The Check Out: Weekly News Bites For Restaurants July 15th

Every Friday Uncorkd finds the most interesting restaurant and beverage industry news that had us talking. Here are must-read articles from July 9th  – July 15th.

Restaurant News

Portion control is a big deal. Trust me, as an overeater, I know this in my gut. It’s also important for restaurants to be mindful of how they control their portions in the kitchen, and in the bar. Being mindful of how you portion out your product will influence how and what you purchase. How you schedule. And how diners order from your menu. Though this article is sponsored content, Uncorkd believes it offers some good food for thought on how you can manage your kitchen and portions better. Take a look.

Alcohol consumption at restaurants has slipped for three consecutive years now. And 2015 saw a 2.5% drop in consumption, the largest drop over the 3-year span, according to the Cheers BARometer 2016 on-premise report. Yikes! While consumption volume has dropped, sales remain positive or relatively neutral. Premium spirits sales grew by 2.6%, with only a .3% volume drop; wine basically netted 0 with .1% drop in volume but a .1% uptick in sales. Beer took the hardest hit with 3% drop in volume and 1.6% drop in sales. Maybe beer fanatics are swapping out keg stands for mix-and-pick craft beer six-packs. A lot less volume there, and way less of a mess.

Here’s a primer on deploying digital technology from someone in the know. Robin Seward, CMO for Rita’s Italian Ice, highlights lessons she has learned from successfully integrating digital marketing and operation technologies. The 3 keys? Slow and steady wins the tech race, so use measured momentum when deploying new technology. Don’t talk with your mouth full, because communication is key. And go with the flow, because you must be adaptable. As a restaurant-tech company, we believe this to be sound advice for a successful tech rollout.

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Wine News

Bombastic chardonnays are on the outs. At least with the cool climate kids. The current white wine trend has folks moving away from big, buttery, oak-bomb chardonnays that California winemakers popularized. Instead? Drinkers are seeking lighter, drier chards from cool climate regions like Burgundy and British Columbia. While California chardonnay certainly still reigns supreme in the kingdom of white wine, this is an indicator of a wider shift in palate preference of wine drinkers.

Beer News

Looking for the most current beer trends? From nitro beers to cask conditioned ales this article points to gas as the big trend in beer. Yes, not beer styles or hop varietals, but how brewers are using nitrogen and naturally carbonated beers like cask ales to change texture. The author touches on IPAs still being insanely popular, but we feel they missed a big trend of fruited IPAs. There’s been an explosion of fruity IPA experiments led by Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA line. Beer lists and coolers are awash with tangerine, grapefruit, pineapple, mango, and all sorts of tropical fruited IPAs.

Spirits and Cocktails

Bourbon isn’t only for your glass. No, the brown stuff goes great in food as well. With dessert flavors like vanilla and clove imparted on whiskey during it’s time spent aging in American oak-barrels, to spicy notes of rye and the softness of wheat: bourbon has a pretty expansive flavor profile. Makes sense why it’s the spirit of America and tastes so damn good. Take a look at the different ways you can use bourbon in cooking. 

To Americans, Cuba is a land of myth, legend, and tense foreign relations. But beyond all that fun stuff, Cuba has a rich history of rum making and cocktail shaking. And, as Cuba is a hot and sultry island, their cocktails are perfect summer drinks. From daiquiris to mojitos, Cuba balances the sweetness of rum with citrus and herbal notes that have the power to wash away any lingering diplomatic wariness. See how bars and bartenders are taking cues from Cuba and its cocktails.

Kyle Thacker