OLYMPIA, Wash. — The cavernous stores in Costco's home state lack something you can find in its warehouses in California, Alaska and many other places: bottles of Maker's Mark, Absolut vodka and other popular brands of hard liquor.
But two ballot measures on the November ballot — one heavily backed by Issaquah-based Costco Wholesale Corp. — would largely sweep away Washington's post-Prohibition restrictions on liquor.
Initiative 1100 would abolish the state liquor distribution and sales system in favor of private businesses. It would also eliminate beer and wine price controls and bans against volume discounts which have been in place since the 1930s.
(Reuters) - Like gold, top wines are highly prized, represent wealth and are selling near their historical highs.
Prices of the five premier cru Bordeaux -- Chateaux Lafite Rothschild, Haut-Brion, Margaux, Latour and Mouton-Rothschild, and the grand crus of Burgundy, particularly Romanee-Conti, are at or above 2007 levels.
"During times of economic stress and worry, buyers look to safe investments and gold is seen as a defensive strategy. It's tangible, has intrinsic value and is a good diversifier ... The same can be said for the top growth Bordeaux and for the same reasons," said Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, an independent wine consultant.
Boston Herald - Call her the “coaster child” of Jim Koch’s “Brewing the American Dream” project.
Two years ago, Carlene O’Garro was the first entrepreneur to tap into the Boston Beer Co. founder’s microlending program, which helps small businesses get started or stay afloat in the competitive food and beverage industry. The Mattapan resident had created her dream business - baking cakes, cookies and pastries - but was lacking a key ingredient needed to keep Delectable Desires cooking.
“When I got the money it was mainly to pay the vendors I had at the time, because I was so small and I was making very high-end products,” said O’Garro, a Cambridge School of Culinary Arts grad. Read more...
Wall Street Journal - Oddly enough, the first time I encountered Pinot Grigio was at Elaine's, the legendary Manhattan restaurant, back in the 1980s, when the literary lions of the silver age were roaring and preening there. (Norman Mailer was the one who called his era the silver age; Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Faulkner ruled the golden age, and I was a representative, he informed me cheerfully, of the bronze age.) Most of the writers who frequented the place drank scotch mixed with testosterone. Mailer, George Plimpton, William Styron, Peter Maas, Gay Talese, Kurt Vonnegut—these guys were the highball generation, and they seldom bothered with anything as wimpy as white wine. Nevertheless there were usually women present, and I recall a lot of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio on the tables. Not being much of a scotch fan, I drank gallons of it myself, though I tried not to do so when Mailer was watching. Read more...
Decanter - French scientists have discovered the secret to keeping the fizz in a glass of Champagne: pour it like a beer.
A new study reports the best way to pour Champagne is in a 'beer-like way' with the glass held at an angle.
It reveals the sparkling wine remains bubbly longer when poured in this way rather than pouring straight into the glass and waiting for the mousse to settle before topping up.
However, Tom Stevenson, chairman of the Decanter World Wine Awards' Champagne panel, said: 'Pouring Champagne like a lager is a seen as a really naff way to serve it. You would not see a sommelier doing it in a million years.' Read more...
USA Today - When the 2010 Oregon State Fair opens on Aug. 27, there won't be an amateur beer-brewers competition for the first time in 22 years.
An overlooked, 80-year-old statute that says Oregon home-brewed beer can't leave the home has forced fair organizers to cancel the competition, which had 335 entrants last year, says Oregon Liquor Control Commission spokeswoman Christie Scott.
Brewers were reminded of the statute after the Oregon Department of Justice clarified the law for a pub seeking to serve home brew at an event, Scott says. "As long as this is the law, we have to enforce it," she says, adding that the commission hopes to see the statute changed in time for the 2011 fair. Read more...
Los Angeles Times - Like most U.S. business sectors, the wine business has been transformed by e-commerce. Even if restrictions on interstate shipping have limited that commerce to 38 states, the Internet as a wine marketplace is robust by any measure.
In the last four years, a single website, the search engine wine-searcher.com, has done more to transform that commercial landscape than any other, affecting every facet of the way the wine business is conducted, certainly in this country and increasingly on a global scale. For better or worse, it has leveled the playing field on getting, buying, pricing and selling wine. If you're a wine lover and you're not using this tool, it's time to start. And if you sell wine, on any level, you ignore it at your peril.
Wine-searcher.com is the brainchild of Martin Brown Read more...
NY Daily News - When the economy is in the tank, do more Americans drown their sorrows in alcohol?
Well, times are tough, and the number of U.S. adults drinking booze is at a 25-year high, according to a new Gallup poll.
Sixty-seven percent of Americans say they drink, the poll reports, the highest percentage since 1985.
But Gallup, which has been keeping track of U.S. drinking habits for the last 71 years, reports that while the numbers move up and down slightly each year, the statistics on American drinking are surprisingly steady.
When Gallup first started keeping track Read more...
Los Angeles Times - With little public notice, distributors of alcoholic beverages are pressing for a federal law that would allow states to block interstate sales of wine and beer to their residents — a result that could limit consumer choices, raise prices and hurt hundreds of small vintners and microbrewers.
A bill pending in the House would put the authority to regulate alcohol more squarely in the hands of the states and would require those challenging the regulations to prove the rules violate federal law or the Constitution.
And it would supersede a number of recent court rulings that have struck down limits on interstate sales of alcoholic beverages.
"It's the cumulative effect of all these lawsuits Read more...
Slate - Daniel Oliveros and Jeff Sokolin were known as the "sexy boys" because they often described the wines they sold as "sexy juice." Oliveros and Sokolin ran Royal Wine Merchants, a Manhattan retailer that was, until a few years ago, one of the biggest players in the fine wine market. They lived as lavishly as their wealthy customers—staying in swank hotels, often hiring limousines, and routinely opening thousands of dollars' worth of rare wines. Oliveros' marriage to porn star Savanna Samson added to the aura and the intrigue. But what really set the sexy boys apart was their seemingly limitless stock of legendary old wines, many of them in supersize bottles—quantities and formats that no one else could get their hands on. They bombarded clients with faxes touting their latest finds: multiple bottles of 1961 Latour à Pomerol ("Kinky Juice!"), magnums of 1945 Mouton Rothschild ("our latest sexy purchase") Read more...