What’s Shakin’ in the Bar & Nightlife Business: Week of May 1

Black and white photo of bartender with cocktail shaker
What's shakin', Macon? Image: Getty

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.


What’s better than gold? Double gold, obviously.

New Holland Knickerbocker Gin and Beer Barrel Bourbon - What's Shakin' week of May 1, 2017

Michigan’s New Holland scored gold and double gold medals at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This is no small feat, particularly when you consider that there were over 2,100 entries at this year’s SFWSC. New Holland’s Beer Barrel Bourbon earned a gold medal in its category, and their Knickerbocker Gin took home a double gold medal in its category.


A line of rye whiskeys scored a hat trick.

Cask & Crew rye whiskey - What's Shakin' week of May 1, 2017

It could not be better timing for LiDestri's new line of proprietary rye whiskeys to score a medals hat trick considering that the Stanley Cup Playoffs are being played right now. Cask & Crew’s 51% Canadian rye/49% American whiskey blend and Walnut Toffee flavored whiskey earned double gold and bronze at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, respectively. Their rye whiskey then won gold at the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Convention (WSWA).

Cask & Crew retails for between $24 and $26.99 for 750 ml bottles. The line is currently sold in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, DC and Kentucky, with plans to be available in 15 states soon, including Tennessee and Louisiana.

Winning Recipe from WSWA’s Call for Cocktails Mixology Competition: Sister Smokin’ Ginger

  • 1.5 oz. Cask & Crew Ginger Spice Whiskey
  • 0.5 oz. Cask & Crew Whiskey Straight Rye blend
  • 1 oz. fresh ginger simple syrup reduction*
  • 0.75 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Prosecco
  • 7-UP
  • Sprig of fresh mint
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Powdered sugar
  • Burnt cinnamon stick
  • Oak plank for smoking


Combine Cask & Crew Ginger Spice Whiskey, Cask & Crew Whiskey Straight Rye Blend, Ginger Simple Syrup Reduction and lemon juice. Shake well. Smoke mint and ginger on the oak plank. Double strain cocktail into smoked glass. Top with Prosecco and 7-UP. Grate fresh cinnamon on top. Garnish with fresh mint, dusted with powdered sugar, and top with burnt cinnamon stick.

*For fresh ginger simple syrup reduction

Fresh ginger reduction, cornstarch, sugar, water, cinnamon.


“America’s rum” is winning all the medals.

Bayou Rum logo - What's Shakin' week of May 1, 2017

Bayou Rum, proudly made by hand in Louisiana, has earned a stunning 7 awards over the course of just two annual international tasting competitions. The rum producer was awarded three silver medals and one double gold at the 2017 Denver International Spirits Competition. At this year’s Tastings.com International Review of Spirits, Bayou Rum took home one silver and two gold medals. This year is the first year of full national distribution of Bayou Rum, which will also be launched in Europe, Asia, Australia and the Caribbean.


Speaking of awards…

...the 2017 James Beard Foundation Award winners have been announced. Arnaud’s French 75 Bar in New Orleans (home of 2017 Nightclub & Bar Bartender of the Year Award winner Chris Hannah) won the award for Outstanding Bar Program. The Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional award went to Sam Calagione, founder and CEO of Dogfish Head. Rick and Deann Bayless’ Topolobampo, located in Chicago, earned Outstanding Restaurant. See all of the awards and winners here. Congratulations to all of the JBF Award winners!


Do you operate a bar, restaurant or nightclub in one of America’s most fun states?

Just in time for summer, WalletHub has released their 2017’s Most Fun States in America report. The personal finance site has determined which states offer the most variety and the most cost-effective enjoyment options, analyzing 22 key metrics (including movie costs and casinos per capita) across 50 states. Among the top states are Louisiana, Hawaii, Colorado and Montana. Interesting findings include the revelation that Minnesota has the highest per capita personal spending on recreation services, and Vermont has the most restaurants per 100,000 residents.


The fastest, most exciting two minutes in sports.

Woodford Reserve 2017 Kentucky Derby bourbon bottle - What's Shakin' week of May 1, 2017

You know it’s time for the Kentucky Derby when Woodford Reserve releases their annual limited edition Derby bottle. This year’s bottle features artwork by Thomas Allen Pauly, world renowned for his equine art. Pauly is actually the official artist of Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah. Don’t miss out on Woodford Reserve’s 2017 Kentucky Derby bottle; the bourbon inside makes Mint Juleps taste even better!


Fruit and flowers joined forces for a balanced brew.

Unibroue Éphémère Sureau elderberry beer - What's Shakin' week of May 1, 2017
Attribution/Copyrights: CNW Group/Unibroue

Unibroue is Quebec’s top craft brewer and they’ve released the newest addition to their Éphémère line. As the line’s name suggests – éphémère translates to “ephemeral” or “fleeting” in English from French – Éphémère Sureau (the French word for “elderberry”) is a limited edition release. This Belgian-style fruit-wheat ale is brewed with a blend of elderberry fruit and flowers. Éphémère Sureau’s berry flavors, subtle floral notes and hints of tropical fruit come together to evoke a bouquet of Muscat grapes. This limited edition release is available in 12-oz. 6-packs, Sommelier Selection variety packs, and on tap.

"This is the first time we're using both the fruit and flower in making an Éphémère beer," said Jerry Vietz, Unibroue's Master Brewer. "The elderberry flower's aroma is a perfect complement to the fruit's rich, delicious flavour."


Read this book to learn how to brew beer. Seriously.

How to Brew book by John Palmer - What's Shakin' week of May 1, 2017

If you’re interested in learning about brewing your own beer, John Palmer’s How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Beer Every Time has been fully revised and updated. Available from Brewers Publications, How to Brew has been a best seller since 2006 and is an absolute must-have book for both new and experienced brewers.

“Owning How to Brew is like having a brewmaster as your best friend. In the 30-plus years since the American craft beer revolution got its start, countless brewing books have appeared. None, however, has achieved the status of How to Brew, which is thorough, comprehensive, and beautifully organized,” said Jim Koch, founder & brewer of Samuel Adams. “And now, this new expanded and enhanced edition improves on the original. It’s a considerable feat to create a book that is invaluable both to first-time brewers and professional brewmasters, but John has done it with a book that is essential for everyone who is serious about brewing.”

How to Brew contains valuable information on brewing equipment, ingredients, brewing methods, and recipes. This latest edition adds the top 5 brewing priorities according to Palmer, along with an additional 5 chapters.


Cocktail Kingdom Announces new Koriko 2-Prong Hawthorne Strainer Finishes

Cocktail Kingdom Kikori 2-Prong Hawthorne Strainer finishes - What's Shakin' week of May 1, 2017

Cocktail Kingdom’s Koriko 2-Prong Hawthorne Strainer is no longer finished only in stainless steel. This two-prong strainer has been designed with heavy use in mind, makes true split pours simple, and is now available in gold-plated, copper-plated and gunmetal black finishes. This means they’ll pair nicely with other gold- and copper-plated and black gunmetal finished Cocktail Kingdom barware, adding some flash to your bar.

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