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Publisher’s Page: June 2015 News & Views

Posted on  | May 21, 2015   Bookmark and Share
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Bethenny Frankel’s Skinnygirl Margarita was being sued for “damages” by an Illinois consumer claiming that the cocktail was mislabeled. The basis of this action was the modest presence of a preservative that was claimed to belie the drinks claim as “all-natural”.

U.S. District Judge Manish Shah has granted a motion to dismiss this case. Hopefully, this is part of a pattern of
court decisions in response to a series of frivolous lawsuits the industry has been subjected to recently.

Maker’s Mark can now claim victory over a suit seeking compensation claiming that the product’s labeling carries the
misleading term “handmade.” The judge quite appropriately ruled that “no reasonable person” would understand handmade in this context, to mean literally made by hand. Hope this is some further comfort to Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

To better appreciate the issues involved, I took a brief tour of our local supermarket this morning. Among the claims I repeatedly saw on the packaging? Natural. Famous. Original. Even Earth’s Best!

Why aren’t they being sued? Because they’re not in the liquor business.


The State Liquor Authority has released the results of a recent effort by undercover decoys to purchase alcohol in retail stores, including liquor stores and grocery/ convenience outlets. Out of the 900+ stores targeted, I am sorry to hear that more than half improperly served underaged customers.

On a more positive note, an independent study documenting the dramatic reduction of drunk driving has been released
by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. The industry has joined in to do an excellent job in encouraging change in this area. However, the timing of this report is important because of current efforts by the National Transportation Safety Board to lower BAC levels from .08 to .05 which would make it criminal, in many cases, for people to drive after a single drink.

Never ends. That’s why we all need to continue to support the right practices within our premises and the political efforts of our associations.


It does not matter where you live in the New York metro area—after last winter, summer has never seemed so welcome. It’s a perfect time to think (and drink) rum. Our feature story on rum this month (pg. 30) covers its evolving global identity. Rum is ideal still as the base of refreshing breezy cocktails, certainly, but it is also gaining traction as a serious spirit, especially when aged.

In our cover story this month, Kristen Bieler reports on the quality trajectory of South African wine (pg. 20). Wineries
there are making the most of their fascinating terroir; now, will the U.S. market embrace this new quality wave? With the amount of new products vying for shelf space, competition for shelf space has never been tougher.

Our article on the sometimes rocky relationship between retailers and distributors (pg. 52) speaks directly to the realities of our industry off-premise, while the feature on draft wine spotlights an up-and-coming on-premise force. In today’s fast-churning world, it has never been more important to stay one step ahead of trends.



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