Chain Beverage Buzz: September 15, 2014

Distilled Spirits CouncilDISCUS Statement on the Passing of Jim Rees, Former Mount Vernon President
The DISCUS Board of Directors noted today with great regret and sadness the passing of James C. Rees, the recently retired, long-time President of George Washington’s Mount Vernon.  Jim's 19-year tenure as President of Mount Vernon was marked by the building of the Education Center/Museum and the new Presidential Library.  He is best known to the distilled spirits industry, however, for his enthusiastic determination to rebuild George Washington’s whiskey distillery to its exact original specifications. MORE>>

WOW NutritionCascadia Managing Brands Signs Definitive Consulting Agreement with Brazil’s WOW! Nutrition
Beverage consulting firm Cascadia Managing Brands has signed a definitive consulting agreement with Brazil’s third largest beverage manufacturer, WOW! Nutrition.  Wow! Nutrition produces and markets fruit juice, tea, soy, coffee, sugar alternative, sugar free drinks, and other healthy food products. Wow! Nutrition’s products are available in over 130,000 points of distribution in Brazil. MORE>>

sodaRestaurants Transform Soft Drinks Into 'Hard' Drinks
The big soda manufacturers and their new-age dispensers that let guests customize their drinks to their unique specifications using any of number of flavors are not the only beverage innovators in the business today. Restaurants and bars are wise to consumers’ desire for soft drinks with unique flavor profiles, and have created alcohol beverages that fit the bill. MORE>>

Red Bull‘You think Red Bull’s just Gonna Roll Over? It’s Not Gonna Happen!’ Expert Warns Wannabes
Beverage brand development guru James Tonkin has warned wannabe entrepreneurs that going up against established brands such as Red Bull and Coca-Cola without some kind of ‘silo vertical’ protection is fruitless. MORE>>

National Restaurant AssociationConsumer Mindset May Be Changing
In a sign that consumers may finally be shaking off their recession mindset, retail sales trended steadily upward in recent months.  According to preliminary figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, total retail and foodservice sales rose 0.6 percent in August on a seasonally-adjusted basis, their seventh consecutive monthly gain. MORE>>

Shanken News DailyUpscale Whiskies Dominate Impact's "Hot Prospects" Spirit Awards
The surge in brown spirits across the U.S. market is in evidence on this year’s Impact “Hot Prospects” spirits list, which is highlighted by numerous super-premium brands from multiple segments of the whisk(e)y category. Whiskies account for more than a third of the 21 Hot Prospect spirits brands this year—including three Bourbons, two single malt Scotches, two Canadian whiskies and one Irish whiskey—and nearly all of the above boast price points firmly at the premium end of the spectrum. MORE>>

BJ's RestaurantsBJ's Restaurants Opens in Denton, Texas
BJ's Restaurants, Inc. announced the opening of its newest restaurant in Denton, Texas, on Monday, September 8, 2014. The new BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse is located on a free standing pad at the intersection of Wind River Lane and I-35. The restaurant is approximately 7,400 square feet, seats approximately 225 guests and features BJ's extensive menu, including BJ's signature deep-dish pizza, award-winning handcrafted beer and famous Pizookie(R) dessert. BJ's unique, contemporary decor provides the perfect environment for all dining occasions. MORE>>

Season's 51Why Seasons 52 is the No. 5 Fastest-Growing Chain
Darden Restaurants Inc. opened its first Seasons 52 in 2003 in its hometown of Orlando, Fla., and the company has ramped up growth since the brand passed its first decade. The “fresh grill and wine bar” is especially known for its chef-inspired menu that features items in the “lighter” category. Nothing on the menu has more than 475 calories, which resonates with more health-minded customers. MORE>>

QSRRestaurant Industry Ranks No. 1 on Annual Gallop Poll
The restaurant industry is regarded as the top business sector in America, according to the results of the annual Gallup Work and Education poll released last week. Restaurants have remained one of the most highly viewed industries since Gallup started its annual poll of consumer perception of industries in 2001, re-claiming the top spot last held in 2007. MORE>>

Basic CocktailsTequila and Bourbon 'Not Needed' for Basic Cocktails
New cocktail book, The 12 Bottle Bar, by David and Lesley Solmonson, advises consumers to stock seven spirits, one liqueur, two vermouths and two bitters to create the perfect home bar. However, it omits Tequila as it “just isn’t called for in that many old-school cocktails”, and includes rye as the only whisky variety because “it is far more old-school than Bourbon”. MORE>>