The Check Out: Weekly Restaurant News April 21st
Here is the week’s top restaurant and beverage industry news. These are the stories and opinions that had us buzzing. Check out the must read stories from April 15th – April 21st.
Apologies to Yom Kippur, but yesterday was the highest holiday. 4/20 passed like a roach clip, but with it came a lot of noise about the legalization of marijuana and the effect that is having on alcohol sales and consumption. In a press release for a study performed by Outco and Monocle Research, the researchers claim that “51% of millennials in California will replace alcohol with marijuana.” This is a potent new strain of reefer madness that’s gripping the alcohol industry. As more states legalize recreational use of marijuana, alcohol producers are feeling anxious about their sales taking a hit.
How Legal Weed is Affecting Beer Sales
States like Colorado that have already legalized recreational use of marijuana are being used as case studies to assess the effects of legalization on businesses and public health. An article on time.com cites a Brewbound report that found that in 2016 beer sales “underperfor[med]” in the 3 states (at that time) that have “fully implemented a [marijuana] retail infrastructure.” The article cites poor sales numbers from domestic brewers like Anheuser Busch In-bev, who saw sales decrease by 4.4% for premium brands like Bud Light. These findings reveal a starker reality for alcohol producers than a previous report on alcohol and marijuana sales tax revenue from 2015 in Colorado. That report found that ‘legal weed in Colorado doesn’t curb alcohol sales.” As time progresses and habits change along with progressive legislation, it’s possible that we’re seeing the latent effects of legalized marijuana use.
Poor Sales Overall
While sales of Bud Light have fallen in Colorado, these dwindling sales numbers represent a bigger problem across the globe for Anheuser-Busch. In 2015, sales to U.S. retailers fell 1.7 percent. And in 2016, total U.S. sales for AB Inbev fell by 2.6 percent. Aside from Colorado and legal weed, U.S. domestic beer producers are facing a consumption crisis. Legal marijuana retail is still in its infancy, so it’s probably not time for alcohol producers to panic quite yet. And with domestic beer producers experience a decline in U.S. sales across the board, it might be folly to assign dwindling sales solely to the fact that some consumers are swapping out beer for a toke. The first “Wine & Weed Symposium” in California will take place in August.
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Changing Wine Classifications
A writer for the Irish Times has proposed a change to how we classify wine. John Wilson argues that when we categorize our wine, we should do it “by producer type.” He proposes 4 cateogories – big wine, small and medium farmers, the wild bunch, and luxury goods – that could help producers find wines that fit their preferences. This is somewhat reflective of how Americans delineate between beer producers with craft vs macro. As wineries hop on the artisanal marketing trend, it might be beneficial for some consumers to think about wines in terms of production. But it’s still necessary to us other qualifiers like production location and varietals that induct a wine’s qualities.
Is Global Warming Affecting Wine
If you’ve been wild about Chilean carmenere lately, you might want to set up a savings account. Wild weather in Chile has accounted for a 10 percent drop in harvest size in the country’s last grape harvest. High temperatures and wild fires are wreaking havoc on harvest yield and may stomp out growth in Chilean wine. Limited wine growth would result in more expensive grapes and result in the price of Chilean going up.
Oh, The Places You’ll Never Go!
Another list of the best restaurants you’ll never eat at has been released. Opinionated About Dining released their list of the top 200 U.S. Restaurants. The list is compiled of over 160,000 reviews, which the site says is contributed by more than 4,500 people. OAD’s top spot went to The Willows Inn and chef Blaine Wetzel. Recently, highly acclaimed The World’s Top 50 Best Restaurants gave the best restaurant nod to New York City’s Eleven Madison Park. Chef Daniel Humm’s New York eatery landed the no. 8 spot in OAD’s list.
Edible Ed Hardy
Real Mex Restaurants is expanding their Pink Taco restaurant concept by opening locations in Chicago and Miami. It’s hard to imagine that Chicago’s rich culinary scene, which has a wealth of Mexican eateries that span from the Michelin starred spotlight of Rick Bayless’s Frontera empire to the abundance of wonderful taquerias held sacred as hidden neighborhood gems, will be enhanced by the new addition.
Side Note: The tagline for Pink Taco is “We Keep It Real And Uncomplicated.” That sounds like a red flag Tinder bio for that person who keeps it SO complicated.
New Rye on the Block
Basil Hayden’s has released a rye whiskey. Check out a review of it on The Whiskey Wash. As consumer interest for rye whiskey has spiked, it’s not surprising that Beam-Suntory brand would release a new rye attached to the successful Basil Hayden’s brand name.
While researching this new rye release, we also found out that a D.C. distillery has produced a rye whiskey in honor of hot sauce enthusiast Hillary Clinton. Check out the story behind Rodham Rye.
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