Bottle of White House Beer Sells for $1,200 at Auction
Six things that have consumers buzzing in the world of beer, wine and spirits this week:
1. Beer BBQ Sauce: Good beer and barbecue are great pairing. Yuengling, America's oldest brewery, is taking the combination one step further. The brewery is partnering with All-N-Food to introduce its own line of beer barbecue sauces made with Yuengling beer. According to Zagats.com, the "sauces are designed to complement Yuengling brews, and come in three different BBQ flavors and three hot sauce spice levels." Owner Dick Yuengling himself has tested and approved the sauces, which will roll out first in Penn., Ohio, N.C., S.C. and Va., before being available elsewhere on the East Coast.
2. Ale to Chief Auction: The beer that set home brewers buzzing and became the talk of the 2012 campaign trial has been auctioned for $1,200. The bottle of White House Honey Ale, which President Barack Obama gave to an Iowa salesman and beer lover during a campaign stop, has been auctioned to raise money for University of Minnesota's Amplatz Children's Hospital.
(Read More: Budweiser Unveils Its Super Bowl Ad Lineup)
3. Harpoon Beer Hall: When Rich Doyle and Dan Kenary founded Boston-based Harpoon Brewery more than 25 years ago they wanted to create model themselves in the style of the breweries in Europe, where the brewers aren't just selling product, but also are a community gathering place. Over the years, the brewery has kept its focus on Boston and the Northeast, and it hosts multiple sold-out festivals each year.
In 2013, the brewery will take their mission one step further, opening a $3.5 million dollar beer hall and visitor's center. According the Boston Business Journal, the 6,000 square foot space will have room for 300 visitors and offer 20 beers on tap. Harpoon hopes to have the new space open Feb. 1, pending license approval.
4. Redefining Room Service: San Diego-based Stone Brewing is planning on breaking ground this year on a $24 million dollar hotel to be located across from its Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. While the new space will also house Stone Brewing's headquarters, it's the 48 to 50 hotel rooms planned for the new space that has the craft beer community excited.
As if the idea of a combination brewery and hotel didn't already have craft beer fans buzzing, things really picked up this week when Stone spokeswoman Sabrina LoPiccolo discussed the project with NBC San Diego. According to LoPiccolo, "a few ideas being thrown around for the hotel include beer taps in every room and a bar where people check in. There will also be two acres of outdoor event space, which could be used as a wedding venue for the ultimate craft beer couple."
Although nothing has been finalized — or shall we say set in stone — it's certain Stone Brewing is exploring every option to make the new expansion the ultimate craft beer destination. LoPiccolo said they hope to have the hotel open by the end of 2014.
5. California Champagne Controversy: There's another White House label in the news this week. This one involves the bubbly that will be served at one of the many inauguration parties next weekend. The French wine lobby is upset with the use of phrase "California Champagne" on an inauguration menu.
The sparkling wine is listed as "Korbel Natural, Special Inaugural Cuve Champagne, California." Many countries ban the use of "Champagne" if the wine is not produced in the Champagne region of France. The United States is not one of those countries. According to TheHill.com, "The inauguration committee, however, says the wine itself is labeled in accordance with U.S. law and will be correctly identified on the menu."
6. No Whining Over Fine Wine Investment: Thinking of turning to wine as an alternative investment? This could be the year to do so, according to the Wine Investment Fund, which said fine wine prices could rise 14 percent this year. Chris Smith, the TWIF investment manager, tells Decanter.com market conditions indicate the value of fine wine could increase following a decline in the last two years: "Our realistic worst-case scenario [is] a fall of only 5 percent, whereas an increase of 25 percent by the [wine-trading platform] Liv-ex 100 Index is well within the bounds of possibility.' Sounds like good news for investors, bad news for fine wine lovers who like to live in the moment. (Read More: Outrageously Expensive Liquors)
-By CNBC's Tom Rotunno; Follow him on Twitter @TomRotunno
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