Six things that have consumers buzzing in the world of beer, wine and spirits this week:
1. It's the End of the World as We Know It, Part I: The Mayan apocalypse is quickly approaching but beer drinkers need not worry, there will be plenty of beer to help mark the "end of days" on Dec. 21. California-based Stone Brewing Company is marking the occasion with a beer "not meant to last." Stone is releasing Enjoy by 12.21.12 IPA. The beer is the latest date in the Stone "Enjoy By IPA" series, which saw a limited release as a "freshness experiment" in September.
2. It's the End of the World as We Know It, Part II: Unibroue, a leading Canadian craft brewery, has created, a website where consumers are invited to pledge to raise their glass at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 20, "for one last toast to the end of the world." La Fin du Monde is one of Unibroue's most popular beers and just happens to be French for…."the end of the world."
3. It's the End of the World as We Know It, Part III: If consumers are looking for something a little stronger than beer for the end of the world, vodka-loaded "apocalypse kits" are for sale in western Siberia. According to Russian news agency RIA Novosti, the kits contain: "a bottle of vodka, a pack of buckwheat, a can of fish, candles and matches, a notepad and pencil, medication (including heart medicine), and soap and a rope… and an instruction card spelling out various games to alleviate apocalypse-related boredom." The kits cost $27.
4. Have Beer, Will Travel?: If you like beer, parties and travel, George Killian's Irish Red ay have the perfect job for you. Killian's is looking for a brand representative to travel the country and meet beer drinkers while serving as a ultimate brand advocate. "We're looking for someone who embodies Killian's friendly, social nature — someone who can embrace the beer's storied heritage and become the face and voice of the brand," said George Killian's Brand Director Libby Mura. "This is an awesome opportunity for an outgoing person who wants to meet a lot of people and experience this country in a unique way — over a beer." The job is based out of Chicago and comes with "a competitive compensation package." Killian's is one of the brands in Tenth and Blake Beer Company, the craft-and-import division of MillerCoors .
5. An Estate He Couldn't Refuse: Hollywood film director, producer and screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola is no stranger to finishing difficult projects. Now according to Decanter.com, Coppola is close to completing his dream of restoring California's Inglenook estate in Napa Valley. The estate was founded in 1879, but was broken apart in the 1960's. Coppola has spent the last 25 years buying up pieces of the estate in order to reunite all the estate's original vineyards and restore winemaking to the Inglenook Chateau. In April 2011, Coppola, who had already purchased all the necessary land, bought the missing piece to his puzzle: the Inglenook trademark. Coppola told Decanter.com, "I paid more for the trademark than I did for the entire estate," which Decanter estimates would put the price at more than $14 million. Now Coppola has announced he is rebranding his Rubicon wine brand for the release of the 2009 vintage. The wine, Inglenook 2009, will be priced at $200 and is described as "a classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot."
6. Sacre Bleu! French Wine Consumption Hits Record Low: he French are well known for their wine consumption, but a new study indicates the French may be cutting back. According to a new survey by the French Ministry of Agriculture, consumption has fallen from an average of three glasses per day to one per day, and fewer than one-in-five French adults say they drink a glass of wine every day. Health concerns and economic worries are believed to be behind the decline.
Bonus: Drink For Good: Brooklyn Brewery is asking for New York-area consumers to help in assisting the Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. The job is easy. Go to the brewery and drink unlimited beer from 16 different breweries from across the United States on Tuesday, Dec. 4 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $40 with all funds raised going directly to the Rockaway Surf Club, Red Hook Initiative, Coney Recovers and other local Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Click here, for a full list of participating breweries and for more information.
-By Tom Rotunno, CNBC Senior Editor; Follow him @tomrotunno.
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