One of the best things about my job is going through the process of choosing new items for our stores. It has been a little while since spring, when we bought new items for our shelves. I was presented 82 beer items and chose 19. Just a couple of years ago, we would be presented with less than 40 items, but with the explosion of craft beer, fruited beer, and drinks that look/act like beer, we are in a new age. 82 items is good and bad. I wish we could fit them all in our beer coolers, which is bad. The good is that we have so many to choose from that it is like being in a candy store.
On the wine side, I bought 29 items from a list just over 100 new wine items presented. Wine has always been a struggle because there are so many wine items available. You never know when an item will take off. We have to keep our radar attuned to the wine hot buttons. Canned wine along with the flavor of Rosé is where it is at right now but, more about canned wine later.
This blog will show off three new beer items and two new wine items for Family Fresh Market:
Cigar City from Tampa, Florida is making a big splash. Cigar City has a very cool arrangement with our local Perrin Brewing Company. We can now get Cigar City items because of that new arrangement. We have pick up Cigar City’s best selling beer, Jai Alai. Jai Alai is an IPA with tangerine and orange peel on the nose. The flavor of orange and caramel from the malt along with six hops that are aggressively applied make this a favorite IPA. The Jai Alai is in our ad this week and has a great value attached to it. The sport of Jai Alai was once big in Florida. These games were attended by cigar smoking men which lends to the name of this IPA. Once a popular game, Jai Alai was played on a specific sized court and used a rubber ball that would travel up to 200 mph. Speaking of numbers, the Cigar City Jai Alai has an ABV of 7.5% and carries 70 IBUs.
Bell’s Brewery from Kalamazoo, Michigan has Hopsolution, which is now available year round. This beauty from the very popular Bell’s Brewery used to be a limited availability item. Bell’s is now making it year round, which is a great idea in my opinion. You cannot go wrong with a beer with the Bell’s name on it. This is a double IPA. A Double IPA or an Imperial IPA is a beer that loads on the hops, and typically to balance these hops you have to add to the malt as well to keep the beer drinkable. This is exactly what this beer is. It is a very drinkable IPA. You have to watch yourself a little because all the malt adds to the ABV as well. The ABV on this beer is 8.0%, the IBUs are 70. You will be slammed with tropical fruit, citrus, and pine in the front palate. It will finish with a mild, caramel malt and dryness. Pair with Asian food or spicy Hispanic dishes.
Because it is autumn, we need a cider. Vandy from Vander Mill Cider is a sessionable hard cider with an ABV of 4.3%. Vander Mill uses only local, Michigan apples and culls the entire 40 bushel bin to make sure no bad apples make it into the process. They then use an accordion press to press the apples dry of any juice. Typing this makes my mouth water, it sounds so delicious. This cidery was started in 2006 with the vision of building a business where people can feel at home. What a great mantra and culture to develop. We all need a friendly and fun place to relax and sip cider. Their business has expanded because their product is good with a great value. Try a Vandy and celebrate the autumn.
Because Rosé items continue to rocket in sales we could not ignore the category for the fall. Clos du Bois now has a Bubbly Rosé to match their already popular still Rosé. The bubbles are described as light, more effervescent than bubbly. The nose on this lightly bubbled rosé is ripe red berries. The palate on this wine reveals strawberry, cherry, watermelon, even some cranberry. You can pair this wine with a blueberry roasted Brie wheel. A beautiful new wine from a classic brand of Clos du Bois.
19 Crimes out of Australia has a new Pinot Noir named The Punishment. There were 19 different crimes in England back in the day that could land you on a ship to the English penal colony of Australia. This brand has taken off with a vengeance. 19 Crimes labels come to life when you use the app named Living Wine Labels. The 19 Crimes labels have pictures of real prisoners that were sent to Australia. You can hear them speak when you use this app that utilizes the camera option off of your phone. Simply download the app and position your phone in front of a 19 Crimes label. The Pinot Noir from 19 Crimes is a full bodied Pinot Noir versus a delicate Pinot Noir. You will love it.
Greg VanOverloop, Beer & Wine Specialist
- Started in the Grocery business bagging at D&W in 1975. Worked at D&W for 30 years in various departments.
- Worked at SpartanNash for 11 years. Currently the Category Manager for Wine/Beer/Spirits for SpartanNash East.
- Have been a category manager since 1990 and a category manager of beer since 1997. CM of wine and spirits since 2007.
- Have travelled extensively which provided the opportunity to taste many foods and beverages from Hong Kong to Caribbean, from California to Maine.
- Love to cook, grill, and bake, snow ski, sail, and read books. Best baked item – a bourbon pecan pie with rum crust. Best grilled item – salmon with blueberry onion wine sauce and goat cheese. Best cooked item – Squash Apple soup with bourbon. Best ski slope – Go Devil at Keystone. Best book – Wonder.
- 1 wife, 3 children, 7.3 grandchildren.