Notes From All Over

Would you Buy Wine in a Plastic Bottle?

At Pour Richard's, we are heartily in favor of alternative packaging, especially if it's eco-friendly, cost-effective, or both. We currently sell 2-carefully vetted-box wines, and another in Tetrapack. But what about wine packaged like Coca Cola, in PET plastic bottles?
There was an interesting segment on NPR this week about Backsberg Estate Cellars, South Africa's first carbon-neutral winery.

Marketing vs Quality

Ever have a Frostie? Bubble Up? Big Red? Probably not. Most supermarkets stock Coke, Pepsi, and other Coke and Pepsi products, so consumers don't even know they have other options.

And yet, not that long ago, there were hundreds of local and regional soda companies. Made in small batches with ingredients you could pronounce, these sodas sold because they were tasty.

Imagine. No focus groups. No major marketing campaign. No unpronounceable list of ingredients. Just soda that tastes good enough to drink.

Prohibition Hangover?
Patting head and rubbing tummy

You probably think that Prohibition ended with the signing of the 21st amendment in 1933? It's true that you no longer need to make gin in your bathtub, sure, but Massachusetts' Blue Laws, a hangover from either Prohibition or our Puritan ancestors -maybe both?-have us wondering just how 'free' we are to consume alcohol in this state. For example, you are definitely NOT free to try a sample of wine at a Whole Foods event.

How Crafty is Your Craft Spirit?

The craft distilling scene has exploded in the last few years. It seems like every week we hear about another new gin, rum, whiskey. They're from Vermont. Texas. Virginia. And many right here at home: we sell Bully Boy from Southie, Wire Works Gin from West Roxbury, Privateer Rum from Ipswich. And too many more to list. They are great, authentic, and interesting spirits. They are at the heart of our 'Never Drink Ordinary' credo.

Rose-Is it Finally Cool?
Rose colored glasses

We love our rose-mostly dry, mostly French- but also sweet, bubbly, Italian, Spanish...We have fizzy rose from Chile, great rose Champagne, even a rose Port. And our customers, once they get over the notion that we are trying to serve them White Zinfandel(!), like and buy rose, too. But for much of the wine-drinking public, the image of rose remains: 1) Mateus, 2) Lancer's, and 3) White Zin.

Parkerisation. Big Wine: Myth or Fact?
Big Wine

Parkerisation: 1) a method of protecting steel from corrosion and increasing its resistance to wear 2) the process of making wine specifically to suit the palate of wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr. i.e. bigger, riper, more extracted. (A method of protecting the wine- drinking public from taste diversity and increasing their resistance to balance and elegance?)

Has Craft Beer Jumped the Shark?
Geary's Summer Ale

Remember Fonzie waterskiing over the shark on Happy Days? No? Well, ok, maybe you aren't as old as us (grumble). But due to that episode, 'jumping the shark' has come to mean a desperate, far-fetched attempt to keep audience interest, usually at the expense of whatever quality initially made the product 'cool'. What does all this have to do with beer? Well....

Bub's Beer Corner

My Dad was, at heart, more of a Bourbon drinker. (Yep, that's where I got that from.) But he wouldn't refuse a nice cold beer if offered. What he really appreciated, though, was a good value. You would, too, if you grew up on the Great Plains in the midst of the Depression. So, in honor of Dad, who was known to all as 'Bub', we have Bub's Beer Corner:

How I Bought (Finally!) a Bourbon
Buffalo Trace

We love our Bourbon, and are always adding awesome new ones. Recently, we made enough space to finally add Buffalo Trace. So, I figure out who carries it (Beverage Journal), and look up that distributor's bourbon listing. It's not there. Hmmm...ask my salesperson, right? No, he doesn't have the listing either. He thinks they used to sell it, they MIGHT still sell it, but he's not sure, and doesn't have any prices. It might be in process of being discontinued? Okaaaay. Think. Look up the distillery. Call the distillery. Explain that we'd like to sell their bourbon.

A find!
Wine Bottle

Some salespeople make you groan when you see them. Some make you smile. Leigh Ranucci, from Wine Traditions Imports, makes me want to jump up and down and hug her. Not only is she a delightful person, she also consistently brings me amazing finds. One of the most recent was a gutsy, spicy little Cotes-du-Rhone, Les Ondines CDR La Buissonnade. The vineyard is only 6 ha, fully organic in practice. Although the family has farmed there for generations, Jeremy Onde is the first to make his own wine.

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