Welcome to the first edition of Booze News.

Reggie: Well, here’s a first for the BevSpot Blog! Let me introduce you to our new monthly feature. As your local content gurus, Rachael and I will be quickly running down five of the latest and greatest news and feature stories in the beverage and hospitality industry we found on the Interwebs during the past month.

Rachael: Things move quickly in the bar and restaurant industry, and it’s our job to keep you updated with information that’s valuable, informative and, of course, entertaining. Let’s see what we’ve got in September’s edition of BevSpot Booze News.

More Time for Overtime?

Reggie: In our focus piece, Restaurant Business Magazine put out an article detailing how 21 states have banded together to legally challenge the upcoming rule mandated by the Department of Labor that doubles the federal overtime limit. This has been quite a contentious issue in the world of hospitality.

Rachael: It has. These 21 states argue that the decades-old overtime pay laws did not intend for salary thresholds to determine who should and should not receive overtime pay. And, while these new rules they’re fighting against could give a much-needed wage boost to salaried workers in the hospitality industry, small businesses are clearly concerned about how the law will affect their bottom line.

Trends on Trends

Reggie: Another piece that caught our eye was a feature that Cheers put out on industry trends they’ve observed through polling done by their sister company, Beverage Dynamics. Some immediate takeaways: It doesn’t look like flavored whiskey (i.e. Fireball and its ilk) and craft beer are going away anytime soon.

Rachael: The overall trend we see here is that consumers continue to demand experimentation and learning in their alcohol consumption. “They want to know more about the background of what they’re drinking: the history, how it’s made, where it’s from and the people behind it.” Also, premium tequila is making a play for more shelf space, and cider and hard soda sales continue to rise.

Some Craft Breweries on the Rise

Reggie: Speaking of craft breweries, DRAFT Mag put out a feature with their list of 25 breweries (all having started in the past five years) to keep your eye on. All of the breweries are definitely up there in quality, and it was especially nice to see local favorite Trillium get a shoutout.

Rachael: We see some industry favorites and a few lesser-known breweries on this list, with a strong presence of Californian craft brewers. It’s interesting to see the prominence of sour and wild ales in this list, indicating their continued rise in craft and likely into mainstream beer consumption.

Remembering the Queen of Wine

Reggie: In some sadder news, Margrit Mondavi, wife of the late Robert Mondavi, passed away earlier this month. It was really nice to see the heartwarming response from the wine and SF culinary community in this Eater post.

Rachael: Sad news, indeed. Napa Valley would be a different place today if it weren’t for Mondavi’s leadership, which included “founding the Robert Mondavi Winery Summer Music Festival and the Napa Valley Wine Auction, restoring the Napa Valley Opera House, and endowing a performing arts center and a wine and food science center to UC Davis.”

The Upcoming Wine Revolution

Reggie: Lastly, we have some really interesting news coming out of Business Insider. Apparently, Ava Winery—the SF-based startup focused on creating synthetic wine—has made significant progress since their first public taste test.

Rachael: Co-Founder Alex Lee says they’ve made huge improvement since May and are now at the point where “about 90% of people fail our blind taste test.” Ava’s goal is to release 499 bottles later this summer, with plans to go to market with high-quality, sustainable, customizable wine (that’s cheaper than what’s created with traditional methods) in the next six-to-12 months.

That’s it for this month. Subscribe to the blog below to receive next month’s booze news roundup.

Any thoughts on the stories you see above? Leave us a comment—let’s chat.

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