Cheers March 2015

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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FIRST SIP Cheers March 2015 / Vol. 26 No. 2 Editor Melissa Dowling 203-855-8499 ext. 223 Associate Editor Kyle Swartz 203-855-8499 ext. 225 Managing Art Director Dodi Vessels Production Director Cherri Perschmann 763-383-4425 Contributing Editors Tony Abou-Ganim, Kelly A. Magyarics, Jeremy Nedelka, Jack Robertiello, Thomas Henry Strenk Senior Regional Sales Managers Bruce Kostic 203-855-8499 ext. 215 Mark Marcon 248-761-6231 Debbie Rittenberg 215-860-0306 List Rental MeritDirect, Jim Scova 914-368-1012 Reprints Robin Cooper Cheers ® is published by EPG Media & Specialty Information Editorial offices at 17 High Street, 2nd Floor Norwalk, CT 06851 Tel: 203-855-8499 • Fax: 203-855-9446 CEO Marion Minor Sr VP/Audience Development Joanne Juda-Prainito Sr VP/Finance & Operations Gerald Winkel VP/Beverage Group Amy Collins Cheers (ISSN 1051-564X—USP Number 007-239) is published nine times per year (January/February, March, April, May, June, July/August, September, October, November/December) by EPG Media & Specialty Information, 17 High Street, Norwalk, CT 06851. Periodical Rate Postage paid at Norwalk, CT and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Cheers, P.O. Box 2123, Skokie, IL 60076-7823 SUBSCRIPTIONS: One-year subscription rates: USA $35.00; Canada $50.00; air mail to other countries $75.00. All subscriptions payable in U.S. dollars. Payment must accompany order. To subscribe write: Cheers, P.O. Box 2123, Skokie, IL 60076-7823, or call the Cheers customer service line at 847-763-9565, Fax 847-763-9569, M-F 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST. Subscription customer service e-mail: cheers@ Copyright 2013 by EPG Media & Specialty Information, 17 High Street, Norwalk, CT 06851. Reproduction without the express written consent of the publisher is prohibited. EPG Media & Specialty Information, publishes Cheers, Beverage Dynamics, StateWays, Wine & Spirits Industry Marketing, Handbook Advance, Liquor Handbook, Wine Handbook, Beer Handbook and Fact Book. THE SPIRIT OF SHOCHU IT'S TAKEN SAKE a few decades to move beyond Japanese restaurants and sushi bars in the U.S. and into backbars and cocktails. But I suspect Japan's shochu will catch on faster here. Why? Although most people here know little about shochu, experts say it's an incredibly diverse spirit, thanks to the many types and the different fermentation and distillation processes. Shochu can be made from a number of base ingredients, such as rice, sweet potatoes, barley, buckwheat and sugar. Depending on what it's distilled from, shochu can take on the characteristics of other spirits, such as vodka and rum. It's also versatile with food—you can drink shochu throughout a meal, according to mixologist Brian Matthys, a Level II sake specialist. And it's a great base for cocktails, though bartenders are just starting to experiment with incorporating shochu into unique drink recipes. Matthys presented a shochu immersion education and tasting event last month at The Gander in New York, at which we tasted 18 shochus plus a few shochu cocktails. I found I preferred the imo (sweet potato) shochus, though they were all pretty interesting—in a good way. I can't quite say the same thing about baijiu just yet, though: China's distilled spirit is defi nitely an acquired taste for most Westerners. But a few U.S. bartenders are embracing its funk, and making baijiu sing in cocktails. You can read more about shochu, baijiu and sake in "Eastern Standards" on page 38. We also look at what's new in garnishes (page 42) and imported beer (page 44), and taste some contenders in the red-hot Irish whiskey category (page 50). The big story is our 2015 Growth Brands. Given the steady stream of imports from other countries and continents, whether it's beer, wine or spirits, and the already stiff competition here, growing a brand is a major accomplishment. We congratulate all of this year's Growth Brands, which include 90 wine and 73 spirit brands. These brands were responsible for nearly 130 million cases sold in 2014, and accounted for a third of sales in the wine and spirits industries last year. That's something to be proud of. Cheers! Melissa Dowling Editor 6 • March 2015

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