Libation news from around the world

Happy New Year! Here are some interesting drink-related news items from around the world to start off 2016.

Hard Root Beer

Hold onto your mugs, folks, there’s a new drink on the market that’s taking off big-time. If you like root beer, then you’ll love the new “hard” version out there. It tastes just like A&W or Barq’s, but with a kick. It’s so good and easy-drinking that unless it warms up in your hand or the bottle’s empty and you feel the glow, you won’t even notice the alcohol (around 5.5 per cent). Two to try are Not Your Father’s Root Beer from the Small Town Brewery in Wauconda, Ill. and the Coney Island Brewing Company’s version.

Cat Wine

Don’t like to sip wine alone? Well, if you have a cat, you won’t have to anymore. A Japanese company, B & H Lifes, has come up with wine made specifically for your feline friend. It’s called “Nyan Nyan Nouveau”. “Nyan Nyan” means “meow meow” in Japanese. The wine does not contain alcohol, but juice made from Cabernet grapes mixed with catnip. In Japan, it costs about $4 a bottle and only about a thousand bottles have been made. These folks must have had a few too many when they thought of this. I wonder what animal activists make of it. This “Chateau Puss Puss” could easily start a new trend. What’s next, “Bark-o-Velha” for your dog, “Rabbit Riesling” for your hare or “Parrot-tage” for a pet bird?

Domain “Kimye”

If you happen to follow the goings on of the Kardashians, particularly Kim and Kanye, then you might find this noteworthy. Apparently they have been busy renovating their $20 million French château-style mansion on their 3-acre property in Hidden Hills, California since August 2014. On the site is a vineyard that they are rehabilitating, with the help of experts, to grow grapes for wine. Kanye, who is a wine lover, has made reference to the Moscato grape in some of his music so perhaps this is what they are planning to cultivate. They say the vino will not be for sale, but strictly for personal consumption. Got to wonder though! Is it only a matter of time until they join the likes of “Branjelina” with their Miraval Rosé and sell their production commercially? After all, they are huge media hounds and it would provide them with yet more publicity.


Lovers of the iconic Irish brew Guinness in the U.S. may have something to squawk about. One consumer in particular in Massachusetts is very upset. He alleges that the company misleads consumers into believing that Guinness Extra Stout distributed in the United States is produced and imported from Dublin, Ireland. In reality, Guinness Extra Stout is primarily brewed and bottled in Canada, as is noted in fine print somewhere on the label. He argues that because it is marketed as an Irish import, consumers are paying a premium for what is actually Canadian beer and they deserve compensation. He’s so ticked off that he has filed a $5 million class-action lawsuit against Guinness claiming that the company uses false advertising on its beer labels. As several imported potables are created under licence in other countries, I wonder if the same applies. Whether this chap has a case or not, it would seem that Guinness still qualifies as “imported” because it’s not produced stateside. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.


Edward Finstein is a wine writer, award-winning author, TV and radio host, educator, judge

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