Six items in the world of beer, wine and spirits that have consumers buzzing heading into the weekend:
1. Brewing Start-Up Takes Slanted View of the Pint Glass: Beer lovers are known to try anything to enhance the drinking experience. Now a Colorado-based craft brewery is hoping consumers are willing to risk a little spillage on their shirt. Black Shirt Brewing, which is expected to open in Denver in August, will be serving its beer exclusively in glasses with slanted rims. Made by Offero Vessels, the glassware is designed to trap the aromas of beer as it is sipped. The unique shape of the glass may make for an awkward experience until consumers adjust to it. But Black Shirt co-founder and head brewer Branden Miller tells Westword.com, "It will make people slow down and consider what is going on in that glass. When people first see it, it's a little off-putting, and the beer will end up on your shirt. But it's a risk I'm willing to take."
2. Slammin' Sam Beer Debuts at the Greenbrier: Arnold Palmer may have made his mark in the drinks business with his ice tea and lemonade combo, but now the name of another legendary golfer is about to grace another beverage label. Slammin' Sam Beer, named after Sam Snead, is debuting this week at the Greenbrier Resort, which Snead considered his "home" course for more than 60 years. The American-style lager is marketed as “the smoothest beer in golf,” a nod to Snead's famous self-taught “smooth” swing. The beer is made by Stevens Point Brewery in Wisconsin and will initially be available in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina as well as the World Golf Village at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla.
3. Suntory Unveils Alcohol-Free Beer Garden: Japanese Brewer Suntory says it’s about to make history. The brewery is unveiling a beer garden in an exclusive Tokyo shopping district. What makes it unique? It will be a beer garden without alcoholic beer. The only beer available will be Suntory’s All-Free, a non-alcoholic beer. Soft drinks, orange juice and tea will also be available. Suntory says the spot, open only in the afternoon, hopes to attract shoppers and consumers who want something to drink but don’t want alcohol in the middle of the day.
4. Pakistan-Based Brewery Gets Export Go-Ahead:Murree Brewery, the 150-year-old brewery that has managed to survive despite operating in a county where most citizens are forbidden from drinking alcohol, may be about to get a boost. The Pakistani government recently approved the export of Murree beer to non-Muslim countries. As the Los Angeles Times notes, neighboring India, with beer sales expected to double to almost $9 billion by 2016, is the most likely target. Previously, Murree beer was only available to non-Muslims in major hotels, though a robust black market for the beer is known to exist.
5. Beer Made With Gold: Budweiser may call itself the King of Beers, but a Czechoslovakian brewer has brewed a beer fit for a king — it’s made with gold flakes. Called “Re,” after the Egyptian sun god, the beer contains 0.018 grams of gold leaf and is sold in champagne-style bottles. The initial production yielded 500 bottles. No price has been released and the beer is available only by request.
6. China Grabbing the Attention of California Winemakers: As exports to China grow, California winemakersare increasing their efforts to penetrate the Chinese market. According to the Wine Institute, U.S. wineries exported $62 million worth of wine to China in 2011, a 42 percent increase from 2010. Analysts expect China to add 235 million consumers by 2020, making it one of the fastest-growing wine markets. As a result, California winemakers are turning to their attention to China for both exports and investment capital.