What’s Shakin’ in the Bar & Nightlife Business: Week of July 10

Black and white photo of bartender with cocktail shaker
What's shakin'? Image: ArthurHidden / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Bar, nightclub and restaurant operators, managers, bartenders and other staff members have a lot to keep tabs on. From every day operations tasks to new product releases to spirit, beer, wine, cocktail and food trends, keeping on top of bar and nightlife news each week can be a project in and of itself.

That’s where we come in. To make things that much easier for you we’ve put together a detailed rundown of what happened this week that you should know. You need to know what international products are finally being distributed throughout America, what innovations are being made in glassware and bar and kitchen products, what and when music streaming services are featuring a new album, and so much more. In life, knowledge is power. In this business, knowledge is dollars.


After X years, LIV closes their doors.

But don’t worry – it’s only temporary. As the video above indicates, Miami nightlife hotspot LIV has closed for a renovation. Details are sparse but what we do know is that design firm ICrave is overseeing the $10M project; bars, floor and wall coverings are being updated; LED panels that interact with the music are being installed; DJs will have the ability to project custom backdrops during their performances; and a “dancing” robotic chandelier is planned for LIV’s ceiling. Follow LIV on their social media and YouTube channels to keep up with this incredible reno. We’re looking forward to the big reveal this fall!


Big Hollywood dreamin’.

Dream Hotels opens Dream Hotel Los Angeles Hollywood - What's Shakin' week of July 10
Attribution/Copyrights: Dream Hotels

The area around Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood has seen an influx of development over the past couple of years. One of the most ambitious projects is Dream Hotel, which in reality is not just lodging – the location is an entire complex. Dream opens this week and includes a color-shifting façade; 178 boutique hotel rooms; a lobby bar that provides an indoor-outdoor experience; a rooftop pool that transforms into a dance club with the ease of flipping a switch; and the fourth TAO restaurant location. What sets Dream apart is not just the scale and investment but also the sense of theatricality brought to exterior and interior design. Consider TAO’s buildout: the venue is meant to transport you to an ancient temple. That powerful impression is fitting, considering that Restaurant Business Magazine revealed the Las Vegas location (no stranger to theater itself) grossed almost $48M in sales in 2016. Like TAO, Beauty & Essex also scores their first West Coast location within the Dream complex, complete with their signature working pawn entrance. Elite nightlife fixture Avenue, also a TAO operation, comes to the West Coast as well as part of the Dream complex project. Hollywood is hot again, and TAO has brought elegance, opulence and decadence to LA.


Speaking of ambitious projects…

Buffalo Trace Distillery moves forward with $200 million expansion - What's Shakin' week of July 10
Attribution/Copyrights: Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace is charging ahead with a $200M expansion. The brand’s plans include a distillery expansion that will allow for new cookers and fermenters; the construction of new barrel warehouses; relocation of their bottling operation; and converting two office buildings into additional warehouses. A purchase of more than 230 acres of farmland in 2014 was part of the Buffalo Trace expansion plan, as was the plan to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week this summer to produce bourbon. Still, expect demand for their whiskeys to outpace production for the next couple of years, which isn’t a terrible problem to face.


Keep rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, rollin’.

Rogue Ales & Spirits announces 2017 Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout - What's Shakin' week of July 10
Attribution/Copyrights: Rogue Ales & Spirits

Was that a Limp Bizkit reference? Yes, it was, and yes, we’re referring to the remix in particular. Anyway, that has nothing to do with this fantastic news from Rogue Ales & Spirits, which we’d like to remind you is America’s only brewery-slash-distillery-slash-cooperage. Rogue has announced the release of their 2017 Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout. To say this beer is the result of an immense dose of creativity is an understatement. Not only was 2017 Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout  brewed using ingredients sourced from Rogue Farms, the liquid was ocean aged in handmade, Dead Guy Whiskey-soaked Oregon Oak barrels that were coopered at Rogue’s Rolling Thunder Barrel Works, founded in 2015. Rolling Thunder Imperial Stout’s sherry notes are accented by coconut, vanilla, dark fruit and cherries. Dark roasted malt and earthy hops balance this 14% ABV stout while making it bolder than its 2016 counterpart. This limited production beer will be available on draft and in 1-liter bottles.


Cocktail magic in a can.

Scrappy's Bitters announces Half-Seas Sparkling Cocktails RTD cocktails in a can - What's Shakin' week of July 10
Attribution/Copyrights: Scrappy's Bitters

Ready-to-Drink (RTD), canned beverages are ideal for beaches and pools, meaning they’re great for summer days and nights. The quality of some RTDs has been improving over the years, with guests getting more comfortable with the idea rather than turning up their noses at the cans. And now Scrappy’s Bitters, a name synonymous with high quality, is entering the market with Half-Seas Sparkling Cocktails. As Scrappy’s says on their website, “Only the best gets bottled,” so expect that ethos when it comes to Half-Seas. These RTD sparkling cocktails feature Champagne-level 30PSI carbonation, a unique trait that adds to the refreshing character and experience. Made with only the finest ingredients – premium spirits, bitters, mixers, modifiers and pure cane sugar – Half-Seas Sparkling Cocktails are available in Bramble, Daiquiri and Paloma, ring in at 12% ABV, and come in 4-packs with attractive 200ml cans.


We want one!

Aperol Spritz launches summertime Aperol Spritz campaign and invades the Hamptons with Ape Car - What's Shakin' week of July 10
Attribution/Copyrights: Aperol

Aperol is on a mission to make the Aperol Spritz the daytime cocktail of the United States. According to Nielsen, Aperol is growing in the US at a rate of over 30% month after month. To capitalize on their popularity and demand, the Italian brand is “invading” the Hamptons and activating a full summertime campaign which includes the Aperol Spritz Ape Car, an intensely bright three-wheeled flatbed truck converted into a bar (we’re not kidding – we want one!); leveraging the status of the Aperol Spritz as one of the most posted cocktails on Instagram; traditional and digital media advertising throughout the Hamptons and New York City; activating trendsetters and influencers; and bright orange POS and merchandise for on- and off-premise promotions. We’re just going to leave the recipe for the Aperol Spritz right here:

The Aperol Spritz cocktail recipe - What's Shakin' week of July 10
The Aperol Spritz

Image and recipe courtesy of Aperol

  • 3 Parts Cinzano Prosecco
  • 2 Parts Aperol
  • 1 Splash of Soda

Pour Prosecco first, then add Aperol and a splash of soda over ice in a wine glass. Garnish with a slice of orange.


You know what else is orange?

Valentine Distilling Co. begins stocking shelves with Mayor Pingree Rye Whiskey - What's Shakin' week of July 10
Attribution/Copyrights: Valentine Distilling Co.

Answer: The label on Valentine Distilling Co.’s Mayor Pingree Rye Whiskey, which has finally started to hit shelves. Limited quantities of this 90-proof rye whiskey will be released “sporadically,” meaning you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled and stay on top of your rep so you can add it to your menu. That’s all part of the mystique of this rye, which is imbued with what the brand calls “nature-forward” notes – wild honey, rhubarb, cattail stalks, dusty oak furniture, newspaper pulp and fresh hayloft – with more traditional rye notes of caramel and oak. A spicy finish completes the taste journey of this 4-year-old rye. For the record, “fresh hayloft” may be our favorite new descriptor.

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