800 Tequila, marketed as the original “luxury”
tequila, is currently a top-five Tequila brand in the U.S, as
well as the winner of numerous awards for both its quality
and its sales. In April 2008, to maintain their unique ated advertising and new, luxurious offerings such as the
cache, Proximo Spirits launched 1800 Select Silver, the aforementioned 1800 Collecion (Extra-Anejo which retails
world’s first 100% Agave, 100 Proof Silver Tequila. By for $1,800 per bottle) and new limited editions Essential
late 2008 and into 2009, 1800 Tequila will launch a $10 1800 Artists bottles (which can be viewed at
million advertising and promotional campaign featuring a
striking new advertising campaign, ambitious public rela- “1800 Tequila is an iconic brand,” notes Gladstone.
tions tactics and a huge national sampling effort. The focus “It is one of the few brands in the world that is represent-
for the brand will be two-fold--driving the Margarita busi- ed with a number (named after the year in which we first
ness with Silver and Reposado through the “Ultimate started maturing 1800 Tequila). The distinct packaging
Margarita” programs and building 1800 Silver and Select makes it instantly recognizable, and the stopper that dou-
Silver into the “Ultimate Shot.” Enhancing the perception bles up as a shot glass makes the design a true classic.
of the 1800 brand will come through this highly differenti- 1800 offers incredible depth within the range.”
1800 Tequila Silver is super-smooth, crystal clear and
ideal as a shot. Blind tasting of this tequila against high-
er priced products, meanwhile, will show that the quality
is in the bottle as well as in the packaging. The 100 Proof
Select Silver is a phenomenal product which allows the
tequila connoisseur to truly appreciate the incredible fla-
vors that the distillers are able to capture from agave in
their purest form. The 1800 Tequila Reposado is the per-
fect foundation for cocktails, especially in a margarita.
1800 Tequila Anejo has a perfect balanced rich, smooth,
spicy and very complex flavor and aroma, and is cited by
Gladstone as “the ultimate sipping Tequila.”
As one would expect, 1800 Tequila also has a luxury
limited edition offering, the 1800 Collecion, a small run of
100 bottles commissioned every year. The collecion liquid
is Extra-Anejo, said to be one of the finest tequilas on the
22 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7

market, with a high price tag reflects “the incredible rarity

and craftsmanship that went into making it,” says
Gran Centenario, meanwhile, represents what
Gladstone and the Proximo team consider to be the best
tasting tequila in America across the entire range from
Silver to Extra-Anejo. The brand is the most-awarded
tequila in the world, and always endeavors to challenge
competing tequila brands through blind tasting. As one
the world’s most awarded tequila brands, Gran
Centenario is said to be the pioneer of tequila innovation
and one of Mexico’s most successful and fastest growing FRESA FRESCA
brands. To keep up that momentum, Gran Centenario has
recently launched a national print advertising campaign
The next brand to bloom in Proximo’s portfolio as of July
as well as a far reaching public relations and sampling
2008, is Maestro Dobel, the world’s first crystal-clear aged
campaign to introduce consumers and bar tenders to the
tequila, which was approached, produced and positioned in
unique qualities of the brand.
the company’s distinctive fashion.
“Gran Centenario is rapidly becoming a cult brand
The idea of the first ‘Diamond Reposado’ tequila was
amongst bar-tenders and tequila connoisseurs, and we
developed while working with the team’s distilling
believe our heavy PR, advertising and aggressive distribu-
Maestros (Marco Anguiano and Luis Yerenas). The result
tion strategy will make this brand get the attention that it
of their efforts was a blend of Reposado, Anejo and Extra-
deserves,” says Gladstone. “This year, the brand released
Anejo tequilas gently filtered to produce a tequila with
Gran Centenario Leyenda, the world’s first “Extra-Anejo”
incredible “Diamond Clarity” and crispness. This purity
Tequila. Naturally, we have plans for a series of new prod-
combined with the complexity derived from the aged tequi-
uct offerings featuring special processes and techniques to
las makes the resulting Maestro Dobel Diamond a different
bolster Gran Centenario’s reputation as an ultimate “con-
kind of tequila.”
noisseur” tequila brand.”
Like the other brands, Maestro Dobel is a hand-crafted
product, in accordance to their across-the-board standards.
The tequila is produced in small batches and aged in new
oak casks from Southern Europe. The agave used is grown
for eight to ten years and then hand selected by their
Jimadors at one of a small number of the family’s best qual-
ity producing ranches. Every bottle is filled and labeled by
hand and individually numbered, revealing key details of
the complex and painstaking production process.

While the focus is definitively on tequilas, Gladstone
believes that its top selling and industry-acclaimed Three
Olives Vodka and Matusalem Rum are strong players in
their overall portfolio as their producers share core values
with the tequila producers—a unique branding niche, inno-
vative marketing and packaging and a strong commitment
to innovation and taking their category to the next level.
Three Olives Vodka now stands as the fastest growing
super-premium Vodka in the United States according to
Nielsen’s report in April 2008. The range, quadruple dis
24 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7
and versatility, Proximo intends to capitalize on this further
via its multi-faceted portfolio. This means more choice and
opportunity for mixologists and bar owners to be more cre-
ative with their tequila and specialty cocktail menus than
ever before.
“As the tequila category expands, we believe that tequi-
la drinks are going to become more and more present on
cocktail menus, and bartenders and mixologists are becom-
ing more and more adventurous in how they use tequila,”
observes Gladstone. “We have a number of projects with
different mixologists to develop new and exciting cocktails
across all our brands.” ■

BA Below is a representation of how Proximo’s family of tequi-
las take the drinking experience and artisan cocktail
tilled in England, includes the award winning 80 proof recipe development process to new heights of artistry and
“Naked” Vodka and fifteen exceptional, naturally infused creativity. The following recipes were created by mixolo-
flavored vodkas. The most successful flavors in the range gist Jim Mehan.
are Cherry and Grape, whose consumption are driven by
the signature cocktails Three-O Cherry Bomb and Three-O FRESA FRESCA
Grape Bomb, a shot of Energy drink and flavored vodka 2 oz Gran Centenario Plata
mixed together and consumed in the brand’s patented .75 oz fresh lime juice
“Bomb Cups.” Three Olives will be launching a $15 .5 oz pomegranate syrup
Million advertising and promotion campaign for 2008/9 2 halved strawberries
featuring striking advertising (billboards, print and online) 1 slice of strawberry for garnish
as well as consumer sampling across the United States. 2 thin slices of green pepper
Additionally, Three Olives recently launched three new Add 2 halved strawberries and 2 slices of green pepper to a mix-
and unconventional flavors – Root Beer, Triple Espresso ing glass; Add the grenadine and muddle; Add the rest of the
and Tomato. ingredients and ice; Shake and double strain into a chilled
coupe; Garnish with a slice of strawberry
Matusalem Rum, meanwhile, is the winner of the 2008
San Francisco Spirits Contest “Best Rum in Show.” While
Matusalem has its roots in Cuba and, having been
2 oz Gran Centenario Plata
expelled by Castro in ’59, Matusalem is now bottled and
.75 oz fresh lime juice
distilled in the Dominican Republic. The range consists of
.5 oz agave nectar
Platino (an aged Silver), Clasico (a 10 year-old Solera
3 sprigs of cilantro
blend) and Gran Reserva (a 15 year-old Solera blend).
2 slices of cucumber
“We have a very successful vodka brand in Three
1 thin slice of jalapeno
Olives and in 10 years, we are quite confident that it will
be a top-5 player,” says Gladstone. “At the rate we are Add the simple syrup and vegetables to a mixing glass and mud-
currently growing, we will be a 1 million case brand in the dle gently; Add the rest of the ingredients and ice; Shake and
next few months. In terms of scale, we are already the strain into a rocks glass filled with ice; Garnish with a sprig of
Number 2 imported flavor brand in Control States. While cilantro
Matusalem has not yet become a major player, we have
some very innovative ideas to take it to the next level that GALLARDO GUADALAJARA
will be out in the open sometime within this year.” 2 oz Gran Centenario Anejo
.5 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth
IN THE MIX .25 oz Kalhua
While tequila’s star is rising among mixologists and desti- Add all of the ingredients to a mixing glass; then add ice Stir and
nation bars nationwide because of its widespread appeal strain into a chilled coupe; Garnish with a twist of orange

26 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7
Aaron Piotter
Ferrari-Carano winemaker

Ferarri-Carano Is Seeing Red

This fall, a stylish new crop of red wines in a variety of hues and nuances
will be delighting discerning aficionados.

The arrival of autumn traditionally marks a return to earthy colors, tex- Bordeau varietals grapes in the blend were great,” Piotter points out.
tures and flavors. In California’s Sonoma County, where Ferarri- “It was easy to create a wine that drew upon all of their strengths to
Carano’s wines originate, and throughout the rest of the state, menus of bring out a stronger, more age-worthy wine.”
fine restaurants and dishes prepared at home will reflect a heartier, rich- Cabernet fans, meanwhile, will embrace the 2005 Ferrari-Carano
er palate combined with seasonal market-fresh vegetables and meats. Cabernet Sauvignon, made up from grapes mountain-grown in
According to red-focused Ferrari-Carano winemaker Aaron Piotter, Alexander Valley that benefit from a warm climate with almost full
new red wine releases hitting the market will compliment both “com- sun throughout the day, ideal conditions for cabernet sauvignon vine-
fort food” and lighter fall fare, as well as stand on their own for sipping. yards, according to Piotter. Ripe black fruit, currants, toffee and
Piotter serves as the mastermind for Ferrari-Carano’s red wines, caramel flavors give this wine a sweet mid-palate, making it an ideal
including the rich, powerful Tresor, the newly-launched PreVail wines, compliment to game and red meats, as well as medium and strong-fla-
Back Forty and West Face – all produced and bottled at the new vored cheeses such as blue cheese or sharp cheddar. Piotter also has
Mountain Winery. Its uniquely-designed grape delivery system allows high hopes for the 2006 Cabernet, also surfacing this season.
for meticulous hand-sorting of grapes for maximum quality control, “The 2006 Cabernet is another nice vintage,” he says. “Though
while incorporating gravity flow delivery to French oak and stainless 2006 wasn’t quite as ideal a growing season as 2005, both Cabernets
steel fermenters. That said, the 2005 growing season’s optimal condi- represent the general direction of where we want to go as a winery.”
tions have added to forecasted success of the releases. The grapes for the 2004 Prevail West Face were grown on the steep
“The excitement lies (within) the fact that we are releasing wines slopes of Ferrari-Carano’s LookOut Mountain located at the junction
from the celebrated 2005 vintage,” says Piotter. “That growing season, of Alexander Valley, Knights Valley and Chalk Hill appellations.
there were no heat spikes, no rain until the first week in November While the site is visually spectacular, what one cannot see is the equal-
and consistent growing conditions. Also, it was a longer growing sea- ly fantastic soil and conditions that resulted in a wine with aromas of
son than usual, making it ideal for hang time.” mocha, blackberry and caramel balanced by a plush middle palate of
According to Piotter, the 2005 Tresor is one of this fall’s most ripe blackberry, cherry and currant. The other new Prevail release is
exciting releases. This blend of the five classic Bordeaux varietals the 2004 Back Forty Cabernet Sauvignon, made from grapes grown on
(Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit low-yielding vines on a 40 acre block at the back side of Ferrari-
Verdot) boasts enticing aromas of ripe blackberry and currant and Carano’s RockRise Mountain. Back Forty is a great companion for
notes of boysenberry and cherry cobbler. The mix of grapes also makes meats as well as strong-flavored cheeses or even a dark chocolate-based
for a wine that is full bodied with a richly-textured tannin profile, with dessert.
a concentrated palate of red and blackberries, cinnamon, chocolate, “I think bringing these wines to life has been more fun than chal-
espresso, and vanilla. lenging,” concludes Piotter. “Instead of shooting for a particular theme
“One of the things that makes the 2005 Tresor exceptional is that or style, we are more vineyard driven, allowing our wines to be what
we were able to create a Meritage wine in a year where all five classic the vineyards want to make.” ■

28 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7

Finest Finest Call is Off to The Races

with Jose Ancona!


This time of year, nothing captures Southern California’s joie de
vivre quite like a day at the racetrack, especially given that Santa
Anita and Hollywood Park Racetracks are historical landmarks
with links back to Hollywood’s Golden Age and a great era for
classy, conversation-driving cocktails as well. Since 1960, Jose
Ancona has been a part of the racetracks’ excitement, creating
cocktails that to this day are sure bets for racing fans. No matter
the outcome of the races, Ancona’s bartending techniques are
always winning.
At a recent bartending competition at The Grove sponsored by
Leblon Cachaça, Ancona ended
up in the mixologist “winner’s cir-
cle” with his festive “Mangorini,”
which drew raves for its fresh-
picked mango and stone-fruit
taste. While Leblon was the
foundation of the cocktail, Finest
Jose Ancona, Master Mixologist

Call’s Mango Puree filled out the

Mangorini’s structure. While he
told the audience, his colleagues Mangorini
in attendance and the judging
panel that, “I promised the boss I would use this,”
he later admitted he never really has to be con-
vinced to include Finest Call’s mixers.
“Our customers love it and cannot get enough
of it,” explains Naomi Filburn, one of Ancona’s col-
leagues who herself swears by Finest Call (espe-
cially the Bloody Mary mix). “It’s so easy to work
with and it makes being creative a pleasure.
Ancona, meanwhile, predicts Mango, one of
Finest Call’s newest flavors, to be the next big
thing. “Mark my words,” he affirms. “I predict
Finest Call Mango will be huge worldwide.” ■

Santa Anita Racetrack

(Featuring The Turf Club, Sirona’s and Front Runner)
285 W Huntington Drive, Arcadia CA 91007
(626) 574-7223

Hollywood Park Racetrack

(Featuring The Hollywood Bar, Turf Club
Restaurant & Wittingham’s Club and Deli)
1050 S. Prairie Avenue, P.O. Box 369
Inglewood, CA 90306-0369
30 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7
(310) 419-1500
32 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7

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Carnivo XO- is an exclusive blend of award-winning Menuet XO marketing support for its retailers, distributors and
cognac, silky smooth French vodka, and luscious tropical fruit bars, with easy to use online marketing tools.
juices. The exquisite cognac in Carnivo XO comes from the Grand As owners, Robert Pierce and Maurice Moore,
Champagne region of France, made with the Ugni Blanc grapes, feel that as entrepreneurs they have a reasonability
double distilled and aged to perfection. Every ingredient works in to support the community. The Company will be
harmony to create this delicious drink. The taste in every Carnivo donating part of its proceeds to Entrepreneurs who
XO bottle, is Luxury defined and the brand, is positioned as the strive to build companies that have solutions to
next Luxury Liqueur of choice for those who want to Taste The help build and maintain a Green Environment.
Good Life. Carnivo XO is more than a drink, it is a
Carnivo XO has become Hollywood's choice, when it comes to lifestyle whose goal is to build its brand and
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celebrity events and awards shows. and community support and outreach.
Carnivo XO has recently launched, the Taste The Good Life For more information email
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marketing (including a website that offers its visitors a social network- or call 213.252.6992. You
ing lounge), local and national media coverage, and continued product can also visit Carnivo XO at
placement and with its Grab It, Mix It, and Text It, contest, for its bar- Carnivo XO is distributed in
tenders and consumers. California by Pacific Edge Wine & Spirits
The company is also taking it a step further, by providing turn key Phone 818.879.0946. ■

to something, we want to be able to measure the progress and this is event and provide a SAFECALL number for guests to call taxis. “This
what drove our partnership with the Drug Court Professionals—we see allows us to continue to demonstrate the commitment of Heineken
results. Over 17,000 people die each year from alcohol-related automo- USA employees to give back to the community where they live, work
bile accidents and our support of DUI courses is an effective means of and sell our product,” says Dan Tearno, senior vice president and chief
getting after this problem.” corporate relations officer, Heineken USA. “We’re proud to extend our
DUI Courts provide long-term, ongoing accountability and treat- relationship and continue to help the public and private sector rein-
ment in addition to conviction for hardcore and repeat drunk driving force responsible behaviors associated with alcohol consumption.”
offenders. Research from the state of Georgia has shown that DUI Court
graduates are four times less likely to have a new DUI arrest after two
years. “It is clear that the traditional criminal process is not enough for The Industry Image Makeover:
repeat drunk driving offenders,” says Wiles. “This is a model that works A Work in Progress
and where key stakeholders can come together to stop drunk driving — Public perception of our industry is changing, says Beam Global’s
a cause that everyone can get behind. This partnership also illustrates Swonger, but it’s up to those working in it to keep the pendulum swing-
that the alcohol industry and legal community can work together to find ing in this positive direction: “I’ve been in the business for thirteen
proven solutions that are effective in the battle against drunk driving.” years and while I’ve known our industry has always been at the fore-
In February, ABL launched a toolbox, “Effective Traffic Safety front of responsibility, over the last five or six years there has been an
Solutions to Stop Drunk Driving,” which provides the best practices to increased effort to be socially responsible in how all tiers present their
effectively tackle drunk driving and features programs and strategies products. The public is starting to see that.” Evidence of this can be
that help prevent the problem. The information highlights DUI Courts found, for example, in Bacardi USA’s recent ad campaign, “Whatever
and also points to research illustrating the effectiveness of combining Your Reason.” In these spots, the notion of smart decision-making is
treatment and conviction for repeat and hardcore offenders. “ABL has reinforced, inspiring people to have an open, two-way dialogue about
distributed this toolbox to its members, industry colleagues, legislators their personal reasons for choosing a socially responsible lifestyle.
and regulatory officials as a means of educating opinion leaders and key And while alcohol abuse is not something that will ever go entirely
decision makers about stopping drunk driving,” explains Wiles. away, adds Blackman, the industry has “moved a great deal in acknowl-
There are also many positive alternatives to law enforcement when edging their own role and being involved in their communities, but it’s
it comes to keeping drunk drivers off the road, too. Heineken has been a long haul. I urge retailers, wholesalers and producers to get involved
a leader in promoting designated drivers through their safe ride pro- and help find solutions. As the numbers go down, it proves that our
grams. For example, as part of its continued sponsorship of the Wolf industry can be seen as a solution to—not part of—the problem.” ■
Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts this year, Heineken USA is * This article featured just a sampling of industry initiatives. If you would
running a program which will encourage patrons to sign up to become like to tell us about any social responsibility programs your company is affili-
designated drivers for friends and other attendees. The beer giant is also ated with, email us at Also track more
subsidizing an express shuttle bus which will drive attendees to the information about this issue on

44 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7

BEER STILL RULES GLOBALLY Marketing Group for the Dutch, Heineken utors give those labels a vehicle to market
Reports show it is growing in 43 of the 52 Equity Hispanic and Mexican brand portfo- and provide consumers with unparalleled
measured markets and is by far the biggest lios respectively. The Dutch portfolio for choice. Distributors deliver beer from a wide
bev al category, according to a bev-alc report Heineken USA includes the Heineken variety of brewers – large and small, domestic
released by Neilsen. Ciders are the fastest Brand Equity (Heineken Lager and and international - unlocking the market for
growing category, growing at a 14% pace, fol- Heineken Premium Light), Amstel Light and new beer brands, small breweries and innova-
lowed by vodka 11%, and premixed cocktails Buckler; Heineken USA's Mexican portfolio tive beer. Specifically, beer distributors help
at 7%. Beer is right behind at 6% globally, includes the Tecate Brand Equity (Tecate craft brewers grow and compete by providing
certainly faster than the US average of about and Tecate Light), Dos Equis Lager and the infrastructure small brewers need to
3% in scanned channels. Biggest growth mar- Ambar, Sol, Bohemia and Carta Blanca. reach a wide network of retailers.
kets include China, India, Russia, Brazil, G2 assumes responsibility for the
Poland and Thailand. English-language general market promotion-
al programs supporting both the Dutch and LATIS IMPORTS GAINS
Mexican product portfolios. Dieste Harmel RIGHTS TO RODENBACH
HEINEKEN NEWS will drive the development for Hispanic mar- Latis Imports announced that is is importing
Christian McMahan ket promotional programs for the broader Rodenbach into the US. Latis announced
will join Heineken portfolio, which will be implemented by G2. this week that it has “gained rights to the
USA following a G2 Worldwide currently works on behalf of coveted sour beer and will begin revamping
successful six-year the Heineken Brand in a number of markets its distribution process in the coming
tenure with Diageo. around the world. months.” The late Michael Jackson called
Christian McMahan

He will immediately Rodenbach the “most refreshing beer” in the

begin working with world. Latis was formed by two former InBev
the organization's CRAFT BEER SEGMENT’S executives, David van Wees and Anthony
leadership and mar- CONTINUED GROWTH Giardina, last year.
keting teams to The National Beer Wholesalers Association
drive the development of long-term growth (NBWA) is pleased America’s craft beer seg-
strategies for the portfolio; oversee the execu- ment continues to experience solid growth GRAND TETON BREWING CO.
tion of the current marketing platforms and even during soft economic times. According INTRODUCES XX AU NATURALE
programming for the brands; and continue to to the Brewers Association (BA), craft vol- DOUBLE RED ALE
ensure the company is most effectively ume increased by 6.5 percent and dollar Grand Teton Brewing Company has intro-
engaging its consumers and customers at all growth increased by 11 percent in the first duced XX Au Naturale Double Red Ale,
available touch points. half of 2008. the latest in their “Cellar Reserve” series
Prior to joining Heineken USA, “Craft brewers are entrepreneurs who of specialty beers. XX Au Naturale
McMahan oversaw Diageo's U.S. beer port- are generating a new excitement in the Double Red Ale will be available in kegs
folio, leading all strategic initiatives and pro- beer market and elevating the image of the and 1 liter, flip-top bottles.
gramming for brands including Guinness beer industry. Craft beer is generating a The reddish Vienna malts that
and Red Stripe. In that role, McMahan was new energy because Americans are give this ale its color provide a
also a member of the Diageo-Guinness USA exploring new flavors and learning spicy sweetness and some caramel
management team and Guinness global about new styles,” said NBWA notes that perfectly complement
team, demonstrating his leadership, brand President Craig Purser. “The growing roast or grilled chicken, pizza, or
strategy expertise and ability to oversee a sales of craft beer show how much pasta. 7.5% alcohol by volume.
portfolio strategy. Americans of legal drinking age are The Cellar Reserve series of beers
Heineken USA, also announced its deci- experiencing the wide selection of fla- are unique among average beers and
sion to transition the promotional agency of vors and styles of beer brands avail- even from other craft beers. Grand
record assignment for the full Heineken able across the country. America’s Teton’s Cellar Reserves are brewed
USA portfolio to G2 and Dieste Harmel & 1,420 craft brewers are a vital part of with specialty grains and more unusu-
Partners. The decision follows a thorough the American beer industry, and al ingredients than most micro
review by the Company initiated in February. America’s beer distributors congratu- brewed beers. Most ales and lagers are
This assignment represents the consoli- late them for their continued success.” produced in 2-4 weeks. However, 3
dation of below-the-line marketing activities Nearly 13,000 labels of beer are to 8 months are spent on each of the
previously managed by Ryan Partnership, available across the U.S., and Cellar Reserve specialty brews. They
The Vidal Partnership and Alcone America’s 2,750 licensed beer distrib- are also bottle and cask conditioned,
46 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7
which produces natural carbonation and will duced beers, meanwhile, are not "living," Augustijner-abbey of Gent. The beer is full-
blend and smooth the flavors with age. since they are pasteurized and sterilized, bodied, with a resilient foam head. It has a
These beers have a long shelf life and don’t resulting in short shelf lives and strict code rich amber color, with a spicy, malty palate
have to be rapidly consumed. Proper aging of dates. that finishes very fruity with complex hoppy
these bottles creates beers to be cherished. Global Beer Network's extensive web undertones. While it is great as a “drinking
Grand Teton Brewing releases four or site (, meanwhile, offers beer” on its own, it also pairs well with spicy
five different beers a year in the Cellar consumers a wealth of information on their food (fish or meat.) When paired, the kick of
Reserve line. The production quantity is family of living beers as well as an internet hot spicy food (Cajun, Mexican, Oriental ...)
very limited. The Au Naturale Double Red is store for Belgium beer glasses, accessories and is pleasantly cooled by this wonderful beer.
available in kegs and unique brown one-liter Belgium beer travel. The hops also help the digestion. It is also
bottles, with captivating silver and gold Augustijn, regarded as Van Steenberge’s nice when paired with cheeses. Furthermore,
labels. Each bottle has a flip-top and wire “showpiece” beer, derives from a centuries- you can age the Augustijn for many years,
bale lid that has been sealed in colored wax. old recipe developed by the Monks of the just like wine. ■
The XX Au Naturale Double Red Ale is
available at select locations. Call the brew-
ery at 1.888.899.1656 for information and GLOBAL BEER NETWORK SELECTIONS include Bavik-Premium Pilsner, Wittekerke Wheat and
availability on this exciting new product. Petrus beers, Boelens-Bieken Honey Ale, De Halve Mann-Brugse Zot Pale Blond Ale, Silly-
Watch for their next Cellar Reserve beer, Scotch de Silly Scottish Style Ale, La Divine Blond & Triple Amber Ales, Silenrieux-Sara
20th Anniversary edition XX Bitch Creek Buckwheat & Joseph Spelt Ales (both certified organic), Roman-Ename Triple Abbey &
Double ESB Ale early this Winter. Sloeber Pale Golden Ale and The Musketeers-Troubadour Obscura Mild Stout & Blond Ale.

PIRAAT is a wickedly rich and rounded brew that packs a mighty punch. The powerful glow
GLOBAL BEER NETWORK builds up from inside, as a deep golden hue with a subtle haze. As it is characterized by
Since April 1994, the Santa Barbara-based heavy hops and malt, it has a mild sweetness. reminiscent of bread dough, along with
Global Beer Network has made it possible for spices and tropical fruits. It is a compelling brew: It is an Indian Pale Ale by history, but
37 states in the "New World" to experience what sets it apart from others is a triple strength attained when the brewer uses three times
some of the finest beers from the old world. the normal amount of barley malt, thus starting with more starches, getting more sugars after
This unique enterprise created by a Belgium- cooking, and more alcohol after a long fermentation. Pairing-wise, Piraat goes well with
bred/California based husband and wife team fish and meat. Is often appreciated as an after dinner beer and cigar lovers claim there is
(Johnny Fincioen and Claudine Van no better beer to enjoy with a cigar.
Massenhoven) makes 42 exquisite artisan GULDEN DRAAK, a dark brown Triple Ale, is distinguished through a second fermenta-
beers available to beer connoisseurs. tion that imparts the beer with a nice creamy head, a full body and all the vitamins of
More than a dozen of the company's the centuries old brewers yeast. It is a "thick" beer, that you can actually "nimble" to
products are past winners in major competi- adventure the complex taste. Gulden Draak balances a natural malt toffee-like sweet-
tions around the world. Therefore, it should ness with a mellow mouth and hoppy accents. The aroma is round, sweet and reveals
not be surprising that Global Beer Network the 10.5 alcohol by volume. Another name for this type of rich beer is “barley wine,”
has tapped into this emerging American mar- as one can sip and enjoy this beer slowly, or even enjoy it as one would enjoy a
ket, as demand for Belgian imports grew at a desert alongside chocolate or a good cigar. This award-winning beer (Silver medal
rate of 55% in 2007. While some American in the International Beer Competition, Chicago 1996; Silver Medal Dark Ales,
producers have attempted to copy the California Microbrew Beer Festival 1995) can be cellared like a fine wine.
Belgian style of artisinal beer-making, the
Global Beer Network notes U.S. consumers BORNEM DOUBLE is an intense experience, as evidence by its dark coffee color,
are actively seeking authentic Belgian beers rich body, staying head, effervescent nose - luscious velvet feeling in the mouth.
made from techniques refined over several The malt character with a hoppy aftertouch, makes it best suited for steak, grilled
centuries. meat, game or sausages. The brewery also recommends it as a power-shot after
The Global Beer Network describes its physical exercise. The lighter, but equally rich Bornem Triple, bears a golden hue
products as "Living Beer," thanks to a 1000 and a soft feeling in the mouth, along with a splendid aroma, atickling in the
year-old practice established by beer-making nose, and a hoppy and dry long finish. Triple means that the brewer adds three
monks adding live yeast during bottling. times the normal amount of malt in the brew kettle, which gives us a rich beer.
Some beers can be aged for up to 30 years, One can age the Bornem Triple for many years, just like wine. Bornem Triple can
while in most of the beers yeast is also a be served as a digestive (hops!) with cheese after dinner, or as a rich refreshing
source of complex B Vitamins. Mass-pro- beverage with a main-course.

quarter century ago, This was evident at Shochu: The Other Asian Spirit, a sold-out
American diners were just seminar at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.
Though the focus of that seminar was obviously on Japanese
graduating from their Shochu, one important point panelists Tad Carducci, Yuri Kato
and host Paul Tanguay drove home again and again was that in
beloved Chinese buffet to more terms of adoption of Asian spirits, sake was just the very tip of the
exotic reaches of Asian cuisine, iceberg. In fact, in Japan, young trendsetters consider different
varieties of shochu to be among spirits on the vanguard of cocktail
from Thai barbeque to sushi. culture fashion. More importantly, they pointed out that after
vodka, shochu is the second most popular spirit in much of the
Japanese beer and sake emerged as world, including most of Asia and Europe.
the liquid component to these culi- A major task at hand for those bringing Asian products into
the emerging American market will be to generate the kind of
nary discoveries. In 2008, with our enthusiasm that vodka stirred up a few years back, using a variety
of angles, including craftsmanship, versatility and the fashionable
collective Asian food vocabulary notion of discovery…embracing something new and different.
ever expanding, it is only natural Back in New Orleans, Paul Tanguay was on a mission to clear
up the confusion generated when the terms “shochu” and “soju”
that Asian beverage producers are are used interchangeably. “Consumers throughout the world are
now focused on drinking better, higher quality products, and there
looking to expand our horizons on is a trend toward drinking in more moderation,” observes Tanguay.
the beverage front as well. “Shochu fits the trend as it is lighter in alcohol but still robust and
flavorful. You can enjoy it more often, and offer lighter cocktail
48 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7
creations. (In the U.S. market), Shochu WHISKY’S SUNRISE whisky, while other traditional Japanese
has the unique challenge of being closely Speaking of whisky, Japan has long been a fare such as kaiseki (a series of expertly
tied to Japan, and some people may think it significant producer just as it has been a prepared steamed and simmered small veg-
could be a fad, as sake was some years ago. strong consumer market for imported etable, meat and seafood dishes) pairs well
It can be a tough sell, so I would advise whisky from Canada, the U.S., Scotland with shochu.
people in the industry to take it outside its and Ireland. While production in Japan According to Umberto Luchini,
Japanese mold, as it is highly mixable and began on a small scale in 1870, Yamazaki Director for Suntory Portfolio in San
can work in a wide variety of recipes.” introduced commercial whisky production Francisco (which includes Midori Melon
in 1924. It also should be noted that the Liqueur, Zen Green Tea Liqueur and

Paul Tanguay
final product is closer to Scotch than Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky) on-premise
American forms of whisky such as accounts are trying to satisfy the increasing
Bourbon. Other companies such as Suntory consumer demand for Asian products by
and Nikka are also producing blended and modifying their menus, product offerings
single malt whiskies, though category and decor. “In our on-premise accounts,
leader Suntory’s whiskies are less smoky Asian-fusion food is becoming more popu-
and are lighter bodied, which appeals to lar. Serving finger foods, Korean style and
the Japanese palate. Yuri Kato (panelist, combining it with sushi is something that is
Yuri K publisher of and author seen in many cities like New York, Chicago
of upcoming book, Japanese Cocktails) and San Francisco, and of course, there are
points out that Japan is currently one of beverages that pair with these perfectly.”
the “Big 5” in whisky-making (which early As Luchini sees it, American palates
distillers learned from the Scots) along are getting more sophisticated and search-
with the U.S., Canada, Ireland and (of ing for more complex cues. In the past,
course) Scotland. demand was driven by quantity and sweet-
“There is a cult following for Japanese ness for consumers across the board.
whiskies all around the world among afi- Though this remains the same in many
cionados,” Kato says. “Consumers in the parts of the country, the major urban areas
The first point of distinction is that U.S. and U.K., especially trendsetters look- are open to discovering new tastes, new
soju is traditionally made in Korea while ing for something new, really appreciate habits and a different way of experiencing
shochu is made in Japan and with higher Asian culture, especially with things of foods and drinks.
production standards involving pot stills Japanese origin. Because the current genera- “As the wealth of the nation has
and single distillation. However, origins of tion of consumers is better traveled and edu- increased, the more elaborate and expen-
the confusion are traced to a loophole in cated about the world, and Japan is seen as a sive Asian products have become more
California law that allows restaurants with sophisticated destination, its only natural to affordable,” he says. “Furthermore, the
a beer and wine licenses to permit Soju on see those consumers wanting to have a piece increased influx of Asian communities in
the menu. Some shochu makers therefore of Japan in their daily life back home.” metropolitan areas like San Francisco and
changed their labels to “Soju” so they could Kato further explains that in Japan, Seattle have become must-see places.
get into some of these restaurants. quality is a part of their lifestyle, with eat- According to the type of product we want
That said, distinctions needs to be ing and drinking the best they can find an to promote, we will identify the right con-
made as Shochu can be distilled from a essential part of the daily routine. As sushi sumer target for it and try to satisfy their
number of sources, including barley, sweet and fusion cuisine becomes more common- interest for Asian influence in the right
potato, rice and even dates (“Detsu”), is place, American consumers are adopting environment. For example, Japanese single
reliant on koji (a type of mold also used in this mindset as well, which in turn opens malts are getting more attention amongst
the production of sake, soy sauce and other the door for Japanese whisky and other the US Single malt community. We're not
products) and not rice (as commonly products to enter the marketplace. In promoting the Yamazaki prized selection
believed) for its fermentation. Furthermore, Kato’s expert opinion, sushi goes best with only in Japanese accounts, but rather
it should be noted shochu is not vodka, as
vodka is made by converting grain to sugar,
and achieved through a malting process. Various Shochus
available in the U.S.
Like vodka, the unique character and fla-
vors of different shochus derive from what
they are distilled from. Unlike vodka, there
are three different varieties of koji (white,
black and yellow) whose use will determine
whether a shochu is light and fruity or clos-
er in body, flavor and strength to a whisky.

50 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7
in the U.S. market to the booming Asian A year ago, TY KU entered the market
economy and the fact that more in Las Vegas and New York (with a sprin-
Americans have made their way across the kling of exposures at high profile events in
Pacific. Lennon sees word of mouth taking Hollywood). Why? According to Scott
shape, where Americans first try the prod- Hite, Vice President of Sales for the
ucts in Asia and then seek out similar taste Western United States, if they could make
and drinking experiences in their favorite it in New York and Las Vegas (two of the
Asian lounges and restaurants stateside. most competitive cities), they literally
Though he observes that Middle American could make it anywhere. Hite also notes
is behind the curve to Europe and that timing is everything, and in TY KU’s
Australia in overall adoption of Asian case—for the original product and the sake
products, urban areas on the West Coast and soju extensions—the time is now.
have consumers quickly catching on to “Our motto is, ‘Respect tradition and
Asian food and beverage trends. embrace tomorrow,’ affirms Hite. “This
Though other exotic liqueurs such as means we recognize the roots of our prod-
Voyant Chai Cream Liqueur, Choya Plum ucts but also present updated forms of them
Liqueur and Soho Lychee are gaining popu- intended for a modern and greater con-
larity, Zen Green Tea Liqueur is specially sumer base. We built this from scratch,
intended for an international marketplace. from the bottle, to achieving the trade-
The spirit’s flavor base is carefully-selected mark flavor profile. We hope we will open
Kyoto green tea leaves of the highest grade doors for the Asian wine and spirits catego-
grown by famed Japanese tea producer ry in America.”
focusing on the Single Malt connoisseur Marukyu-Koyama-En. Infusing neutral spir-
who has the right mind-set and taste pro- its with whole and ground green tea leaves, it FOR GOODNESS, SAKE!
file to appreciate the complexity and is then blended with lemongrass and other During the course of this year, TY KU will
uniqueness of a Japanese single malt. High- herbs and natural flavors. extend from its flagship liqueur (in the
end hotel bars, cigar-bars, steakhouses are “Asian accounts would be a natural fit green bottle) and into Premium Soju, Junai
just an example of accounts that we try to for this product, and indeed they provide Ginjo Sake and “White” Daiginjo Sake
communicate to our single malt consumer.” us with solid distribution,” points out (their top of the line). As TY KU finds its
Luchini. “However, our consumers are tea- way to bars and store shelves, Hite notes
ASIAN LIQUEURS: FOUND lovers who want to experience the taste of the overall goal is education, via a cutting-
IN TRANSLATION tea in a sophisticated cocktail environ- edge and information-packed web site (try-
“If you go to a Thai restaurant, you will see ment. Hence, our challenge is to com- filled with user-friendly infor-
specialty drinks specially created to go municate the product as a unique cock- mation on the rich traditions of the
along with the food,” Observes John tail ingredient, adding flavor to drinks entire line of products and ways Asian
Lennon, President of International like the Mojito or mixing it with Iced spirits can be enjoyed with and without
Beverage Holdings USA, the international Tea. In Asia, while being on the rise, food. Hite also adds there is also a TY
wholly owned subsidiary of Thai Beverage cocktail culture is far behind the US. A KU viral campaign running, with the
that is responsible for attaining interna- product like Zen is not available in brand’s messages conveyed via videos,
tional accounts. “We just celebrated our Japan, as it would be perceived as too social network web sites and other
U.S. launch of Mekhong in the Lincoln sweet and its consumption method means to generate word of mouth
Hotel in Monterey Park, and are now a lit- would be misunderstood.” among target audiences about the
tle over a year into releasing Chang in the Luchini doesn’t see the U.S. mar- brand’s unique ingredients, quality
U.S. market (July 2007). We introduced ket as behind or ahead of an Asian and versatility.
the Sabai Sabai cocktail (translation: “wel- trendiness curve, but as a market “Our products and flavor profiles
come, relax and enjoy”), and hope it will with its own unique assets and chal- can accompany any type of cuisine
be to Thai restaurants what the margarita lenges. “On one hand Americans are when it comes to a variety of on-
is for Mexican restaurants. Mekhong (a evolving their taste and palates to a premise accounts, Asian and non-
blended sugar cane and rice-based spirit more sophisticated level,” he says. Asian,” Hite adds, when elaborat-
with 12 Thai spices in the recipe) is the “On the other, they still want to ing on the brand’s versatility.
national drink of Thailand, and we hope it integrate Asian influence within “With our off-premise accounts,
will have the same cache in this market, as their habits and way of life. we aim to show TY KU offers
Sake does as the drink of Japan and Japanese chopsticks are getting pop- some fresh alternatives to the
Tequila is as the drink of Mexico.” ular in people's houses, but forks flood of vodka products in the
Lennon credits Mekhong’s acceptance and knives will never disappear!” market place, especially because

52 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7
the bottles are showpieces for shelves and ASIAN VODKAS: A WHOLE mystique and personality. This is the reason
bars. Our products inside, are versatile and GRAIN DIFFERENT why I feel that the market has been so open
work with a variety of spirits and mixers, “Asia is the new frontier of discovery for to KAI Vodka and KAI Lychee Vodka.”
and can even allow the average customer many people, especially since most have Since its introduction, Bender and his
to readily become a mixologist at home. never been there,” observes says KAI team have driven demand and interest for
The range is exciting because it presents a founder and managing director Marcus KAI Vodka and KAI Lychee Vodka by
great opportunity to turn American con- Bender. “The intrigue and romance of Asia using the spirits and cocktail recipes as
sumers on to a variety of spirits traditions has people looking to find a way to experi- conversation starters, infusing the con-
from the East, but in formats they will ence its exotic flavor and appeal. sumer’s drinking and socializing experience
quickly embrace.” Furthermore, the mixology boom and the with something uniquely Asian they can
Speaking of a wide range, other sakes development of innovative cocktails with enjoy stateside. They are also betting that
in the mix stateside include Takara Sake, delicious tastes and aromas that combine the brand’s most unique attribute—a sub-
Gekkeikan Sake, Yaegaki Sake, Saké 2 Me, exotic but familiar names, inventive garnish- lime distillate deriving from a rare form of
Moonstone Asian Pear Sake, Hakutsuru es and appearance further drive Asian spirits’ rice grown in small villages near North
Sake, Hana Sake Lychee, Kanbara Sake
Bride of the Fox, Meibo Ginjoshu Sake
and Sake One. While JFC, importers of TY KU LEMONADE ZENTINI
Kikkoman products (including spirits) and TY KU Equal Parts ZEN and
distributors of Ozeki (offering some “Made Fresh Lemonade SKYY Vodka
in America’ sakes), has historically satisfied Splash of Vodka Splash of Fresh Lime Juice
diverse demands of Asian-American retail- Shake zen and vodka with
ers, restaurants and consumers, it is now 2 oz Imo Shochu (Sweet Potato Shochu) cracked ice. Pour into chilled
shifting its focus toward penetrating new 3.5 oz Moscato D’Asti martini glass. Garnish with a
.5 oz Yuzu or Pineapple Juice. lime.
demographics and accounts beyond its
established core of clients. Chill Shochu and fruit juice over ice. Strain into SABAI SABAI (THE WELCOME DRINK)
To realize its ambitious goal of captur- a chilled champagne flute. Top with Moscato 1.5 oz Mekhong
ing a variety of non-Asian markets in and gently stir. 1.5 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
America, JFC moved its headquarters from .75 oz simple sugar syrup
GINGER CHU-CUMBER Finger pinch of sweet Thai basil
San Francisco to Los Angeles. The new 2 oz Kome Shochu (Rice shochu) Club Soda
L.A. hub, opened May 1, incorporates and 1 oz Domaine de Canton Liqueur
builds upon their existing automated ware- .5 oz Fee Brothers Rock Candy Syrup Pour Mekhong and the rest of the ingredients
house technology, user-friendly food service 1 oz lime juice except club soda into a mixing glass. Add ice
catalogues and modern test kitchen. Their Muddle cucumber with simple syrup. Mix in and shake vigorously for 7–8 seconds. Strain
shochu, Domaine de Canton and lime juice. into a chilled martini-cocktail. Top off with club
spirits-oriented web site (,
Shake with ice, pour and garnish with a cucum- soda.
meanwhile, reflects the constantly increas-
ber wheel.
ing interest in and demand for Sake KAI-AGRA
(Daiginjo, Ginjo, Junmai, and Honjozo), ZEN MASTER 1.5 oz Kai Vodka
Plum Wine, Shochu and other spirits, not 1 part Zen (1/2 oz.) 3.5 oz (energy drink)
2 parts vodka (1 oz.) .25 oz Blue Cuacao
just among Asian consumers, but a vast
representation of people from all ethnic Top with Club Soda (3-4 oz) Shake ingredients in a
backgrounds and age groups. Surround the circumference of a rocks glass with Boston shaker and pour
“In the last several years, Los Angeles fresh cucumber rings. Add ice to the center, pour into a Highball Glass.
has emerged as the perfect hub for many vodka and soda over the ice. Top off with Zen.
Asian food and beverage distributors,
thanks to its size and diverse population,”
notes Steve Mapes, National Sales
Manager of JFC’s beverage department. “In
keeping with the improvements we have
made in our location and our facilities, we
have brought in lots of new people and
trained them to not only work with our
core Asian clientele but potential clients as
well. It is also important to note that with
the recent economic downturn in Asia,
excellent food and beverage companies
have turned to America, and to us in turn
to put their products into on- and off-prem-
ise hands as well as everyday consumers.”
54 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7
Vietnam’s Red River Delta—enables it to many years, and a fixture at sushi bars and
be its own new beverage segment in the Asian restaurants throughout California,
otherwise crowded and predominantly Takeshi Miyahara, Senior Regional Sales
European Vodka category. Manager (West Coast Division) of Sapporo
Affirms Bender, “We are at a new begin- USA, Inc., notes that this beer’s popularity
ning for Asian/Pan Asian cuisine. Along has enabled it to transcend its category
with Asian spirits in general, KAI Vodka is (which also includes Singha and Tsing
in a great position to follow suit, on its own, Tao) and while also being a much-loved
in cocktails or paired with a variety of foods part of Asian dining.
Americans are now very open to making “(It is important to realize that) most
part of their lives on a regular basis.” of our accounts don’t look at Sapporo beer
Other brands causing a stir in this cate- as ‘Asian beer’ anymore,” Miyahara says.
gory include Han Asian Vodka, Kissui “They see Sapporo as a ‘high-end import Takeshi Miyahara, Senior Regional Sales
Vodka, Yazi Ginger Vodka and Wasabe beer, and introduce our brand to their cus- Manager (West Coast Division) of Sapporo USA
(1/2 sake 1/2 vodka). tomers as a high-end import beer, which is
really what we are trying to be rather than core market in the U.S., to increase our
ASIAN BEER: RISING just another ‘Asian beer.’ In fact, we have brand visibility, we also need to go outside
TO THE TOP been working hard to get out of the Asian of the Asian market.” To achieve this goal,
While Sapporo has been in the U.S. for cluster. While the Asian market is our Sapporo has sponsored high-profile events
such as post-Oscar parties, which Miyahara
pointedly notes have almost nothing to do
with Asia. He also says that if one takes a
look at the company web site (, one can see how Sapporo
has worked to capture American cus-
tomers’ attention, without relying on any
Japanese theme. Furthermore, as he sees it,
Asian food has become so mainstream that
emphasis on Sapporo’s quality can be a
stronger sell than other tactics.
Chang Beer, distributed by the Thai
Beverage Public Company Limited and
launched in March 1995, is the top-selling
brand in Thailand and on the rise in the
U.S. While it is regarded as an ‘import’
product stateside, a combination of great
value (retail wise, for consumers) and
strength (5% Abv) adds to its appeal in the
west and is an ideal accompaniment to
spicy foods. That said, the company and its
distinctive “Elephant” branding is becom-
ing increasingly familiar thanks to a highly
organized and focused distribution system.
“As we see it, we have two platforms
on which to build,” says Lennon. “There
are Thai, Asian Fusion, and Pan-Asian
restaurants, which offer quality food and
serve it family style. Then there is the
lounge and bar scene, such as Tao and
Buddha Bar, that attract the young and
fashionable. Though Europe now has bet-
ter proximity to Asia, with more people
who have traveled there, American con-
sumers are definitely catching up, especial-
ly among those who are in bigger cities
with diverse populations who have opened
up their eyes and minds.” ■

56 BIN 2 0 0 8 • I S S U E 7