Here’s the third edition of Booze News. Let’s take a look at all the important bar and restaurant industry news from this month.
Reggie: Jon Snow can stop waiting and warning everyone. Winter is officially here and there was a nice bundle of contentious topics of discussion as well as some fine news articles this past month. Well, at least news outside of the scope of politics. Joining us for this month’s roundup is Alex who is substituting for Rachael.
Alex: Hey Reggie! Happy to fill in after Rachael’s sign off (we miss you already, Rachael!) Just warning readers, my perspective on the industry is heavily slanted towards beer and whiskey. Also, who is Jon Snow?
Reggie: You don’t know Jon Snow? I would totally jump into a deep dive for you, but I wouldn’t want to risk posting spoilers for all the other non-GoT viewers out there. Plus, it’s way off-topic, unless you count the release of some new wine.
Alex: Alright, we can’t ignore the biggest news of the month. Let’s talk about the election.
Trump’s Food Outlook
Reggie: Well, for better or for worse, it happened. We now live in a world with a Trump presidency incoming. Eater put together a comprehensive article covering all the nitty-gritty details of how Trump’s policies and attitudes could affect the food industry. It does a great job of covering topics that you might have overlooked, like Trump’s possible effect on organizations like SNAP and the FDA.
Alex: That article raises some great points, in a generally cautionary tone. But on a promising note for the industry, this election cycle also saw Maine’s Heather Sanborn—a co-owner of Rising Tide Brewery and President of the Maine Brewer’s Guild—elected to the House. Previously, she helped change Maine’s laws regarding brewery tasting rooms and her new position could prove to be a good thing for our sometimes slow-to-change industry. As the Brewer’s Association notes, “Legislators decide on issues that directly impact brewers such as taxes, tasting room sales, depreciation costs, and more.” I’m looking forward to tracking her political career.
Restaurant Employment Trends
Reggie: Another area that we’ll have to watch in the first months of Trump is how employment rates in the industry are affected. Nation’s Restaurant News put together an article covering recent trends they’ve seen in the industry.
Alex: The numbers in that article are really interesting. There’s been pretty steady growth in the restaurant industry since post-recession 2010, but hiring numbers are slowing. This could be because of rising labor costs due to wage increases, as we discussed in September. That’s definitely something to monitor under President-Elect Trump too.
Local Giants & Tax Rates
Alex: And not to harp on the negative, but hiring isn’t the only thing falling flat these days. I’m reminded of Bloomberg’s coverage about revenue decline at Boston Beer Company (makers of Sam Adams). The article notes Jim Koch’s testimony before a Senate committee about the country’s high corporate tax rate, saying that “he’ll probably be the last American owner of Boston Beer.”
Koch was talking about the difference between domestic and foreign tax rates— also something that Trump has spoken about changing extensively. This might be a bright spot under the new administration.
Who knew politics played such a big role in booze?
The Tall Tale of the Seelbach
Reggie: In some less heavy news, it turns out the believed origins of the Seelbach were completely false (as suspected by some). Adam Seger revealed his fabrication of the origin story and it received some notable coverage by the New York Times.
Alex: Classic! We should hire that guy to join our marketing team… (Kidding!) But there have been some positive examples of marketing around bars this month too…
Crafting Safe Spaces
Reggie: A movement that went viral in the bartending community was the “Ask for Angela” campaign. The Independent covered the efforts of the Lincolnshire Rape Crisis organization and their partnering with local bars to create a safe word of sorts for women caught in bad dates and feel unsafe.
Alex: This is awesome, an example of marketing at its best. Hopefully word will spread to the U.S.—do your part by sharing!
In the meantime (and not to discount the awesomeness of this campaign) the geek in me (hey, we are a tech company after all) feels the need to share this IFTTT solution to that problem.
The Best Trash Cocktails
Reggie: Finally, Tales put out a great article highlighting Trash Tiki, a platform started by two White Lyan bartenders, that focuses on crafting cocktails completely with sustainably generated ingredients.
Alex: Cool! I like to see more people focusing on reducing waste in any small ways they can—there’s so much in this industry. I hope we can make reducing waste more of a focus in our software in the future, we’re just starting to scratch the surface in bar operations now.
But I can’t let you get away with Trash Tikis without mentioning this article from the Guardian (even if it’s a few months old news). They profile a bunch of breweries that are doing things to reduce water usage, including one using NASA greywater recycling tech to brew! In a blind taste test, drinkers couldn’t tell the difference between the normal IPA and the one brewed with wastewater.
Hey, I warned you that I liked beer….
Reggie: And on that delightful note, we shall leave you until next month. Make sure to subscribe to the blog below to make sure you’re the first to know when the next edition of Booze News gets released. Cheers!