Category Archives: Industry News & Events

Celebrate Repeal Day!

Of all the national holidays we celebrate with glasses raised, one day is more deserving of that fanfare than all the others.

December 5th marks the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition – the 81st anniversary, as of 2014. The enactment of the Twenty-First Amendment in 1933 was one of the greatest milestones in American history, marking the only time a constitutional amendment (the Eighteenth) has been repealed.

Prohibition was a time unlike any other in the United States. What began in the late 19th century as advocacy for temperance quickly became a drive toward teetotalism that would cleave a nation, turn law-abiding citizens to lawlessness, drive governmental crime and corruption, fund astonishing levels of gang violence, spark a monumental shift in social customs, especially for women, and profoundly shake public faith in federal institutions. It spawned speakeasies, generated the word scofflaw, and fanned the careers of people like Lois Long, a writer and socialite in New York City whose illicit escapades into Prohibition’s kaleidoscopically colorful nightlife the rest of the city followed ardently.

gal-prohibition18-web-jpg1922, St. Pierre, champaigne being offloaded 2 (Mrs.Y.Andrieux Collection)

Consequently, its rescission demonstrated a national willingness to accept and remedy misguided policy, returned funding to a government in straits, and rekindled a national industry and traditions whose legacies carry on today. Yet for decades – up until about eight years ago, when Portland bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler began officially championing the reinvigoration of Repeal Day – December 5th passed almost unnoticed.

Morgenthaler, who had been encouraging his patrons to celebrate Repeal Day for years, began using his blog in 2006 to publicize the date, which he felt far more people ought to fete. Reaching out to like-minded industry bloggers and bartenders across the country and beyond, Morgenthaler began to build a small but stalwart support for the cause, which quickly snowballed.

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Today cities from Seattle to Chicago to Washington, D.C. commemorate December 5th with parties, decor, drink specials and general revelry, and while the movement is still gathering steam, it seems a likely candidate for imminent adoption by the masses. After all, who doesn’t want another excuse to celebrate?

Today, spread the word to customers and coworkers alike – for most people, all it takes for them to get in the Repeal Day spirit is knowing about the occasion. And after work, we recommend gathering your friends, popping a bottle of wine or champagne, pouring a mugful of foamy beer, or kicking back with classic cocktails – because you can. Cheers to Repeal Day!

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A version of this post appeared today on our sister blog, Twine Living.

 


Sources: Jeffrey Morgenthaler, PBS. Images: Copp Brewery, Gallery Hip, Grand Colombier, EWM Interactive, The Daily Beast, New York Daily News, YoutubeDaily of the Day.

Enter Our $1,000 Holiday Design Competition!

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‘Tis the season for friendly competition! We’re having a Holiday Design Contest open to all you talented designers in the holiday spirit. Design a wine gift bag, standard gift bag or greeting card, and your design could win you $1,000 in cash – and a chance to be featured in our Holiday 2015 paper goods collection!

DEADLINE: JANUARY 1st, 2015

First Place:                         $1,000 cash prize

Second Place:                    $300 cash prize

Third Place:                        $150 cash prize

Submitted designs will be judged by a panel of True Fabrications experts and some of the industry’s most respected retailers in wine and spirits. Coverage of the competition designs will be featured here on our True blog and on our Twine Living blog. Winners will be announced on both blogs on January 15, 2015.

Download full contest details and templates in our Holiday Design Competition Submission Kit here:

TrueHolidayDesignContest_SubmissionKit

Questions after reading? Contact us: contest@truefabrications.com.

Best of luck to all of you!

National Apple Cider Day: A Revolutionary History

Shutterstock Cider

A lot of food holidays are arbitrary. (You just missed National Pizza With the Works Except Anchovies Day, for instance.) But National Apple Cider Day comes with a folkloric history.

According to legend, on November 18, 1307,  William (Wilhelm) Tell and his son Walter were passing through the town square in the Swiss Alpine village of Altdorf. At the center of the square stood a pole, upon which the town bailiff, Gessler, had placed his hat. The hat stood for the imperial Austrian authority, under whose rule Switzerland was subjugated, and which Gessler represented. All who passed before the hat were to bow, upon penalty of death.

As can be expected with this type of legend, William Tell refused to bow. Gessler ordered Tell’s immediate arrest. Seeking to make an example of the dissident, Gessler then posed Tell, who was a known marksman, a simple challenge: shoot an apple from his son’s head, and both would be allowed to walk free. Miss, and both would die.

Altdorf

Altdorf, Switzerland.

Tell took two arrows from the selection offered, and took aim at the apple atop Walter’s head. He shot cleanly through it. Tell was then asked what he had taken an additional arrow for, and he replied that had his son been harmed, it would have been for Gessler. At this second act of treason, Gessler refused to release Tell. Instead, he had him bound, and Gessler himself set off with Tell to bring him to jail in Kussnacht.

Had there not been a storm in sailing to Kussnacht, Apple Cider Day still might not have a backstory. Instead, a storm blew up on Lake Lucerne, and the crew released Tell, who was capable of steering the boat to shore. Tell leapt to shore himself, pushed the boat with Gessler and his crew back out onto the wind-whipped lake, and set off to Kussnacht. There, he awaited Gessler’s party, and as they approached in pursuit he shot Gessler through the heart. As the story goes, the act would spark a series of events that would lead to the Swiss revolution.

True or not, eight hundred years later people across the globe commemorate the folkloric incident by sipping cider on the same day.

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Statue of William and Walter Tell in the town square in Altdorf, Switzerland.

Apple cider itself is more tightly bound up in American revolutionary history than in Swiss. It was a de facto national drink of choice around the time of the revolution, which circumvented colonial dependence on Old World imports like wine and tea. Another folk hero, Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman), is to thank for taking seeds from Pennsylvania cider mills and planting the early states’ western frontiers with apple trees, paving the way for American expansionism. As pioneers moved west, hardy fruit awaited them. The apples were used not to eat (cider apples are extremely bitter, often to the point of inedibility) but to make cider, a safe alternative to water that likely helped many colonists, including children, survive.

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Cider apples in Sister Bay, Wis.

Today, the joys of apple cider are being rediscovered.  The fruit is so genetically diverse that the seed of any given apple will grow to produce a fruit entirely unique from its predecessor, meaning there is no shortage of apple varieties to be explored. Meanwhile, traditional American cider apples, used in colonial times and reproduced over the years by grafting, are resurfacing along with a cider culture that has begun to truly recover for the first time since Prohibition. Cider bars, cider festivals, cider pairings and cider cocktails – even cider mimosas – are all trending at breakneck speed.

Thanks to its renaissance, November 18 is certainly a day to celebrate.

Cider Cocktail

Craft cider cocktails – find five cider cocktail recipes on our sister blog, Twine Living.


 

Sources: Swiss Info, The Smithsonian, Ken B Travels, Sister Bay, The Boys Club and Cidercraft Magazine.

HOST Spotlighted in Gourmet Business

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Above: The HOST Tilt Variable Aerator, featured in the November 2014 issue of Gourmet Business.


As a well-informed and thoughtfully curated resource for gourmet retailers, we have long followed Gourmet Business online magazine. As such, we were honored to be included in GB’s November issue, as the very first item in the feature article on innovative barware that is revolutionizing the category.

Find the HOST Tilt Variable Aerator in the issue here, and be sure to read on for more industry news and other cutting-edge products.


Shop now: 

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A Real Must Have

True Fabrications and POPSUGAR teamed up this month to add a little something fresh and fun to POPSUGAR’s March Must Have Box, our very own Corkatoo Corkscrew.

POPSUGAR has over 20 million users, and continues to grow exponentially delivering “the biggest moments, the hottest trends and the best tips in entertainment, fashion, beauty, fitness, and food, and the ability to shop for it all, in one place.”  They also have the opportunity to subscribe to a monthly Must Have Box for just $35 a month.

The Must Have Box contains some of today’s hottest products hand-picked by the POPSUGAR editors, all revolving around a common theme for the month.  The boxes contain full-sized samples of must have beauty products, things for the home, fashion products and more, an entire box of goodies worth over $100.

For March, POPSUGAR featured some of the hottest spring product including the Corkatoo Corkscrew.  With raving reviews from a handful of bloggers, Corkatoo was a definite hit.  Beauty Info Zone called Corkatoo “the cutest item in the box” and the Girly Enthusiast claims to be “a little bit obsessed with the Corkatoo Corkscrew. It’s just friggen’ adorable.” Corkatoo Corkscrew is not only fun, but also function and truly is a must have!

New Year. New Products.

With the New Year upon us we can all look forward to the debut of many new products from True Fabrications and HOST.

HOST is a high quality brand by True Fabrications that will stand above the rest. HOST works hard to engineer and perfect their products so that you can sit back, relax and revel in life’s small pleasures.

We would like to start off 2013 by introducing the CHILL Cooling Pour Spout by HOST.

This innovative wine gadget does it all. The CHILL cools, pours and preserves keeping your wine flavorful and fresh.

Serve red wine at room temperature or pre-chill your white. Just pour the first glass, insert the cooling pour spout and effortlessly keep your wine at a deliciously cool temperature.

Ready for another glass? Stay mess free with the built-in, drip-free pour spout.  The CHILL will seamlessly continue to cool while you pour another glass. The integrated leak-proof stopper keeps your half-full bottle fresh while your cooling rod recharges in the freezer.

Made from a BPA-free acrylic, TPE rubber, silicone and FDA approved cooling gel, the CHILL cools, pours and preserves risk free. Sit back, relax and let the CHILL do it all.

Pre-order the CHILL now through February 1st and qualify for some great promotions!

Innovations in the Wine Industry

I stumbled across an article the other day about the implementation of “wine vending machines” in restaurants. At first, this may sound a bit crass. But these state-of-the-art machines allow patrons to enjoy a glass of wine that has been preserved in its original, just-opened condition for up to 30 days.

Restaurant owners and wine drinkers both can rejoice with the implementation of these “vending machines’.  It allows wine lovers to enjoy a glass of a more expensive vintage, as opposed having to purchase the entire bottle. At the same time, restaurants are able to manage the inventories of their high-end wines while reducing waste. Unfortunately, these machines are likely to cost the restaurant upwards of $5,000.

Beer is no longer alone as an option for kegged alcohol as another innovation in wine drinking is evolving out of California restaurants. Wine on tap is not a new concept but it has been both implemented and rejected in the US in the 70s and 80s. However, wine kegs have made a comeback are beginning to open up a new market for wineries and putting a new spin in the wine industry.

Kegged wine has numerous advantages including being more environmentally conscious with the use of less materials, keeping wine tasting the way it was intended to taste, and being a less expensive alternative to bottling. That aside, the question remains is whether or not the average wine drinker can mentally overcome the stigma attached to drinking wine from a keg rather than the bottle.

Personally, whether my glass of chardonnay comes from a “vending machine” or a keg, as long as it’s chilled and tastes fresh, I’m a happy oenophile. Cheers!

New & Saucy Wine Labels Hit the Shelves

Walking through a wine shop or a supermarket’s wine section, the labels and colors jump out at you like a kaleidoscope. From the colorful, to the minimal, to downright questionable taste, wine labels and winery names are the first point of contact between a bottle and a consumer. Amid the thousands of labels out there, how does a winery find a way to have their bottles purchased without the aid of an employee recommendation or a famous brand? The answer: the label.

For centuries, wine labels were simply informative. A name, a location, the contents and possibly a small design was all that was included. In the past 30 years, labels began to grow more bold and assertive. While many wines still stick to a more traditional label, other wines have taken on new names and label designs to try and set themselves apart on the shelves. Check out this article in the New York Times to see how a name change from Scherzinger Estates to Dirty Laundry Vineyards increased traffic to the winery tenfold or how Fat Bastard wines became one of the best selling lines of French wines in the United States.

The article also has a number of wine names that you have to visit the article in order to read.  Whether it’s appealing to a younger demographic or simply trying to catch consumers attention and set their brand apart, “saucy” wine labels have worked their way onto the shelves and into the grocery bags of many. We would love to get your thoughts on these colorful names. Do you or would you stock these labels in your store? Do you think these names are having a positive or negative effect on wine as a whole?

Whether it’s for girl’s night out, a humorous gift, or you were ensnared by the wine label’s character, bold labels have been successful and are probably here to stay. Wine with attitude has also translated over into wine accessories. If you’re looking for the perfect wine accessory to go with “saucy” labeled wine, check out our hand painted wine glasses and our beverage themed t-shirts. The market for these wines as well as the accessories is quite large. Are you doing what you can to optimize your sales and capture this business?

Wine Girl Painted Wine Glass by True Fabrications

Guide to Viticulture & Encology in Washington State

Because True Fabrications is based in Washington State, we thought we would pay tribute to the Washington wine industry. Although the history of Washington wine is relatively young, the state of Washington is the second largest producer of wine when compared state by state. The diverse variety in climate from region to region in Washington allows the state to specialize in a variety of grapes. Grapes featured in Washington include Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, just to name a few.

According to Washingtonwine.org, the wine industry “generates more than $3 billion for the state economy and it employs more than 14,000 people directly and indirectly.” Over the past 50 years, Washington wine has grown with every decade. To support its 11 federally defined American Viticulture Areas, Washington has invested in wine education. Washington State University and Central Washington University both boast very successful and in depth wine programs.  Many of the regional community colleges have picked up two year wine programs as well.

At WSU, the university’s Viticulture and Enology program focuses on the science and business of wine. The V&E courses take students to annual trade shows and meetings, winery and vineyard tours, and even a WSU Cougar Mediterranean Wine Cruise in the summer. Washington State offers undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs for scholars interested in wine-grape growing and winemaking, as well as critical research and development opportunities in the wine industry.

From the warmer areas in the east and the south, to the cooler climates in the west, the diversity across Washington’s landscape allows for a variety of grapes to flourish. For those unfamiliar with the expanding and vibrant Washington Wine Industry, we highly recommend taking the time visit or at least picking up a bottle next you’re at the store. We think you’ll like what you find.

Image Courtesy: Washington State Wine

 

The Harvest: How Climate Change Affects Where Wine Grapes Grow

With climate change constantly in the news, many people often ask about its effects on various wine growing regions around the world. While the extent and cause of the change in the climate is unclear, a shift in average temperatures and seasons has had an impact on areas that have traditionally been regarded as established growing regions. In fact, True Fabrications carries many essential books on the topic.

According to an article in USA Today, average temperatures are expected to be 2 to 4 degrees higher than they were in the 1970s. No matter the cause of such increases, the effects on many wine regions would be drastic. A temperature that is constantly warmer by 2 to 4 degrees would not only impact day to day growth, but also the push harvest to an earlier date. An article from Wired.com featuring the subject says the increase in temperature would “eliminate wine-grape production in many areas of the United States.” In America, areas like California’s famous Napa Valley and centuries-old wine growing regions overseas like those in Southern Europe would be dramatically altered and possibly eliminated.

However, this new change in weather would also open the door for other areas around the world to take up grape growing. Locations that have been too wet and cold in the past may become the new garden states for wine growing. Areas like Southern England, the Willamette Valley, Washington’s Puget Sound and New York’s Finger Lakes area, are a few of the places that have expanded in recent years. While many of these areas have already been established as great grape growing areas, their popularity will only continue to increase should the global climate continue to shift.

Image Courtesy: Washington’s Wine Country Regions, from www.washingtonwine.org/explore