Hidden Dangers
No doubt you heard: New Jersey investi-
gators cited 29 establishments on suspi-
cion of filling empty bottles of premium
liquor with cheaper brands.
Setting aside for a moment that this is
clearly an unacceptable practice, one may
think: “No harm done.” Did the customer
even notice the difference? Not a big deal.
Well it is a big deal.
We don’t need headlines such as:
• Russia declares an emergency as deaths
from fake vodka soar.
• China: Its black market in fake alcohol
is a health risk and costly to legitimate
restaurants and bars.
• 24 die in Indonesia from tainted alcohol.
So, you figure, that doesn’t happen
here! Of course not, and that is the point.
We offer significant protection against
that kind of danger... it is called the three
tier system. Our products pass through a
carefully controlled system from supplier,
to wholesaler to retail licensee. It’s a sys-
tem that ensures both safety and trust.
Refilling a bottle, even if the contents
do not harm someone, is just the kind of
explosive ammunition that those who
seek to attack our industry are looking for.
Don't give them the tools to do it.
.05% is Not the Solution
In May, the National Transportation
Safety Board recommended that the
threshold for DUI blood alcohol count
(BAC) be lowered from .08% to .05%.
Unfortunately, this proposal has the po-
tential to sidetrack both our industry and
our society.
There has been tremendous progress
in reducing incidents associated with
drunk driving in recent years. Public edu-
cation, more effective enforcement and
technologies like interlock devices have
all played a role. Meanwhile, multiple
studies show that the greatest danger from
DUI comes from chronic offenders with
blood alcohol levels well above .08%.
Lowering the BAC threshold to .05% is
not going to serve as a deterrent to these
people. On the contrary, because drink-
ers can reach .05% without feeling tipsy,
changing the legal limit could generate
undue concern among the general public,
and could have a chilling effect at restau-
rants and bars.
Seeing Clearly
The vodka category has been a pioneer in
innovative, playful and unexpected fla-
vors for years and the trend has spread of
course to other spirits. Our vodka feature
this month (pg. 12) takes a refreshingly
retro look at neutral versions, still a popu-
lar segment for a diverse body of consum-
ers and often necessary as an anchor prod-
uct for flavorful expansion.
This issue also catches up with Punch
(pg. 22), the old-fashioned crowd-pleas-
er that is infinitely variable and showing
up on more and more menus at restau-
rants and bars across the country. We’d
love your feedback about how punch
is doing in your establishment or how
you suggest spirit choices for customers
to craft punches at home—share your
thoughts on our website, our facebook
page or tweet us.
Take a trip to ProWein 2013 with
our recap of the Dusseldorf wine trade
show (pg. 32) and relive all the fun from
Manhattan Cocktail Classic 2013 at the
start of our Around Town pages. I hope
all our readers are having a fun and pro-
ductive summer.
Beverage Media
July 2013
Photograph by Thomas Mangieri
Jason A. Glasser
Chief executive officer
Jody Slone-Spitalnik
Chief Operating Officer
William G. Slone
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