|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