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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Drinks and Food » » A Disturbing Trend
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A Disturbing Trend
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 425
From: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posted: 2009-08-05 10:33 pm   Permalink

I wanted to comment on a very disturbing trend that I have noticed of late. Although I live in Cincinnati, Ohio I shop for spirits in the Northern Kentucky suburbs that are part of the Greater Cincinnati area. Ohio has state controlled liquor (which means a sh*tty selection and high prices too boot) where Kentucky is a free market state with low prices and good selections. We are lucky to have two outstanding retailers in the NKY area; The Cork ‘n Bottle( http://www.corknbottle.com ) & The Party Source ( http://www.thepartysource.com ), both of who strive to maintain the largest and most esoteric liquor selections possible. There a lot of very pedestrian liquor stores in NKY, but these two stores are way above the bar.

Since the start of this year brands of rum have disappeared from distribution in Kentucky at an alarming rate. So far I have confirmed that the following brands are no longer in distribution in Kentucky:

Angostura-Entire Line
Ron del Barrilito 2 & 3 Star
Cockspur-Entire line
Flor de Cana 12, 18 & 21 Year
Montecristo Rums
Plantation Rums-Entire Line
Pyrat-heavily discounted on clearance sale and likely discontinued
Rhum Clement and the Creole Shrubb-Entire Line
Rhum St. James-Entire Line
Ron Botran-Entire Line
Santa Teresa-Entire Line

There might be more brands that I’m not aware of as well. You might ask ‘Who cares, how is what’s happening in Kentucky going to effect me?’ Let me tell you how: Liquor (and wine) distribution is increasingly controlled by four giant corporations in this nation; Southern Wine & Spirits, Republic National Distributing, Glazer’s Distributing and Charmer Sun Belt Group. Two of those companies, Glazer’s & Southern, are in the process of merging into one giant company, so three corporations will be controlling about 90% of the liquor distribution in this nation. These companies rarely make decisions on a state-by-state basis, rather they coordinate actions based on a nationwide brand strategy. What is happening in Kentucky today could well happen in California, Illinois and New York tomorrow.

For the record, I have been in the liquor, wine & beer business for over 15 years, having worked in the retail, distribution and (mainly) supplier tiers of the industry and I now own a boutique wine & spirits brokerage business based here in Cincinnati. I have watched as the family owned distributors got squeezed out of the industry by the big corporate distributors, and the level of brand consolidation is only accelerating. There aren’t many independent family owned liquor distributors left in this nation and it's getting worse. This is bad news for those of us who love unique and esoteric spirits as the big corporate distributors are interested in concentrating on developing their big brands-Bacardi, Jim Beam/Fortune Brands (which now includes Cruzan) etc. A small supplier/importer/distiller doesn't have the production, sales personnel and frankly money to interest these big distributors.

Please let us know if you start seeing brands leave your markets. If it does happen I encourage you to complain to your retailers, and to the manufacturer and/or importer of those brands via the web. Be persistent, but polite. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and our complaints may yield reconsideration by the distributors to pick the brands up again.



[ This Message was edited by: CincyTikiCraig 2009-08-05 22:35 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2003
Posts: 2158
From: www.crazedmugs.com
Posted: 2009-08-06 06:04 am   Permalink

All those you listed are kind of rare anyway, but that's no reason to knock them off the list.

I hardly see Plantation Rum anywhere. Knoxville has a good supply at Swanky's favorite shop but it's just not out there much.

I hate Southern. They were the big reason we couldn't ship wine to ourselves from California until so many people did it anyway that the state finally said "OK - ship it." Southern whined and lobbied but still couldn't get it revoked. Jerks.

Hey, send me some Cinci chili. 5 way.

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Robb Hamel
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 07, 2008
Posts: 1013
From: Ohio
Posted: 2009-08-06 07:25 am   Permalink

Dammit - I hate the kind of trend you're talking about.

Corporate Sharks eat all the little fish until the pool has nothing but sharks in it - they don't realize that that is not a healthy, natural balance.

Corporate big wigs think they're intelligent and sophisticated, but they are just as instinct driven and single-minded as a shark - that's not me, that's hyper-paraphrasing two articles in Psychology Today.

I'll complain if I notice, but this is THE way things are going - Princeton Business school teaches this philosophy: "Too much is NEVER enough."

It's nice to see someone else from the area on here.



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little lost tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 12, 2006
Posts: 7750
From: Orange,CA-right near the Circle!
Posted: 2009-08-06 08:20 am   Permalink

sad trend indeed
but look up!
there are other avenues of imbibement
that's all i'm gonna say....

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 26, 2009
Posts: 320
From: philadelphia
Posted: 2009-08-06 08:41 am   Permalink

it is the same in pa the state controls the liquor stores and only offere a limited supply.
i think they don't sell pyrat anymore i bought a bottle on clearance early this year. they did just stat selling trader vics and they continue to sell appleton.
fortunatly i live in philly and it is easy enough to go to deleware or jersey.

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Unga Bunga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5862
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2009-08-06 09:03 am   Permalink

Someone came to my bar last night and told me that Makers Mark bourbon is out of supply.
I have not seen any news on this yet.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5320
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2009-08-06 09:09 am   Permalink

I hear from The Bum that we can expect all St. James to dry up.

The Plantation rums disappearsed for a year or more here and we just recently saw some return. 3 years ago there was a huge variety on th eshelf and it slowly dissapeared without much new replacements here.

I'm thinking of changing to Whiskey. There seem to be inumerable varieties of that on the shelf...

You would think someone in these big companies would be a fan. They'd use the big dollars of Bacardi sales to allow them to bring us lots of little brands that are much more interesting. I mean, that's how we managed Hukilau. Some acts are big crowd pleasers to sell ticktes, and that pays for the super nerdy things the hard core fans want.

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Limbo Lizard
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 24, 2006
Posts: 780
From: Aboard the 'Leaky Tiki', Dallas
Posted: 2009-08-06 09:41 am   Permalink


On 2009-08-06 09:03, Unga Bunga wrote:
Someone came to my bar last night and told me that Makers Mark bourbon is out of supply.
I have not seen any news on this yet.

I'll bet they got it mixed up with Knob Creek, which has run out until November. They're both made by Beam.

July 6 article in Kentucky's Courier-Journal:
Bourbon shortage hits Knob Creek
"Beam Global, itself part of Fortune Brands, sells about 150,000 cases of Knob Creek annually, putting it at the top of the company's small batch collection, but well below Maker's Mark, and its flagship Jim Beam bourbon which is aged four years. Doss said none of those brands are expected to face a shortage this summer... The next batch of Knob Creek will be dumped from barrels in October, and ready for retailers the next month. Areas that could see tight supplies first include southern California, and the eastern United States."

A few weeks ago, I heard about the K.C. shortage on the radio, and that remaining supplies where going for much higher prices. Shortly after, I was at my liquor store, and saw they still had Knob Creek, and hadn't raised the price.

[ This Message was edited by: Limbo Lizard 2009-08-06 10:02 ]

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Beach Bum Scott
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 28, 2008
Posts: 307
From: The Ranch in CO
Posted: 2009-08-06 11:42 am   Permalink

I watched this happen a couple months ago at the biggest store that carried the most brands of rum I had found here in CO.

They stripped the shelves and put St. James and Flora's in a markdown bin which I picked up all I could afford, and refilled the shelves with alot of Bacardi, Morgan and flavored stuff.
When I asked about it I was told he hardly sell that other stuff!!!

Sad Sad....

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Official Mixologist

Joined: Mar 29, 2002
Posts: 3059
From: http://www.smugglerscovesf.com
Posted: 2009-08-06 12:52 pm   Permalink

Moving this to the drinks forum.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 425
From: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posted: 2009-08-06 1:03 pm   Permalink

Thanks Martiki, I thought that perhaps I should have posted this here instead of the General forum. BTW, as someone with a lot of experience running on-premise operations I'm curious what you are seeing in your market.

FWIW, since Jim Beam bought Cruzan I am seeing big Cruzan displays, endcaps and features. suddenly the brand is taking up a lot more shelf space than it used to.

Swanky, I would be interested in what the Bum had to say about St. James disappearing from the market. Can you elaborate?

[ This Message was edited by: CincyTikiCraig 2009-08-06 13:27 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 425
From: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posted: 2009-08-06 1:26 pm   Permalink

Pablus, I have a recipe for our Cincinnati Chili which was given to my Mother by a member of the family that owns Empress Chili, which was the first chili parlour in Cincinnati and invented the chili. If you would like it I can PM it to you.

St. James Amber (mixed with Appleton X/V) was my default everyday Mai Tai rum, so I'm bummed not to be able to get it any longer. I'm now using La Favorite Rhum Agricole Vieux and/or Neisson Rhum Agricole Réserve Spéciale, which Ed Hamilton imports to the USA. They are a bit more expensive than the St. James, but they are also 1 liters bottles so you are getting 33% more volume than St. James, so it evens out. Ed's rums are a little higher proof as well which comes through in my Mai Tai.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1784
From: Orlando
Posted: 2009-08-06 2:38 pm   Permalink


On 2009-08-06 09:09, Swanky wrote:
I hear from The Bum that we can expect all St. James to dry up.

Yes, and as you and I both heard, he recommended Clement VSOP as a good substitute for St James Hors D'Age in Mai-Tais, but I have not been able to find Clement VSOP in my area so far. I can find Clement Creole Shrubb, but no dice on the VSOP yet. You'd think that since they both come from the same company and have the same rum base, it wouldn't be a problem. But that would be inserting logic into the convoluted distribution equation and we wouldn't want to do that now would we?

CincyTikiCraig, Jeff Berry said this at his seminar at Hukilau this past June. He didn't elaborate. And by the way, I'd like to get a peek at that chili recipe myself if you don't mind.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 425
From: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posted: 2009-08-06 8:06 pm   Permalink

Ok, waaaay off topic, but I thought that I would post the recipe for Cincinnati Chili here in case any other fans would like it. Now the concept of chili served on a bed of spaghetti sounds foriegn to non-Cincinnatians, but that's how we eat it here. Our chili is very different than traditional Texas style chili. The recipe was developed in the early 20th century by several Greek immigrants who settled in Cincinnati and adapted a traditional Greek stew to attract non-Greek customers. If it helps, think of the chili as a pasta sauce-I think that it's a better definition of the dish.

Cincinnati Chili Recipe

1 large onion chopped
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 ounce grated unsweetened chocolate
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 (16-ounce) package uncooked dried spaghetti pasta
Toppings (see below)

Put the ground beef in food processor and briefly pulse to produce an extra fine grind to the beef, or have your butcher grind extra fine for you. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, saute onion, ground beef, garlic, and chili powder until ground beef is slightly cooked. Add allspice, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, unsweetened chocolate, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, and water. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 hours. Remove from heat.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions and transfer onto individual serving plates (small oval plates are traditional).

Ladle chili over spaghetti and serve with toppings of your choice. Oyster crackers are served in a separate container on the side.

Oyster Crackers
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Chopped Onion
Kidney Beans (16-ounce) can

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

In Cincinnati we order our chili 'by the number', Two, Three, Four, or Five Way:

Two-Way Chili: Chili served on spaghetti.

Three-Way Chili: Additionally topped with shredded colby cheddar cheese (nobody eats 2-ways here. The 3-way is the really basic way to eat the chili.)

Four-Way Chili: Additionally topped with chopped onions OR kidney beans under the cheese and over the chili.

Five-Way Chili:Additionally topped with kidney beans AND onions under the cheese and over the chili.

The other way to have Cincinnati Chili is a Cheese Coney, which is a hot dog topped with the chili, a squirt of yellow mustard, chopped onions (optional) and shredded colby cheddar cheese. I usually have a 4-way bean and a coney on the side.

Now I'm hungry......

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Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 15, 2003
Posts: 83
From: The Enchanted Isle of Dayton, Ohio
Posted: 2009-08-06 9:02 pm   Permalink

Thanks for the recipe, I'm slightly addicted to Cinci Chili.

I will be making a batch very soon!

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