Coming soon: vodka with hint of smoke

26 January, 2007

To the murky depths of London's exclusive China White nightclub, where the movers and shakers in the spirits world gathered on Tuesday for Drinks International's Vodka Summit. There was some concern from various delegates about the forthcoming smoking ban and the effect it might have on style bar takings in general and vodka sales in particular. "What about tobacco-infused vodka?" chirped one bright spark. It's alarming to report that none of the suppliers or retailers in the room laughed. Lord help us.

Shuttle tops dog beer

Hardys' single-serve wine Shuttle was named one of the top 10 innovations of the year by market analyst Datamonitor's product database Productscan, alongside Tesco's square watermelons and Sipahh milk-flavouring straws. Products which didn't make the top 10 include Happy Tail Non-Alcoholic Beer for Dogs - "to help Rover feel like one of the guys" - and Cigareto II Fragrance Pour Homme, a men's fragrance from Egypt that smells like cigarettes, in case we start missing the smell of second-hand smoke when the ban comes into force. Why ever not?

Technophobe of the year - update

Thanks to all of you for entering our Technophone of the Year competition - who would have thought so many people without mobile phones would be able to text in their answers? The winner is Co-op wine development manager Paul ≠Bastard. Our sources tell us he was given a mobile phone as a present two years ago by a colleague - but hasn't ever opened its box. "We assume the £10 credit is still valid," the source said. Maybe Paul could trade the voucher in for a bottle of wine and claim that as his prize.

If you suspect our Technophobe of the Year competition is a childish hoax, go to our website at www.yesifellforit.com/oh_dear/bugger/htm. class = "bold">Just plane daft

A Chicago liquor store owner was alarmed to see water dripping from his ceiling last week. He inspected the roof and found it was that traditional old problem - a plane had partially crash-landed on his premises.

Bits of engine were embedded in the building after a plane came down at an intersection on the city's south side.

According to press reports, "one piece of the aircraft landed in Dorothy Gohn's bedroom 11 days ago, but until Tuesday officials did not know where any of the other plane's parts landed".

"It is scary. This could have been somebody's head or something," said store owner Amin Alkaraki.

"Something" presumably meaning a fridge-full of vintage Champagne - or something else just as valuable as somebody's head.

You're having a laugh

Is Bargain Booze's Matthew Hughes making a move into comedy? During a recent interview, an OLN hack was shocked to hear the sound of screaming in the ≠Bargain Booze background - only to find out it was Matthew's text message ringtone, the sound of Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura, Pet Detective. And then he told us that the store's joint venture with Select & Save was "a marriage of convenience". Boom boom!

The wrong kind of spirits

Retailers need hardly be reminded of the resourcefulness of the average drunkard. But a story from Hampshire demonstrates just how quick-witted street drinkers can be. After sneaking into a church in Havant for a quick kip, one local character found himself locked in. Terrified of the ghosts he was sure would keep him awake all night, he rang out an SOS message on the church bells and was promptly released by wardens.

Easy on the palate

There but for the grace of God, etc - the Independent fell head-first into one of the drinks trade's biggest spelling bear-traps in its day-in-the-life feature on Majestic boss Tim How. Remarking on the increasing spending and sophistication of consumers, the article reported that "certainly drinkers' palettes have matured". Does that mean customers are so enthusiastic they're taking delivery of their purchases with forklift trucks?




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