Mezcal producers plan ahead: The production of mezcal has doubled since 2011 as the spirit has risen in popularity, prompting changes in what has always been an informal business. Because agave takes so long to grow, there is a boom-and-bust cycle built into the industry—but this, of course, is difficult to communicate to consumers. Many producers are beginning to invest more in planting baby agaves to prepare for the future. [National Geographic]
Wine cellars of the Brooklyn Bridge: Vaulted chambers on each short of the Brooklyn Bridge were once used as wine cellars. Originally devised as a solution for businesses in the path of construction, the chambers were rented out to local businesses to pay off the city’s debt on the bridge. The dark, cool caverns made for excellent wine cellars. Only after WWII did the city of New York stop renting them out. [NPR]
Influential craft breweries: Looking back to the early days of craft beer, Aaron Goldfarb names 10 of the most influential craft breweries in America and explains their significance in the history of the beverage. Included in the list are Anchor Brewing, the short-lived New Albion, Sierra Nevada, Goose Island, and more. [First We Feast]
Tools for winemaking: Eric Asimov describes the many types of hardware on display at the annual Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, explaining the tools used for manufacturing wine. Products from 700 companies ranged in complexity, from trellises and fences to reverse-osmosis machines and lab equipment. [NYT]
Martini evaluation: A drink with murky origins and a knack for sparking fierce debate, the “best” Martini is difficult to pin down. PUNCH pulled together a panel to taste 27 versions blind. The group preferred bold, strong, "classic" (stronger and drier) versions of the drink, with tradition usually trumping taste. [PUNCH]
Year of the Rooster: Chianti Classico’s black rooster emblem has been associated with the area for hundreds of years, and the region’s Consorzio is prepared to take advantage of the new Chinese Year of the Rooster. China is currently a secondary market for Chianti Classico, but Italian wine imports to China have grown in recent years. [Decanter]
What do you think?
Are you still seeing the popularity of mezcal grow in your market?
Do you agree with Goldfarb’s list? Would you add any other breweries? Which is your favorite of these 10?
How well do you know the details of winemaking? How about your guests—what might surprise them?
What makes a great Martini? Do you have a favorite recipe? And when is a Martini no longer a Martini?
Do you think Chianti Classico will be able to make strides in China during the Year of the Rooster?
What else have you been reading this week?
I ran into this article today: 'Inferior' gran reservas 'contaminating' Rioja
Curious to know thoughts of other sommeliers on the Rioja market and it's constituent producers!