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.
Welcome back to the True blog! We’ve been busy, but we’re ready to return with weekly posts dedicated directly to you, our readers. Here, you’ll find hypercurrent information addressing everything you need to know in the industry: wine, beer, spirits and merchandise trends, gift guides, retail tips and tricks, the stories behind our products and people, and go-to beverage basics to rely on. Bookmark, and check back next week!
The beverage industry is rebranding. Where the markers of the finest wines and liquors were once indecipherable French labeling, prestigious chateau designations and intricate design, today’s most enticing brands are bright, bold and modern.
Top left: Minneapolis’s Bauhaus Brew Labs Sky Five. Top right: Queseria La Antigua de Fuentesauco, inspired by vintage milk bottles. Bottom right: La Cale, France. Bottom left: Kabinet Brewery, Serbia.
The trend stems from both the producer and consumer sides. For producers, obstacles to joining the industry are ever fewer. New World wine regions are unlocking their potential, encouraging a plethora of new winemakers in regions from the Finger Lakes to South Africa and Walla Walla to New Zealand. Antiquated liquor laws are relaxing their grip on small-scale distillers. Beverages once considered second-tier, including beer and cider, have risen dramatically in quality and, accordingly, prestige. These advances have bred a healthy competition for consumers’ attention.
TL: Aluminum bottles support an outdoor adventure theme – Base Camp Brewing Co., Portland, Ore. TR: Niagara Oast House Brewers, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Center left: Calif.’s Stack Wines come packaged in four unbreakable take-anywhere vessels. Bottom: 450 North Brewing Co., Columbus, Ind. Below: Great Raft Brewing, Shreveport, La.
And more consumers are taking notice. Much has been made of the rising numbers of younger drinkers, especially Millennials. This generation is more adventurous than previous ones in its beverage decisions – nearly 15% of its members will try a new drink at any given bar, as compared to only 8% of the general population – and though Millennials’ spending power per capita is currently the lowest, overall spending power is expected to overtake every other market segment based on the generation’s raw numbers.
Millennials’ consumption patterns challenge producers to provide a unique experience sans wine snobbery at a low price point. These patterns reflect a larger democratization of beverage: where once fine wine and spirits served as status symbols, the movement to make them accessible across new demographics has simplified complex vocabulary, devalued pretense and made it okay for drinkers to like a beverage simply because it tastes good – no need to pick out all the subtle undertones and nuances.
TL: Rosso del Vigneto Nuovo bagged wine by Reverse Innovation. TR: Westbrook Brewing Co.‘s Gose, brewed in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. with coriander and sea salt. BR: Alcohol branding has crossed over into other specialty beverages, especially coffee. Here, Colo.’s Whiskey Barrel Coffee beans. BL: Paradise Gourmet Club coffee sampler in wood box.
As shelves fill with the bounties of a new guard of urban craft breweries and biodynamic micro-wineries, branding and packaging have become the most effective way to communicate accessibility and individuality. Bright colors, simplified labels and bold graphics are among the motifs of modern beverage packaging. Where vintage aesthetics are tied in, they are incorporated with a modern spin, and sometimes even ironically. Unconventional packaging shapes and functions are frequently used as building blocks of a unique brand identity. The overall outcome is a reconfiguration of the world of beverage as low-key, highly varied and enjoyable for everyone.
Above: A bottle of traditional Polish Nalewka designed by Foxtrot Studio in Warsaw.
Below: Where brands reach for traditional or handmade aesthetics, they often do so in a modern way. TL: Quebec’s Chic Choc Spiced Rum modernizes a classic look. TR: Stockholm-born global company Our/Vodka makes its liquor local by building microdistilleries in various cities, sourcing ingredients from nearby and naming the final product after that city. BR: Tennessee’s Ole Smoky Charred Moonshine, packaged in long-trending Mason jars. BL: Auckland, New Zealand’s Stolen’s Coffee & Cigarettes Spiced Rum goes for a handmade look.
Product popularity reflects the same trends. Brightly colored and playful beverage accessories have been enjoying steady increases in popularity, as have vintage pieces with a modern spin. Click to shop top sellers.
Photo credits: Punch Drink, The Dieline, Uncrate.
Bruce is on the Loose! Get creative and take a picture of this fun guy for a chance to win $50 in True credit and an exclusive gift. Submit photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the hashtag #bruceontheloose. The photo with the most likes wins! Contest ends March 31, 2014 at 11:59 pm PST.
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Valentine’s Day, love it or hate it, is almost here. Don’t worry singles, you only have four more days of watching the lovebirds canoodle until VDday 2015. Lovebirds, if you’re not going out for dinner, why not stay home and cook for two? Here are the TrueFab top three tips for cooking with our favorite ingredient, wine!
1. Cook with what you’re drinking. If you’re serving red wine, don’t cook with white – the acidic flavor of the white won’t complement the richness of the red. Even better: buy two bottles of the same wine, one for cooking, one for drinking (bonus: if you cook with less, that means more to drink).
2. DO NOT COOK WITH “COOKING WINE.” This is likely a cheap wine with food coloring and nice packaging. You’re better off sticking with a classic two-buck chuck.
3. You can’t drink it? Don’t cook with it. Poor wine can ruin an otherwise wonderful dish. This can be tricky though (see point 1) as you may find yourself running low in the bottle as you sample your ingredients (hence, the importance of two bottles).
Cooking not your style? Wine and takeout pair quite beautifully as well.
Cheers to a very Happy Valentine’s Day from The True Fabrications Team
Champagne, by any other name, is typically a blend of of vibrant, high-acid wines blended down to create a house style that shouldn’t vary from year to year. While that is comforting when you’re looking for the old stand-by, smaller grower/producers are creating some vintage releases that are unique, vibrant, and still won’t break the bank. Look for champagne that is labeled RM (Recoltant Manipulant) and don’t be afraid to spend a couple dollars more than you might have on one of the big name Champagnes. The larger houses and distributors offer special incentives to retailers to offer these wines at small-losses, just to establish themselves as the champagne of choice. The return when buying RM wines should be two-fold; the retailer and the grower are getting paid, and you’re getting a wine that is hand-crafted and unique. Look for the vintage “Special Club” releases for wines that are typically affordable and are drinking well above above their price.
When looking outside of Champagne, there are terrific wines and terrific values. Franciacorta, Prosecco, and Moscato are all great options from Italy. Spain has their Cava, but beware the lowest priced bottles as they tend to be headaches waiting to happen. The Loire Valley has some incredible Samur Mousseaux, which is a Chenin Blanc perfect for seafood. Domestic wines are producing some excellent contenders, and offering them at very (very!) reasonable prices. Oregon and New Mexico (yes, really) are making some of our favorites.
So as you celebrate the New Year, think about exploring the versatility of these wines on a more regular basis. The bright acidity will cut through fats, and the toasty notes will come through in the finish. With bubbles becoming increasingly affordable, you can try them all and celebrate your way through the year!
Ahhh, the holidaze. It was a long flight back home, and the two rows separating you from the sneezing, coughing family does not seem like it was enough to protect you from the imminent cold coming on. Perhaps a day of sledding with your brothers, sisters, nieces and nephew didn’t help the cause. Regardless, it’s Christmas Eve and you’d like a little something to help ward off any ill effects of your holidays at home.
Enter the Hot Toddy. Warmth from both base and spirit will soon get you right. Our favorite recipe is terribly easy; Hot water, high quality honey (the darker the better, we love local Seattle Ballard Bee Company), lemon, either a dash of cinnamon or a small amount of clove, and Bourbon that you would drink neat. We’ve also used Brandy or Cognac (so smooth), Rum (a little sweet for our taste), even Grappa or Eau de Vie (whoa, nelly). All measurements are essentially to taste, though one mustn’t go too far on the Spirit so as to offset the medicinal effect of the drink. As simple as a Toddy can be, you want to do it right; use only the best ingredients you can as a cheaper substitute will impart poor flavor and quickly flaw your midwinter warm up.
Find your balance of flavor, experiment with your favorite spirit of choice, and share your favorite recipe with us! You never know when another cold might be coming on.
- 1. Metallic Holiday Stoppers;
- 2. Whirl Aerating Wine Glasses;
- 3. Classic Decanter;
- 4. Twist Adjustable Aerator;
- 5. Wine Stem Springs;
- 6. Festive Waiter’s Corkscrews;
- 7. Kingsley Penguin Corkscrew;
- 8. Digital Wine Thermometer;
- 9. Bottle Gift Box;
- 10. ZinZig Wine Tasting Trivia Game;
- 11. Eiffel Tower Cork Holder
Whether enjoying a cellared vintage, special occasion bottle, or everyday table wine, the one unifying trait is how beneficial decanting is. Aside from the obvious benefit of introducing oxygen and allowing a wine to reveal the layers beyond the first blush, there are other uses as well. The impressive style of presenting a decanted wine to your guests, no matter how casual the gathering, gives your wine a special place on the table – especially for the holiday season! It shows that you care enough to pay attention to the small details. When serving older vintages, you are able to reduce the amount of sediment that would otherwise end up in a glass. When serving younger vintages, a sneak peek is allowed, showing how a wine might evolve with time in the cellar.
When decanting, always take the time to decant older wines with a gentle hand, and don’t be afraid to use a little vigor with younger vintages. Certain whites benefit from decanting as well; youthful higher end Burgundy and Chablis, and the sweet wines of Sauternes almost always do well with a little air.
When wine is decanted, guests are more likely to finish the bottle rather than pour it back into the original container. So go ahead – pick up that extra bottle and enjoy!
For many years, wine was branded for, and consumed by, the higher echelon of the American population. People flaunted the brands that they drank. A vineyard’s reputation was as important as consumer’s enjoyment of the actual wine fillings his or her glass. However, a new rogue group is breaking out of this trend consisting of a younger wine consumer for value driven wines that didn’t compromise quality for price. They didn’t want to be limited to “Two Buck Chuck”. They wanted an options..
Thus we find ourselves in a very different wine industry, one that has become split. Wine makers must still brand and create wines for the “traditional” wine drinker, but now they have to also provide fun and innovative wine and products for the “new generation” of wine drinker.
The “new” wine drinker wants to have fun when they drink. They go camping with wine (a previously beer-heavy activity), they BBQ while drinking wine, and even go swimming with wine. But all of this created new needs for the market: good inexpensive wine and products that enhance the wine experience.
Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine recently featured an article on this new generation. In their new addition called, “The Pouch Revolution”, they say that wine drinkers aren’t even limiting their bottles. In the article they explain about how new wine drinkers are actually going after bagged wine. They go with bagged wines because they are cheaper, and the pouches allow for more print space to brand their wine. Essentially the “new” wine drinker is not about the wine itself all the time, but also the wine’s branding, visual appeal, value, and sometimes portability.
Fun loving wine drinkers are expecting more and more out their wine and their wine experience. With new branding, and fun gadgets and products, wine drinkers are sure to fine something that will make their next wine the most enjoyable one yet!