Wine

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Get to Know Grenache and Garnacha

Get to Know Grenache and Garnacha

by David Klemt

Red wine on table at a restaurant

There aren’t as many wine holidays in September as there are in August but this month we celebrate International Grenache Day.

This year, International Grenacha Day falls on September 16, a Friday. That’s excellent for operators: You can lure guests in with a wine promotion to kick off their weekend.

Of course, it will help you and your front-of-house team to know about Grenache ahead of this holiday. After all, the best way to remove wine-timidation and upsell guests is by sharing interesting information.

To that end you’ll find pertinent information about Grenache that will help you and your team succeed with this red wine.

Grenache 101

Reiterating a crucial detail from above, Grenache is a red wine varietal. Additionally, it’s one of the most widely grown grapes in the world.

You’ll find vineyards growing Grenache in:

  • Spain
  • France
  • Italy
  • Australia
  • USA
  • Rumors indicate a presence in China as well.

Now, you may be more familiar with another name for this varietal: Garnacha. Interestingly, it’s also known as Garnatxa in Spain. As an aside, many experts believe that’s Grenache’s country of origin.

For the most part, Grenache is a still red. However, you can find rosé and sparkling bottles as well. Grenache (or Garnacha) also has a tendency to find its way into red wine blends. Most often this is to add body and sweeten a blend’s flavor profile. There’s also Grenache Blanc, and there are fortified wines that use Grenache for sweetness.

In short, Grenache’s defining characteristics are:

  • Medium body and acidity.
  • Medium to high ABV.
  • Lighter in color than some other reds.
  • Smoke, tobacco and herbal notes in Old World versions.
  • Candied fruit, strawberry, raspberry, and black cherry in New World versions.
  • Some people detect a note of blood orange.

Succeeding with Grenache

Now, you and I both know that it won’t be enough to just throw some Grenache or Garnacha on your menu. You’ll have to make more of an effort than than.

However, it is wise to add or otherwise bottles to your menu. Equally as smart is creating a specialty LTO menu with three to four Grenache wines by the glass. Of course, bottle purchase prices should be listed as well.

With your by-the-glass and bottle LTO done, you can move to food. As you know, guests love a pairing, particularly with wine.

Below are some of the best Grenache and Garnacha food pairings:

  • Grilled meats
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Garlic and herb French fries
  • Spicy dishes
  • Goat, Emmental, Camembert, Gruyère, and Colby Jack cheeses
  • Pastas in a red sauce with cheese

So, this is an excellent holiday to wow with barbecue foods or hearty Italian dishes. Oh, and never forget the cheese on a wine holiday.

Happy International Grenache Day!

Image: Helena Lopes on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: Sept. 2022

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: September 2022

by David Klemt

Stay Weird neon sign with purple background

Want to stand out from from other restaurants and bars in your area? Then commit to keeping it weird.

Several “holidays” are set against every date on the calendar, and September is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream to “weird.”

Pay attention to the latter to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests. Why do what everyone else is already doing?

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, weird or otherwise. And this month’s list in no way includes every odd holiday.

Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

For August’s list, click here.

September 5: Be Late for Something Day

You know what’s a great reason to be late from something? Enjoying an awesome meal or some great drinks with friends. Your bar or restaurant can provide that awesome meal and great drinks.

September 6: National Read a Book Day

As you know if you’ve been visiting KRG Hospitality throughout the week or subscribe to our newsletter, we love recommending good books. Cookbooks, cocktail books, hospitality industry history books, leadership books… We’re all about learning.

This is an excellent day to promote swapping books, recommending books, sharing books, etc.

September 8: National Ampersand Day

If there was ever a day that demands food/and or drink combos, it’s National Ampersand Day. For example, this is the perfect bar holiday to create a beer and shot limited-time offer menu.

September 13: National Positive Thinking Day

Restaurants and bars are the cornerstsones of their communities. One way operators and their teams can support their community is by ensuring they provide a positive experience.

On this day, encourage your community to stop in for a bite, a drink, a chat, and an overall happy, healthy time.

September 14: National Eat a Hoagie Day

No, hoagies aren’t weird…in Philadelphia. Everywhere else, it can sometimes be a “weird” thing to call a submarine sandwich. At any rate, guess what food you should create an LTO around on this holiday.

September 17: National Monte Cristo Day

You don’t have to agree with me, but this weird sandwich is my favorite. Sure, burgers are cool. But have you ever dipped a ham’n’cheese or turkey’n’cheese in egg, fried it, then dusted it with powdered sugar? Even weirder, have you used corn flakes as breading and then fried it? Put a few Monte Cristos on your menu to celebrate this glorious sandwich holiday.

September 22: Car Free Day

This one’s pretty simple: Encourage and incentivize your guests to use any mode of travel that isn’t a car/truck/SUV to come to your restaurant or bar. I, for one, will be opting for my motorcycle, which I don’t need to mention here but I’m going to anyway because I love it.

September 24: Innergize Day

First, a disclaimer: This isn’t a day celebrating a “performance” drink brand. Rather, Innergize Day is about relaxing and recouping. I’m sure you can see where your restaurant, bar or hotel fits in with this holiday.

September 25: National One-hit Wonder Day

This one’s simple: Commit to playing only one-hit wonders. People love nostalgia, particularly when it comes to music. Either create a playlist or hire a DJ, and if you’re feeling creative, put some themed drinks on your menu.

September 27: National Crush a Can Day

You don’t have to encourage your guests to literally crush cans to celebrate this day. Really, this is a great way to make people aware of your craft beers, RTDs, canned wines, and other canned beverages on your menu.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

iPourIt Releases Fourth Annual Pour Report

iPourIt Releases Fourth Annual Pour Report

by David Klemt

Black and white beer taps

Self-serve beverage platform iPourIt’s informative fourth annual Pour Report identifies their top beer and wine pours from 2021.

iPourIt is a pioneer in the self-serve space, enhancing the guest experience and boosting revenue. However, their annual reports are another key reason operators should consider this platform.

Unlike other industry platforms, iPourIt doesn’t limit their resources to clients. Nor do they place resources like their annual Pour Report behind a pay wall. So, this is a transparent company that clearly views their relationships with clients as partnerships.

You can check out their resources for yourself by following this link. To download a copy of the 2021 Annual Pour Report, click here.

Below you’ll find key datapoints from the latest iPourIt report. I encourage you to download and review the report in its entirety.

Key Demographic Information

When it comes to men and women using iPourIt self-serve systems, men are respsonsible for 64 percent of total ounces poured.

On average, men served themselves 6.4 ounces per pour and spent $14.21 on iPourIt per visit. For men, the top pours were IPA, Lager, Cider, Hefeweizen, and Sour.

Conversely, women served themselves nearly 11 million ounces via iPourIt systems. That’s 36 percent of total ounces poured.

On average, women served themselves 5.3 ounces per pour and spent $11.95 per visit. For women, the top pours were Cider, IPA, Sour, Lager, and Hefeweizen.

Interestingly, the top pour for both men and women was Michelob Ultra.

Key Beer Takeaways

The 2021 Pour Report analyzes data from more than 300 iPourIt systems, over 8,800 taps, and 49 million total ounces of beer and wine poured.

In total, patrons consumed nearly 14,600 total products. Further, the data above represents 1.9 million guests served 3.1 million pints. Compellingly, that’s $26.2 million in revenue generated by iPourIt systems.

In terms of iPourIt systems and patrons, cider claimed the number two slot for the top 15 poured beer styles. Perhaps unsurprisingly, IPA claims the top spot. In fact, iPourIt systems served more than 10 million ounces of IPA.

As far as beer styles that are growing in popularity, three styles are on the rise. These climbers are Belgian, Cream Ale, and fruit beer. Conversely, Lager, Red Ale, and Witbier slipped down the list. Interestingly, Witbier slid four slots on iPourIt’s top 15 beer styles list. For the first time since iPourIt has been releasing reports, Seltzer made it onto the list, claiming the 11 spot.

Another interesting bit of data concerns consumer preferences. IPA may be the beer style seeing the most pours but domestic Lagers and light Ales are the top-selling products across iPourIt systems. The platforms interprets this as consumers trying small samples of IPA but going with Lagers and Ales for full serves.

Top Beer Pours by Category

Helpfully, iPourIt breaks down their Pour Report into several categories. So, let’s take a look at the top five from several of their lists.

As for the top products poured overall, Michelob Ultra claims the top spot. In descending order, it’s followed by Bud Light, Golden Road Mango Cart, Ace Pineapple Cider, and Modelo Especial.

For domestic pours, numbers one and two are the same as above. However, Coors Light, Miller Lite, and Pabst Blue Ribbon. The top five import products are Modelo Especial, Delirium Tremens, Rekorderlig Strawberry-Lime, Stella Artois, and Dos Equis Lager Especial.

Switching gears to craft and microbrew, Mango Cart claims the number one spot. Numbers two through five are Space Dust, 805, Kona Big Wave, and Big Storm Oak & Stone Snowbird Pilsner.

Of course, the report goes much deeper than just those four categories. There’s also the top 25 IPAs, and the top 15 Lagers, Ciders, Hefeweizens, Sours, Stouts, Blonde Ales, Pilsners, and Pale Ales.

New for the annual Pour Report are the top 15 fruit beers and Seltzers.

Key Wine Takeaways

Before we proceed, iPourIt systems aren’t limited to beer and wine. If it’s a beverage without pulp or sediment intended to be poured cold, iPourIt can handle it.

So, cold brew coffee, kombucha, sodas…these are all revenue-generating serves to pour alongside beer and wine.

Now, onto the 2021 report. The key wine takeaway focuses on sparkling wine. In short, sparking wines have proven popular with iPourIt patrons. So, the platform suggests using their systems to offer guests build-your-own Mimosas, as well as promoting self-serve as an enhancement to brunch.

Addressing the top-performing wines for iPourIt systems, the top five overall in descending order are:

  1. Boca Barrel Boca Frizzante
  2. Starborough Sauvignon Blanc
  3. Carletto Prosecco (up two spots)
  4. Stemmari Pinot Grigio
  5. Archer Roose Bubbly

Boca Frizzante is a “Prosecco-style” white wine sparkler. Archer Roose Bubbly is also a Prosecco-style white. An actual Prosecco climbed the top 10 to reach spot number three. Essentially, three Proseccos are among the top five most-poured wine products for iPourIt patrons.

Interestingly, the top five are all white wines. In fact, there are only two reds among the top ten, both of them Cabernet Sauvignons.

Image: Josh Olalde on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Self-serve Beverage Brands to Know

5 Self-serve Beverage Brands to Know

by David Klemt

Neon beer mug sign

If you’re an operator who wants to leverage the popularity of self-serve beverages, these are the brands you should consider.

There are several reasons to invest in self-serve beverage solutions:

  • Reducing costs
  • Reduction in waste
  • Guest convenience
  • Guest experience
  • System customization
  • Real-time system management and reports
  • Security

Truthfully, had I been told ten years ago that guests would want to serve themselves beer, wine, and other drinks, I would have raised an eyebrow. It’s possible, sure, but I would’ve been skeptical.

Well, it turns out that I would’ve been wrong. Indeed, today’s guest seems to enjoy pouring their own drinks from self-serve systems.

From convenience to control over their experience, these platforms are proving popular with consumers. An appealing factor appears to be the ability to sample a range of beverages to discover new favorites. And, of course, they can do so without having to purchase full drinks or asking a bartender or server for a sample.

So, below are some of the brands in the self-serve beverage world that operators need to know and consider.

Operator Benefits

In terms of P&L, your bottom line will thank you for embracing self-serve solutions.

First, the popularity of these systems increases sales. Guests can sample an array of drinks easily, choose a favorite or two, and serve themselves at their convenience. Additionally, guests tend to view self-serve systems in a positive light due to perceived value.

Second, an impressive self-serve beverage wall can be a sight to behold. There are venues with 100 self-serve taps and screens, which is an impressive sight. There are also all manner of designs not dependent on a wall. One great example is the rotating self-serve beer system at the Famous Foods Center Bar inside Resort World Las Vegas.

In other words, self-serve beverage systems help concepts stand out among competitors.

Third, self-serve systems allow operators to streamline operations and reduce costs. For example, labor costs can be reduced, as can waste.

And fourth, these solutions can lead to improvements in the guest experience. Not having to wait in line and being able to engage more with front-of-house staff aids in guest perception.

iPourIt

According to the brand itself, iPourIt installed the world’s very first beer wall. Since then, the platform has worked tirelessly to improve their solutions.

One way they’ve improved involves the security and usability of their system. As you’ll see with most self-serve brands that pour alcohol, guests are locked out of these systems without RFID access.

IPourIt offers several types of RFID solutions, from bracelets to fobs. Of course, other systems use similar tech. However, iPourIt prides themselves in offering touch-free RFID access and eschewing the need to leave cards in slots when pouring.

Another benefit is that as long as the beverage isn’t meant to be poured hot or doesn’t have pulp/sediment, iPourIt can handle it.

PourMyBeer

This company is iPourIt’s main rival. When you review how they can improve an operators’s bottom line, it’s not hard to see why.

PourMyBeer claims some impressive stats:

  • 45 percent sales increase
  • 50 percent increase in profits
  • 20 percent reduction to labor costs
  • Less than three percent waste

Like other systems, PourMyBeer can help operators leverage wall space. In addition, a single PourMyBeer screen can control four taps, so a wall doesn’t haven’t to be overloaded with screens.

Impressively, this platform also boasts the most POS integrations among the self-serve systems. Obviously, this is beneficial to the vast array of operators.

Table Tap

For operators looking for both a pioneer in the self-serve space, Table Tap may be the perfect partner. In particular, the use of “underage cards” by underage guests to access non-alcohol drinks is a nice feature. So, children up to early college-age students can get in on the fun.

Standing out from other platforms, Table Tap offers wall systems and table-mounted systems. Truly, offering a self-serve wall and a number of tables with the same tech is impressive.

In fact, if I were to install both solutions I would consider the tables a self-service take on VIP seating. And, I’d charge accordingly. Just something operators may want to consider.

Another cool feature relates to Table Tap’s software. While not the most mind-blowing functionality, guests can control an operator’s sound system via the TableTab ordering platform. Better yet, if an operator charges fees to select songs on their jukebox, TabelTab adds them to guest tabs.

To learn more about Table Tap, give episode 22 of Bar Hacks a listen.

Drink Command

“We do everything self pour, and more,” proclaims the Drink Command website.

Is an operator looking for a killer self-pour wall? Done. Table-mounted taps? Check. What about a self-serve tower, self-serve mobile kegerator, or a heavy-duty, mobile, self-serve counter? Drink Command has all three.

In other words, Drink Command makes it easy for operators to get creative and implement a range of self-pour solutions. Additionally, with mobile solutions, operators who want to expand into catering, pop-ups, and special events can do so easily.

For a list of other benefits—including foam-free beer pours, advertising interstitials, and consumption limits—click here.

Napa Technology

Makers of the TapStation, Napa Technology promises a boost to the guest experience. In part, this is because guests don’t have to wait in long lines at the bar.

Additionally, as stated prior, today’s guest enjoys using self-serve beverage systems.

Unlike other platforms, the Napa Technology TapStation doesn’t rely on wall installations. Instead, TapStation dispensers are available in two- and four-keg systems. These stations can be placed anywhere on the floor rather than a wall.

The TapStation can serve beer, wine, kombucha, and cold-brew coffee, ensuring it’s as versatile as the systems above.

Image: Brad on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

August: Attack of the Wine Holidays

August: Attack of the Wine Holidays

by David Klemt

"Life's too short to drink bad wine" cork

August doesn’t claim just one or two or even three wine holidays, there are actually six such holidays during this month.

Kicking off August are International Albariño Day and National White Wine Day. Obviously, those days have come and gone.

However, there are still four more wine holidays you can leverage:

  • National Prosecco Day on Saturday, August 13;
  • Thursday, August 18 is National Pinot Noir Day;
  • National Red Wine Day takes place on Sunday, August 28; and
  • Monday, August 29 is International Cabernet Sauvignon Day.

So, that’s just over two weeks to draw in guests, move some inventory, and generate revenue. Below you’ll find crash courses in three varietals so you and your team can speak with guests in a way that reduces or outright eliminates wine intimidation.

As a cool bit of trivia, two of the varietals we celebrate this month are among the six “original” Noble Grapes: Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. The other four, for the curious, are Merlot, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Prosecco 101

First, yes, like Champagne, Prosecco is a sparkling wine. However, despite all the comparisons made between Prosecco and Champagne, the bubbles and production methods are just about the only similiarities between the two.

Champagne, of course, is French. Prosecco hails from Italy and is the country’s top sparkling wine. Like Champagne, Prosecco is protected and must be produced in a specific region.

To be Prosecco, the wine must consist of 85 percent Glera. There are two other grapes producers may use: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Until recently, Prosecco (a.k.a. as you now know, Glera) has been treated as “lesser than” Champagne, commanding much lower prices. However, producers are now making bottles that range from inexpensive to higher end. In fact, you’ll find Prosecco holding its own against its French counterpart on many fine-dining menus.

To impress with Prosecco food pairings, go with cheese, cured meats, and pizza. Pizza and Prosecco? You can’t go wrong there!

Pinot Noir 101

Given that Pinot Noir finds itself in blends, Champagne, Prosecco, and other sparkling wine, you can get creative when celebrating National Pinot Noir Day.

For American operators, two of the top Pinot Noir-producing states are California and Oregon.

In Oregon, Willamette (rhymes with “damn it”) Valley produces incredible Pinot Noir. When it comes to California, look for bottles from Russian Rivery Valley, Sonoma, and the Saint Lucia Highlands.

For Canada, the top production regions are Ontario, British Columbia, Québec, and Nova Scotia. In particular, look for bottles from Prince Edward County, the Niagara Peninsula, and Okanagan County.

Generally speaking, Pinot Noir tends to be light or medium in body. So, if conducting a tasting, you may want to taste people on Pinot Noir before bolder red wines.

When it comes to food pairings, remember that this is a more “delicate” varietal. So, you’ll want to avoid dishes and food items with big, bold, rich flavors. This is a wine that pairs wonderfully with a variety of cheeses.

Cabernet Sauvignon 101

Ah, Cab Sauv. For both America and Canada, Cabernet Sauvignon is among the most popular varietals. It’s so popular in the US that it’s called the King of Grapes.

As you likely can guess, California is the top Cab Sauv-producing state in America. In particular, Napa Valley is known for world-class Cabs.

While most people think of California, Bordeaux, and Tuscany, Canada also produces fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon. Interestingly, the grape grows well (as do many varietals we associate with Bordeaux) throughout Canada.

However, Prince Edward County and the Niagara Peninsula are two of the best regions for Canadian Cab Sauv.

A bigger and bolder wine than Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with rich, bold foods. If it’s grilled, smoky, peppery or otherwise assertive, Cab Sauv will likely play well with it.

So, there you have it. Two weeks of wine holidays for you to showcase your wine inventory and pairing skills. Cheers!

Image: D A V I D S O N L U N A on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

One White Wine, Two Wine Holidays

One White Wine, Two Wine Holidays

by David Klemt

World of Wine Porto grape wall relief

In August, operators and their front- and back-of house teams can celebrate two restaurant and bar holidays with one white wine.

Obviously, that means two bites at the apple—or grape (my apologies, I’ll see myself out)—in the same week. In turn, that generates revenue and move wine inventory.

Okay, so what wine does double duty in August? Albariño, a popular white wine with origins in Portugal. In fact, there are two countries that dominate Albariño production, Portugal and Spain.

On Monday, August 1, your guests have the opportunity to celebrate International Albariño Day. Just three days later, August 4, we have National White Wine Day. How convenient!

As we know, while many of today’s guests have their favorites and stick to them, they like to try new things. This August, add Albariño to your Chardonnay, Moscato, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc lineup.

So, what do you need to know about Albariño? Let’s take a look at this refreshing white wine below.

The Wine Nerd Stuff

As I say above, Albariño traces its origins to Portugal. In its home country, this varietal’s name is Alvarinho.

Most people who are familiar with Albariño are familiar with bottles from Spain. So, Albariño is the same grape as Alvarinho.

Call it by either name, this white wine is an Old World wine. In fact, some of these vines are a few hundred years old. For those wondering, Old World wines come from Europe, speaking generally. And New World wines? Well, they come from anywhere not in Europe.

However, there is indeed New World Albariño. Also, if you happen to operate a restaurant or bar in North America, these New World versions can be easy to acquire.

Unsurprisingly yet conveniently, there are wineries producing Albariño in California. Of course, these California Albariños are different than their Portuguese and Spanish counterparts. California’s Central Coast wine region is warmer than Spain’s cool Galicia region.

The Flavors and Aromas

Alright, so what’s Albariño like on the nose and palate, and how does it finish? To answer these questions, let’s look at the Old World wine first.

Again, I’m speaking about this white wine in broad strokes. You and your staff will need to taste a few bottles to understand their nuances.

So, Portuguese and Spanish Albariño tends to be light-bodied and dry, with high acidity. On the nose, expect peach and citrus like grapefruit, lemon, and lime. You may also detect a hint of wet stone, owing to its minerality.

On the palate, there’s usually a touch of salinity, plenty of acid, and notes of grapefruit, honeysuckle, nectarine, honeydew, and granite. Expect a long, dry finish.

Now, since Old World versions tend to be grown in cool climates, they tend to be light-bodied. Since Californian Albariño grows in a warmer climate, its characteristics are different.

Generally speaking, California Albariño is medium-bodied in comparison to its Old World counterparts. The Californian wines tend to have both floral and tropical notes on the nose. Along with the notes one would expect from Spanish and Portuguese wines, California Albariño can also feature orange and elderberry flavors.

Don’t Forget the Food

Obviously, wine pairs well with food—that should go without saying. And it would have too, but I said it.

Anyway, maximize guest spend by including your back-of-house team for your International Albariño Day and National White Wine Day promotions.

For this varietal, think lighter foods. Seafood, freshwater fishes, chicken, tofu, salads, grilled vegetables, and fruits pair well with Albariño.

Of course, you’ll also want to consider cheese pairings. So, try your Albariños with Chèvre, Manchego, Burrata, Feta, Gruyère, and Brie.

You have time to add some crisp, delicious Albariños from multiple regions to your menu. Create two promotions that showcase these wines and lure in your guests with irresistible pairings.

Cheers!

Image: World of Wine Porto, Portugal (Hayffield L on Unsplash)

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Cheese Pairings: Wine, Beer, Spirits

Cheese Pairings: Wine, Beer, Spirits

by David Klemt

Wine glasses and cheese board

National Wine and Cheese Day is Monday, July 25, so let’s take a look at pairings that will get mouths watering.

According to historians, people have been pairing wine with cheese for several centuries. And per scientists, this legendary pairing makes a lot of sense.

Cheese is, obviously, fatty. Further, fat is oily. Then we have alcohol, which is astringement. When we eat cheese or other fatty/oily foods, they coat the mouth. As we also know, alcohol tends to dry out our mouths.

So, the theory as to why pairing cheese with wine works comes down to balance. Of course, there’s a term for this balance you likely know: mouthfeel.

However, science has an additional theory about wine and cheese. For this theory, we look at the “flavor spectrum.” Flavors that are far apart from one another are often pleasant to us.

As an example, not many of us would appreciate a slice of cheddar cheese on top of a cheddar cheese-flavored cracker dipped in cheddar cheese sauce. That would be monotonous and boring.

Wine Pairings

  • Chardonnay and Camembert
  • Riesling and Raclette
  • Gewürztraminer and Edam
  • Pinot Grigio/Gris and Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Chenin Blanc and Chèvre
  • Sauvignon Blanc and Gouda
  • Champagne and Brie
  • Prosecco and Asiago
  • Rosé and Havarti or Fontina
  • Pinot Noir and Gruyère
  • Merlot and Camembert or Gorgonzola
  • Shiraz (Australian-style varietal) and sharp Cheddar or smoked Gouda
  • Syrah (French-style varietal) and Pecorino or Roquefort
  • Malbec and Manchego
  • Sangiovese and Fontina or Parmigiano Reggiano

Beer Pairings

Perhaps your guests would prefer to celebrate National Wine and Cheese Day with a substitution. Like, for instance, swapping out wine for beer.

Well, it turns out cheese goes great with many styles of beer.

  • American Pale Ale and American Cheddar
  • Amber Ale and Gouda or Brie
  • Witbier and goat cheese
  • Hefeweisen and Feta
  • American Lager and Mozzarella
  • American Pilsner and Chèvre
  • IPA and Parmigiano Reggiano or Blue Cheese
  • Brown Ale and Gouda
  • Porter and Muenster or Gruyère
  • Stout and Blue Cheese

Spirits Pairings

Hey, beer isn’t the only beverage that we can swap with wine. Interestingly, several categories of spirit pair well with cheese.

As with wine and beer, it’s crucial to try pairings with specific spirits before offering them to guests.

  • Vodka and Cheddar or Blue Cheese
  • Gin: London Dry and Pecorino; Genever and Triple Cream Brie; Plymouth and Époisses de Bourgogne
  • Brandy and Butterkäse
  • Rum and Fontina
  • Mezcal and aged Cheddar or Pecorino
  • Tequila: Blanco and Brie or Feta; Reposado and Manchego; Añejo and Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Bourbon and Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Rye and Gouda
  • Irish whiskey and Brie or Camembert
  • Scotch: Light-bodied and Comté; Full-bodied and Stilton. For a deeper dive into pairing Scotch with cheese, click here.

Image: Allison Kettlety on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: July 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: July 2022

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you develop next-level beverage techniques and drink menus throughout 2022.

To review June’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

The Bartender’s Manifesto

Spirits, cocktail and industry author Emma Janzen partners with Toby Maloney and the bar team at the Violet Hour. Since 2007, the Violet Hour has not only been serving incredible cocktails in Chicago, the bar has also been leading the way in cocktail training.

So, who better to learn from to nail the fundamentals, tap into your creativity, and understand every element of crafting cocktails? Pick up The Bartender’s Manifesto today. As of publication of this article, Amazon is offering $2.70 off the hardcover.

Black Mixcellence: A Comprehensive Guide to Black Mixology

Marketing strategist and award-winning author Tamika Hall collaborates with one of my favorite industry people, Colin Asare-Appiah, to bring us this awesome book.

Black Mixcellence delves into the impact of Black entrepreneurs, educators, and mixologists on the hospitality, spirits, and cocktail spaces. Along with the incredible stories, there are 70 cocktail recipes included in Black Mixcellence. Place your pre-order today!

Smoked Cocktails: From Mixology To Smoking Techniques

You and your bar team may have noticed that smoking cocktails is once again “on trend.” To be fair, I don’t think this cocktail build and presentation technique ever became unpopular.

In Smoked Cocktails you’ll learn not only how smoke plays with and enhances other flavors and aromas, author Benji O’Day also covers cocktail history, bartending techniques, and much more. Grab the paperback from Amazon today.

Cocktail Chemistry

Leveraging nostalgia and pop culture can be a lucrative way of boosting traffic, generating revenue, and increasing social media engagement. Written and curated by Nick Fisher, Cocktail Chemistry features cocktail recipes from iconic and beloved movies and television shows.

In addition, this informative cocktail book includes how-tos spanning a range of important bar techniques, from making clear ice to creating your own infusions. Pick up this hardcover now.

The Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting: Volume 1

Do you have a robust wine program? Are you interested in demystifying wine and enhancing your front-of-house team’s knowledge of wine? Do you just not want your bar team or servers to answer guests’ wine questions with a frustrating “I don’t know”?

This guide, according to The Times Literary Supplement, delivers a “comprehensive education in wine.” Included in The Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting: Volume 1 are the philosophy and history of wine, the distinctive characteristics of several wine regions, the science and art behind blind wine tasting, and more.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

TOTC 2022 Agenda and Tickets Now Live

Tales of the Cocktail 2022 Conference Agenda and Tickets Now Available

by David Klemt

Greetings from NOLA artwork

The time is now to grab your Tales of the Cocktail tickets and plan your trip to New Orleans for the last week of July.

Not only are tickets available for purchase via this link right now, you can also check out the schedule here.

Of particular note is the amount of complimentary programming available to 20th anniversary TOTC attendees.

Free to Attend

Attendees will have access to several activations and workshops that are free to attend.

Beginning Sunday, complimentary programming is available throughout the week. For example, the Day of Service on Sunday, July 24 is free attend and a way to give back.

Also on Sunday, the 11th annual Pig & Punch Volunteer Day of Service. This is another opportunity for those in the industry to do some good in the NOLA community.

The return of Pig & Punch was mentioned by an excited Lola Thomas on episode 72 of the Bar Hacks podcast.

On Monday, all attendees can attend the keynote address; Diversity Distilled Career Fair; the Welcome to Wellness! therapeutic stretch and self-massage session; and “#FromTheBarToTheFarm” sustainability workshop.

There are several more workshops—such as “Safe Bars: Crafting a New Culture of Safety and Respect” and the immersive “Mind Full” experience—that are free to attend on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Incredible Activations

More reasons to plan your trip around an action-packed Sunday? Speed Rack Redemption, the National Tequila Day Pool Party at the Royal Sonesta, and Ode to the Bowl.

The rest of the week is absolutely packed. From workshops to seminars, cocktail tours to tasting rooms, and all manner of activations, parties, and events in between, the 20th anniversary celebration of Tales of the Cocktail will be an experience to remember.

On the subject of cocktail tours, there are eight such experiences available during this year’s Tales. For example, attendees can register and secure tickets for Hunting Down the Sazerac, Downriver: Bars Beyond the French Quarter, the Big Gay Bar Tour, and Bourbon Street and How it Got that Way.

Learn More

To be honest, there’s simply too much going on at this year’s TOTC to list here. The sheer number of workshops, seminars, and activations must be checked out online.

And that’s to say nothing of the industry icons that will be presenting seminars and workshops, and hosting activations and special events.

Simply put, there’s programming for everyone. Health and wellness? Yes. Furthering your career? Absolutely. Perfecting technique and tasting new products? Of course. Business, culture, advocacy, diversity, inclusion, equity… Check, check, check, check, check, check!

We hope to see you at Tales of the Cocktail 2022! Be sure to check out the agenda and grab your tickets today.

Image: mana5280 on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: May 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: May 2022

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

These engaging and informative book selections will help you develop next-level beverage skills and motivate you throughout May, 2022.

To review April’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Rum Rebels: A Celebration of Women Revolutionizing the Spirits Industry

Written by authors Martyna Halas and René van Hoven, Rum Rebels raises a glass to women in the rum world. Readers will learn the inspiring stories of Lorena Vasquez from Zacapa, Joy Spence of Appleton, and more women driving rum forward and shaping this iconic spirit’s flavors, aromas, and textures.

In addition, this book serves as a masterclass in rum production, from tasting to aging. And since that’s enough for these incredible and ambitious authors, Rum Rebels also contains rum cocktail recipes.

Drink Lightly: A Lighter Take on Serious Cocktails

Operators, bar managers, and bartenders should see value in the driving ethos behind this cocktail book. Drink Lightly, authored by Nitecap bartender Natasha David, pairs precision drink-building techniques with a relaxed drinking experience.

Drinking lightly doesn’t mean sipping drinks bereft of complexity and depth. Along with 100 recipes, readers will enjoy a foreword by Alex Day of Proprietors LLC, whose concepts include Death & Co. and Nitecap.

Call Me Chef, Dammit!: A Veteran’s Journey from the Rural South to the White House

Hospitality is rooted in sacrifice and a commitment to serving others. Chef Andre Rush and his story embody service. Call Me Chef, Dammit! is the inspiring story of Chef Rush.

The storied chef has led an incredible life which includes a career in the US Army that spanned 24 years, advocating for military personnel and veterans, and winning multiple awards as a chef. Oh, and Chef Rush and his 24-inch biceps have also worked in the White House for four US presidents.

While there are no recipes in this book, there is one hell of an inspiring story in these pages.

The New Kindred Spirits: Over 2,000 All-New Reviews of Whiskeys, Brandies, Liqueurs, Gins, Vodkas, Tequilas, Mezcal & Rums from F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal

Anyone looking for a spirits bible need search no further. F. Paul Pacult’s The New Kindred Spirits includes over 2,400 in-depth reviews spanning a wide range of spirits. This tome evaluates a massive number of brandies, gins, liqueurs, rums, tequilas, vodkas, and whiskeys.

This all-encompassing compilation of spirit evaluations doesn’t just cover the usual suspects. The New Kindred Spirits also takes a deep dive into the craft side of the beverage industry.

Drinking & Knowing Things

Author and certified sommelier Michael Amon would like to know a couple things from those considering picking up Drinking & Knowing Things. “Do you want to uncork a bottle of whoop-ass on every winedouche and uppity sommelier?” And, “are you too lazy to spend any time whatsoever learning things?”

Anyone who answered “yes” to either or both questions needs this book. Amon says that readers who commit to spending five minutes reading the weekly wine recommendations found in Drinking & Knowing Things will give sommeliers a run for their wine-knowledge money. Wine intimidation? Not after reading this book.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

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