California's original wine grape makes a comeback | Influx of new brands expands US gin market | N.C. loyalty helps Cheerwine see continued sales momentum
March 24, 2017
Wine & Beverage Edition
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What’s on Tap
California's original wine grape makes a comeback
The mission grape, the first wine grape to be planted in the US, is regaining popularity with some California winemakers who see the simple, thick-skinned red grape as an opportunity. Vintners are using the grape to produce casual table wines and angelica, a fortified wine similar to port.
San Francisco Chronicle (tiered subscription model) (3/23) 
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Beverage Buzz
Influx of new brands expands US gin market
Craft gin-makers are proliferating across the country, bringing unique local flavors to their products. The launch of new brands and crossover into the gin category by distillers of other spirits is likely to drive further growth of American gin, which holds appeal for "flavored vodka enthusiasts...who are looking for more complexity in their spirits," said Brady Konya, owner and general manager of Ohio's Middle West Spirits.
USA Today (3/23) 
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N.C. loyalty helps Cheerwine see continued sales momentum
Cheerwine
(Flickr/Michael Bentley)
A loyal following in its native N.C. has helped 100-year-old brand Cheerwine see sales steadily increase, and parent company Carolina Beverage Corp. hopes to expand that fan base beyond the state's borders. The firm has forged distribution agreements with PepsiCo to help bring the soft drink into new regions, and licensing agreements with companies like Krispy Kreme have also boosted exposure.
Eater (3/23) 
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With premium wines in mind, Gallo buys Napa's Stagecoach Vineyard
With its purchase of Stagecoach Vineyard, E. & J. Gallo Winery acquired more than 600 acres of premium grapes in Napa County's Atlas Peak region. "This purchase affirms Gallo's commitment to compete in the luxury wine segment," said Roger Nabedian, senior vice president of Gallo's premium wine division.
The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.) (3/23) 
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Other News
Behind the Bar
Somm shines the spotlight on sake at Los Angeles restaurant
When tasting craft sakes, it helps to understand the terms for such traits as the level of polish in the rice wine, according to sommelier Courtney Kaplan. She and her partner, chef Charles Namba, opened Tsubaki restaurant in Los Angeles with a broad list of sakes to show the wide variety that is available and help educate customers.
Vice News/Munchies (3/23) 
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SmartBrief Originals
Most Clicked: Take a look at this week's hottest food and beverage industry stories with SmartBrief
James Beard nominees, the new French Laundry proved popular topics this week
The list of finalists for this year's James Beard Foundation awards resonated with SmartBrief readers this week, as did a feature on Thomas Keller's redesign for The French Laundry.
SmartBrief/Food & Beverage (3/24) 
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What's Shaking
CIA Association News
Black Grape, Tamarind and Mint Lemonade with Trio of Grape Skewers
Black Grape, Tamarind and Mint Lemonade
(CIA)
From juice bars to coffee bars to cocktail bars, the venues where Americans drink have become more diverse…and a lot more inventive. Chef Scott Samuel from The Culinary Institute of America shows us a new take on lemonade, flavored with sweet black grape juice, tangy tamarind and herbaceous mint. The black grapes make the lemonade a beautiful purple color. Watch this and many more grape recipes.
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