Farewell Two-Buck Chuck, Hello Guy Fieri
Six things that have consumers buzzing in the world of beer, wine and spirits this week:
1. Hillsboro Hops Crafting Stadium Concessions: Portland-area minor league baseball team the Hillsboro Hops already pays homage to Oregon's brewing heritage though its name. Now the team is looking to create a craft beer mecca for fans who attend their games. Team General Manager K.L. Wombacher told OregonLive.com: "The goal is to feature as many local craft beers as we can." He says the team is in the process of finalizing its concessions agreement. Wombach said other ideas under consideration include having a different beer rotation for each home stand.
2. Fanfare Mobile Crafts Crafty App: With more than 2,000 breweries operating in the United States, consumers have never had more choices when it comes to beer. From regular seasonal releases to special offerings by their favorite craft brewers, it is a challenge to stay up to date or know when and where to find a favorite brew. Fanfare Mobile hopes to change that. The company has created an app that sends "targeted alerts [that] allow the craft beer fan to opt-in to their favorite styles, breweries or specific beers at their favorite business. When the beer they're interested in is available, they receive a message on their mobile phone." Beer consumers aren't the only one that benefits. Bars, breweries and liquor stores can now send targeted messages to reach interested consumers and can track which beers are most popular with their customers.
3. Bud v. Budvar: It's the brewing industry's version of the 100 Years' War. At issue, who has the right to the "Bud" trademark registration in the European Union. On one side is Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer and maker of the world-wide brand Budweiser beer. On the other side is Czech company Budejovicky Budvar.
Founded in 1895, Budvar argues that only beer brewed in its part of the Czech Republic can be called Budweiser. But Anheuser-Busch counters it first began using the Budweiser name 19 years before Budvar existed, in 1876.
Over the years the right to the Bud trademark in Europe has switched back and forth between the two companies as various courts have made different legal rulings. The current round belongs to Anhueser-Busch InBev, after a EU court rejected Budvar's latest trademark claim. Budvar said it is considering an appeal to the EU's highest court.
4. No Sign of Slowing in Craft Beer Market: The continued year-over-year growth of craft beer continues to be one of the biggest stories in the beverage industry. A report released this week indicates there is still plenty of room to run. As written up on Brewbound.com: "The report reveals that sales of craft beer more than doubled from $5.7 billion in 2007 to $12 billion in 2012. And the upward trend shouldn't stop there; Mintel also forecasts that by 2017, craft beer sales will reach $18 billion."
5. Guy Fieri Wine: Celebrity chef Guy Fieri is getting into the wine business. Fieri, known for his spiky blond hair as much as for his food, has bought a five-acre pinot noir vineyard in California's Sonoma County. According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Fieri has applied for permits to open a wine tasting room and commercial kitchen on the property. As for what Fieri might call his wine, he tells the Press Democrat: "Our son's names are Hunter and Ryder, so we'd call it the 'Hunt and Ryde,' maybe some day this will evolve into us being able to produce our own wine, and celebrate some of the bounty of the county."
6. Two Buck Chuck No More: It's the end of an era in California. Trader Joe's famous "Two Buck Chuck" aka the Charles Shaw wine brand, will no longer sell for $1.99 a bottle. Due to rising costs the grocery chain with a cult-like following said it will have to raise the price of its famous wine by 50 cents to $2.49. The wine was already priced higher outside of California, but managed to hold on to the $2 price tag within the Golden State for 11 years. According to the San Jose Mercury News, "Trader Joe's has sold 5 million cases of Charles Shaw wine a year — for a total of 660 million bottles, according to its wholesaler, Bronco Wine."
-By CNBC's Tom Rotunno; Follow him on Twitter @TomRotunno
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