Category Archives: News

Drinkhacker Reads – 01.23.2014 – Beam Investor Sues Over Takeover

As previously speculated, all is not going to swell in the Beam-Suntory transition land. Bloomberg is now reporting that an investor is filing suit against Beam alleging the transaction undervalues the company. The suit is being spearheaded by Beam’s largest shareholder, hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who lost a pretty hefty sum recently with investments involving JC Penney and Herbalife. Attorneys for Ackman argue the suit is baseless and without merit. This could get ugly. [Bloomberg]

After an 80-year absence on the market, Dunville Irish Whiskey is making its return. The relaunch comes courtesy of Echlinville Distillery, which received an all-systems-go clearance to distill last year. Some very limited shipments are currently making their way to key markets in the U.S., Europe, and the UK, with a wider release being planned in subsequent years. [Irish Times]

Jelly Belly has introduced a new flavor we’ve all been craving: beer. The company will be launching an ale flavor resembling a Hefeweizen, which will be in stores sometime this year. The process to perfect this taste? Three years in the making. Let’s see if we can score a bag and find out if they’re worth the wait. [CBC]

And finally today: researchers in Spain are using high-def slow motion cameras to figure out why beer foams up. Now if they can only figure out why people are so attracted to the Kardashian family, flavored vodkas, and Mumford and Sons. [The Guardian]

Drinkhacker Reads – 01.20.2014 – Macallan Sets Record For World’s Most Expensive Scotch

MacallanM 300x300 Drinkhacker Reads   01.20.2014   Macallan Sets Record For Worlds Most Expensive Scotch If there were any signs that the whiskey market was potentially heading towards a bubble burst, yesterday’s record-breaking auction at Sotheby’s Hong Kong would surely be a leading indicator. The bottle of Macallan M sold at an auction on Saturday for $631,850, setting a new world record for most expensive whiskey ever. We’re quite pleased to say we’ve got two here in the office unopened, and we’re willing to trade a bottle with the folks for a Pappy van Winkle or two. Stop on by. [Complex]

In science news, researchers at the University of Oregon published a study declaring that a moderate amount of alcohol can actually help strengthen the immune system, thus validating several centuries of old wives’ tales and the phenomenon that is the Hot Toddy. [Daily Mirror]

Elsewhere in science-related news, The Atlantic continues its in-depth look at the process of spirit making with a profile of the recent string of fermentation science programs popping up at universities around the nation. While critics may scoff at such programs and dismiss them with a flippant, off-handed comment about how students are just looking for another excuse to drink, we here at Drinkhacker think of them pursuing a noble cause. A+ [The Atlantic]

Meanwhile, The Atlantic’s sister site Quartz breaks down the world’s whiskey consumption using infographics. Good stuff for finding out where all those bottles are going, and where they’ll most likely be heading in the future. [QZ]

And finally today, Gizmodo compiles some of the weirdest spirits packaging on the market. We’re not exactly sure weird or cool would be the right adjective to describe some of these, but beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. [Gizmodo]

Drinkhacker Reads – 01.16.2014 – Conan O’Brien: Beam Spokesman?

Not everyone is taking the Beam-Suntory merger so hard. In fact, there are several who stand to gain from such an alliance. One fellow who is trying is hardest to make his enthusiasm known is America’s favorite TBS Late Night Host, Conan O’Brien:

No word yet from Beam execs as to whether or not they’re interested.

In less classy news, Brown-Forman has taken to the internet to proudly exhibit their social media director’s poor grasp of global economics in a hysterical display of American exceptionalism by proclaiming to be “American Owned.” Hysterical coming from another company and owning brands beyond American borders. As the kids say, “epic fail” Brown-Forman. [WDRB]

However, if you’re really needing to figure out exactly which brands to boycott, here’s a handy chart courtesy of NPR’s Marketplace as to who owns what (though it’s missing a few big brands and their owners, including Campari-Wild Turkey). [NPR]

Elsewhere in the Beamosphere: Bloomberg profiles the potential risk of Suntory’s purchase, The New Yorker chimes in with its “thinkpiece,” and Forbes delves into the lack of details bondholders have been afforded throughout the week.

Elsewhere in the drinkosphere: Diageo is planning a £30M expansion of its Clynelish distillery, Diddy and Diageo (Diddageo?) (Diaggy?) are gearing up for a head-on celebrity tequila marketing battle with Justin Timberlake and Beam (Justin Beamory?), and the robot bartender (HAL Malone?)is being readied for launch shortly.

And finally today, the Smithsonian chimes in with its complete guide to hangovers. Not sure how many more times this story can be rewritten, but this one is thoroughly researched yet accessible and heavily linked with external information. [Smithsonian]

A Pro-Suntory Argument for the Consideration of the Anti-Beam Acquisition Crowd

SpecialComment 300x300 A Pro Suntory Argument for the Consideration of the Anti Beam Acquisition Crowd

Perhaps the most troublesome trend from the announcement of Suntory’s potential purchase of Beam yesterday is the stench emanating from that petri dish of democracy, the anonymous reactionary commenter festering in pockets of news web portals and its hydra-headed cousin, social media. Some of the contributions have been a bit disturbing and mildly ill-informed. In the efforts of providing a counter-argument, let’s take some of these ire-filled declarations from the chorus and consider them for a moment.

1.“This is the economic equivalent of Pearl Harbor” or: “This is the continued march of Socialism across the country”

The latter was heard on afternoon drive talk radio here in my old Kentucky home. It was tempting to take the bait and call in and inform the dear host that Japan really isn’t too keen on socialism, and that
his geography compass was off the marker by a few degrees/nations.

Beam jobs in Kentucky are relatively safe. At least for now, they’re not going anywhere. Beam Global has too much invested in the state – historically and economically – to just jump ship to Japan or
Connecticut. The distilleries are here, the logistics are here, the know-how is here, and the product is here. For those worried jobs will be shifted overseas? Remember one of the golden rules: in order for a spirit to be legally christened bourbon, it must be made right here on our fruited plains. This is something most of the established world has acknowledged and agreed to comply with.

From the always excellent Scotch and Ice Cream:

“The reality is that this is one of those moments where you’re forced to see that there can be sides to unfettered capitalism that aren’t necessarily going to align with your personal values and morals. Beam will have to be made in the United States to still be bourbon (and let’s not kid ourselves: Jim beam is bourbon for many people) which means that the more blue-collar production jobs probably aren’t going anywhere. Corporate structure in Deerfield IL may see a slimdown though. But there’s this fiction that people are selling themselves that is patently untrue – that Beam was somehow some sort of small, mom & pop cooperative and the benefits of Beam’s profits were seen in a big way by the average worker. The largest shareholders were institutional investors – Wall Street. Insider holdings of BEAM were comparatively small, and in the last two months, insiders sold 328,000 shares and only bought 12000. (27:1). “

For some, this still many not prove to be enough. Consider this: many of the iconic brands we know and love, things commonly thought to be synonymous with America, are no longer made here. So please continue to rant about only buying American made products, on your computer, which was probably not manufactured or assembled in America. Or better yet, do it on your smart phone. When’s the last time you checked on its manufacturing point? It’s the nature of the global economy. This acquisition should come as no surprise to anyone.

2. “The quality of the product will change”

As numerous people will stand up and attest to, Suntory has an excellent track record of premium spirits and like most skillfully crafted things coming from the land of rising sun, there’s a lot of pride in the quality of the products they produce. People reminisce about the good old days when items manufactured in America were made with pride. Those values never left Japan. The quality will continue to be high, if anything to keep from having to deal with a potential PR disasters. Anyone here remember the great Maker’s Mark Proof Switch of ‘13? And speaking of which…

3. “I’m switching and staying with Maker’s Mark”

Sorry, Joe Merica, Maker’s is part of the Beam Empire, and therefore is soon to be owned by Suntory. Try again.

Let’s take a step back for some historical context. Before the current bourbon bubble, before Pappymania and before Bob Ritchie was years away from endorsing Red Stag, the Japanese were already aware of bourbon’s potential both financially and aesthetically. Back in the ’80s the Japanese were quietly investing all over Kentucky: the Toyota North American HQ in Erlanger, KY and a new plant in Georgetown, KY being a prominent example. Japanese investors were involved in Buffalo Trace before it was Buffalo Trace, when people were satisfied with Ancient Age and Blanton’s was in its infancy. They were also in Lawrenceburg, figuring out how to improve and profit on Four Roses.

Again, the honorable Timothy Read from Scotch and Ice Cream:

It’s worth noting that the Four Roses renaissance of the last few years has been under the ownership of Kirin. It’s possible that the [Beam] product will change, and it’s possible the product will change for the better. It’s also possible that there will be a series of export-only bottlings (as you see with Age International’s Blanton’s offerings, as well as Four Roses Platinum) that are intended for a Japanese market. Remember, whisky is huge in Japan, and it’s possible Suntory simply wanted its own bourbon on the shelves alongside Kirin’s.

There’s always the possibility that Suntory will tank the quality of Beam, but it’s silly to jump to that conclusion. It also ignores that Beam has been reducing quality quite well – the Maker’s debacle, dropping proof on Old Grand-Dad and dropping age statements on Basil Hayden’s.

If all of this simply isn’t enough to sway you, then please start sending your bottles of Four Roses, Bulleit, and Wild Turkey over to Drinkhacker HQ. We’ll take them off your hands free of charge so you can remain guilt-free in your patriotic purchases. Because in case you didn’t know: Four Roses is still Japanese-owned, Bulleit is owned by Diageo UK, and Wild Turkey by Italy’s Gruppo Campari. Look out, ye who are filled with fear: we’re just one country away from the Original Axis of Evil reuniting and taking all of the bourbons away from us.

This merger hasn’t happened yet. There are still many hoops to jump through before the deal is sealed. There are numerous things that could derail this transaction. On top of it all: this whole transition
could take months, maybe even a year, before final. It’s still too soon. Anything can still happen, and it just might.

We beg of you: don’t buy into the ridiculous xenophobia certain spirit writers are trying to promote. You’re too smart a consumer to fall prey to such convenient jingoisms. As someone so eloquently put it on Twitter: if you’re not going to buy Beam, do it on taste.

(A very special thanks to Timothy Read from Scotch and Ice Cream for the engaging conversation and much needed dose of inspiration. If you haven’t already, you’d be well served to make his site a daily must-read)

Drinkhacker Reads – 01.13.2014 – Suntory To Acquire Beam For $16 Billion

Screen shot 2014 01 13 at 12.31.17 PM 300x165 Drinkhacker Reads   01.13.2014   Suntory To Acquire Beam For $16 Billion No other story today could possibly dominate headlines in the spirits world like the stunning announcement that Beam Global is going to be acquired by Japanese mega-conglomerate Suntory for a cool $16 billion. Of course, along with this announcement has arrived a plethora of articles using the image of Bill Murray from his portrayal of a Suntory spokesman from the movie Lost In Translation. Let’s dig deeper into this historic acquisition with a bit of context, courtesy of our friends on the web:

Start with a brief history of Suntory, and a brief overview of Beam history. Then check out a Forbes profile on the man behind Suntory, Nobutada Saji.

Crain’s Chicago provides an excellent summary of the acquisition. CNN reports that this could be the second largest acquisition by a Japanese company of an American company in history, and will result in the 3rd largest spirits company in the world.

Who stands to win from this? Big surprise: Investors and shareholders. However, not everyone is happy. BusinessWeek is reporting that the shareholder rights law firm of Johnson & Weaver is already investigating the proposed sale, and whether or not Beam’s board “failed to satisfy their duties to the company’s shareholders.”

There’s some early commentary available, but most is still forthcoming. Here’s a good piece by Louisville’s David Mann about the local implications of the Beam takeover. Bourbon scribe Chuck Cowdery offers up his compulsory op-ed, as does the usually brilliant Shanken. Other than that, the general vibe from most bourbon writers seems to be that it’s simply too soon to tell what the future will hold for Beam after Suntory Time arrives.

No doubt there’ll be much more coming in the next few days. We’ll stay on top of it all and deliver you the best synthesis of analysis possible.

Drinkhacker Reads – 01.08.2014 – Notorious A.B.V.: Diddyageo Acquires DeLeon Tequila

Diddy done at it again! Unsatisfied with his dominance and rebranding of Ciroc, the Puff Diddles has partnered once more with Diageo to acquire DeLeon tequila. While few details of the transaction are available, the partnership has proven profitable for all parties in the past. Ciroc has gone from shipping 50,000 cases to 2 million cases annually in just under six years. It’ll be interesting to see what happens this time around. [BevNet]

Organizers of the Beer Bloggers Conference have taken time to sort through the wide spectrum of static to give us a stronger signal on what they believe to be the 20 most influential beer websites in the world. The results are mildly surprising, with many corporate brand sites dominating the top half. We’re not exactly sure “influential” is the right term to be used here, as its hard to see just how consumers are influenced or compelled to drink a product just from a visit to a web site. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting methodology and fine attempt at developing a picture of the beersphere. [Beer Bloggers Conference]

NPR radio program Here and Now makes an argument that Bourbon makers outside of Kentucky could spark innovation. Because clearly there’s absolutely no innovation happening with bourbon in Kentucky. WARNING: There’s no mention of Pappy Van Winkle here. Like… none. Go home, NPR. You’re drunk. [Here and Now]

Bloomberg Business Week has a great (but quick) interview with Beam figurehead Fred Noe, who is out promoting the new Beam Single Barrel. Fred’s in his usual great and humorous form, and then the interviewer has to go and screw everything up by bringing “PVW” into the conversation. [Business Week]

And finally today, a new study from Denmark suggests that women who drink a glass of wine a day during pregnancy have better, well-behaved children. Now buy me a toy!!! [Express UK]

Drinkhacker Reads – 01.06.2014 – Canadian Beer Company Celebrates Team USA Hockey

USA1980 300x166 Drinkhacker Reads   01.06.2014   Canadian Beer Company Celebrates Team USA HockeyThe massive snowstorm that hit the majority of the nation, the Winter Classic, and now: the Olympics. For hockey fans, this winter simply can not get any better. In celebration of the forthcoming gold medal from Team USA, Canadian brewer Labatt’s has issued a series of commemorative cans celebrating the outstanding tradition of U.S. Hockey throughout the ages. No word on whether or not Labatt’s is commemorating any other countries who may have robbed the U.S. of their gold medal in the last Olympics. [CBS Sports]

With the controversy surrounding a recent Dewar’s television advertisement, one would think the newly announced regulations on alcohol and television advertisements were a positive outcome from the incident. Turns out it’s just coincidence. The Spirits Business reports that the new rules stem from a report on children’s exposure to alcohol advertisements. Their primary objective? To minimize the amount of time little Johnny or Jane is exposed to Captain Morgan, the world’s most interesting man, and other characters. [The Spirits Business]

A recent report from the University of Adelaide has traced which grapes are the most popular around the world for wine. For those who don’t have time to read the entire 35 page report, we’ll sum up the somewhat unsurprising answer: Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are leading the pack, with a few assorted grapes trailing after. [University of Adelaide]

Finally, for those who enjoy the “inside baseball” aspect of beer writing, Brewery History has made its latest issue available online for free. Its subject? None other than one of the best beer writers ever: Michael Jackson. Nine articles on Jackson, his legacy and how his impact still carries on today in digital media. Thanks for the free issue! [Brewery History]

Drinkhacker Reads – 12.18.2013 – On The Matter Of Festivus Poles, Fashion and Alligators

We have seven days until the whole gift-giving thing commences. If you’re without a clue as to what to bring to that holiday party to make that all important impression, why not stop on over at our full color gift guide for some suggestions and solutions? We’re here to help!

Also in keeping with the spirits of the holiday season, a man in Flordia has constructed a Festivus tree in the state capitol building made out of cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Needing a brief primer on the origins of Festivus? We’ve got you covered. [NPR]

Festivus has come early for some of us: Shanken News Daily is reporting that Stoli is planning on realigning its product line in 2014, which includes phasing out several of their not-so-in-demand flavored vodkas. Stoli reps are planning on rebranding as a luxury line, which is kind of hard to do when your product line includes salted caramel, chocolate coconut, and jalapeno vodkas. [Shanken News Daily]

Ardbeg inspires multi award winning fashion designer Judy R Clark in n... 300x199 Drinkhacker Reads   12.18.2013   On The Matter Of Festivus Poles, Fashion and AlligatorsHere’s one with a twist: award winning Scottish fashion designer Judy R. Clark has been commissioned by Ardbeg to create a clothing line inspired by the Scotch whisky. The collection will include waistcoats for men and shorts for women, along with matching trousers. Clark also incorporated proprietary Ardbeg tweed into the designs, as well as triple lapels on the waist coats and gold rivets along the collars to reflect the Ardbeg logo. The collection will be worn by lucky employees of the company worldwide at various events.

And finally today, a man in Flordia tries to buy beer by bartering a live alligator. There’s nothing much more we can really add to that. Story just sort of sells itself, really. [NBC News]

Drinkhacker Reads – 12.11.13 – Brit Boozer Boasts Bourbon Bests Barley

(Back to our regularly scheduled formatting…)

millerlite Drinkhacker Reads   12.11.13   Brit Boozer Boasts Bourbon Bests BarleyOld people and retro addicts rejoice! Miller Lite is bringing back its old packaging for a limited time. To help cross promote this historic occasion, several cans of the vintage design will be featured in Anchorman 2, which has seemingly attached itself to literally everything this holiday season. The can will be available on the market starting in January and throughout the spring of 2014.

Speaking of fossils, normally we don’t lend much credence to Jim Murray’s biblical decrees but this time he may be on to something: Bourbon might be surpassing Scottish whisky in quality. Of course this news comes from the Washington Times, and we’re told by incredibly reliable sources (namely: awesome readers of this daily feature) that said paper isn’t exactly a reliable source, so he might have said the opposite. Either way, we wouldn’t be surprised if he actually said both at some point. [Washington Times]

Becky Paskin is no stranger to awesome booze writing, and her profile for the Spirits Business on the insanely astronomical prices folks are paying for Scotch is one of the more engaging reads of the year. Definitely worth the time to read through and daydream about affording some of the beauties profiled. [The Spirits Business]

Whisky Advocate is starting to announce their best picks of 2013, starting today with Few Spirits Rye taking home its Craft Whiskey Of The Year. More selections are on their way this week, none of which will probably as expensive as those in the Spirits Business profile, and (hopefully) in a store near you. [Whisky Advocate]

And finally today, Shanken News is reporting that Four Roses is scaling back production due to a barrel shortage. Industry barrel supplier Independent Stave Company is having problems sourcing American white oak lumber. Instead of enacting company layoffs and a distillery shutdown, Four Roses made the smart move to reduce production for the time being. Stay tuned… [Shanken News Daily]

Drinkhacker Reads – 12.09.2013 – Absurd Upworthy Headline Edition

With the inpouring of luxury goods and spirits into the nation, the Chinese are also slowly developing their own class of whisky connoisseurs. Financial Times examines the emergence of this new class of savvy and sophisticated drinkers. You won’t believe what happens next. Also in the Financial Times: a discussion of rare releases and the constant demand they bring. [Financial Times]

Jason Barber spent years developing a vodka made from cow’s milk. What happens next may blow your mind. [The Guardian UK]

Here is what happens when a man seeks crowd-sourced funding to bring another rum into existence. [Newsday]

Find out what happens when a large tequila company partners with a Russian distribution company to increase profits and market share. The answer may astound and stun your sensibilities. [Beverage Daily]

A Kentucky distiller makes only 273 bottles of its sour mash. Find out the astronomical price these bottles are fetching on the inflated spirits market. [Poughkeepsie Journal]

Click here to discover which famous Will Ferrell character is slated to receive his own expression of Scotch. The answer will not surprise you. At all. [Huffington Post]

Drinkhacker Reads -12.04.2013 – U.S. State Department Spends $180,000 On Alcohol

1 Glenmorangie fans are able to choose from these three label and box designs for Taghta Tuh ta1 525x177 Drinkhacker Reads  12.04.2013   U.S. State Department Spends $180,000 On Alcohol

We’re not big on the compiling of slideshow based listicles, as is the trend these days. However, we’ve come across two that would fit quite snugly under the header of “Weird Whiskey Ideas of 2013.” The first, from Glenmorangie, invites users to decide on the label for its latest in the Cask Masters series, Taghta (Gaelic for “chosen”). Fans can hop on over to the website and vote on their favorite label, all bold and risky choices: yellow and brown, brown and orange, or purplish! [Glenmorangie]

In Beamland, the new “I’m Beam” application also is a bit of a charming headscratcher. Users can download the app to create woodcut-styled portraits similar to those found on the side label of Beam bottles, amongst other knicknacks, including something ambiguously entitled “Beam Family Surprises.” Mmmmmmm… [Jim Beam]

image001 143x300 Drinkhacker Reads  12.04.2013   U.S. State Department Spends $180,000 On Alcohol Coming in January/February to a white dog shelf near you: Dickel No.1, which serves as the base juice for it Nos.8, 12, and Barrel Select editions. It’ll be bottled at about 91 proof and will retail for $21.99 for a 750ml bottle. Look for our review shortly. [Dickel]

Faced with the shutdown this past fall, the State Department racked up a liquor bill of $180,000 in anticipation of its inability to purchase spirits during the brief hiatus. This included a nearly $16,000 whiskey tab in Moscow. Why weren’t we invited? [Washington Times]

Elsewhere in the political/alcohol narrative, Sen. Charles Schumer continues his crusade to cut excise taxes on smaller microbreweries in an effort to… wait for it… help “job creators.” [WSJ]

And finally today, the New Republic asks: Do smart people drink more? We’d like to think so, but that’s just opinion. NR backs that up with the results of several recently published studies. [New Republic]

Drinkhacker Reads – 12.02.2013 – Drinkhacker Gift Guide Goes Color + Sriracha Vodka

No doubt you saw the 2013 edition of our Gift Guide posted last week in between stuffing your faces or fighting the crowds during Whack Friday. But did you know our guide also comes as a full color PDF, complete with full reviews and all the previous years’ winners. Dig in!

Despite an overall slowdown in the amount of what we’re consuming in restaurants, a report issued today by Technomic suggests that we’re drinking less, but we’re also being more discerning about our choices. While the overall gains were modest (0.7% overall), categories such as Irish whiskey (+21.6%) and craft/microbrewed beer (+13%) saw double digit growth. [Technomic]

While we were on Thanksgiving break, Diageo announced via press release an initiative it’s The Orphan Barrel Project, which sounds suspiciously close to another project near and dear to our hearts. The project will “rescue” old and rare barrels of whiskey from their warehouses, including Kentucky Bourbons, to be bottled… in Tennessee (…not cool, Diageo). The first of the “expressions” – a 20 year old called Barterhouse and a 26 year old called Old Blowhard will be arriving in early 2014, and not everyone is thrilled with the concept or presentation. Charles Cowdery offers up an excellent editorial on the whole business.

bottlelarge sriracha2 77x300 Drinkhacker Reads   12.02.2013   Drinkhacker Gift Guide Goes Color +  Sriracha VodkaAnd finally today: just when you thought it was safe to go down the vodka aisle and not be assaulted by hideous flavors, UV has announced the arrival of its Sriracha Vodka expression. No doubt an attempt to cash in on the Sriracha craze sweeping the nation, Philips Distilling Company is proud to present the world’s first Sriracha-flavored vodka. We’re kind of hoping it’s the only version, but hey… maybe it’ll sell well in upscale restaurants. [UV Vodka]

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.25.2013 – Dennis Rodman Solves North Korea Problem With Vodka

rodman goodlooks 300x200 Drinkhacker Reads   11.25.2013   Dennis Rodman Solves North Korea Problem With Vodka

Dennis Rodman, 21st Century International Diplomat

Not satisfied with being one of the most brilliantly insane basketball players of all time, Dennis Rodman has decided to travel down roads blazed by Jimmy Carter and numerous others in an idealistic effort to become a peace broker for humanity.

At a recent press conference, the former Piston/Bull/Laker/Maverick/Cross Dresser promoted his upcoming basketball game in North Korea — where his 6-foot-7 frame will be valiantly taking the court in country where the average height for men is 5’8″ — and also took a few moments to promote his new vodka brand, humbly named Dennis Rodman: The Original Badass Premium Vodka.

From AP/Detroit Free Press:

“Everyone knows (President Barack) Obama drinks beer (…) But you know what? I’m pretty sure he does have a cocktail here or there. I’d love to see him with a ‘Bad Ass Vodka’ shot in his hand, toasting to Kim Jong (Un) and me.

“That would be awesome.”

Indeed, Worm. Indeed.

In related news, both Rodman and Obama make an appearance on the 2013 edition of GQ Magazine’s Least Influential Celebrities list.

Equally as amusing today, a Fort Meyers, Florida man was arrested for attempting to hide 13 bottles of liquor down his pants. When approached by security, he was asked if that was twelve bottles of Hennessy and one bottle of Grey Goose in his pants, or if he was just happy to see them. [UPI]

Finally in science news: the Daily Mail is reporting alcohol is good for preventing cancer, improving your sex life, and when drunk in moderation won’t make a person fat. The world’s oldest wine cellar has been discovered in Israel. Physics researchers explain foaming beer bottles, Gizmodo drinks a Samuel Adams Utopias in the name of research [Drinkhacker's take coming soon!], and a British researcher busts the myth of the beer belly.

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.21.2013 – The End Of Flavored Vodka?

Good news everyone! Restaurant Sciences LLC is reporting that sales for flavored vodkas fell almost 12% over last year’s 3rd quarter reports! Hooray! This means no more “innovative” flavors like grass clippings, musty fall leaves, or leather in our neutral spirits! Further from the report:

Restaurant Sciences tracks more than 600 flavored vodka brands, with the Top 50 flavored vodkas accounting for 73 percent of sales. Among the larger brands, Absolut Citron, the flavored vodka category leader, saw a 1.8 percent year-over-year sales decline. While Grey Goose Cherry Noir flavored vodka is enjoying increased on-premise sales, all other Grey Goose flavored vodkas on-premise sales are off between eight to 20 percent. Other category leaders, such as Stolichnaya and Three Olives, are down more than 20 percent.

Hooray! [Market Wired]

Elsewhere in other “innovative” news: Amsterdam is paying alcoholics to clean their streets. The can-do spirit of keeping the areas neat and tidy caused by their equally inebriated countrymen will result in a compensation of 10 euros, a half packet of rolling tobacco, and five cans of beer distributed throughout the day. While some people think the move a genius one, others are a bit more vociferous about the new initiative. Of course, the public forum Reddit is engaging in a lively discussion over the article. [Elite Daily]

The Wall Street Journal reports on the latest findings on why hangovers hit people harder after 40 than they did in their youth. [WSJ]

The final release in A. Smith Bowman’s 2013 line will be available nationwide beginning late November/early December. The Abraham Bowman Limited Edition Port Finished Bourbon is aged 12 years, and unlike last year’s Port-finished expression, was aged four more years in oak while spending less time in Port casks. The limited edition is 100 proof and will retail for about $69.99. [A Smith Bowman]

And finally today, rye fans rejoice! After much consternation about its disappearance over a year ago, Wild Turkey is bringing its rye bottling back at its original proof of 101. However, due to the minimal amount of stock available, the 101 proof version will be made available to targeted markets in limited quantities. Of course, the 81 proof version will still be available en masse to those who love it.

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.18.2013 – Wine Spectator Releases Top 100 Wines of 2013

Wine Spectator‘s Top 100 Wines List of 2013 was unveiled this morning to much fanfare, with the Cune Rioja Imperial Gran Reserva taking top honors. The site also has a feature where users can trace the entire history of the list dating back to 1988. Congrats to all making this distinctive list. [Wine Spectator]

Bacardi rum has unveiled its new, expansive global media campaign. “Untameable” will include several new television and digital ads and expansive print layouts highlighting the company’s 150+ year history. The brand’s packaging will also be redesigned and unified with a new aesthetic. [Bacardi]

Glenfiddich has unveiled the final details of its Spirit Of A Nation expression, aged 29 years in a single sherry cask before finishing in an American oak cask. The edition is limited to just 250 bottles, with only 200 being available to the general public at price tag of $1,600. The launch coincides with the beginning of an expedition to the South Pole by veterans in order to raise awareness for Walking With The Wounded, a charity for injured veterans. [Glenfiddich]

And finally today, in science news: Fred Minnick and Scientific American take on the debate about vodka being labeled “gluten-free”, the NHTSA wants automakers to speed up an alcohol-detection device which would prevent cars from starting, and NPR explains “wine tears.”

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.14.2013 – Science Thursday Edition

Science has possibly found a way to mimic the pleasant effects of inebriation without alcohol by taking one one pill, and then sober a person up by taking a second pill. While we’re all for science and discovery around here, unless there’s a pill that can recreate the incredible sensation of drinking an A+ rated spirit without coughing up the dough, we’ll stick with the joy of what we know for now. [Huffington Post]

In other science news, MiiR has introduced a new growler that keeps beverages cold for up to 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. They’re raising money to start things up and have surpassed their goal with almost two weeks to go. On top of all this, every growler purchased will result in a donation of clean drinking water to a person for a year. A great idea and a great cause. Head on over to their website and check it out. [MiiR]

Popular Science isn’t jumping on the pill bandwagon this issue, but it does feature an incredible and indepth look at how evolution determines the flavor of our beer and whiskey. [Popular Science]

Buffalo Trace is getting ready to unveil the eleventh round of its Single Oak project in time for the upcoming holiday, with this round focusing on the maturation process in two separate warehouses and the effects of flooring: a brick warehouse with wooden floors vs. a brick warehouse with concrete floors. As always, we’ll have complete coverage as we head toward the conclusion of this most ambitious experiment. [Buffalo Trace]

In beer news, it looks as if Miller’s lime-flavored Miller Chill will be put on ice later this year. Originally slated to compete with Bud Light Lime, the product received the cold shoulder from consumers and will be frozen in its tracks in order to make room for newer, sunnier brands. [Beer Pulse]

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.11.2013 – Patriotic Dispatch Edition

First and foremost, a raising of the glass to the men and women who have proudly served in our country’s military branches. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

In true patriot form, Bostonians are once again taking it to the streets and marching towards the halls of politics. Members of the Massachusetts Beer Guild (which includes Samuel Adams and Harpoon) will be testifying at a hearing with state legislators tomorrow afternoon, claiming that four-decade-old laws and legislation regarding wholesalers and distribution are curbing growth and impacting 1,300 existing jobs in the commonwealth. We’re in the process of trying to find out if the hearing will be simulcasted, and if so we’ll post a link tomorrow. [Boston.com]

Jack Daniel’s is back in court again, this time suing a restaurant over the use of the phrase “No. 7″. Last week it was against Popcorn Sutton for the use of a similar bottle shape. We can’t wait to see them in court over the use of black and white as a color scheme. (Note: This is a joke. Please don’t sue us.) [Law 360]

In wine news: Bloomberg is reporting that France is already down on the rot-ridden 2013 vintage, already prompting an increase in wine prices, The Wall Street Journal reports that New York had a great year for its crop, and a new system in Germany can identify grape varietals and sugar content through optical techniques.

And finally today, the world’s oldest living veteran Richard Overton credits his 107 years of longevity to 12 cigars a day and whiskey in his coffee. “Whiskey’s a good medicine. It keeps your muscles tender.” Overton said in an interview with an LA Times reporter. While not many doctors may agree with that assessment, we’ll drink to it. Cheers, sir. Tender cheers. [LA Times]

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.07.2013 – Canadians Save the Economy by Drinking Beer

It’s quite well known that Canadians love their beer almost as much as they love their hockey, Tim Horton’s, and Celine Dion. However, our northern neighbors have also supported their economic growth and stability by consuming a massive amount of the national beverage. In a new report issued by the Conference Board of Canada, we find out that:

  • The beer economy supports 1 out of every 100 jobs in Canada, generating $5.8 billion in government revenues in the form of product, income, and corporate taxes.
  • The brewing industry is over three times larger than the wineries and distilleries industries in Canada combined.
  • Beer’s supply chain stretches across the country. Beer consumption in one province supports jobs in many other provinces along its supply chain.
  • The industries that support the beer industry generate multiplier effects. For every $1 spent on beer in Canada, $1.12 in GDP is generated across the country.
  • Increasing Canadian beer exports by $10 million would result in a $10.54 million boost to GDP and would support 70 jobs.

Impressive numbers for any country, even for one that generates such awful pop music. Looking right at you, Bieber. [Yahoo! Canada]

In weird news, beer is losing ground to wine and spirits as the alcoholic beverage of choice among men ages 21-27, but is mysteriously gaining ground among women the same age. Marketers are attributing the switch to folks branching out, refining their taste palates, and trying new things. Good news for spirits manufacturers, which are about to see a global growth decline, according to a report from the Spirits Business. [Restaurant News]

Law360 is reporting on legislation in the Senate which would update the definition of a “hard cider” within the Internal Revenue Code, in order to reduce taxes and classifying the beverage as a beer. Previously it was classified as a wine. [Law 360]

And finally, today is National Nacho Day. While we normally only salute National [Beverage] Day, the included recipe for a Bacon Bloody Mary was just too good not to pass along. [LA Times]

Drinkhacker Reads – 11.04.2013 – Founder’s Finds Ford Pale Ale For Ship Christening

Microbrewer Founder’s is fashioning a special pale ale to be served at the christening of a new aircraft carrier named after their fellow hometown friend, former President Gerald Ford (both hail from Grand Rapids, Michigan). The beer will be on sale at select stores this week and President Ford’s daughter, Susan, will serve as the ship’s sponsor Saturday, performing the traditional honor of breaking a bottle of American sparkling wine across the ship’s bow during the ceremony. [Founder's]

In a year where demand for its other products have spawned such ballyhoo as lowering proofs and creating new ways to drain every last drop from its barrels, it’s surprising to hear that Beam Global’s profit dropped 12% last quarter. However, it seems that this is due largely to a major dip in the Skinnygirl product line, which lost 29% of its sales in the period. Don’t be surprised if an aggressive rebrand with a (bigger) celebrity spokesperson is right around the corner.[Wall Street Journal]

In science news: The Guardian tackles the art and science behind wine making, alcohol may not be the social lubricant everyone thinks it is, we’re still talking about Chinese hangover cures, a machine that can chill one’s beer in a minute, and a biochemist does research into the optimum ice for one’s drink.

And finally, in less than pleasant news, The Drinks Business is reporting that counterfeit wine now accounts for 20% of all global wine sales, according to unofficial industry estimates. That would never happen in other spirits industries. Never. No Sir. [The Drinks Business]

Drinkhacker Reads – 10.30.2013 – Miller and AnheuserInBev to $100 Billion Merge

In a surprise move to absolutely no one, there’s talk that the mega beer titans Miller and AB InBev could be forming one giant mega corporation set on dominating the beer world. The price for SAB/Miller would be right around $100 billion, which includes the lifetime stipend given to former spokesperson Bob Uecker. [Reuters]

Only a few days after its Buffalo Trace article, The Atlantic is buying into the “sky is falling” mentality that there’s a great global wine shortage afoot, and it will only get worse. Time to start stocking up! [The Atlantic]

The Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection adds to its Entry Proof and Heavy Char experiments of 2013 with a new line slated for release at the end of this month. This time around Harlan and company are focusing on barrel stave drying times; with one bottled at the standard Buffalo Trace stave drying time of six months, and the other with a 13 month stave drying time. Reviews forthcoming, stay tuned! [Buffalo Trace]

And finally today, Panagiotis Giovanis from the Venezia bar in Greece has been crowned the winner in the EU final of Angostura’s Global Cocktail Challenge. 12 competitors battled it out in Stockholm, but Giovanis’ cocktails, Scarlet Ibis and Safe House, were said to embody the versatility of Angostura. He will go on to compete in the global final in Trinidad & Tobago in March. Here’s the recipe for his award-winning Scarlet Ibis. It’s pretty elaborate and takes 40 days to make properly (………), so if anyone wants to take a stab and report back on the quality, let us know.

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