Inventory for January 17th, 2016
May the Januaries of the coming years be less gray than this one. But also, let’s move on and not discuss the bleak skies anymore because frankly, it makes us a bit sad. This week London’s Savoy hotel sent a cocktail out to high sea, Beluga announced its production of Siberian bitters (great band name by the way), ABInBev got caught up in a slightly illegal tax break, and Brown-Forman announced the sale of Southern Comfort and Tuaca.
Street food markets have taken over the nation. Though most (if any) can not compare to the true Asian night markets, everybody’s trying their damndest to at least make it a fun experience. Yesterday Munich was home to the “Midnight Bazar” but if you didn’t make it, fret not – there are more dates at the ready. The next one is set for Saturday, January 30th. Please go and report back!
1) Savoy’s Cocktail Sets Sail
Over the last year cocktails and spirits have circled the world on various vessels: space ships, a number of motorized vehicles, and horse-drawn buggies. This year, a limited edition cocktail from London’s The Savoy hotel will board the Queen Mary 2 and set sail for a four month world voyage. Bar Magazine reports that The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar specially created “The Age of Discovery”, which was then sealed in a 300-litre Jack Daniel’s barrel. The goal of course, is to barrel age the cocktail as it travels the world.
The Queen Mary sets sail from Europe before moving on to Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Australia. “Visiting 39 ports in 27 countries, the barrel has been secured in open deck space for the duration of the voyage to expose it to the varied elements, from temperatures, humidity and sunlight to more inclement conditions, that will influence the final drink”. Upon its return to Southampton, the “Age of Discovery” will be bottled in May. In the meantime, passengers of the Queen Mary 2 can enjoy a unaged version of the cocktail onboard. Slightly too gimmicky but hey, whatever floats your boat …
2) Beluga now Producing Bitters
The vodka brand’s portfolio is expanding with the release of its first bitter: Beluga Hunting Noble Bitters. The Spirits Business reports that the bitters are produced at the company’s Siberia-based Mariinsk Distillery. Largely available in retailers across Russia the bitters are made from a “unique combination of Siberia’s herbs and berries, malt spirit, and artesian water”.
Beluga has taken this next step in an effort to “attract new consumers and also maintain loyalty of the existing ones. We see the potential for further development of bitters category in Russia”. Beluga Hunting Herbal and Beluga Hunting Berry are available in 0,5 l and 0,7 l bottles.
3) ABInBev’s oh-so-slightly Illegal Tax Break
Oh oh, someone’s gone too far into the kitty. To be fair, ”At least 35 multinational companies, including brewer AB InBev, are being ordered to pay a total of €700 million after benefitting from an illegal tax break in Belgium”, so they weren’t alone in this. How comforting. Last week an EU Commission ruled Belgium’s tax scheme ‘Only in Belgium, which offered state aid to large companies, as unlawful. Neal Baker of the drinks business notes that “A tax saving of up to 90% was enjoyed by some multinationals thanks to the 10-year scheme, which was in place until February last year”.
Basically “the scheme allowed companies to count recorded profit as ‘excess profit’, resulting in ‘substantially less tax’ being paid”. The brewer is quoted as being “very disappointed by the ruling”. Uh yes, so would we had we just learned we’d be taxed on a fresh €140 million. But ‘tis the life of an international money making conglomerate.
4) Brown-Forman to sell Southern Comfort and Tuaca
… for a cool $544 Million. Earlier this week the Brown-Forman Corporation announced that “ it has reached an agreement to sell its Southern Comfort and Tuaca trademarks to Sazerac for $543.5 million”. The decision to sell is said to reflect the company’s evolving portfolio strategy. Brown-Forman acquired Southern Comfort in 1979 and Tuaca in 2002. In a press release Mark Brown, President/CEO of the Sazerac Company says “We are very excited about the opportunity to acquire such iconic brands. Brown- Forman has done an excellent job of building both brands over the years and we are looking forward to many more years of successful brand building.” Sales are expected to close by March 1st, 2016.