Inventory for December 6th, 2015

Hello from the other side (could.not.resist)! Besides leaving you with a song that you’ll be singing all week (don’t try and sing it out loud, nobody sounds like Adele), this Sunday brings news from afar. 86 Company releases its new 7-year old Caña Brava rum, Schweppes is introducing a cola to the German market, SMWS bottles its first cognac cask, Munchies publishes a terrifying insight into Nicaragua’s largest rum facility and the effect it has on its town, and Wild Turkey gets a redesign after all these years.

Giffard Alkoholfrei

We wouldn’t just be that mean and leave you with a good old-fashioned ‘Ohrwurm’, no we also have a opportunity to help. About 200 refugees have found a temporary home in a old sport hall close to the Markthalle Neun in Berlin’s Kreuzberg. The Markthalle hat set up a donation basket where, if you feel so inclined, you can donate a couple of apples (or other fruit and vegetables), bread, and hygiene articles. Go shop fresh, local fruit and do some good while you’re at it!

1) Caña Brava 7 Year Old Rum

At the beginning of December 86 Company released its Caña Brava 7-Year-Old Reserva Añeja Rum. It’s the country’s first dark aged spirit. The Añeja Rum is a blend of young and fresh rums, made by a veteran master distiller “with the input from the professional bartending community on how it works in classic and contemporary cocktails”. The new rum is said to emphasize the fresh cut sugarcane flavor, with an addition of depth and richness that comes through because of the aging and also had a higher than normal proof (90 proof/45% ABV).

2) New Schweppes Coke in Germany

Universally known (and sometimes adored) for its Tonic, Schweppes is showing off its darker side. Spring 2016 will see the introduction of a a Cola by the brand. Already introduced in Austria this October, Schweppes is celebrating the launch with a full blown TV campaign. The Cola promises to vary from other brands with a “herby-fruity note” and less sweetness. Schweppes is hoping to reach those who fervently wish for a “grown-up version of Cola”. Expect the spot to be seen on screens everywhere soon. We can’t wait to give Schweppes Cola a try.

3) SMWS Bottles Frst Cognac Cask

“The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) has bottled its first single cask Cognac, released, in Society style, only as ‘C1 Nectar céleste’”. The Spirits Business definitely reminds the reader that the bottler and members’ club tends not to publish the names of the distillers it works with, instead employing a numbering system of distillery and cask numbers.

TSB explains: “C1 is labeled as a ‘Fine Island Cognac’, suggesting it is made from grapes grown on Île de Ré or Ile d’Oléron”, islands which are just off the west coast of France. The tasting notes sound enticing “magical intensity on the nose; wood smouldering through a magnifying glass, burning incense as well as curled-up treacle scones. The taste was creamy, sweet with a teasing spiciness. Add a drop of water; you might just get ‘un petit coin de paradis’.” Last month SMWS became a full independent operated business after selling to a group of private investors.

4) Nicaragua’s Deadly Rum Epidemic

Last week Vice published an in-depth look at the deadly going-ons behind the production of Nicaragua’s most famed rum Flor de Caña. Author Clarissa Wei toured the facilities while “playing the part of enthusiastic tourist with an extreme knack for questions”. The town of Chichigalpa, where Flor de Caña is produced, is suffering from an epidemic. Its citizens are dying of ‘CDK’ – chronic kidney disease of untraditional causes. Wei names hard facts “at least 2,800 to 3,500 people have died from the disease in the last decade. It’s a disease that researchers have linked to working conditions at the sugarcane mill”.

She speaks with locals, people who have worked at the mill: “He tells me that even at the wakes of CKD victims, government officials will sometimes stop by to intimidate”. The article paints a shocking picture of a town that’s, quite literally, dying. Between 2002 and 2012 “the disease caused 46 percent of all male deaths and 75 percent of the deaths of men aged 35 to 55”. Interventions are happening elsewhere, in El Salvador workers are being handed backpacks to effectively carry water and are (trying to) take their recommended break in the shade for 15 minutes of every hour.

Hard, when you’re being paid per pound of sugar cane you harvest. Why is this not happening in Nicaragua? “They’re the largest family in the poorest country in Central America and they’re accountable to absolutely no one. They have no international exposure except for Flor de Caña. The other problem is that the Nicaraguan government is getting all their information on that issue from the Pellas group.” Do yourself a favor and go read the complete article, it’s masterfully researched and tells a tale that’s unfortunately, yet most likely, not reduced to only the rum industry. Backlash has already happened. Last week Bobby Heugel, Houston’s Anvil Bar & Refuge, posted a picture of all of the bar’s Flor de Caña being emptied along with a caption stating that they will no longer be carrying the Nicaraguan rum brand. A move that might cost the bar upwards of $10,000. He goes on to say that customers and professionals alike should care about the individuals producing the product as much as they care about hospitality, a statement that really no one can question.

5) Wild Turkey’s Redesign

It’s been a while. Wild Turkey has been a mainstay in American dive bars and it’s just been the recipient of a brand spanking new design. The new design features “ ‘spirited’ bird that is ‘authentic, proud and bold’”, so The Spirits Business says. The rich green color is said to highlight the quality and character of the whisky. The turkey illustration was done by wildlife artist Julie Rhodes. The reason for the new design? Eddie Russel’s recent promotion to master distiller, his signature is a prominent part of the redesign. “Melanie Batchelor, global vice president for spirits at Gruppo Campari, added: “While sticking with our traditional recipe and authentic values, we are excited to present new global packaging for Wild Turkey. Proudly and prominently featuring our turkey brand icon, this new premium look is the result of in-depth research, consulting with our distillery, and listening to bartenders and consumers”.

The company has also invested more than $100 million in hopes of modernising and expanding the Wild Turkey brand, this includes a construction of a new visitor centre and packaging facility.


Foto: Soccer Player via Shutterstock

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