November 2019: The Best of the beverage industry.
As we do every month, we have rounded up a selection of the best of the news from the world of drinks: wine in space, the biggest drinkers of the world, sourtoe cocktail, dairy cows in Qatar, clean alcohol 2.0, Buckfast, world's best whisky collection ...
Why Is Tea the Favourite Drink of the English?
Because tea is an excellent drink, by Gad! And the English know a good thing when they see it. What’s more, it has always been recognized that tea is in the public interest: it makes money, makes people more intelligent, prevents illnesses, calms the nerves, day and night ... Tea is much more than a drink, it’s a magic potion that only the Gauls, out of envy, have tried, using all the tricks at their disposal, to suggest is a fantasy.
Wine in Space
We’ve lost count of space-related events. Following on from the ambition to plant vines on Mars (and drown our sorrows in wine), someone now wants to send the finest of wines into the void of space. There is a strict ban on consuming alcohol in space (for safety reasons, no doubt: a booze-soaked astronaut is likely to make a flamboyant re-entry to the atmosphere). Nonetheless, studying what happens to wine in an environment subject to microgravity and radiation will help to improve long-term storage of foodstuffs and potentially to gain valuable information about possible adaptation to climate change.
Global Warming: The Next Vintage Will Be Scandinavian!
They are not waiting for French vineyards to be under twenty metres of sand or mud. A rolling of eyes and rubbing of hands greets the announcement of the coming temperature rises. Growing a dozen tomato plants in the Scandinavia of today might get you into the Guinness Book of Records, but in a few years, grape pickers are going to have to take lessons in Old Norse to understand the orders of the next vintage’s vineyard boss. The house might be burning down, but don’t count on the neighbours to put out the fire.
South Korea: The Biggest (but most discreet) Drinkers on the Planet
There are prejudices that are long-lived or that take root in the depths of our memories, which will hold onto anything as long as someone repeats it to us billions of times. But no, the biggest drinkers on the planet are not the Russians, the Finns, or even the Scots, but the South Koreans. So, why don’t we know this? Although alcohol flows freely on the streets of Seoul and is a very important element of social bonding, custom demands good behaviour, even with a significant dose under your belt. To put it another way, not being able to hold your drink is very much frowned upon among the population. Rowdy drunks be warned: you are not welcome in South Korea.
Beaujolais: The Japanese Wine
We thought this French tradition was on its last legs: it has to be said that, with the exception of a handful of die-hard fans, the announcement of Beaujolais Nouveau no longer gets many people in France fired up. These days, the French prefer beer, so much so that we are seeing the rise of a real “brewing laboratory” phenomenon, with daily discoveries of new traditional craft-brewed Gueuze beers, just like in days of yore, made from leftover bread, or soon even green frog skins or dwarf snail spit. So it’s lucky that the Japanese, known for their hyperactive consumption (less than three litres per year), are giving pride of place to the vin de primeur from the banks of the Rhone. It is said that their irrational passion for the variety is driving them to bathe in vast lakes of vin nouveau ...
Resisting the Blockade: Dairy Cows Flown into Qatar
We had forgotten that the wealthy Emirate was subject to a somewhat controversial blockade ... And world history has long shown that blockades, except in very rare instances, always have the opposite effect to the one intended. Real dairy cows, housed on a climate controlled farm, today supply almost 90% of Qatar’s dairy demand ... That’s not exactly what their great Saudi neighbour wanted.
Hard Seltzer: Clean Alcohol 2.0
Millennials don’t want to drink beer because it’s “a redneck drink,” or wine because, on top of the strange smell, it makes you look like a wino. Generation 2.0 have finally understood that they need to take a big, 8-metre, step back when their parents call on them to perpetuate habits that are uncool as well as being questionable health-wise. But they have forgotten Marketing Man, whose super power is creating demand ... By offering this new, super health- and image-conscious population the concept of alcoholic water, the deft and ingenious creator of Hard Seltzer has become a billionaire. Now you can appear in public with a bottle of clean alcohol in your hand without looking like the world’s greatest lush.
Buckfast: A Devonshire Wine the Scots are Crazy for
We know the wisdom of monks, like Dom Pérignon, who offered his talent entirely to producing champagne, not to mention those “noble” beers brewed with brotherly love. Lucifer, angel of light, one day led a small group of monks away from the path of righteous drinks by offering them the secret of the most dangerous rotgut this planet has ever seen ...
The Creator of the “Sourtoe Cocktail” is Dead
He was as eccentric as his drink. Dick Stevenson has died at the venerable age of 89. He kept a bar in Yukon, Canada, where visitors came just to see and, perhaps, taste his famous toe-based whisky ... Indeed, generous donors (for the most part after amputations due to severe frostbite) would offer their toes to “Captain Dick,” the renown of whose infamous cocktail had spread worldwide.
We don’t know if Dick Stevenson made any special mention of organ donation in his final will and testament.
Vietnam is Home to the World’s Best Whisky Collection
A collection without equal, looking down its nose at the rest of the world of rare bottle collectors. Shut away in a tailor-made display room, the bottles of the greatest malts have been valued by experts at a sum close to 11 million GBP. This collection belongs to Nguyen Dinh Tuan, a businessman from Ho Chi Minh City, who has already issued a warning to potential buyers: he won’t part with anything, not so much as a glass ...