Notes From All Over

When Did Local Become 'Fancy'?
Bub's Beer Bottle

We sincerely hope that everyone had a wonderful 4th. On this most American of holidays, we hope you were surrounded by family, good friends, good food, and maybe some good beer and wine, too? I noticed that our craft beer sales were through the roof this week, so I suspect a lot of us were tipping a glass of something cool, crisp, and emphatically American. I also had a couple of customers who walked into the store, looked around, and said, more or less, "Oh. You only have fancy beer." Huh? We have a lot of local and regional beer. A few imports.

A Big Mac on Every Plate?
Big Mac

We sell a LOT of organic and/or sustainably-produced wines. Increasingly, our customers really care about how and where their beverages are produced. Many extend this concern to their food supply. Does this sound like you? If so, you might want to check out an article in July's Atlantic: How Junk Food Can Help End Obesity. Sound a little too good to be true? Well....David Freedman, over the course of several pages, proceeds to demonize the 'wholesome', i.e. unprocessed, food movement.

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: