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Inventory for August 16th, 2015

Welcome to this week’s news! Templeton Rye has got to pay up, two Chinese baijiu distillers found to be lacing their spirits with viagra, Diageo takes legal action against Captain Amsterdam, fortune.com looks at the rise of luxury vodka, and Auckland’s alcohol-free bar The Tap closes.

Enjoy the summer and get out, if you’re in the Düsseldorf area for example, go visit the Gourmet Festival. Held from August 21st to 23rd the event will not only showcase caviar and oysters, but is also hosting a pretty decent line up of street food trucks. Expect sausages, burritos, and burgers. More info here.

1) Templeton Rye Summoned to Pay Up

Craft, small batch, artisanal. We’ve heard all the taglines before and, most of us, are aware that not all is necessarily as the label promises. Last October Templeton Rye was sued on the grounds that the company “misled its customers into believing the whiskey is made in Iowa”, when in fact they’re not. The Spirits Business reports that the owners of Templeton Rye “responded to the allegations arguing they could claim it was made locally as they added ingredients at their Templeton facility”. Excuse us, that was the sound of our laughter. Templeton has now opened a settlement fund where US consumers can submit their claims.

“With proof of purchase, consumers can claim for a cash payment of US$6 per bottle of Templeton Rye purchased, for up to six bottles”, similar guidelines are in place for consumers without proof of purchase or on-trade purchases. A Fairness Hearing will be heard on December 3rd 2015, after which it will decide if the settlement is approved.

2) Laced Chinese Liquor makes the News

Because of a routine distillery inspection in China, two of Liuzhou city’s distillers are now under investigation for putting Sildenafil (Viagra’s active ingredient) in three different bottlings of baijiu. Liquor.com reports that other bottles also contained anti-inflammatory drugs and traces of another anti-impotence drug.

Baijiu bills itself as a preserver of youth and ripe with extra health benefits. I guess now we know why. This isn’t the first case like this, in fact “The China Food and Drug Administration found Sildenafil or a similar drug in more than 60 wine products from 52 companies throughout China”. The contaminated drinks have been recalled and the companies under investigation are on a ordered production halt.

3) Diageo vs. Captain Amsterdam

Diageo is suing Captain Amsterdam, owned by Prep Enterprises LLC, because the group believes “that the logo for Captain Amsterdam uses many similar features to the Captain Morgan rum character, including a red pirate hat, flowing red cape, long black hair, a moustache and a grin”. The Spirits Business did some sleuthing and found out that Captain Amsterdam used to sell kratom leaves, which can be used as an alternative by opiate addicts. This, as Diageo claims, is causing “irreparable injury” to the Captain Morgan brand. This isn’t the first time Diageo has taken legal action over a logo dispute, last March the company sued Heaven Hill’s Admiral Nelson’s Rum.

4) The Rise of Luxury Vodka

Once something gains in popularity, everybody wants to get in on it. So it was with vodka. Forbes author Agustino Fontevecchia took a closer look at the exact logistics building a successful vodka empire entails. After Absolut rise to success in the 90s, Grey Goose quickly followed with its era of triple distilled super premium vodka in the early 2000s. But quickly vodka sales declined. After all, there are only so many brownie and marshmallow flavored spirits one can saturate the market with. Fontevecchia explores the how’s and why’s further.

5) New Zealand’s First Alcohol-free Bar Closed

Why? Because no one came. Or so Munchies says. Last month Grady Elliot opened New Zealand’s first booze-free bar in Auckland in the hopes of attracting customers who were on their way home from nearby clubs. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t work out as well as Elliot hoped it might. The Tap Bar charged visitors $15 (NZD) and then served overpriced mocktails and alcohol-free wines and beers.

An estimated one in ten New Zealanders suffer of alcoholism but it seems like one shouldn’t try to encourage drinkers to partake in activity usually related to alcohol (bars, drinking) and to then take away the booze? That makes no sense. A larger, national campaign that encourages healthy living, moderation, other weekend activities than just hitting the pub seems in order. After just five weeks Tap Bar has closed its doors, but worry not. Elliot will be relaunching it. With alcohol this time. Good luck?

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Foto: Couple reading a newspaper via Shutterstock

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