February 2014 Editions - Beverage Journal, Maryland and Washington, DC http://www.beerwineliquor.com/new/easyblog/categories/listings/february-2014-editions Mon, 31 Aug 2015 17:43:51 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Goose Island Honker’s Ale http://www.beerwineliquor.com/new/easyblog/entry/goose-island-honker-s-ale http://www.beerwineliquor.com/new/easyblog/entry/goose-island-honker-s-ale Chicago’s Goose Island Brewery refers to its “Honker’s Ale” brand as an English style bitter, but don’t be fooled by the name. This fine beer is anything but bitter. What then is an English Bitter?  Simply put, it is a style of ale in which the brew master uses ample amounts of aromatic hops and sweet malt.  The result is a beer with a strong hop presence but a pleasantly drinkable taste.

The brew master at Goose Island uses an interesting mixture of grains including: two row barley malt, wheat malt and roasted barley.  This hearty malt combination produces a bread like aroma with a sweet malt flavor, strong enough to balance out the Stryrian Golden and Super Styrian hops. Although both hops types have mild bittering and aromatic qualities, Super Styrian hops is known especially for its dual flavor and scent characteristics.

When held to the light, a brilliant coppery gold color shows through the glass.  A tight off white head forms as it is poured and quickly dissipates into a nice band of lacey foam around the inside of the glass. An abundance of small bubble carbonation gives the beer a pleasant feel in the mouth that carries through in the aftertaste as a pleasant mix of hops and malt lingers at the back of the tongue.

With a moderate alcohol content (4.3% abv) and a bitterness level (30 IBUs) that is about the average for this style of beer, Honker’s Ale qualifies as a refreshing and pleasant session beer.

Honker’s Ale has been described as smooth drinkable English style ale.  With Maryland’s goose season scheduled to end on January 29; this might be just the right time to recommend Honker’s Ale as a post-hunt refreshment.

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alan@beveragejournalinc.com (Alan Horton) February 2014 Editions Tue, 21 Jan 2014 09:51:45 -0500
Maurizio Farro: Bringing Italian Wines Close to Home http://www.beerwineliquor.com/new/easyblog/entry/maurizio-farro-bringing-italian-wines-close-to-home http://www.beerwineliquor.com/new/easyblog/entry/maurizio-farro-bringing-italian-wines-close-to-home

Maurizio Farro, founder of Cantiniere Imports & Distributing Inc., is a true American success story.  He even talks like a proud American, albeit with a way-cool Italian accent. He doesn't refer to the year he came to the United States as "2002."  He describes it as "the year after the Towers fell."  He didn't let the language barrier stop him from prospering.  He went to community college in Towson to improve his English ("I realized I had to not only learn the language, but be able to hear the people").  And when asked what his secret is for becoming his own boss, he answers: "If you come here to this country, you must come to work hard.  Otherwise, there is no reason to be here."

Farro indeed came to America in 2002.  "I come from a winemaker family in Naples," he said, during a recent interview with the Beverage Journal.  "My family has been making wine for decades.  Both of my grandfathers made wine, my father made wine, and so did my uncle.  There was always wine on the table.  . . . My father eventually didn't want to do the job anymore, and my brothers and I didn't follow in his footsteps.  It was my cousin, who was working for my father's brother, who kept the family business.  Today, I purchase his wine." 

But running Cantiniere wasn't always the plan.  With a slight chuckle, Farro recalled, "The idea was to come to the U.S., make some money, and go back to Naples and open my own restaurant.  But I met my wife, got married, and we had three children.  So, the story changed."

He continued, "I became fed up with working at restaurants.  I said, 'I have to do something else, because I am going crazy.'  One of the things I always knew was wine.  I really wanted to work at a distributor or importer.  I was lucky to find Vinifera Imports, one of the biggest importers of Italian wine in the United States.  I learned the business and met a lot of great producers.  After five years, it was time for me to leave and start my own thing."  

That "thing" became Cantiniere Imports & Distributing, which he founded in Columbia, Md., two years ago.  The name comes from the person who works in the cellar with the enologist making wine.  "The winemaker gives the orders," Farro stated, "and the cantiniere follows all of the steps and makes sure that everything goes right.  In the end, he's really the winemaker."

Farro recalls a time when he was a little boy and he and his brothers helped their father deliver the family wines to people in and around Naples.  Customers used to call them "cantinieri," plural for cantiniere.  So the name of his company is not only a description of the business, but is a way to honor his family's legacy.

The main goal of the firm is to work with the best Italian wine producers from each region of Italy and bring their products to America.  Cantiere currently distributes throughout Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia.  " My portfolio includes one producer from Sicily, one from Abruzzo, and so forth and multiple producers from the more famous regions of Tuscany and Piedmont.  Italian wines are still not on the mind of everybody.  Because I am Italian and I love my home country, I can talk about the product, the region, the producer, and so forth."

Of course, there have been many challenges in his first two years of operation.  "I see challenge everywhere," he remarked.  "But my joy is to go out with the wine, taste the wine with people, and sell them.  That's what I love to do.  I want to meet my customers, drink wine with them, and make the sale.  It's the best thing ever!  But then as the owner, I have to come back here and deal with a lot of bureaucracy and paperwork. That's the challenge."

Mostly, he credits his wife for being a calming influence and helping him to stay focused.  He met the woman while working in a restaurant.  Today, she is a teacher who speaks fluent Italian.  He concluded, "People like me who come from Southern Italy, we have a lot of temper.  But you can't be like that if you want to be a success here.  You have to change.  She has taught me to be -- what is the word -- diplomatic!"

ANY SIBLINGS?: Three brothers and
five sisters

ANY CHILDREN OF HIS OWN?:
Twin boys, age 4, and a 7-year-old daughter

WHERE HE LIVES:
The Oakland Mills community of Columbia

HOBBIES AND SPECIAL INTERESTS
Spending time with his family at home

FAVORITE MARYLAND
RESTAURANT
: Cinghiale in Baltimore co-owned by Tony Foreman.  "It's where my wife and I go for real Italian food."

PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT:
While serving as wine director for Facci Ristorante in Laurel, he was featured in an issue of Wine Spectator for putting together one of the world's most outstanding wine lists.

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teddy@beveragejournalinc.com (Edward "Teddy" Durgin) February 2014 Editions Tue, 21 Jan 2014 09:47:28 -0500
Reliable Churchill Teams with Maryland Shock Trauma on New PSA http://www.beerwineliquor.com/new/easyblog/entry/reliable-churchill-teams-with-maryland-shock-trauma-on-new-psa http://www.beerwineliquor.com/new/easyblog/entry/reliable-churchill-teams-with-maryland-shock-trauma-on-new-psa

In every profession, there are some projects you work on that are just more "important" than others; projects that become less of a work task, and more a responsibility.  Into my lap a couple of weeks back fell a story about Reliable Churchill funding a new PSA (public service announcement) video for the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. Commonly known as "Maryland Shock Trauma," it's the place on the news where you hear people taken to or flown to when they have been in very bad accidents.  It's also the place where you as a parent do NOT want to get a call from in the middle of the night or anytime of the day or evening.

The executives and employees of Reliable Churchill know that.  In fact, management had been looking to do something along the lines of a video that was dramatic and immediate and real for some time.  The result is "Someone Like You," a 12-minute presentation that the company and Shock Trauma are hoping gets seen at every high school and in every Driver's Education class in the state.

"This goes beyond corporate social responsibility," said Reliable Churchill Chairman James "Jimmy" Smith, during a recent interview with the Beverage Journal.  "We're parents here at Reliable Churchill.  This was something we felt very strongly about…not only did [Reliable Churchill] finance the project but every meeting with the DMV or at a school system, myself or someone else from Reliable Churchill was in attendance. Our company wants to see this project succeed."

The project leader on this was Tara Reed Carlson, Business Development Manager at Shock Trauma Center.  "It was really nice partnering with someone in your industry," she said. "Reliable Churchill gave us an unrestricted educational grant, which we used to produce this piece.  We need such partners in the community to get these things accomplished and to get this message out."

"Someone Like You" is a simple, yet powerful piece that is far removed from the easily parodied "Blood on the Highway" videos many Baby Boomers and Generation X'ers grew up with.  Shot in High Definition, there is some brief footage of real accident scenes and a few fleeting, yet graphic snippets of bloody injuries being tended to in the operating room.  Most effective, though, are the real people who appear on camera who have been directly impacted by alcohol-related automobile accidents.  One young man has lost mobility in his arm and on one side of his body as a result of a drunk driving crash that claimed the life of his friend.  Two parents who were vacationing at the time their once-athletic son got behind the wheel after having some drinks are also featured.  The son is now impaired as a result of his injuries.

Smith remarked, "One of the things that young man said in the video was, 'It's not that I decided to go out and drink and drive.'  He went out to have a good time with his friends.  But then he had to get home." 

Carlson added, "That really sums it all up.  He didn't have a plan of how to get home, and that's part of the message of 'Someone Like You.'  . . .  I do think we've made some progress in impaired driving.  I think many more people know to not drive home, to get a designated driver.  We also have a lot more options like Tipsy Taxi.  But more has to be done.  We really try to do primary prevention outreach to kids before they make a bad decision to either drink or do drugs and get behind the wheel."

The stories in the video are punctuated by the somber, grim on-camera narration of Dr. Mayer Narayan, Medical Director for Shock Trauma's Center for Injury Prevention and Policy.  "The absolute hardest part of my job," he stated, "is telling mothers and fathers that despite all of our best efforts, we were not able to save their son or their daughter.  This is why we made this video.  This is why I am part of it."

It now falls on Carlson and her staff to get the video seen.  She has already met with decision-makers at Maryland's Motor Vehicle Administration and shown them the video.  "They are looking at their curriculum for the impaired driving component of their Driver's Educations classes.  They're not going to let me know until, I think, February.  But they were impressed with what I showed them."

She continued, "As far as getting the video into schools, we have been reaching out through a lot of different avenues.  I met with the superintendents of the schools and showed them the video, so I could let them know what we are trying to do to get this message to students before something tragic happens.  Certainly, there is prom season and graduations and everything that happens in the spring.  It's not a standalone piece either, and we don't feel it's a standalone piece.  We have it as part of our prevention and education programs for the schools.  We actually have a 45-minute program for the high schools.  A trauma nurse, who research shows is a very reliable source of prevention education, will come to talk to them about choices and decision-making and show the video.  Another component of that is to bring a survivor to share their inspirational, personal story about being involved in an alcohol-related accident either themselves or being hit by someone impaired.  They share that story as a teen/young adult to other teens, which I think is a really powerful piece of it, too."

Narayan concluded, "I think the  title is key, too.  'Someone Like You.'  We wanted to show teens that these kids in the video were once just like them.  They thought they were invincible."

If anyone reading this wants their church, school, or community group to schedule a viewing of the video, please e-mail prevention@umm.edu.

Pictured below are: Reliable Churchill Chairman James "Jimmy" Smith (r); Dr. Mayur Narayan, Medical Director for Shock Trauma's Center for Injury Prevention and Policy; and Tara Reed Carlson, Business Development Manager at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. 

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teddy@beveragejournalinc.com (Edward "Teddy" Durgin) February 2014 Editions Tue, 21 Jan 2014 09:32:32 -0500
2014 Beverage Industry Lobby Day http://www.beerwineliquor.com/new/easyblog/entry/2014-beverage-industry-lobby-day http://www.beerwineliquor.com/new/easyblog/entry/2014-beverage-industry-lobby-day

This 2014 Maryland General Assembly Session is underway and retailers have two options: sit back and watch and hope all turns out well, or be actively engaged and impact the outcome in a way that helps your business.  Please make it a top priority to join with members of the Maryland Beer Wholesalers Association (MBWA) and the Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association (MSLBA) on the morning of February 13th to meet with legislators from your district in their Annapolis offices.  The day will start in Annapolis at 7:30 am at the Governor Calvert House for meeting assignments and a briefing on the issues.  The group will then head over to the state house to meet with our elected representatives to voice the concerns of the industry on potential and proposed legislation.  The group will then meet back at the Governor Calvert House for a debriefing followed by MBWA and MSLBA association meetings.  Following these meetings there will be a luncheon ... all wrapping up by 1:00 pm.  

This is a great opportunity to meet your elected officials and let them know what is important to you and your business.  If you have questions or just want to register, call the MSLBA at 800 921-1381.

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steve@beveragejournalinc.com (Stephen Patten) February 2014 Editions Tue, 21 Jan 2014 09:22:26 -0500
Today's France http://www.beerwineliquor.com/new/easyblog/entry/today-s-france http://www.beerwineliquor.com/new/easyblog/entry/today-s-france

Change is the universal language of all modern industries. In this special section, we examine how innovations and adjustments are driving French wine, spirits, beer and cider sectors forward. From an entirely new category of “vin” to fresh brilliance behind the bar and the renewed relevance of beer and cider on the global market, France is demonstrating more flexibility and quality than ever in the nation’s history.

Even better, these improvements have made French alcohol products more relevant to today’s American consumers, who are eager to discover quality, style and value to fit their fast and varied lifestyles.

Selling French Wine in the 21st century in a bigger, faster world, French wine needs (and deserves) quicker, simpler selling points.

Last century France defined wine. Vignerons had pioneered the delicious synergy of the right grapes planted in the right places. More importantly, they turned that savoir-faire into a system—Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC)—which gave that grape-place synergy an economic framework, essentially turning wine regions into brands with built-in quality control and marketability. Wherever people cared about wine, voilà, regional French wines stood apart as the ones to know, the ones to buy, the ones to drink, the ones to collect.

They were also the ones to emulate. While the French never stopped what they were doing—indeed, one can argue they continued to make better and better wine over the decades—the rest of the world caught up. With California coming on strong, Americans began enjoying wines that simply spoke a different language than French wines: they spoke grapes first, origins second.

It makes little sense today, shin-deep in the 21st century, to look backward. The key now is to position French wines in the modern-day global context, and to translate their virtues to a new generation of Americans.

A tall order? Perhaps, but eminently achievable. French wines continue to be reliable expressions of the right grapes in the right places—ready and able to be part of the American table. On-premise and off-, consider the following tips and talking points to help expose your customers to French wines in ways they can understand and use to suit their own personal tastes.

Fear Not Grapes. The logic here is obvious: Wine drinkers who already have varietal preferences deserve to know their full range of options. Whether verbally or through signage, restaurants and stores alike need to assertively draw parallels between familiar grapes and  French wines.

✓            Like Chardonnay or Pinot Noir? Try a white or red Burgundy.

✓            Sauvignon Blanc? Sancerre is just one of several SB options.

✓            Cabernet? Merlot? Those are longtime dancing partners in Bordeaux.

✓            Shiraz? That’s the same as Syrah, the lead grape in many Rhône wines.

Americans are famous for forgetting basic information about wines (including ones they really like). And even enthusiasts who know their Pouilly-Fumé from their Pouilly-Fuissé might not know that France makes strapping Malbecs in Cahors. It is amazing at how frequently even the most basic grape-region connections will be welcomed with surprise, relief and/or appreciation.

Yes, varietal change is in the air. But while the new Vin de France designation emphasizes grapes (see following article), embracing the interplay of grape and place remains central to selling French wine.

Food Anyone? French wines were built to enjoy with meals, not to impress a critic tasting 20 wines blind in a sitting (without a crumb in sight). Where New World wines tend to be bold and aggressive, French examples made with the same grapes tend to be more subtle, elegant and higher in acidity—and then they rise to the occasion with food. The wine elevates the food, and vice versa—whether it’s Tuesday meat loaf or Saturday dinner out.

It’s no accident that French wines have for so long been the foundation of great wine lists, but that inherent food-friendliness is by no means limited to high-end wines. It all starts in the vineyard: The climate doesn’t let them get overripe, which means once the wines , there is no over-extraction and high alcohol that has to be countered with obvious wood. When grapes get just ripe, their structure as wine—alcohol, acid, tannin—contributes to a natural balance.

Many people find it easier to talk about food than wine. Think of food as common ground—we all eat—and France’s stellar track record and food-friendly attributes belong in the wine-selling conversation.

The ‘T Word’ as a Sales Tool.  Has any wine term been bandied about more than terroir?  It’s ironic—almost comical—given that the word is habitually as having no English translation. But that has not stopped anyone from grabbing the slippery concept of soil+sun+temperature+rainfall+slope+etc. and applying it to wines from Patagonia to Padthaway to Paso Robles.

In truth, the concept remains thoroughly viable in France. Sauvignon Blanc wine from Bordeaux is distinct from sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, which is distinct from Pouilly Fumé… and Quincy… and Menetousalon. The wines are similar, but different enough to deserve their own name. That remains the essence of French wine.

Don’t be afraid to talk terroir: it is absolutely a concept people “get.” Terroir is what makes tomatoes thrive in New Jersey, peaches in Georgia, wheat in Kansas. That “T word” is at play with grapes, with precision, all over France, making it a viable sales tool for les vins.

Get what You pay For.  Surrounded by crowded shelves and a diverse array of wine lists, Americans can be excused for believing that wine pricing is chaotic. But in France, more than in other countries, the wine system features a hierarchy wherein quality reliably determines price. Take any French region; the most basic wine is the most plentiful and cheapest; and as you move up in hi-, you spend more but get more—more intensity, complexity, personality and (some-times) longevity. French wine pricing is more method than madness.

The Standard Bearers.  Maybe the strongest argument for the vitality (if not superiority) of French wine is found in the way techniques pioneered in France have been adopted across continents. Remind your customers that the French invented:

✓            Close vine-spacing

✓            Pruning to modulate sun exposure

✓            Grape triage during harvest

✓            Saignée during fermentation

✓            Carbonic maceration

✓            Vinifying vineyard blocks separately

✓            Blending grape varieties

✓            Inducing a second fermentation in the bottle

✓            Barrel aging

✓            Estate bottling

✓            Late-harvesting botrytised grapes

✓            Fortifying wine to add strength and retain sweetness

✓            Second labels

Keep It Real. Certainly geography remains the canvas for the French art of wine, but the artist’s palette of grapes is more relevant to your clientele nowadays, and style has moved into the discussion alongside of terroir. Think of French wine as a mosaic of wine types, not just a map of regions. Remember how people really use wine; you can sell French wines with confidence.

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info@beveragejournalinc.com (Beverage Network) February 2014 Editions Tue, 21 Jan 2014 09:17:21 -0500