Uncorkd The Check Out Weekly Restaurant News

The Check Out: Weekly News Bites for Restaurants October 14th

Every Friday Uncorkd compiles the top restaurant and beverage industries news that had us talking. Here are the must-read stories from October 8th – October 14th.

Wine News

Ah, the sacred wine by the glass list… In many restaurants the glass list is responsible for up to 75% of all wine sales and with gross margins of glass pours often exceeding 65%, can end up accounting for your entire restaurant’s profitability. This is true liquid gold for a full service restaurant and having a solid offering of wines by the glass to offer your customers can be the difference between closing your doors or raking in lots of money. See this simple chart that shows exactly where to prices wines by the glass.

Spirits and Cocktail News

A Taiwanese distillery is becoming one of the most influential players in the whisky game. Kavalan distillery has received global attention after earning top honors in a handful of blind tastings and whisky award listings. Benefitting from surging interest in whisky both at home in Taiwan and in global markets, the young distillery which opened only 11 years ago is becoming highly sought after in whisky circles. The growth of the distillery echoes a recent menu study performed by Uncorkd that highlights the role young brands are playing in driving the U.S. whiskey market’s growth.

The US spirits category is in high spirits after experiencing 4.1% overall growth in 2015. Those percentage points translates to $72 billion in revenue. The spirit leading that growth is the whisk(e)y category. Every segment of the whiskey category is experiencing global sales growth. But US whiskey – Bourbon, Tennessee, and Rye – grew by 4% in 2015, which exceeds overall US spirit growth by  .6%. This is good news for whiskey producers. But lets dive deeper into these numbers and look at consumer interest for whiskey on-premise venues like restaurants and bars. These insights, pulled from Uncorkd’s proprietary digital menu data, will give readers insights into what customers actually want, and how to build a menu that capitalizes on consumer preference

Jim Beam union workers voted this week in favor of strike in Kentucky. Follow the story here, as Beam and union workers at two separate Jim Beam distilleries in the Blue Grass State voted to strike after failing to reach an agreement while negotiating a new contact with Beam Suntory.

Brown-Forman is releasing a new mark in the Woodford Reserve line. The new whiskey will be Woodford Reserve Brandy Cask Finish. It will be a limited edition release that’s bundled within their Master’s Collection. Brandy barrels and bourbon are a match made in heaven hill. Might be because, as some whiskey historians claim, bourbon was the result of French settlers attempting to recreate brandy in the Southern Colonies. But the origin of that story is muddier than the banks of the Mississippi. Either way, it’s a great combination. BF is claiming that this new release will be the first bourbon to be finished in American brandy casks. For other great brandy-finished bourbons, try Jim Beam’s Rare Spanish Brandy Cask.

Beer News

BIG BEER IS TAKING OVER THE WORLD. Well, not exactly. But the industry shaking purchase of SABMiller by global beer powerhouse AB-InBev has been finalized. The cost of the acquisition by AB-InBev was north of $100 billion. It marks the largest beer deal of all time. The merger puts AB-InBev’s share of the global market at 28%, while it’s stake of the U.S. beer market remains around 45%. Top brands in the newly merged portfolio include Budweiser and Stella Artois.

A new menu study performed here at Uncorkd breaks down consumer interest trends at bars and restaurants. The results revealed a consistent theme amongst beers that are loosing customer interest and are bound to be low sellers. One highlight? Belgian Tripels are fast falling out of flavor with beer drinkers. Be wary of high ABV beers with malt-forward flavor profiles. Take a look at our study and see what beers restaurants should avoid selling.

When will they run out of new ways to brew IPAs? That question has become rhetorical. The latest remix in the IPA catalogue is the “milkshake” IPA. Though no one at Uncorkd has tried this new lactic brew, we can confirm its existence. Milkshake IPAs add lactose sugars during fermentation that reportedly add a thick body and sweet flavors to balance against bold hops. Take a look for yourself, and try the Milkshake IPA.

Restaurant and Bar News

What does one of the best new restaurants in the country look like? The best way to answer that question is to snag a reservation at one of these restaurants. If you can ACTUALLY get a reservation, then immediately go out and purchase a powerball ticket, 100 scratch tickets, and invest in a start-up. Short of that, take a look at this profile of Staplehouse, an Atlanta restaurant that was a James Beard finalist for Best New Restaurant.

Kyle Thacker