20081114

Plan your Repeal celebration

December 5 will mark the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. Throughout the alcoholic drinks industry, parties, gimmicks and general hoopla will ensue.

If you're interested in an update on your Prohibition, Repeal or current alcohol laws information, or want to host your own Repeal Party, go to ProhibitionRepeal.com for some help.

To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Spirits Notebook
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

Wood & Barrel Beer awards released

Three Floyds Brewing may not be a household name nationally, but everyone knew it at the 6th annual Festival of Wood & Barrel Aged Beer that just wrapped up in Chicago.

The country's first and largest beer festival dedicated to the art of wood and barrel aging played to sellout crowd over two sessions, with attendees sampling 113 different beers from 41 breweries in 14 states.

Three Floyds, of Munster, IN, took best-in-show honors with its Behemoth Barleywine, while Lunar Brewing,, of Villa Park, IL, claimed the second spot with Barrel Aged Batch 500 Imperial IPA.

Go here for the complete list of award winners.

To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Spirits Notebook
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

Brits' iconic pubs on the way out

As the old phrase goes, there will always be an England. However, it won't always be the same England.

Right now, one of the country's greatest icons, the local pub, is in trouble. Five British pubs go out of business every day, according to the British Beer & Pub Association, as the weak economy continues to affect all aspects of life.

Beer sales at pubs, known as "on-trade,'' fell 8.1% in the third quarter. Translated into actual drinks, that's a reduction of 1.1 million pints a day. That's a direct reflection of the fact that the British economy contracted last quarter for the first time in 16 years.

I reported on this same problem earlier this year, and the latest report offers no improvement.

Beer at the locals is much more expensive than buying beer "off-trade," that is in grocery and liquor stores, where 45% of all beer is sold. However, sales there also have declined, 6% in the last quarter, according to the BBPA.

Spirits, which traditionally sell better in stores than in pubs, have a better outlook. Industry analysts say this is because spirits purchasers tend to be more affluent.

To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Spirits Notebook
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

20081113

NYC home to world's first organic bar

You've got to love a restaurant whose motto is "Changing the world one meal at a time." That goes for its cocktail list, too.

The venue is GustOrganics, a New York City cocktail lounge and restaurant (519 Avenue of the Americas at 14th Street). It claims to be the nation's first fully certified such establishment, and has the credentials to support it:

• All dishes made only with organic U.S. Department of Agriculture certified Ingredients.
• Certified organic by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York.
• Certified green restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association.

But above all, for the purposes of what this site deals with, GustOrganics is the world’s first USDA certified organic bar.

Alberto Gonzalez (seen above), a native of Argentina, is the owner of GustOrganics. He notes that all drinks -- hot, cold and alcoholic -- are free from chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, artificial flavors and drink enhancers.

"We have only USDA certified organic spirits, wines and beers," he said. "All these products are produced according to the USDA's National Organic Program. On top of this, our cocktails are made featuring fresh organic fruits and vegetables. ...

"The only two ingredients that are not organic are the water and salt because they are minerals and by definition cannot be organic. We use sun-dried sea salt only and that means no additives. We have our pure water that is New York City water run through a UV lamp that kills all the bacteria and after that we run it through a top notch purification system that takes out all the bad metals, keeping the good minerals."

The signature cocktails at GustOrganics are priced in the $12-$14 range, typical for Manhattan drinks. Some of the top sellers:

• Dulce de Leche Martini: dulce de leche, espresso coffee and vodka.
• Pura Vida Daiquiri: strawberries, bananas and rum.
• Fresquito: fresh mangos, fresh squeezed orange juice and vodka.

What made Gonzalez decided to establish a base for his organic foodie and drinks efforts in Greenwich Village?

“New York is one of the most sophisticated societies in the world, but I didn’t like the food," he says. "It wasn’t fresh. When I used to stay here for business, I noticed I was more tired, lacked energy, and gained a lot of weight. I realized I took for granted the freshness and quality of the food in Argentina.

"I developed this restaurant with New Yorkers. They are the ones who helped shape this idea.”

To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Spirits Notebook
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

20081104

Brooklyn Brewery pulls bottle design

From the Gothamist.com Web site:

Brooklyn Brewery found themselves in an unlikely battle recently against the Trappist monks of Belgium. Who, apparently, you do NOT mess with.

CityRoom reports that BB owner Steve Hindy started making a refermented ale called Brooklyn Local 1, which borrowed a method from the monks. But the problem was in the design of the bottle he used for it:

"An amber bottle design featuring a double embossed ring at the base of the neck. It was not unlike the single-ringed bottle used by the Westmalle Abbey in Belgium and by the New Belgium Brewing Company of Fort Collins, CO."

First his friend Kim Jordan, owner of the New Belgium, warned him of her "protracted negotiations with the monks of Westmalle on the use of a ringed bottle in the United States ... . She told him it was her duty under the partnership to defend the trademark."

Hindy soon backed down, took a loss of $60,000 and noted of the monks: “God is on their side."

However, it looks like the press images that got out there still include the old design. Developing ... like dark clouds of a wrathful God.

To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Spirits Notebook
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

Miller flops in the UK

Miller Beer will be withdrawn from sale in the United Kingdom early next year.

Scottish and Newcastle (S&N) has reached agreement with Miller Brands UK to end the contract to brew, market and distribute Miller Beer. S&N brewed the brand under license from its American owner, Miller Brewing Co.

What happened? A joint review said, according to a statement issued by the two entities, "It no longer has a viable long-term role to play in either company’s beer portfolio/”

Miller Beer was first launched in the UK in the late 1980s as Miller Lite, relaunched as Miller Pilsner in the early '90s, and simply as Miller Beer in the late '90s. It has experienced double-digit sales declines in recent years.

To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Spirits Notebook
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.

20081101

Pedaling to drinkable satisfaction

Oh, those Austrians.

Not only did they give us such treats as Mozart, Schwarzenegger, Swarovsky crystal and some great pastries, now some of their "scientists" have come up with this gizmo.

It's a heat pump connected to an exercise bike. You put a can of beer -- or, one presumes, any other beverage -- into the copper coil and start pedalling.

If you want a hot drink, put the beverage into the other coil and, voila!, as the Austrians don't say.

To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Spirits Notebook
To Dowd's Brews Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Non-Alcohol Drinks Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
Back to Dowd On Drinks home page.