|America is drinking more alcohol, but less wine.|
|The nation’s consumption of spirits, craft beer and “ready-to-drink” beverages (read: hard seltzer) grew by volume in 2019, but wine decreased by 0.9%, according to new data from industry analyst IWSR. That’s the first time since 1994 that wine has shown negative growth.|
|“Wine companies aren’t addressing the values of the young consumer in their marketing,” wrote Rob McMillan, vice president of Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division, in his annual wine industry report this week. “We aren’t giving them a reason to buy wine over spirits.”|
|There are some bright spots: Sparkling wine, for example, grew by 4%, says IWSR. And although we drank less, the wine we did drink was pricier: Sales grew by 2.5%.|
But those gains were small compared with the surges of mezcal (up by 40%), Japanese whisky (23%) and a category called ready-to-drink (50%). Representing a little less than half of that category is hard seltzer — currently being drunk to the tune of 82.5 million cases annually — while the rest is comprised of products like canned cocktails. Think Ritas Spritz (which in theory is something like a Lime-A-Rita, and something like a spritz, though it certainly is not a margarita), Cutwater’s Vodka Mule and MillerCoors’ Cape Line cans, which come in flavors like blackberry mojito.
So, the evidence dhows that we have upped our game in two ways, the upper end, and the lower end, price wise. My personal preferences are, of course, mostly champagne or sparkling wine. But nce in a while, I enjoy other wines, as well as an occasional spirit, like an 18 year old Scotch or a rare Japanese whiskey.
Speaking of Japanese whiskey:
It’s been tough love for Japanese whisky fans over the past year. In 2019, some of the most prized whiskies that come out of the country were discontinued: Kirin Fuji-Sanroku, Suntory Hakushu and Hibiki, as well as Nikka’s Nikka 12, Coffey Grain and Malt whiskies. Now comes the announcement that we have to also bid adieu to Nikka’s age-statement Taketsuru Pure Malt whiskies.
By the end of March this year, Nikka will cease to produce Taketsuru 17-, 21- and 25-year expressions due to the depleted stock caused by an unprecedented demand. When Japanese whisky was being made several decades ago, it was barely known outside the country. It wasn’t until 2001 when Whisky Magazine announced Nikka’s 10-Year Yoichi as its ‘Best of the Best’ blend that Japanese whisky was catapulted to worldwide stardom. Since then, the world’s growing thirst has been drying up stocks of popular Japanese releases.
On Super Bowl Sunday, Americans will consume 325 million gallons of beer. That is one gallon for every man, woman, and child in the U.S.!!!! Put it another way, that is TEN cans of beer. It takes me two to three months to have ten beers.
Add to that, abut $600 million on wine, and $503 million in spirits. In other words, we use the Super Bowl as an excuse to drink more alcohol. The liquor stores, and sports bars must be very happy on Super Bowl Sunday.
In Burgundy, during the early Middle Ages, chardonnay arose as a seedling―a natural cross of the noble red grape of Burgundy, pinot noir, with the white grape, gouais blanc (GOO-ay BLAHNK) , thought to have been brought to eastern France by the Romans from Croatia. DNA testing in 1999 uncovered the unorthodox parentage, a shock to the international wine community at the time, as gouais blanc is considered so mediocre that several French districts tried to ban it and it is no longer even cultivated in France.
For V Day, perhaps old Papa H summed it up best:“Wine is one of the most civilized thing in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”
Death in the Afternoon
The Robin Hood of El Dorado, as one of the most famous books about Murietta’s life describes him, was a Mexican immigrant who fought against unfair racial treatment in California. Born in Sonora, Mexico in 1830, Murietta moved to California to try his hand at prospecting. However, local authorities tried to drive out Mexican-Americans and pass legislation to limit their rights.
Murietta became a champion of the oppressed by robbing stage coaches and holding up gold mines. However, his destructive tendencies caught the attention of the local law enforcement, who demanded his capture — dead or alive. In 1853, Murietta was confronted and killed by a detachment of California Rangers.
But rather than try to figure out how he died, I thought it would be more interesting to see if he really fought for unfair racial treatment of Mexicans. Some say he was a Mexican patriot, others ay he was a viscious desperado! Some historians say he was horsewhipped, while they gang raped his wife, and hung his brother. Maybe he was driven to this lifelong vendetta?
According to most history books, he, his brother, and several others turned to crime after being forced form his rightful claims near Placerville (Hangtown), CA. They were angry and unable to find work. His band of ruffians soon became known as the Five Joaquins, including his right hand man, Manual “Three-Fingered Jack” Garcia.
According to some historians, Murrieta and his gang were generous and kind to his Mexican compatriots, giving much of his ill-gotten gains to the poor. They, in turn, sheltered and fed him, protecting him from law enforcement. His vendetta, however noble, may have also been retribution for many Mexican immigrants who were killed or went missing.
At the very least, he became a symbol of resistance against Anglo-American economic and cultural domination here in California. His legend may have been the inspiration for the fictional character of Zorro.
So, where might the truth be? Maybe he was part Robin Hood, part Billy the Kid. Or maybe, none of this is true. I would rather believe that he was the original desperado!
Back then, it would have been difficult to envision the concept of the Super Bowl, or the greatness ahead for these two players. My Dad would have truly enjoyed being here today. He introduced me to sports. He took me to my first college and professional football games. We started out on a local level, our high school, where the Johnson brothers Rafer and Jimmy) starred in four sports.
I am sure this little story gets repeated over and over across the country. A young boy is introduced to sports by his father, and stays a sports fan for life. Thank you, Dad, you were the best!!!!
Meanwhile, in Nawlins, so far, Niner fans are outnumbered by Ravens fans by ten to one! There are more Saints fans here, in fact, that Niner fans. Was it the expense of travel or the ticket shortage out west? Ravens fans are here, and will outnumber us greatly, unless everyone was hallucinating yesterday.
Speaking of yesterday, I went to the NFL Experience, with my two newest friends from Baltimore, Pat and Mark. Mark has his own accounting firm, and Pat is now an attorney. Pat is a little scruffy, but so interesting. He was a Fulbright Scholar, and has lived all over the world, and is fluent in Mandarin.
Anyway, we met yesterday morning at a nearby coffee joint, gave each other the “Go Niner, Go Ravens” greeting, sat for about an hour together, and decided to spend the day together. Fortunately, Pat had his son, Patrick, aka “Little Sh*tty” with us to keep things on the up and up. In other words, no honky tonks, strip joints, or seedy bars.
If you ever go to a Super Bowl, skip the NFL Experience. It is mostly for kids to do some football skills, like throw and kick. The NFL tries to sell a bunch of goods, like GM cars, Bridgestone Tires, Under Armour sporting goods, and propaganda.
Speaking of, do you know the take on locals (Nawlins people) view of “Bountygate?” They believe that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell penalized the Saints so they would not have any chance of playing in the Super Bowl here. They say it makes a FIVE fold difference in revenue to the area businesses! I find that hard to believe, but…..
Meanwhile, in the next few days, after we win our Sixth title, I will tell you more about the great folks here in the Crescent City. Meanwhile, Go Niners!!!!