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Spirits

Craft Spirits The Big Winner in 2015

After a strong start to 2015 (3 percent increase in January), traffic trends for the on-premise channel moderated and remained weak through the rest of the year (1.2 percent decrease FY15). Last year’s World Cup created tough summer comps, and holiday timing dampened traffic during the latest four-week period (2.

Cohesive Cocktails

For those diners who don’t want to commit to a hefty plate of pecan-crusted trout or slow-roasted ribeye, the Bar Bites menu at Firebirds Wood Fired Grill offers salvation. The upscale-casual chain, with locations from New Jersey to Arizona, now offers an alluring happy hour menu in the FIREBAR, which invites patrons to plunk homemade tortilla chips into jalapeño-Pimento cheese dip, devour crispy shrimp tacos, and buoy pretzels with Sam Adams beer cheese.

The Bitter The Better

Is bitter the new black? The Institute of Food Technologists has listed bitter flavors as one of its top five trends to watch in 2015. Just like the fashionable color showing up on the runway, bitter can be found on menus across the country with growing regularity.

Some of the Best Wine, Spirit, and Beer Picks from 2015

Wine Enthusiast put together its annual Best of Year wine, spirits, and beer picks from 2015.For wine, its tasting panel reviewed more than 19,800 wines from around the globe. The top 10 in order were: 2011 vintage San Felice Grigio Gran Selezione (Chianti Classico); 2012 Michael David Petite Petit (Lodi); 2014 Trisaetum Wichmann Dundee Estate Riesling (Dundee Hills); 2011 San Vicente Rioja; 2012 Alta Vista Single Vineyard Temis Malbec (Valle de Uco); 2012 Domaine Cauhapé Symphonie de Novembre (Jurancon); 2012 Ramey Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay (Russian River Valley); 2012 Cayuse God Only Knows Grenache (Walla Walla Valley); 2011 Quinta de Foz de Arouce Red (Beira Atlantico); 2011 Borgo Scopeto Borgonero (Toscana).

Dinner and a Movie Meets Fine Dining During the Holidays

Trilogy Executive Chef Edward Brothers says the idea isn’t exactly dinner and a movie. The high-end restaurant, adjoined to the Silverspot Cinema in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, can operate on its own from a culinary standpoint, turning tables and attracting loyal clientele.

A European Perspective

Beer might just be more ubiquitous than water in Prague. When I visited the city earlier this year, while I was eager to enjoy a few fresh pints alongside my plates of schnitzel devoured in well-worn pubs, the spirits geek in me was a tad more enthusiastic to scope out the burgeoning cocktail scene.

Craft Spirits-Focused Investment Fund Launches

Thoroughbred Spirits Partners, LLC and Thoroughbred Spirits Group, LLC announced the launch of Thoroughbred Spirits Partners Fund I, LP, a private equity partnership focused on startup and early stage ventures in the craft spirits industry.

2016 Restaurant Buyer’s Guide

Whether operators are looking to stock up on the essentials, from footwear to tableware, or seeking out the next breakthrough technology, this bountiful collection brings together a variety of the best products introduced into the restaurant industry over the last 18 months.

Ice Age

There was a time when chipped ice was reserved for highbrow balls or haughty Hollywood sets featuring debutantes, mobsters, or the Victorian aristocracy. Now the craft cocktail movement and its populist overtones have brought the elevation of cocktail ice to a fever pitch.

SLO Brew Brewpub to Expand and Relocate

Downtown San Luis Obispo, California’s longest running brewpub since prohibition, SLO Brew, recently announced plans to expand and relocate. SLO Brew is debuting in its new location on Higuera Street in early 2016 and will feature an upgraded brewery, restaurant, bar, and music venue.

Dogfish Head Distilling Co. Gets Ready for Expansion

There have long been murmurs about Dogfish Head’s distillery program—the small, almost fabled program that has been operating out of its Rehoboth brewpub for the past 13 years. Peculiar flavors like peanut butter vodka, chocolate vodka, and other curious creations fitting for a brand that notoriously branches out with its brews, like the Midas Touch, which falls somewhere between a chardonnay and mead, showcasing profiles of honey, barley malt, muscat grapes, and saffron.

Holiday Spirit

At Evelyn Drinkery, deep in New York’s East Village, one of the summer libations that partner Christian Sanders served to parched locals was the Portobello Road Street Party Punch, created by the brand’s own Jake Burger.

New York City's Carbone Debuts New Look on Las Vegas Strip

Marking Major Food Group’s first domestic expansion outside of New York City, Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick introduced their concept, Carbone, a successful restaurant in New York City’s Greenwich Village, to Las Vegas.

Three Barton 1792 Distillery Bourbons Receive Top Honors

Three bourbons from Barton 1792 Distillery received top honors at the 2015 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition, with two receiving gold medals and one receiving double gold. 1792 Small Batch Bourbon was awarded double gold, and 1792 Sweet Wheat and Kentucky Tavern each won gold medals.