Archive for March, 2009
Michael-Scott wines (above) have been around since 1998. Then, from out of nowhere, everything changed in March of 2005. That’s when The Office debuted on NBC, with Steve Carell in the lead role as the hapless Michael Scott. There is no word on whether this hit show has been good or bad for the winery, in Sebastopol, California.
In a similar manner, it looks like Montecastelli Wine, Inc. started using the Palin brand name in 2008. Seven months later, the brand took on a whole other personality when Sen. John McCain selected Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate. It was not necessarily the good kind of publicity. Serious Eats reports:
“It was our best selling wine before (the V.P. announcement),” said Chris Tavelli, owner of Yield Wine Bar, which has offered Palin Syrah, a certified organic wine from Chile, by the glass since July. But after Sen. John McCain tagged Sarah Palin as his running mate, sales of the wine with the conservative’s inverted name plummeted — not surprising in famously liberal San Francisco.
The Palin Syrah is organically grown in Chile.
TTB is unlikely to allow “Beer with Vitamins” anytime soon. And yet every couple of months, we hear a report of another “beer with vitamins.” Most often, it’s based on flimsy evidence. But every now and then, something very close or on the mark will turn up.
Stampede Light (above) shows a beer sometimes purported to contain vitamins. The approved labels don’t mention vitamins. But the advertising strongly hints that this beer contains added vitamins. The website (as of March 2009) refers to doctors, vitamins, health, and shows a person doing one-handed pushups. It probably went much further, before 2007. Forbes reports that Larry Schwartz:
launched Stampede in November 2005 by marketing it as “beer with horsepower” and trumpeting its added vitamins in print ads and radio spots in Texas–and on his MySpace page. A short time later he received a letter from the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau, part of the U.S. Treasury Department. The TTB says health-related claims made by alcoholic drink manufacturers must be verifiable and balanced with revelations about the health risks of excessive alcohol consumption.
Schwartz … who has racked up $100,000 in legal fees while negotiating with the TTB, hopes below-the-radar marketing tricks will give Stampede a boost–and keep him out of trouble.
We did find another brand — with clear evidence of added vitamins, right on the approved front labels. But before setting off any more false alarms about beer with vitamins, we hasten to add that these approvals are not recent, and their current status is “surrendered.”
TTB is at the early stages of developing regulations related to alcohol beverages containing vitamins, minerals and caffeine.
March 19, 2013 Update: TTB’s interim policy.
I have absolutely no idea what the gals on the left are doing, but it certainly caught our attention. I am not sure it has much to do with wine. Or it’s really good wine. The ladies on the right are indulging in more commonly seen behavior, so far as we can tell.
Playmates (above) is Barossa Valley grenache, imported by Joshue Tree of Duarte, California. The importer helpfully points out that: “They seem close. … More than friends? … They enjoy being together. … Grab yourself a Playmate and get intimate!”
Girls Gone Wine amber wine is one in a line of several dozen wines made by Shady Ladies, LLC in Broken Bow, Oklahoma.
It is likely that all beer, wine and spirits labels will change dramatically in the near future. TTB has been working on new rules since CSPI and other groups submitted a petition in 2003. The new rules would require a “Serving Facts” panel on every container. This panel would include a lot more information, such as the typical serving size, number of servings per container, calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat. Because this is a big, controversial change, TTB has received more than 18,000 public comments during the past few years. There are far too many comments for most people to review, and so we will highlight and summarize the most noteworthy comments here. The most recent proposal and comments are here. This is comment 12 in a series; to see others, click on the “serving facts” tag below.
The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) represents about 50% of California’s winegrape growers, by tonnage. CAWG’s 1-page comment said:
- We oppose mandatory serving and nutrition labeling requirements.
- The rule would impose major costs and disruptions related to testing of products with “tremendous variability.”
- TTB should be skeptical about the large number of form-generated comments in support of the rule.
The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) commented on behalf of the nation’s 2,750 beer distributors. The NBWA’s 3-page comment said:
- TTB should remember the “primacy of state alcohol regulation,” over federal, when “addressing this complicated and challenging issue.”
- A standard drink graphic is not appropriate; it is misleading to suggest that one type of alcohol is the same as another. “A shot of grain alcohol does not equal a light beer.”
- TTB should allow a linear display.
Does anyone else thinks that’s a lot of beer for just a dollar? It’s twice the size of a typical 12 ounce can, and if it’s anywhere close to 8% alc./vol. it’s twice again. So it’s the equivalent of four beers, at something like a quarter apiece. Is this normal, or a sign of the rough economy? We also wanted to post this because it’s a rare label that posts the price right on the permanent package. And somehow we think it will not be long until essentially all alcohol beverage labels post the alcohol content, in a clear way, and this does not.