So, the folks over at Printsome, a U.K. T-shirt printing service, were getting hammered one evening (by their own admission, "beers weren't lacking") and somehow the discussion turned to how Facebook would taste if it were a beer.
I think most people would say the flavor would change every few months at the whim of its advertising partners, but Printsome took things one step further and made a whole beer identity for Facebook. They did the same for Nike, Apple, the Arsenal football club and themselves, deciding flavor, label design, alcohol content and desired audience for each.
The label designs are pretty standard for projects like this, but the writeups are fun. They decided Nike beer would be low-cal and full of taurine, which sounds exactly like something Nike would do, and that Apple's iBeer would be an organic cider/beer monstrosity of some kind. I would have made it an iPA, but then again, I'm a pun-loving colonial savage.
Facebook's Facebrew beer would make even Zuck proud (Click Image To Enlarge)
Apple's iBrew beer would make Steve Jobs turn in his grave, but Apple evangelists would still buy it jsut because Apple brewed it (Click Image To Enlarge)
Nike's Just Drink It beer would have Nike fans saying "I'll have another" (Click Image To Enlarge)
Arsenal's London Ale is the perfect compliment to any British football game (Click Image To Enlarge)
Printsome's Drink Some beer should be printed on T-Shirts Now because I would buy one (Click Image To Enlarge)
COMMENTARY: I think Printsome mightr be on to something. I like the idea of printing branded T-shirts with hillarious products. I have a feeling that Zuck would love to have his own brew but would he include his brew over Red Bull now being offered to Facebook staffer's during Hack-A-Thon's? Hell yes, why not.
Courtesy of an article dated July 10, 2015 appearing in AdWeek
THE LAPKA BREATH ALCOHOL MONITOR (BAM) LOOKS LIKE IT COULD HAVE BEEN DESIGNED BY JONY IVE AFTER SOME BINGE DRINKING. BUT THE TRULY GENIUS PART IS THIS: THE DRUNKER YOU GET, THE EASIER IT IS TO USE. HAPPY NEW YEAR'S EVE!
There's no shortage of cheap breathalyzers out there. In fact, if your holidays were anything like mine, you were probably blowing 0.09 into a cheap $10 model on Christmas morning, courtesy of Santa, who picked it up at a local gas station and slipped it into your stocking.
Given that we live in such a world, it's pretty hard to imagine anyone forking over $200 for a breathalyzer, but Lapka might just convince you to do it. Not only is this breathalyzer beautifully designed -- it looks as if the transdimensional aliens at the other end of the Monolith in 2001 tried their hand at measuring blood alcohol levels -- but it has a UI that actually changes along with your sobriety.
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The instructions manual starts off with both 500 words of free verse and an instrumental track, so you know that this isn't just some common breathalyzer: it's meant to be a kind of transcendental objét. This is just silly marketing bombast, but even so, the BAM is undeniably a pretty object, with some sleek, minimal design chops.
And unlike most breathalyzers, the device is designed so that you don't need a mouthpiece. Instead, you simply cup the BAM in your palm and gently blow into it for only four seconds to get an accurate reading. There's no beeping lights, no readouts: as soon as you begin breathing into the BAM, it connects via Bluetooth to your iPhone or Android smartphone, and an associated app gives you your blood alcohol reading.
While the BAM’s hardware is undeniably attractive -- this is the breathalyzer equivalent in both design and price to the 2013 Mac Pro -- it's the app that is truly innovative. It features a UI that actually changes itself according to your blood alcohol content. Simply put? The drunker you get, the easier the app becomes to read and understand.
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As the evening progresses and the drinks pile up, the Lapka BAM changes its interface to match. At 0.13% BAC, the interface elements, such as software buttons, tap targets and fonts, begin to change color and size to be easier to understand to the alcohol-addled. And once you get into binge-drinking territory, the Lapka BAM app becomes the equivalent of a big, red STOP sign, warning you it's time to call a cab and go home before your liver quits on you.
The tricks the Lapka BAM is employing to have an interface that adjusts itself according to drunkenness isn't hard to comprehend, yet this is actually the future of UI: interfaces that adapt themselves not only to your capabilities, but your disabilities -- self-inflicted or otherwise -- as well. It's good design that simply gets more artful and elegant the more artless and clumsy you become.
COMMENTARY: This is one breathalyzer that I recommend that you get in order to detect whether the alcohol levels in your blood exceed those that put you in the category of legally drunk. But, let's be serious, it is always best to have a non-drinking designated driver to get you back home. That's the only safe way to prevent being arrested, losing your license and placed on probation for a year (california law).
These are Dogfish Head's new sausages, made in a collaboration with Coleman Natural Foods. (Click Image To Enlarge)
DOGFISH HEAD HAS TEAMED WITH COLEMAN TO CREATE A LINE OF SAUSAGES WITH A TWIST: THEY’RE SPECIALLY FORMULATED TO PAIR WITH SPECIFIC DOGFISH HEAD BEERS.
I bite into a perfectly cooked bratwurst, but I don’t taste bratwurst. I taste honey and apricots--maybe even the hint of a saison. And as I follow the bit up with a swig of an oak-aged IPA, I can taste as the sweetness of the pork transitions seamlessly to vanilla and then to hops, a continuum of flavor that makes me appreciate both entities anew.
They'll come in four flavors (left to right)--Traditional Bratwurst, Heirloom Italian Brat, Spicy Espresso Brat, and Greek Feta Brat. Each is infused with Dogfish Head beer. (Click Image To Enlarge)
I’m not at a pretentious gastropub paying through the nose for a prix fixe food and beer pairing. I’m on my back porch, grilling up a new line of sausages by Dogfish Head and Coleman Natural Foods (Perdue’s natural food line), sipping on Dogfish Head’s Burton Baton IPA. The bratwurst has a flavor profile designed specifically to be paired with this beer, the result of Coleman’s food scientists teaming up with Dogfish Head brewmasters for months of taste testing and iteration.
But what makes them particularly interesting is that each of these sausages have been designed specifically to pair with certain Dogfish Head beers. (Click Image To Enlarge)
The result is that, starting today, select gourmet stores in the Northeast will carry Dogfish Head–branded sausages, including flavors like Spicy Espresso and Heirloom Italian, each flavored with beer reduction. As a consumer snags a pack of their, say, Greek Feta Chicken Brats (infused with actual Midas Touch beer) and flip over the pack, they’ll see two pairing suggestions: a Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale or a Burton Baton IPA. Assumably, that customer might go snag a six-pack to match then, too.
So their Spicy Espresso Brats are made with espresso powder, minced habanero and cumin, along with a bit of Chicory Stout. But you then are meant to pair that with a Dogifsh Head India Brown Ale or Sixty-One (an IPA with syrah grape must). (Click Image To Enlarge)
“This is going to be huge,” I think as I reach for another sausage that I follow up with Dogish Head’s Sixty-One, an IPA mixed with syrah grape must. It's rare I've felt so gleefully pretentious in my own home.
In my own taste test, I found the pairings both delicious and fascinating in a really fun, academic way. (Click Image To Enlarge)
The truth is, America's renaissance of craft beer is driving an increasingly crowded market. When Dogfish Head launched in 1995, there were 600 craft breweries in the U.S., and maybe a couple opened every week. Today, there are 2,500 craft breweries around the country (the most since the 1880s), and two more open every day. Yet for all the new breweries, craft beer can only claim 6.5% of the $99 billion US beer market.
Even beers I wouldn't consider myself a fan of--like Midas Touch, which is considered somewhere between wine and mead--was particularly tasty as it bounced off the flavors of the Greek Feta's dairy kick. (Click Image To Enlarge)
Dogfish Head founder and president Sam Calagione admits.
“I don’t think, mathematically, that the current pace is viable for years to come. There’s going to be some inevitable shakeout and economic darwinism. Some of these entries won’t make it.”
Now Calagione is quick to point out that he doesn’t actually view his fellow craft brewers as competition--that designation belongs to wine, spirits, and the “craft” brewers that are actually owned by international corporations. Besides, he explains, beer drinkers of today aren’t like our fathers were. We don’t decide Schlitz is our go-to beer and drink it every day for eternity. We’re promiscuous. We want to have a “whole quiver” of different craft beers in our fridge.
Dogfish Head is also collaborating on a line of pickles... (Click Image To Enlarge)
Even still, Calagione clearly recognizes the value of diversification in an increasingly crowded marketplace, and food is a natural complement of beer. (It’s why Sierra Nevada makes a mustard and Stone has a licensing deal to make hot sauce.) But there hasn’t been a brewery that’s committed to a full lineup of foods, which Dogfish Head saw as a huge, missed opportunity.
“Everyone doesn’t eat out at a restaurant every night, and if you’re driving you can’t have too many beers at a restaurant. How do we bring that artisanal-beer dinner concept into the home?”
Food pairings at the supermarket level are by no means a new idea. Companies like Kraft leverage the collective strength of their 55 or so power brands at the supermarket, mixing Oscar Mayer deli meats and Capri Sun juice drinks in the same Lunchables box.
But we haven’t really seen this approach applied to higher-end goods to re-create the fine-dining restaurant experience. Dogfish Head wanted to create a complete meal of what they’re calling “beer-centric foods.” So they teamed with Brooklyn Brine to make "hop pickles," and Sea Watch to make chowder (both are on sale now). But the pièce de résistance of the lineup would be a main course protein. Pairing beer and sausages was just a natural fit. Coleman and Dogfish Head struck up a deal to collaborate on a release.
With all of these "beer-centric foods" in place, Dogfish Head would like to be able to sell you a whole gastropub-level food and beer pairing to experience at home. And I think they're on to something. But may I be so bold as to make one suggestion? Variety packs. (Click Image To Enlarge)
Coleman's Brand Director Jody Hallman explains.
“It started with, we’ll take one bottle of Raison D'Etre and put it into a small, 40-pound batch of meat, mix, and see how it goes.”
From there, a one-year process of R&D followed, in which Coleman and Dogfish Head went from 15 ideas for sausages to 10 mixed and tested sausages, to 5 flavors that would eventually make the cut.
For the Coleman team, mixing beer into recipes was a new challenge. But on top of that, pairing those tastes with another beer brought in a whole other slew of considerations. Because Dogfish Head didn’t want to simply match the taste of a pilsner in a sausage with the same pilsner you were sipping on; they wanted to enhance the complexity of the experience.
“There’s exponentially more flavors when you have one beer in the sausage but have a different beer from our portfolio to pair it with.”
(That might sound silly, but he’s absolutely right. I found my home taste-test to be academically fascinating.)
That involved several iterative taste tests with both teams. Were the sausages good on their own? Were they good with beer? Which beers were they best with? Then the sausages were offered at Dogfish Head’s own brewery--and eventually, food truck--where eager customers actually paid to serve as a test market. (It’s the same model the brewery uses to test new beers before taking them nationwide.)
The approach to one sausage was proving particularly tricky: the Italian. While the flavor was always in the running, formulating an Italian sausage for the mass market palate is actually more difficult than one might expect.
“You think Italian is going to be a pretty simplistic flavor profile, but it can be pretty complex because everyone's perception of what it should be differs dramatically,”
The solution proposed by Calagione was to try his Sicilian grandma’s family recipe, who’d actually sold sausages out of a storefront while his grandpa made bootleg wine in the basement (a jug would go to the best sausage customers). The story was too good for Coleman to resist.
“We cut our first samples of that, and me and our lead of R&D were like, OK, we’re going to try this, what if it doesn’t taste good? You get kind of nervous. It could taste great, and that’d be ideal! But the whole time it was like, what if it doesn’t?”
Coleman admits to making some recipe adjustments for commercialization purposes--like saucing a whole hog--but the recipe made it through relatively unfettered. It’s quite spicy for a supermarket product, with a kick of oregano and a strong pepperoni finish.
“You can make the same pork brat for a while, and it kind of feels a little mundane. This project stepped into our culture and really shook it up.”
At this point in my tasting, I’m juggling four sausages and three beers while carefully referencing a neatly printed cheat sheet. A bite here. A swig there. But as sensitively as I try to taste, my palate is now shot. The yeast, hops, pork, and seasonings have blended into a cacophony of flavors my mind has grown too tired (or maybe too fuzzy?) to distinguish.
And I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun eating anything that came in shrinkwrap.
Dogfish Head hasn’t just licensed a line of sausages with their logo on it. They’ve found a way to translate a very particular fine-dining experience into processed food. It’s why, even if any old beer and brat will taste fantastic together, Dogfish Head’s will offer something unique.
That is, until every food and beverage company in existence copies the idea. And if they have any sense, they will.
COMMENTARY: Boy, don't those sausages look good? And, I bet they taste and smell just as good. I think Dogfish Head's strategy of partnering with Coleman to increase sales of their brand sausages, pickles and chowder is a great way to increase sales of both products, and will certainly help coleman sell more BBQ grills, lighter fluid and accessories. This type of marketing strategy is often referred to as a complimentary products strategy.
If you sell gourmet muffins, you have a likely market for gourmet coffee.
That's the concept behind complementary products. They do exactly that - they complement each other. One might enhance the other as the case might be with wine and cheese, or eyeshadow and mascara.
Products might complement each other from a standpoint of necessity. One example is a computer and a monitor; another would be a vacuum cleaner and vacuum bags.
A customer who has already bought from you is more likely to buy from you again. A customer is also more likely to buy a product that complements one they've just bought.
Selling a pair, or a combination, of complementary products is another smart marketing option. It's easier for the customer to buy from only one vendor and make a single purchase. Offering a discount for this bundle of products can further increase your changes of making the sale.
We all know about bundling. It's become an art form for the communications industry. Customers buy their long distance, cell phone, cable, and internet from a company in exchange for paying less than they would for the individual products and services.
It can make sense to give away a complementary service. Printers sometimes offer free layout and design services for large printing jobs. It can also be an incentive for establishing repeat business.
One key to successfully promoting complementary product pairings or packages is to break it down in dollars and cents.
Tell the customer how much they're saving in cold, hard cash. That's usually more effective than expressing it as a percentage discount.
Establish immediacy. Offer your customer a discount on a complementary product if they make the purchase within a certain time period.
Informational products make great choices to give away as complementary items.
If you're a representative for health and beauty products, offer your customers a free booklet full of makeup tips and tricks. Include your contact info, including website URL, throughout the booklet along with coupons. And don't forget coupon codes for online purchases.
You can take advantage of customers' purchases of complementary products even if you don't offer them yourself. Establish an alliance, or multiple ones, with those who do offer them.
If you're a caterer, establish marketing alliances with photographers, florists, and musicians.
If you specialize in pet photography, your market is one that pampers their pets. Logical complementary products and services would include pet grooming, doggie spas, and clothing for pets.
So, who are your customers? And what else do they want to buy that you aren't selling?
Typically, alcoholic beverages try to announce themselves as the life of the party. Tiqo takes a different route (Click Image To Enlarge)
IN CREATING THE IDENTITY FOR A NEW TEQUILA-BASED MIXED DRINK, A MEXICAN FIRM DECIDED TO KEEP THINGS SOBER.
As someone who unashamedly still picks wine bottles expressly on the basis of their labels, I can attest to the fact that first impressions are important in the overcrowded world of alcoholic beverages. And in general, the prevailing packaging dictum for the category is to do everything possible to make that impression. Stand in front of the massive air-conditioned beer wall at your supermarket to see what I mean--you’ll find screaming type, bold graphics, and colors covering more or less the entire visible spectrum. The designers behindthe identity for Tiqo, a new Tequila-based mixed drink, are trying something different to cut through all that clatter: restraint.
The identity, created by the Mexican firm Manifesto Futura, goes for an understated, modern look (Click Image To Enlarge)
The design, executed by the interdisciplinary firm Manifiesto Futura, based in Monterrey, Mexico, is certainly different than most of what you’ll find on those shelves. While the silhouette of the proposed bottle is the same as any other, a handful of small details set it apart. For one, the thing is all black--cool, matte Batman black--from bottom to bottletop. The logo mark is a minimalist collection of simple shapes that spell out Tiqo, and it’s printed directly on the bottle itself.
The logo mark, for example, is a series of simple shapes that spell the beverage’s name. And instead of being applied to a fussy paper wrapper, it’s printed directly on the bottle (Click Image To Enlarge)
The overall result is a thing with a fluid form and a confident character. No paper label to pick at nervously here, no sir--just a classy 5% ABV Tequila-based mixed drink in a bottle you’ll want to put on your bookshelf afterward. Granted, every beer has its own personality--its own look and its own taste--but on the visual side of things, those personalities are overwhelmingly of the alpha variety. In terms of branding, alcoholic products are essentially competing to be the loudest person at the party, the idea being that hopeful imbibers will follow. Tiqo, apparently, is content to be the mysterious, sexy foreigner standing in the corner (he’s probably an architect).
González says her team tried to evoke a feeling of being 'effortlessly cool, effortlessly elegant.' (Click Image To Enlarge)
In fact, that’s precisely what the team at Manifiesto was going for with the design. Vicky González, the firm’s president and executive director, says that her designers look at every new beverage as though it were "one super specific person." In branding Bocanegra, a beer marketed toward "strong men," González says that her team in fact designed a bottle specifically targeted at rich people who wanted to feel like hipsters (the bottle bears the label "cerveza artesanal"). Tiqo is a bit more aspirational--it’s designed to embody "the guy or girl we all want to be," González says--or the one we all want to be with. Tiqo’s the "effortlessly cool, effortlessly elegant" person who doesn’t need to shout to turn heads.
Instead of the life of the party, it’s content to be the cool guy in the corner (Click Image To Enlarge)
Alas, intriguing, understated strangers aren’t quite as abundant in real life as they are in our fantasies, and in much the same way, this beautiful bottle might not be meant for our endlessly regulated world. González was quick to point out that the mock-up seen here is merely her studio’s vision for the brand, and the final look will be subject to the scrutiny of those at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, where the design is currently under review. I’m not getting my hopes up. Trade bureaus are notorious party poopers.
Tiqo is designed to reflect 'the guy or girl we all want to be,' explains Vicki González, Futura’s executive director (Click Image To Enlarge)
There are reasons that you don’t see loud or radical alcoholic beverage designs, because designs are all subject to the standards of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, where Tiqo is right now (Click Image To Enlarge)
COMMENTARY: According to the most recent figures released by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT), the tequila industry's governing body, up to and including October, there were 159 new tequila brands launched in 2010. Six hundred brands have turned into 1200 brands in less than five years. The growth of the market has been dramatic compared with other distilled spirits, yet, it’s still relatively small, ranked only 4th in US volume. It has not grown fast enough to accommodate all of the entries into the field. Can the US market sustain this many brands? One industry insider doesn't think so. One key factor responsible for the phenomenal growth in the number of brands is that too many distillers bought into the Yankelovich and similar studies that declared premium and above 100% Agave Tequila brands as the next big thing.
In fact, his outlook for the next two years is so bleak, that Christopher Zarus, an industry consultant, importer, broker and developer of alcoholic beverages, predicts the demise of many of these brands. Zarus is also the CEO of the much lauded TequilaRack, the world's first instructional take home tequila tasting kit. And like global economist, Nouriel Roubini, he is the tequila industry's Dr. Doom. I totally agree with Mr. Zarus assessment of the U.S. tequila market.
Over three years ago, one of my clients started a new tequila brand. The tequila was to be produced in the agave growing district of Mexico where the majority of the agave plant growers an tequila distillers are located. The client was to produce three types of premium tequila's:
Blanco or “silver” tequila - An ultra-premium, crystal-clear
and smooth tequila. The Blanco tequila has a clean, slightly spicy, smoky taste
that is prized by connoisseurs as pure agave flavor. Blanco’s fine
aroma hints of pepper, citrus, mint and herbs. Blanco’s
full-bodied agave flavor makes it the perfect mix for any cocktail.
Reposado tequila – Reposado tequila is made with the finest estate grown agave
plants in the world. The reposado tequila is “rested” for four months in a mix of French and American oak barrels to smooth out the harsh flavor that
is found in many reposados. It retains a full agave taste, sweetened
with the subtle tones of vanilla and caramel imparted by the oak
casks. Reposado has a light, golden color with pink tones,
smooth and well-rounded to the palate with a perfect finish. Reposado makes an exceptional premium margarita or you can enjoy its rich
taste on the rocks.
Anejo tequila – Anejo tequila is made with the finest estate grown agave plants in the
world. It is then aged in a mix of
French and American oak barrels for a minimum of fourteen months, giving it a
rich amber color with deep pink tones. Subtle hints of vanilla, maple and
almond blend perfectly together with an undeniable agave smoked-peppery aroma. Añejo’s finish is exceptionally smooth due to a double
distillation process. For the true tequila experience, it is highly recommended to savor añejo tequila in a snifter.
Tigo's packaging is much more akin to the type of packaging you would find in premium vodka like Grey Goose. Ciroc, Skyy and Danzka vodka brands. As impressive and different the packaging maybe, it's the product inside the bottle that matters. Tigo's tequila-based mixed drink better be damn good. However, no matter how Tigo is positioned in the marketplace, Tigo will find several well established brands, including several Margarita tequila mixers. What the folks at Tigo seem to have forgotten is that a pre-mixed tequila drink is no replacement for the longstanding practice and enjoyment of mixing your own tequila drinks (Margarita, Tequila Sunrise, Firecracker, Blue Diablo, etc.). Tigo takes the fun out of mixing your own tequila drinks, which I believe is the allure of drinking tequila. I have not tasted Tigo or read any reviews, so it is hard to assess whether a pre-mixed tequila drink will be able to catch on. I certainly hope Tigo has done some market testing before launching. Distribution is extremely important in the spirits industry, but from what I can surmise, Tigo will have to be distributed to the mass market through grocers and liquor stores. Having said this, Tigo must partner with an experienced distributor familiar with the entire tequila distribution chain and good relationships with the buyers. This will take money and retailer concessions in the form of outright payments or free case alottments. It takes a lot of money, a minimum of $2 to 3 million just to get the attention of a major distributor, so I do wish Tigo a lot of luck.
Jonathan Goldsmith as 'The Most Interesting Man in the World' - Dos Equis (Click Image To Enlarge)
ASIDE FROM PAIRING PERFECTLY WITH PIZZA, BEER HAS DONE A LOT OF OTHER GOOD THROUGHOUT HISTORY.
Beer is in a renaissance. Fueled by small craft manufacturers, brewers are reassessing the confines of classic stouts and IPAs. And with virtually no limitations on what can be added to beer (unlike most wines, which are confined strictly to the artful manipulation of grapes), the sheer variety of what’s on the market is astounding. Beer has become a cuisine unto itself.
But while every modern beer drinker may be a bit of an expert, this entertaining infographic reminds us that we’re all amateurs in comparison to our forefathers. We drink about 22 gallons apiece each year. Our medieval Europeans drank triple that (66 gallons). And the Egyptians who built the pyramids? They guzzled a gallon of beer every single day, or over 300 gallons each year. That’s more than 1,000 40s, but they certainly earned it.
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Yet all arguments of beer’s importance historically aside--ignoring its sterility in dirty environments, its ability to preserve grain, and its insights into the world of microbes and modern medicine--the most incredible thing about beer isn’t all the things it’s done. The most incredible thing about beer is that we’d still drink it even if it weren’t incredible at all.
POP CHART LAB TAKES YOU BEHIND THE SCENES OF CREATING ITS NEWEST INFOGRAPHIC, A MASSIVE CHART SHOWING 200 COCKTAILS--INCLUDING WHAT'S IN THEM AND WHAT THE PROPORTIONS SHOULD BE. IT WASN'T EASY.
We’d been trying to complete a chart of cocktails for over a year. It’s sorta been Pop Chart Lab’s white whale. This journey started, as every PCL chart does, with a bunch of research dumped into Excel. In December 2010, we compiled a document of nearly 200 cocktails broken down by ingredients.
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Then we moved into OmniGraffle. In our first attempt, we grouped the spirits, wines, liqueurs, cordials, etc., and then started drawing lines connecting each ingredient to the appropriate cocktail. We then drew another line connecting the cocktail to the appropriate glass along the bottom of the chart.
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We could tell right away this likely wasn’t going to work. The ingredients were taking up way too much space, and every cocktail connecting to a glass at the bottom was creating a huge bottleneck. Just to make sure, though, we started color coding and pushed a little further.
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Convinced this wasn’t going to work, we put the idea on the shelf for a few months. In September, we were working on a chart of the ingredients in candy bars, and we ran into a similar problem. The majority of the bars had milk chocolate in them, which meant a lot of lines running to the same place.
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Our breakthrough here was putting the chocolates in the center, the candy bars in a ring around the outside, and then the other ingredients at the top and bottom.
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We knew this same arrangement could work for the cocktails chart if we put the shared ingredients in the center and the cocktails in a ring around them. In this draft from November, we used Excel to make a pie chart of the spirits and then put that in the center, the liqueurs and bitters on the left, mixers up top, and garnishes on the right.
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This was looking promising, but as we filled in more of the chart, it was getting tough to read.
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The solution was to move more into the center pie chart. In this next version, all alcoholic ingredients--spirits, wines, bitters, and liqueurs--were moved into the center pie chart, with mixers up above and garnishes down below.
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This proved to us that the concept could work, so we moved into working in Illustrator, where it’s easier to draw curved lines than in OmniGraffle. We started with an old-time-y treatment, complete with overly long subtitle. Here it is before we filled in any of the connecting lines.
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And here is what it looked like after we spent 40 hours drawing lines. If you look closely within this jumble of vectors, you might be able to find the exact moment at which we lost our sanity.
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A ridiculous amount of work went into this, but the lines were so dense that we couldn’t even follow them to proofread it. The only solution here would have been to increase the size of the poster, and with 1-point lines we were already at a 27"x39" poster. To make this legible, we probably would have needed to print it on a 4'x6' piece of paper. So instead, we did the smart thing and ruthlessly culled the list of cocktails down from 175 to 68. We lost a lot of good cocktails (such as the Flaming Homer), but it was worth it to get a more legible poster. We also switched the look from the staid old-time-y style to a Saul Bass-influenced '60s vibe.
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The reduction in cocktails let us do a few other cool things, like include the ratios for each of the ingredients as well as the serving glasses, which made the chart a lot more functional. We also shook up the center pie chart to give it a more kinetic look.
Click here to buy "Constitutions of Classic Cocktails" for $26 until noon EST today; $36 after.
Every year since 1988, Wine Spectator has compiled a list of the most exciting wines we’ve reviewed over the past 12 months. These 100 wines reflect significant trends, recognize outstanding producers and spotlight successful regions and vintages around the world.
In 2011, our list was selected from more than 16,000 new releases our editors rated in our independent blind tastings. More than 5,400 of these wines earned outstanding or classic ratings (90 points or higher on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale). We narrowed the list down based on four criteria: quality (represented by score); value (reflected by release price); availability (measured by cases made or imported); and what we call the “X-factor”–the excitement generated by a rising-star producer, a benchmark wine or a significant milestone for a wine region. But no equation determines the final selections: These choices reflect our editors’ judgment and passion about the wines we tasted.
In this year’s list, 12 countries are represented, and quality remains high, with an average score of 93 points. The average price per bottle dipped from last year from $48 to $44, compared with a $70 average for 90-point wines reviewed this year. We hope that you enjoy this list of exciting values, emerging stars and time-honored stalwarts and that our Top 100 of 2011 leads you to more deeply explore the world of wine.
Here Wine Spectator's Top 10 Wines for 2011:
And announcing Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year for 2011:
Click HERE To View Wine Spectator's Top 10 Wines for 2011
COMMENTARY: I love wine and I hope you do to. I published Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines for 2011 last year too, and got a lot of great comments. Did your favorite wine make the list this year?
BTW, here's a link to Wine Spectator's Top 10 Wines for 2011 Video:
Click Image To View Video
I am delighted that the U.S. placed four wines on the Top 10, and that Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year for 2011 is a 2009 Pinor Noir from Kosta Browne Winery which is located in Sonoma Valley, the Bordeaux of the U.S.
I hope you've enjoyed this post as much as I have putting it together for you.
Courtesy of an article appearing in the November issue of Wine Spectator
Yes, it's wildly expensive and requires patience, but Latour just might be the world's best red
When Frédéric Engerer was a university student in Paris, he would drive once a month to Burgundy. He tolod me recently.
"For a young man in his 20s, Burgundy was less intimidating, and you can get appointments more easily."
Bordeaux, with its grand chateaux and wealthy absentee owners, is much more formal and daunting. The first time that Mr. Engerer ever set foot on the hallowed ground of Bordeaux first growth Château Latour was after François Pinault offered him the job of managing the estate.
Mr. Engerer said.
"Latour had always been a mystical estate for me, but I honestly didn't dare ask for an appointment at Latour in those days."
Frederic Engerer, Chateau Latour
The hiring of Mr. Engerer to run one of the world's most fabled domains caused almost as much comment as Mr. Pinault's purchase of the property in 1993. Mr. Pinault, one of Europe's most successful and wealthy businessmen, acquired Latour from Allied Lyons. At the time he was hired, Mr. Engerer was working as a management consultant in Paris, after a previous stint in advertising.
The Bordelaise were understandably baffled by the appointment, which came about at the recommendation of Mr. Pinault's son, François-Henri, who had gone to university with Mr. Engerer. In fact, Mr. Engerer grew up in a family of wine merchants from the Languedoc-Roussillon and spent his summers working in his grandfather's cellar. Even as his business career flourished, most of his free time revolved around his love of wine. He opened a wine bar in Paris. Getting the call from Mr. Pinault was basically the equivalent of an aspiring rapper getting tapped to record a track with Jay-Z. Latour is, by anyone's reckoning, one of the greatest domains on the planet.
Latour was named for a tower, or castle, which was built on the property in the 14th century and razed more than a century later at the end of the Hundred Years' War (the catchy title by which that 116-year conflict is remembered). The three-story "tower" that stands on the property today and graces the wine label is actually a pigeonniere, or dovecote, built in 1625—and is not, as is commonly imagined, the tower that gave the estate its name.Latour would presumably be called Latour even if it produced a dainty, delicate wine, but this not the case: Latour is a massive wine that can seem entirely unassailable in its youth, a wine that seems to measure its age in geologic time. A Latour from a good year can take 30 years to show its charms, and when it does so its virtues are almost inevitably described with adjectives that skew toward the masculine end of the spectrum: robust, powerful, massive. I've never seen the word "pretty" in a tasting note on Latour.
Mr. Engerer told me when we first met. (I agree—I don't think it's an easy woman—I think it's a man.)
"Latour is not an easy woman. It requires patience. It doesn't give much up at an early age. It's a long runner."
There is, in other words, something terribly anachronistic about Latour; it's the antithesis of instant gratification. If that doesn't scare you, consider this: It's forbiddingly expensive, as are all of the first-growth Bordeaux. New levels of insanity—over $1,000 a bottle—were reached with the release of futures for all the 2009 and 2010 vintages.
Even Mr. Engerer—whose boss can't be all that sad about this situation—seems a little chastened by what has happened to the price of Latour. He said.
"My first en primeur campaign was with the '94 vintage, which we sold [wholesale] for €28 [$39] a bottle. Now we sell the wines at €500 a bottle."
True, massive capital investment has been made since Mr. Pinault took over. The new winery is spectacular. And production of the grand vin has been cut drastically to improve quality. None of this would matter if not for the situation and composition of the vineyard land.
The main vineyard occupies a rise above the Gironde estuary and is comprised of a thick layer of gravel, providing excellent drainage, over a bed of clay. Lafite and Mouton sit on sand. I can't begin to explain the interaction of roots and soil—and I don't know that anyone can, except to say that the superb drainage means Latour is good even in rainy vintages—but I can assert with confidence that Latour's unique terroir creates a unique wine.
Over the years the wine has retained its signature character no matter who has made it. It has an unparalleled ability to age and to develop. The 1961, which I tried recently with Mr. Engerer, is one of the greatest I have ever tasted, a Beethoven's Ninth of a wine, and still on its way up. The 1982, for me the wine of the vintage, is still a baby. And they are clearly siblings, remarkably similar in their aromatics and their flavor profiles, despite being made by different teams, 20 years apart. The wines are incredibly powerful but nuanced; every sip or sniff seems to yield something new. Even in a poor vintage, like 1964, which I also tasted with Mr. Engerer, Latour is similarly complex though not as powerful or concentrated. I think if Latour were an actor it would be Gregory Peck; the '61 would be Mr. Peck in "To Kill a Mockingbird," the '64 would be the actor in "Beloved Infidel."
Is any of this relevant to the average wine lover, as opposed to the wealthy collector? It is, I think, in several ways. Just as developments in Formula One race cars eventually inform the engineering of the cars the rest of us drive every day, just as haute couture trickles down to the wardrobes of those who have never attended a fashion show, the no-expense-spared aesthetic of Latour under Mr. Pinault serves as an inspiration for wine makers in Bordeaux and the world over. And Latour is the ultimate exemplar of a wine that improves with age. Unlike, say, Screaming Eagle, a Napa Valley cult Cabernet that costs just as much in most vintages, Latour has a proven history; you know that the 2010 vintage, when you or your heirs pop the cork 30 years from now, will be spectacular.
1995 Château Latour, $595 - One of the rare Latours drinking well before its 20th birthday. Cedar and tobacco on the nose; voluptuous in body, with some underlying tannin. Half the price of the 2005.
2003 Les Forts de Latour, $250 - The '03 Latour is one of the greatest modern Bordeaux and the estate's "second wine," a sibling of the grand vin, is also brilliant. Young, dense and rich, but well-balanced, with a blast of crème de cassis and mineral undertones.
2008 Domaine d'Eugénie Vosne-Romanée, $59 - Mr. Pinault bought the Domaine René Engel in 2006 and rechristened it Domaine D'Eugénie; this is the team's second vintage from this fabled piece of Burgundy. Very full-bodied for a village level wine, with spicy highlights and a long finish.
2008 Domaine de Fontbonau Côtes du Rhône, $26 - Mr. Engerer acquired this property in the southern Rhône with his friend Jérôme Malet. The Grenache-Syrah blend reminds me of a fine Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but it's lighter on its feet and livelier. Kind of like Babar in a tutu.
1996 Château Latour, $695 - Even greater than the '95, though not as charming today. Toasted tobacco nose; very dense earthy/mineral quality underneath the black-currant fruit. Still young.
Latour lies at the very southeastern tip of the commune of Pauillac in the Medoc region to the north-west of Bordeaux, at its border with Sait=Julien, and only a few hundred metres from the banks of the Gironde estuary.
The estate produces three red wines in all. In addition to its Grand vin, Latour has also produced the second wine Les Forts de Latour since 1966, and a third wine, simply named Pauillac, has been released every year since 1990. An imperiale (six-litre bottle) of Château Latour sold for £135,000 in 2011.
The site has been occupied since at least 1331 when Tor à Saint-Lambert was built by Gaucelme de Castillon, and the estate dating to at least 1378. A garrison fort was built 300 metres from the estuary to guard against attack during the Hundred Years' War. The tower, the name mutating with time to La Tour en Saint-Mambert and Saint-Maubert, gave its name to the estate around the fortress and was in English hands until the Battle of Castillon in 1453, and its complete destruction by the forces of the King of France. The original tower no longer exists, but in the 1620's a circular tower (La Tour de Saint-Lambert) was built on the estate and though it is actually designed as a pigeon roost, it remains a strong symbol of the vineyard. Though two centuries apart, this building is said to have been constructed using the original edifice.
Vines have existed on the site since the 14th century, and Latour's wine received some early recognition, discussed as early as in the 16th century in Essays by Mongaigne. Near the end of the 16th century, the estate's several smallholdings had been accumulated by the de Mullet family into one property.
From 1670 began a lineage of connected family ownership not broken until 1963, when the estate was acquired by the de Chavannes family, and passed by marriage to the de Clauzel family in 1677. When Alexandre de Ségur married Marie-Thérèse de Clauzel, Latour became a part of his vast property, to which he also added Chateau Lafite in 1716, just prior to his death. In 1718 his son Nicolas-Alexandre de Segur added Chateau Mouton and Chateau Calon-Segur to his holdings and began producing wines of great quality. The widespread reputation of Latour emerged at the beginning of the 18th century when its status was established on export markets such as England, alongside chateaux Lafite, Margaux and Pontac.
With the death of Nicolas-Alexandre Ségur in 1755 the estate was divided among four daughters, three of whom inherited Latour in 1760,and with absent landlords, Latour was managed by a regisseur charged with efficient administration and thorough correspondence with the owners. Receiving more care than under the late owner whose favourite had been Lafite, Latour improved in the later half of the century, and later became a favourite of Thomas Jefferson, then minister to France, when he categorised La Tour de Ségur as a vineyard of first quality in 1787.
With the onset of the French Revolutin, the property became divided. The Comte de Ségur-Cabanac fled France and his portion was auctioned off by the state in 1794, passing through several owners. The estate was not reunited until 1841, when the family succeeded in a plot to put the estate up for sale, and eventually emerged after an auction having regained the 20% shares owned by négociants Barton, Guestier and Johnston. The Société Civile de Château Latour was formed in 1842, exclusive to the family, who then had become shareholders.
Ahead of the International Exhibition in Paris, the selection of Latour as one of the four First Growths in the Classification of 1855 consolidated its reputation, and ensured its high prices. The present château was completed in 1864.
In 1963 the estate finally left the Ségur family, then named de Beaumont, when the heirs sold three-quarters of the Château Latour shares to the British interests of the Pearson Group under control of Lord Cowdray, with shares owned by Harvey's of Bristol. Henri Martin and Jean-Paul Gardère were appointed as managers which brought about substantial innovations.Investments were made in research, vineyards were expanded by acquisition and replanting, the chai was extended and Latour became the first of the first growths to modernise their whole production, replacing the old oak fermenting vats with stainless steel temperature-controlled vats. The second wine with fruit from younger vines was initiated, and fruit for the grand vin was decided to come exclusively from the vineyards shown on the plan of the domain from 1759. Martin and Gardère formally resigned from the Conseil d'Administration in 1987, ending a 24-year era.
In 1989 Latour was purchased by Allied Lyons for around £110 million, but in 1993 returned to French ownership when bought by businessman Francois Pinaul for £86 million when it became part of his holding company Groupe Artemis.
In December 2008 it was reported that the investment bank Lazard was offering the estate for sale. The Sunday Times speculated that among the interested parties were wine mogul Bernard Magrez, with actors Gerard Depardieu and Carole Bouque, in a transaction which would bring one of the five first growths under the control of a resident Bordelais for the first time in several decades.
The estate has 78 hectares (190 acres) of vineyard, of which a 47-hectare (120-acre) portion near the château is named l'Enclos, where fruit exclusive to the grand vin is grown. The composition of grape varieties is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and 2% of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
The grand vin Chateau Latour, typically a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, with the remainder Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, normally has an annual production of 18,000 cases. The second wine Les Forts de Latour, typically 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, has an average annual production of 11,000 cases.
The Grand Cru Classe of the 1855 Bordeaux Classification are considered the best of the best because of their rich history and record of consistency. The Pauillac commune of Bordeaux is considered one of the greatest wine growing communes of the Bordeaux.
The First Growths (Premiers Crus) are considered the top classification and include:
It's not the hardest sell in the world: A product called Adult Chocolate Milk naturally sounds like a good idea. Add that it tastes delicious and is peddled by rapper Ginuwine and girls in sexy milkman outfits and it's no surprise that Adult Beverage Company's flagship product quickly took off.
The inspiration to "Re-taste your youth … at 40 proof" came from a simple Facebook status update posted by co-founder Tracy Reinhardt: "Tracy is enjoying some adult chocolate milk." The single mom had recently gone through a divorce and was relaxing one night with a homemade concoction after she'd put the kids to bed. She often mixed up different brews, but this particular creation--chocolate milk, vodka and a few secret ingredients--sparked much discussion from her friends online, including comments from high school friend Nikki Halbur.
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Halbur, also a mother of two says.
"It totally became Facebook fodder: ‘Had a rough day, wish I had some ACM,' Things are so hectic, you're up to your armpits in babies, and you just want to escape to a simpler time. And that was the appeal."
At the time, Halbur was looking to invest in a business she believed in, and decided to take a tripfrom her home in Arizona to Newport Beach, Calif., to visit Reinhardt for a girl's night.
"It was literally our 'aha' moment, on the sofa, having some adult chocolate milk: ‘Why don't we do this together?'"
COMMENTARY: What a great idea. I don't think they have any competitors producing a similar product. Hope they corner the market. Looks like the girls have been busy inventing some other mixed drink variations from their Adult Chocolate Milk product:
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Adult Milk Chocolate also conducted a Miss Milk Maid Calendar Girl contest and its looking like a close race.
Courtesy of an article dated October 17, 2011 appearing in Entrepreneur