Thursday, November 19, 2015

Brokers Premium Gin sold to the McCormick Distillery Company

Dear McCormick Friends, (Please read below)

Good news:  Broker Premium Gin announced, today, it will now become part of the McCormick’s Distillery portfolio.

Martin and Andy Dawson will stay on for a couple years in the role as Brand Ambassadors for McCormick’s ownership of Brokers Gin.

I had the fortune to have worked with Brokers Gin for a number of years with Andy and Martin Dawson.

The Brokers Gin Brand and a good number of its current Asia Pacific distributors will bring us back full circle; I feel very lucky to be back with Brokers Gin and what I’ve call the “Best Crafted Gin” internationally.  To be far, I have not considered another Gin since leaving Brokers Gin as it was a standard that was near if not impossible to match.

In the near future, I will be in touch with each of you in the coming weeks regarding; its price list, the marketing support and where you can source Brokers Gin from either USA or Europe.

More details to follow…

Cheers,
Ted McDonnell

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Winners of The Spirits International Prestige ("SIP") AwardsThe Spirits



The SIP – Spirits International Prestige Awards are now announced for 2013.
We at Lighthouse Group and Tequila Total are proud to represent premium Spirit Brands that have won a number of major awards this year. Best in Class-Platinum: Congratulations to KAH tequila’s for winning across the range as Best in Show. 

Distinguished Platinum winner: McCormick Distillery new brands North American Whiskey –Triple Crown, Hooks Spiced Black and Gold all won in their first debut onto the USA market this summer

SIP Awards' panel members have no affiliation with marketers, wholesalers or spirit label distributors. Each spirit is presented undiluted and chilled, and scored based on aroma, taste, and finish in a blind tasting. Award levels include Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Among the spirits competing for titles were gins, liqueurs, rums, tequilas, vodkas and whiskeys, each divided into multiple sub-categories. The top-tier 2013 winners are crowned as follows:

Platinum– "Best of Class"
Hooks Black Rum@ McCormick Distillery
KAH Tequila Series @ World Wide Beverages

Distinguished Platinum Winners360 Double Chocolate @ McCormick Distillery
360 Georgia Peach
@ McCormick Distillery

Triple Crown North American Whiskey @ McCormick DistilleryHooks Spiced Rum @ McCormick DistilleryTequila Rose @ McCormick Distillery
The Prestige

The SIP Awards have become an increasingly popular and important international spirits competition. In addition to boosting brand recognition, winners enjoy the power of consumer choice credibility. "Consumers are the ultimate decision makers, and their honest opinions are something you just can't buy," says SIP Awards executive producer Paul Hashemi. "When you enter this competition, your spirit will be judged by a panel of consumers, not by industry insiders." 

Although hundreds of brands enter the competition, only brands with the highest scores receive honors. Rising above several hundred entrants, the winners in each category have proven themselves superior to the competition, worthy of high honors from an honest and impartial consumer base.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Vodka Marketplace and Reviews

Vodka Facts, Vodka Reviews and everything Vodka
360 Vodka is reviewed today. Frankly, I am long overdue in providing this review of a most vibrant brands on the marketplace. I guess you can kind of gauge how this review will turn out, but read on anyway. 360 Vodka is manufactured in tiny Weston, Missouri. This town of less than 2,000 now boasts a vodka brand that has ridden the vodka popularity ride and has done a great job in the making. As you can see from the map below, the city is near Kansas City, and Levenworth, Kansas, with its prisons and military installations. The region near Weston is generally void of the hills of Missouri, the town itself is actually quite picturesque as it borders the Platte river, and the hills that the river basin has formed over the years. This vodka is made from grain, and distilled, and filtered 5 times overall resulting in a taste that is clean and crisp, smooth, yet not too much so to leave itself in the pack as a a vodka imposter. Lets face it, some of the allure of the taste of vodka that differentiates itself from other alcohol is its unique bite.

This 80 proof product (that’s 40% alcohol, and standard for most hard liquors) begins with a fairly instant and strong rush of that vodka push which I often refer to the chemical taste (that which a lot of drinkers cannot stand about vodka). The tastes rushes in with a blast, then slowly fades into a smoothness that leaves you actually appreciating it’s grain origins and multiple filtering process. While I cannot quite taste the difference this makes, the last filtering is through coconut shells….do not ask me how or the advantage. But the result is a very satisfying vodka that I prefer to drink over ice straight. For those of you who shy away from the strong rush of vodka but enjoy the overall taste, you should mix with a dash of water or pour over ice and let the ice melt a bit……of course, remember, all of my vodka drinks are served straight from the freezer, and great 360 should be no different.

Clean, Crisp 360 Vodka
Another interesting point of this vodka is the branding. First of all the pricing. This is considered a ‘premium’ vodka by the marketplace. It is priced lower than most of the premiums and those that have been reviewed in this site. It ranges from $35-40 generally all over for a 1.75 liter bottle (we only price 1.75 liters here, I mean, what the use of the smaller bottles anyway?). There are also deals out there to be had since this brand is less known to the masses. But they are working hard on the branding from another approach. They present a very friendly image. Along those lines, they have positioned themselves as a ‘green’ vodka. What this means is: Although they do not advertise using organic grain, they do emphasize recycling by donating $1 for every bottle cap contraption sent in. They donate it to a green cause, and their website Vodka360 (click here for website) boasts that they have donated over $50,000 for this cause for caplet contraptions sent in. They even pay postage. Couple that with a very cool, clean, no nonsense packaging, leads to a brand approach that can work for you hippies of the world.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Blanco Tequila: The Great Divide

Tequila — good tequila — is made entirely from the fruit of the blue agave, a succulent plant. But tequila is no longer the only agave spirit that’s widely available. In the last decade, the spread of excellent mezcals has offered a fresh perspective on the joys and complexities of agave spirits. In the process, these mezcals have raised questions, at least for me, about what exactly you are getting in a bottle of tequila.
A recent tasting of 20 blanco tequilas did little to settle those questions. In fact, you could say the results were somewhat disquieting for the spirits panel, which included Florence Fabricant and me, along with two guests: Robert Simonson, who writes frequently on drinks for the Dining section, and Jim Meehan, bartender extraordinaire and managing partner of Please Don’t Tell, a cocktail bar in the East Village.
Many people reflexively associate tequila with Mexican restaurants. I could make a case that this association has held back the growth and appreciation of Mexican cuisine in this country because the restaurants are so often seen primarily as vehicles for supplying frozen margaritas.
That perception has evolved, though, in recent years. The cocktail revival has brought a renewed appreciation of pure tequilas, distilled 100 percent from the sap of the blue agave, as opposed to mixto tequilas, the fuel of many raucous frat parties and margarita machines, which need only be 51 percent blue agave.
Demand for 100 percent blue agave tequilas has risen significantly. In 2012, more than 12 million cases of all types of tequila were shipped to the United States, about 54 percent more than a decade ago, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, a trade group. Although super-premium tequilas, the highest-end blue agave spirits, accounted for just about 15 percent of all tequilas shipped to the United States in 2012, they were by far the fastest-growing segment, practically quadrupling to almost 1.9 million cases in 2012 from about 500,000 in 2003.
The nagging question is whether something has been lost in that rapid growth. While the panel’s favorites were complex, elemental and intriguing, we were troubled by a lack of intensity in many of the bottles as well as by a sense of artificiality in some. As Florence put it, we found a great divide between those tequilas we liked and those we didn’t like, without much in the middle.
I couldn’t help contrasting some of these tequilas to mezcals, with their direct, unmediated expressions of agave in all its nuanced complexity. Now, tequila by its nature will generally be smoother and gentler, but still the flavors should have depth.
In the past, I’ve suggested that good tequila tastes like a good margarita, with all the saline, citrus and vegetal elements of the cocktail built right into the spirit. Yet, compared with the roughness and vigor of the mezcals, many of the tequilas seemed wan, as if all their inherent rusticity had been rasped away in an effort to make them presentable in polite company.
Jim noted that such a comparison was not entirely fair. Mezcals are often essentially handmade small-production spirits, while tequila is generally made in industrial quantities. That’s true, and tequila, of course, ought not to resemble mezcal too closely. The spirits are made in different ways, from different types of agave. Yet clearly, something is being lost when many tequilas seem to be faded chalk outlines of what they could be.
Partly, that reflects a corporate approach to selling tequila. Indeed, most of these tequilas are exported, and, as Robert and Jim pointed out, the corporate tequila producers have rushed to appeal to the sizable audience for America’s No. 1 selling spirit. “Tequila producers seem to have taken their cues from the vodka category,” Jim said. “They’re trying to make neutral tequilas to appeal to the vodka market.”
By their nature, blanco tequilas, also called silver or plata, ought to offer the purest, most forceful expressions. These are clear, essentially unaged tequilas, unlike reposados, which spend 2 to 12 months in oak barrels, and aƱejos, which are generally aged 1 to 4 years in oak.
Perhaps we showed our mezcal bias in our rankings of the blancos. Our favorite, the Casa Noble Crystal, was explosive, with rough, rustic flavors that, in their intensity, certainly reminded me of mezcal. At $34, it was also our best value.
Our other top picks were the Select Barrel Reserve from Milagro, a similarly direct and complex tequila, which got about a month of barrel aging, and the powerful, elemental Astral. A new and unusual brand, Astral was introduced by the sommelier Richard Betts, who also imports Sombra mezcal. It is an effort, he says, to make tequila using artisanal methods, as before it became an industrialized product. This was my first taste of Astral, and I was impressed by its craggy, raw flavors.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Casa Noble in Hong Kong: Photo of the Day

Thank you Leung Yick Distribution Company of HONG KONG for placing Casa Noble on the back of your Delivery Trucks.
* Does your company have a similar display’s? Please take a photo and send it into me.
* Does your distribution company need art work to place Casa Noble on your trucks or other? Please contact us and I will make it HAPPEN!