The Check Out is back on the menu at Uncorkd! This is our resurrected weekly news round up in which we compile the top restaurant and beverage industry news and opinions that had us talking. Here are the must-read stories from April 8th – April 14th.
Them Are Fightin’ Words
There’s a beef brewing in the beer industry. This past week, Boston Beer Company Founder Jim Koch wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled Is It Last Call for Craft Beer?. The title paints a dire image of the beer market and rails against the recent billion dollar mergers of some of the beer industries most powerful brewers. Koch argues that these mergers are responsible for increasing the price of beer for consumers, and was also constricting the market. He also notes the power that international producers have over craft brewer’s ability to enter the market and compete with behemoths like Anheuser-Busch and Miller Coors. Koch attacked AB Inbev and Molson Coors for hiding the their ownership of recently purchased brands like Goose Island or Ballast Point, brands that made their mark as craft beers but are now subsidiaries of the brewing giants.
Miller Coors Fires Back
In an oddly aggressive rebuttal to Koch’s piece, Miller Coors dismissed Koch’s claims as flat out wrong, and implied that Koch and the Boston Beer Company were the only ones losing in the beer market today. They also seemed intent on dismissing Koch as a credible source of beer industry insight. Read the Miller Coors blog post, “Last Call for Craft Beer”? Hardly. The post cites a growing market share for craft beer and the excitement of the craft market at large.
To read a tidy summary of the story, check out Fortune’s write up on the situation.
Craft Beer Still Going Strong
In a related story, Food Newsfeed reports that
“In 2016, according to data from The Brewers Association, craft brewers saw a 6 percent rise in volume on a comparable base and a 10 percent increase in retail dollar value. Retail dollar value was estimated at $23.5 billion, representing 21.9 percent market share. In all, craft brewers produced 24.6 million barrels.”
I Want The Golden Ticket to Mr. Fogg’s
An awesome video posted by media group Bring Me on their Facebook pages show’s an awesome look at the fantastic and curious cocktail program at Mr. Fogg’s Residence in London. Check the video out, and then immediately dump your vodka soda onto the floor and fill the emptied glass with tears, for it’s a tragedy that you won’t be imbibing at Mr. Fogg’s anytime soon.
The Trendy Cocktail Trends Trending Right Now
Punch dives into the current “cocktail zeitgeist” by analyzing cocktail menus from some of the top cocktail bars around the country. Punch sought out the common themes that connected these varied menus in an attempt to gauge where cocktails are heading. The trends highlighted include “Unexpected Vegetable Use,” ” New ‘Dairy’ and Dairy Techniques,” and the use of chocolate outside of dessert drinks. This article will make you thirsty. And since it’s Friday, it’s okay to drink after 9am.
A study released by point-of-sale provider Cake detailed how successful happy hour can be for bars. The data used for the study was taken from 400 bars that all use Cake’s technology services. Some of those bars used happy hour, some did not. The big reveal is that, “During the month of February, Cake found that bars with happy hours had 33-percent higher transaction than those without.”
Q1 Restaurant Performance is Still a Bummer, But Promising March Sales Numbers
Restaurant sales have been trending negative for a few months now. 2016 ended with negative sales figures, and 2017 has started sluggish in January and fell by -5 percentage points for year over year sales in February. March saw a 2.5 percent sales increase from February, but still sat at -2.5 year over year.
Hopefully positive sales numbers in April can take some of the pressure off of restaurant operators whose businesses are being squeezed by tight restaurant spending.