Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics Jan-Feb 2016

Beverage Dynamics is the largest national business magazine devoted exclusively to the needs of off-premise beverage alcohol retailers, from single liquor stores to big box chains, through coverage of the latest trends in wine, beer and spirits.

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Page 65 of 71

66 Beverage Dynamics • January/February 2016 and Macchu Pisco, Duggan McDonnell of Encanto and Johnny Schuler of Pisco Porton, have served as ambassadors and pene- trated the on-premise market, with some now expanding their reach into the off-premise. La Diablada, which now offers Moscatel and Italia varietals along with acholado, Macchu Pisco quebranta and mosto verde Nusta, expanded off-premise tastings including brandy-style cocktails made with pisco in the fall. Pisco Porton regularly conducts in-store samplings with staff training and education, making materials available to retailers, including display racks, recipe cards, case cards and customized materials such as Peruvian food and recipe pairings. CACHAÇA CATCHES ON Cachaça, long sold as Brazilian rum in the U.S., is now protected by both a Brazilian government designation and here, in the U.S., by a trade agreement. It is produced only from fresh cane that must be pressed within 24 hours of cutting. The juice must be fermented immediately and cannot be stored, so cachaca is almost always produced fresh from the fi eld. There are two main types of cachaca, according to tradition - artisanal and industrial. The vast majority are industrial, pro- duced in large column stills in a continuous distillation process. Artisanal types are produced throughout the country on a small scale in pot stills. Brazilians age their cachaca in a variety of in- digenous woods, but few such aged variants are widely available in the U.S. A surge in interest in the early part of the 21st century, which brought in a few dozen brands, has waned. Volume for the top six brands fell last year from 61,000 cases to 59,000, with only a few brands promotionally active nationally. Smaller brands do well in markets like Florida, where South American populations support a broader selection. Bar placements have dipped too, although fans of the Caipirinha (a mix of mint, limes sugar and cachaça) remain. Leblon, now owned by Bacardi, sells 34,000 cases in the U.S., up three percent last year. Aged briefl y in Cognac barrels, the brand is conducting "Art of Cachaça" classes at retail where consumers learn how it is made and participate in making Caip- irinhas. They receive a kit with muddler, glassware/shaker, rec- ipe book and bag. Leblon plans to offer the kit next year as a value-added pack at retail in advance of the Olympics in Brazil. MIXED MEZCAL Unlike its more famous mono-varietal offspring, tequila, mezcal can be made from about 30 varieties of the agave species, most taking between eight to 12 years to mature before the harvest- ing, cooking and fermenting needed before distillation. Around 85 percent of volume comes from the espadin va- riety. But while most brands don't specify varietals and use a mix, those made from tobala, dobadaan, dasylirion, madre cuixe, tobaziche and other species are now emerging from the seven Mexican states where production is allowed, with more than 90 percent coming from the state of Oaxaca. Mezcal is made artisanally, or industrially in large commercial facilities. As for its long-time reputation as fi rewater with the aroma of smoldering tires, these are still considered powerful spirits, with even the better-made variations coming to the U.S. retaining a punchy essence. Mezcal gets its smokiness from an ancient production method – agaves are slowly roasted in an under-

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