Inventory for August 10th, 2014

This week we take a look at Drink Spirits’ review of Grey Goose VX, global warming is raising wine prices, and Charles Joly is crowned Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender 2014. We also discovered a new drinking community app as well as taking a look at the coconut wars.
What did your mom tell you? For every drink of alcohol you have, consume a glass of water with it. We follow that rule … sometimes. Thanks to our new friends over at Shindig we’ve streamlined the process, integrating the water directly into the cocktail. Lets end this season hangover-free!
1)  Drink Spirits Reviews Grey Goose VX
Drink Spirits begins its review of Grey Goose VX with a bleak look at the vodka market. They note that companies are scrambling to figure out ways to hold on to shares and remain relevant. One brand that is trying their best to stay afloat in the murky depths of declining figures is Bacardi’s Grey Goose. In 2013 non-premium brand took sales away and Grey Goose saw a loss in revenue. Geoff Kleinman doesn’t hesitate to fault the vodka category in its own decline. The players have enjoyed effortless success with little innovation needed, for well over a decade but things are changing.
Essentially, Kleinman notes Grey Goose VX is a Grey Goose vodka “finished with a hint of precious cognac”. Soft cognac notes include honey, raisin, milk chocolate, and shortbread cookie. The vodka is being tested in travel retail first, retailing at $75 a bottle, which seems to be a dramatic price leap. Kleinman asks what probably everyone reading is thinking: why wouldn’t consumers just buy a cognag for the same prices? He does give a favorable review, stating that Grey Goose XV “does an excellent job of infusing some of the delicious flavors that cognac offers without fundamentally disrupting the vodka experience.” And ends on a positive note: If Grey Goose can convince consumers to think of vodka as something to be sipped, on ice, it could create a much-needed change in the high end vodka category.
2)  Wine Will Become Pricier and Get You Drunk Quicker
Gwynn Guilford wrote an article about the effect that climate change will have, and already has, on winemaking. Several leading Australian wineries are investing in Tasmania, a cooler island state with a growing wine production scene. Australia isn’t alone: wine countries like Tuscany and South Africa will soon become too hot for grape-growing. The author notes that ten years from now, wine will be more expensive and taste different. The hotter the weather, the higher the proof: already some Bordeauxs contain around 16% alcohol, compared to the 12.5% of the 1980s. The problem with wines that grow in cooler climates, Pinot Noir for example, is even worse—the more delicate grape varieties are becoming harder to grow. Ultimately hot-climate varieties will stay affordable, due to the surplus but Guilford ends her article on a heady warning: wines with subtler flavor profiles will be pricier to make and end up retaililing for more. Splash out on the Margaret River cab now, while there’s still time!
3)  Charles Joly Crowned Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of 2014
This week saw Charles Joly from The Aviary in Chicago, USA, beat 47 of the best mixologists from around the globe to be crowned the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year 2014. Karoline Nordefors quotes the winner: “I make drinks with my heart and it makes me happy to see customers happy. The possibilities open to a bartender are limitless, not just in terms of your career but your creations – the only limit is your imagination.” Though he caught the judges’ eye from day one, it was his signature cocktail Above the Clouds which helped cement his winnings. The panel of judges included legends of the cocktail scene such as Dale DeGroff, Salvatore Calabrese, Julie Reiner, Steve Olsen, and Gaz Regan. As the 2014 Diageo Reserve World Class Ambassodor Charly willl spend the next year travelling, educating and inspiring new talent while developing his own skills. Matteo Fantacchiotti, Global Vice President Commercial, Diageo Reserve, notes that “His desire to create unique serves that combined sophisticated tastes with innovative modern twists never faltered at any stage of the competition…Together we hope to inspire a new generation of mixology talent across the world, helping raise the profile of bartenders to where chefs are today.” In 2015 the World Class Global Final will be held in Cape Town.

4)  Shindig: The Drink Industry’s New App Darling
Over at our partner blog, Brew Berlin, our fearless leader Helmut Adam wrote about his experience with the new drink community app Shindig. Impressed by their customer service, someone got back to him right away when he tweeted about the app crashing, it seems intent, and very able, on running a community. Basically Shindig Untapped for the advanced drinkers, Adam notes that it’s more approachable than Untapped because it’s not just for beer and has a slight Instagram feel to it. In fact, Shindig uses the hashtag system so it’s easily vertically integrated into Instagram and Twitter. Judging by the amount of people already joined, Shindig seems set to become the next app darling of the drinks industry.
5)  Coconut Wars
While Europeans haven’t gone as crazy over coconut water as their American counterparts, they soon will. It tends to take a while for the newest food & drink trend to make its way across the ocean, see: kale. In late July David Segal wrote a piece about the so-called coconut wars for the New York Times. Back in 2004 two guys began distributing coconut water to various bodegas, grocery stores, and yoga studios. One of them–Michael Kirban– would go on to found Vita Coco, the other—Mark Rompella—its arch rival Zico. Guerrilla tactics and simple acts of retail vandalism followed. Segal states that “coconut water went from local skirmish to beverage fame despite what might seem like a major impediment: its flavor.” Because much like Club Mate, coconut water doesn’t really taste great when left unflavored. But consumers tend to see this as a challenge, you have to work to like it. It’s also marketed as being one of the healthiest things you could put into your body, that helps.
Both companies went on to become widely successful, one was bought out by Coke—which sadly turned out to be a bit of a misstep. The other is thriving, with a talented sales force across the country netting deals, just like in the old days. The article is a truly fascinating case study, one best read in its entirety. It contains intrigue, money-guzzling million dollar enterprises, celebrities, mysterious people who go by only one name (Goldy), and yes, love.

Giffard Alkoholfrei

Foto: Woman on telephone via Shutterstock

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  • Mustapha dardari



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