|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!!!!
Written in 2009. Have things improved? Do we really celebrate this day the way Dr. King would want us to? Is former President Obama’s idea of a day of service gone forever?
Monday marks a holiday that most of us can live and relive past events, as we were alive to see and hear Dr. King in the news almost every day. We saw him lead non violently, with no fear of white supremacists or military and police barricades. He was an inspiration to all of us. Monday, I am going to spend most of the day volunteering at Medshare, in his honor. I hope you will do whatever you can today to honor him.
When I first saw and read about Dr. King, I wondered. Why would he be named after the famous Martin Luther? Martin Luther was a German monk, known as the Father of Protestantism, and church reformer who ideas influenced the Protestant Reformation, and changed the course of Western Civilization. He also translated the Bible into a vernacular that all of us could understand.
Dr. King served us in a similar fashion. He made the struggle of the disadvantaged understandable for all of us. Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was born Michael Luther King, Jr., but later had his name changed to Martin. His grandfather began the family’s long tenure as pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, serving from 1914 to 1931; his father has served from then until the present, and from 1960 until his death Martin Luther acted as co-pastor. Martin Luther attended segregated public schools in Georgia, graduating from high school at the age of fifteen; he received the B. A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, a distinguished Negro institution of Atlanta from which both his father and grandfather had graduated. After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of a predominantly white senior class, he was awarded the B.D. in 1951. With a fellowship won at Crozer, he enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University, completing his residence for the doctorate in 1953 and receiving the degree in 1955. In Boston he met and married Coretta Scott, a young woman of uncommon intellectual and artistic attainments. Two sons and two daughters were born into the family.
In 1954, Martin Luther King accepted the pastorale of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race, King was, by this time, a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation. He was ready, then, early in December, 1955, to accept the leadership of the first great Negro nonviolent demonstration of contemporary times in the United States, the bus boycott described by Gunnar Jahn in his presentation speech in honor of the laureate. The boycott lasted 382 days. On December 21, 1956, after the Supreme Court of the United States had declared unconstitutional the laws requiring segregation on buses, Negroes and whites rode the buses as equals. During these days of boycott, King was arrested, his home was bombed, he was subjected to personal abuse, but at the same time he emerged as a Negro leader of the first rank.
In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement. The ideals for this organization he took from Christianity; its operational techniques from Gandhi. In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action; and meanwhile he wrote five books as well as numerous articles. In these years, he led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a coalition of conscience. and inspiring his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, a manifesto of the Negro revolution; he planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters; he directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his address, “l Have a Dream”, he conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson; he was arrested upwards of twenty times and assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure.
At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.
On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, he was assassinated.
*borrowed from NobelPrize.org.
Most of us remember where we were when JFK was assassinated. Do you remember where you were when Dr. King was shot? I was completing my second year of Pharmacy School, living in my fraternity house at the University of the Pacific. It was a sad day for all of us, as we sat around our fraternity living room, watching the news, and talking about this great man.
I visited the King Center, and Ebenezer Baptist church last October. I must tell you that it was a visit to remember. Many of us in the church could feel the spirit of this great man. We sat down, just to calm ourselves, as the feeling was overwhelming inside the church. I hope all of you can visit this special place.