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You Better Stock Up On Champagne Because A Shortage Is Coming


By Cooking Panda

A Champagne shortage of historic proportions is coming.

After several months of bad weather, mildew, and rot, the world’s supply of Champagne will be dramatically impacted for the rest of the year. According to Decanter, 2016 was one of the lowest yielding Champagne seasons since the 1980s, and the most difficult season since 1956.

During the spring, late frosts affected the Cote des Bar region, which impacted a quarter of the world’s Champagne vineyards. Jean Pierre Fleury, a winemaker in Courteron, revealed that the frost resulted in a 70 percent loss of his possible harvest.

Furthermore, the Aube was later affected by hailstorms. Eventually, a mildew epidemic greatly altered the potential crop.

Olivier Horiot, grower and wine cultivator at Les Riceys, stated that the sub-region’s yield would probably be around 2,500 to 3,000 kg/hectare, a mere fraction of the 10,700 kg/hectare that was predicted in July.

Charles Philipponnat, General Manager at Champagne Philipponnat, said winemakers will need to “dig heavily” in their reserves in order to satisfy the 2016 yields.

In addition to poor weather, mildew and rot have significantly impacted this year’s crop. Although gray rot was not observed until the end of July, it quickly spread to 65 percent of the champagne vineyards.

Furthermore, 99 percent of vineyards observed had symptoms of mildew, and 34 percent had a 10 percent or higher loss in yield due to mildew. Additionally, in 4 percent of the vineyards more than 50 percent of crops were affected, according to Magister, an agronomic agency.

Champagne is not the only liquor that is experiencing an international shortage. According to CNN Money, the demand for fine Scotch has hit record highs, leading to a shortage that may last well over a decade.

“The shortage of old and rare single malt … has already started, and it’s going to get worse,” said Rickesh Kishnani, founder of world’s first whisky investment fund.

Although distillers are trying to increase production, Scotch takes several years to produce. By law, all Scotch whisky is required to be aged for at least three years.

“We are currently working at full capacity — seven days a week, 24 hours a day,” explained Charlie Whitfield, brand manager for Macallan. “We just need to be patient and allow those casks to work their magic.”

Sources: Decanter, CNN Money / Photo credit: Bloomberg

Tags: bad weather, Champagne, liquor, mildew, rot, scotch, shortage
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Bad News, Pumpkin Lovers, Breweries Are Running Low On Pumpkin


By Cooking Panda

It looks like pumpkin beers may be in short supply.

The Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2015 has had some lingering effects on this year’s supply. Brewers are discovering that many suppliers are out of pumpkins, which will affect various fall beer offerings, according to Draft magazine.

Nebraska Brewing Company produces Wick For Brains pumpkin beer every year, its most popular seasonal product. However, the brewer’s regular pumpkin supplier was unable to provide the 5,000 pounds of pumpkin puree the beer requires.

“We did end up finding a supplier, but not until after a few years were dropped from my lifespan trying to figure things out,” Nebraska Brewing Companys’ president and co-founder Paul Kavulak told Draft Magazine. “We bought enough for maybe the first two batches and then went back to buy more — being good disciples of Just in Time Inventory — and were told they were out. We had to brew [Wick For Brains] five times this year, so you can see the panic that set in. My guess is that this is going to be an issue across the board.”

Although the shortage is unlikely to affect all breweries nationwide, the Brewers Association’s forum lists posts from brewers searching for other options and alternate suppliers.

Brian Nelson, head brewer at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Virginia, said he attempted to place an order with the company’s normal supplier, only to discover they were completely out of pumpkin. Local Virginia farmers, which typically supply about half of the pumpkin needed by the brewery, had also suffered a bad crop this year. Ultimately, Nelson found a supplier in Florida, but not after attempting to contact over half a dozen companies.

“I was able to patch it together this year and I referred this supplier to a couple other Virginia breweries that I’m friends with,” Nelson explained. “We’ll be fine this year, but I know there are other small breweries scrambling. And I hear it’s not only in the brewing industry but in the culinary industry as well.”

Source: Draft Magazine / Photo credit: Liquid Bread Magazine

Tags: Beer, liquor, pumpkin, pumpkin beer, pumpkin shortage, shortage
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Cheers! Major Brewers Agree To Reveal Nutritional Information


By Cooking Panda

The largest beer manufacturers in the United States are going to be a little more open with us.

MillerCoors, Anheuser-Busch, HeinekenUSA, Constellation Brands Beer Division, North American Breweries, Craft Brew Alliance, and others have decided to participate in the Voluntary Disclosure Initiative. In addition to revealing the alcohol by volume on their labels, these companies will also disclose the calories, carbohydrates, fat and protein to their customers.

Will this information make us more health conscious? Are some beer drinkers going to search for “healthier” brews to enjoy as a result? Only time will tell.

“The Beer Institute, and its member companies, believes this is a step in the right direction to demonstrate a commitment to quality and transparency through these voluntary measures,” said Jim McGreevy, Beer Institute President and CEO.

Furthermore, freshness dating and the ingredients of each beer product will be available either through a list, a reference to a website, a QR code, or secondary packaging. 

“Beer is the most popular alcohol beverage in the United States, and I look forward to brewers and importers including a serving facts statement along with disclosing all ingredients in their products,” McGreevy continued. “Providing meaningful information will ultimately empower the consumer when making decisions regarding the beer beverage of their choice.”

The members of the Beer Institute, which include the most widely-sold beer products in the United States, account for over 80 percent of the beer sold in the nation.

“I applaud the Beer Institute for encouraging its members to include valuable consumer information through a serving facts statement and list of ingredients,” said Tommy Thompson, former Secretary of Health and Human Services. 

Based on a survey conducted on behalf of Nielsen, over 70 percent of beer drinkers believe that reading nutritional labels when purchasing food and beverages is important.

“American consumers are more informed than ever, and they want to know about the food and beverages that they are eating and drinking,” Thompson explained. “The Beer Institute and the companies that have chosen to participate in the Brewers’ Voluntary Disclosure Initiative are providing real leadership in the alcohol beverage industry by voluntarily providing this information.”

Participating brewers will aim to comply with the guidelines by the end of 2020.

Source: Beer Institute / Photo credit: ylakeland via Scoop Whoop

Tags: Beer, Beer Institute, Disclosure, liquor, Nutritional Information, Voluntary Disclosure Initiative
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Beyond Zero: Alcohol Ice Cubes Do More Than Chill Your Drink


By Cooking Panda

A machine that turns liquor into ice may revolutionize the bar industry, at least for those that have $7,999 to spare.

Jason Sherman, who refers to himself as “[a] master of thermodynamics with no formal training,” invented Beyond Zero, which makes, stores, and serves ice made out of liquor.

The machine began as a liquid-nitrogen ice-cream machine. After playing around with various liquids, he released the device’s potential once he filled it with Patron.

“I didn’t like tequila, but I could do this,” he explained to New York Magazine. “That’s when it hit me: We should replace ice.”

As the ice is chilled well below 32 degrees, the temperature at which water freezes, these ice cubes do more than just chill your drink.

“It really smooths a drink out,” Sherman explained of the effect the ice has on high-proof alcohol. “It removes the ethanol heat.”

Furthermore, the subzero temperature “frosts the glass and smokes for a spectacular presentation,” as stated on Beyond Zero’s official website. The alcohol ice cubes also control the tendency for drinks to dilute over time, which means your drink will be stronger and taste the way the bartender intended.

How does it feel to eat a piece of this ice, you might wonder? A bit uncomfortable, but not unbearable.

“It’s similar to biting into a microwave pizza that’s a little too hot,” Sherman explained. 

Sources: New York Magazine, Beyond Zero / Photo credit: Beyond Zero via New York Magazine

Tags: alcohol, alcohol ice, Beyond Zero, liquid nitrogen, liquor
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