The Irish Whiskey Masters 2019 results are in

The resurgent Irish whiskey industry has come on leaps and bounds in recent years.

The figures tell you all you need to know – global sales have increased over 300% in the past decade, according to the Department for International Trade. Distilleries in Northern Ireland were singled out as being an important factor in boosting the category’s growth earlier this year, which the Irish Whiskey Association forecasts will hit 12 million nine-liter cases by 2020.

A few weeks ago a group of expert tasters attended Mayfair, London to taste and rate a selection of Irish Whiskeys. Some of the judges included: Mark Jennings, founder of Drinks Galore, Joe Harper, assistant bars manager at The Savoy hotel, Jamie Matthewson, Waitrose buying manager – wine, Derek Millar, retired whiskey retailer, Amy Hopkins, editor of The Spirits Business magazine and Billy Abbott, Ambassador for The Whisky Exchange.

Reflecting on this year’s tasting:

“The variety of styles was broad. There were a couple of standout, exceptional whiskeys.” Joe Harper

“There were some real differences in terms of character and quality.” Jamie Matthewson

“perfume, violets, Turkish Delight” Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy
Single Pot Still – Ultra Premium

“The worst whiskeys today were still incredibly well made. There was nothing I disliked in this competition and some really interesting examples that are worth seeking out.” Jamie Matthewson

Here is a list of the results for: Blended – Standard; Blended – Premium; Blended – Super Premium; Blended – Ultra Premium; Single Grain – Premium; Single Malt – Standard; Single Malt – Premium; Single Malt – Super Premium; Single Malt – Ultra Premium; Single Pot Still – Premium; Single Pot Still – Super Premium; and Single Pot Still – Ultra Premium:

https://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2019/08/the-irish-whiskey-masters-2019-results/2/

Source: The Spirits Business

Georg J. Riedel Honoured by Wine Spectator Magazine

10TH GENERATION GLASSMAKER ACKNOWLEDGED FOR “DISTINGUISHED SERVICE”

Writing in Wine Spectator, News Editor Mitch Frank states how Georg Riedel “revolutionized how we drink wine by spreading the gospel of his family’s wine glasses”. Georg educated tens of thousands of wine drinkers on the benefits of varietal-specific glassware and brought financial stability to the company in the 1980s through savvy business development and an evangelist’s approach to marketing his products.

“I am sincerely grateful to Wine Spectator for offering me this outstanding reward and it is an honor to be named in line with the most respected personalities of the wine and food industry,” says Riedel. “I am not the first Austrian, but the first glassmaker to be called to the Wine Spectator Olympus, and am very proud to share the honor with my team and family.”

Riedel follows luminaries of the global wine community in his receipt of the award and stands apart as the first glassmaker to receive the accolade. Past honorees include Julia Child, Robert Mondavi, Christian Moueix, Angelo Gaja, Francis Ford Coppola, Andre Tchelistcheff, fellow Austrian Wolfgang Puck, and Californian Governor Gavin Newsom – larger-than-life personalities whose contributions to the wine and culinary world are innumerable.

The Riedel family’s business began in 1756 when Johann Leopold Riedel (3rd generation) founded a glass factory in Bohemia (in what is today’s Czech Republic). In 1945, the successful family business came to an abrupt end due to World War II, when all German possessions were nationalized and German-speaking people expatriated.

In 1956, some two hundred years after the first factory was opened, Walter Riedel (8th generation) and Claus Riedel (9th generation) were offered the unique opportunity to take over the bankrupt glass factory Tiroler Glashütte in Kufstein, Austria. It was in this new period that Claus Riedel became known as the first glass designer to create wine-friendly glassware. His designs were launched from the 1950s to the 1970s, and continue to have a major impact on today’s universally known glass shapes.

Georg Riedel (10th generation, born 1949) joined the family business in 1973 as the company’s accountant. At an early stage, he became passionate about wine and how glass shapes profoundly influence the perception of wine’s aromas and flavors. Gifted with fine senses and supported with strong commercial talents, he quickly took over the company’s direction, developing varietal specific glassware.

At the same time, a New World wine boom created new demand and highlighted new wines of classic varietals grown on foreign soils. The launch of Riedel’s first machine-made line, VINUM – the perfect wine glass at a popular price level – built the foundation for a solid future for the company.

Georg opened his first subsidiary as importer and distributor in the USA in 1979 and have since opened eight more around the globe including China, Japan, and Australia. He was the first to approach wine distributors to represent the Riedel brand, which grew the company’s presence around the world to over 100 countries. As a shrewd businessman, without bank loans and using accumulated company cash, Riedel acquired the then much larger glass companies Nachtmann and Spiegelau in 2004. With this takeover came the opportunity for Riedel to produce all glasses in the company’s own factories.

Today, Georg’s children Laetizia, a solicitor and Maximilian, the current CEO, are the Riedel team members responsible for directing and guiding the family business as the 11th generation.

Source: Riedel, Austria

Wines of Chile to increase small producer participation

Aurelio Montes Sr., president of Wines of Chile, recently outlined his objectives in getting smaller producers involved in the trade group “Wines of Chile”.

Montes took over as president last month has stated that one of his objectives is to offer reduced or free-entry for smaller producers to join the organization.

“My role is to make Chile better known and more respected,” he said. “I think small producers are weaker as they don’t have the resources to travel and put their wines out into the market, in the same way that a larger producer does.”

Speaking more generally about his plans for his two years in office, Montes echoed the trade organization’s goal to raise the profile of Chilean wine.

“I aim to make Chile better known, although we are pretty successful already. In terms of wine production, we are number one among the new world countries and we are fourth in the world as a whole. So that puts Chile in a very privileged position and we’re really happy about that.

“Chile is perceived as a country with good value for money, inexpensive wines – unbeatable value for money I would say. One of my targets is to put Chile where it deserves, although it is already a well-renowned country, it deserves to be a couple of steps higher and in a better position.”

Montes also revealed that the organization was focusing its attention on its top three markets – China, the US and Brazil – with the aim of doubling its activities in each of the markets. In particular, he spoke of a desire to “recover the American market” after losing ground since the financial crisis in 2008.

Montes will be president of Wines of Chile until 2021, and he is a well-respected figure in the industry and a founding member of Viña Montes.

Source: Drinks Business

Italy is named the world’s best wine country

Italy has been ranked as the best country in the world for wine lovers in a recent survey by Lastminute.com.

The survey compared thirty wine-producing countries by various criteria with Italy finishing with the highest score. It beat out other counties due to the fact that it offers the most wine tasting experiences; with 993 overall to choose from, and Italy has a total of 21 wine regions.

But how did Italy top France?

In three instances:

1. The number of wine tasting experiences – Italy 993 vs. France 406;
2. Italy has more vineyards open to the public – Italy 33 vs. France 31; and
3. The average price of a bottle of wine is less in Italy – €4.77 vs. €5.73 in France.

For the record, France came second, Spain third, South Africa fourth, Portugal fifth, while Australia came in 15th place, Canada 24th, and the US at 27th. The UK, which is fast making a name for itself for the quality of its sparkling wines, came in 30th place on the list.

https://www.lastminute.com/en/discover/wine-lovers-travel-index

Cocktails are becoming one of Britain’s fastest-growing drinks categories, according to new research

The popularity of cocktails and the fact they are more widely available has helped boost sales through Britain’s pubs, bars, and restaurants by 10 % over the past 12 months taking the market value to £587m, says CGA’s Mixed Drinks Report Q1 2019.

The number of licensed premises selling cocktails has risen 7 % in the past year, with 42,000 on-trade outlets. Drinks-led pubs have been particularly fast to respond to demand, with a growing number opting to sell pre-prepared or draught cocktails.

Based on the on-trade, number one in the Top 10 list of mainstream cocktails is the vodka-based Pornstar Martini, served with a shot of Prosecco on the side. Sales of Pornstar Martini have risen 2 % over the past 12 months and accounting for 15.3 % of cocktails sold.

Having fallen from its top slot, the white-rum based Mojito is Britain’s second favorite cocktail, accounting for 12.4 % of mainstream sales, down 1.2 % from last year.

Occupying the rest of the Top 10 are: Long Island Iced Tea, Sex on the Beach, Daiquiri, Woo Woo, Espresso Martini, Martini, Pina Colada and Collins.

Charlie Mitchell, CGA drinks expert said: “There are two clear trends coming through in the mainstream consumer’s preference for cocktails – that of shorter, more complex drinks with a higher ABV like the Martini cocktails, but also a growing preference for longer, more refreshing drinks such as the Collins which has a more sophisticated, less sweet flavor profile.”

“Tastes have moved away from fruity, sweet drinks with the Woo Woo, Sex on the Beach and Cosmopolitan losing the most favor over the past 12 months.

“The growing popularity of Aperol Spritz and other spritz serves are part of the trend towards a lighter, more refreshing drink with a lower ABV and fewer ingredients allowing the taste of the base spirit to come through.”