Consumers might be pinching pennies when it comes to some dining-out choices, but they’re not shy about spending more for a pre-dinner cocktail or wine to go with a meal, according to studies by Restaurant Sciences.
Spirit prices increased between 4.5% and 11% in the six months through April at eateries where the average check is $40 and at high-end restaurants where the tab totals $90 or more, according to one study, while bars, nightclubs and family-dining chains haven’t seen a similar bump. The report cites a combination of mild price taking by independent eateries and increased demand by consumers for premium spirits and experimental cocktails.
A look at wine sales shows a steady increase in prices, with family-dining chains booking the biggest jump, followed by fine-dining establishments. That increase stems from a shortage, coupled with increased demand as wineries work to win over more young people, the Chicago Tribune reports. (read more…)
Barring any last-minute legal stays, the highly debated ban on big sugary soft drinks in New York City is set to take effect Tuesday, and eateries around the city are preparing to serve smaller-sized sodas, The Wall Street Journal reported. The rule prohibits establishments from selling sugary soft drinks larger than 16 ounces, an issue for Brother Jimmy’s BBQ, which scrambled to replace 1,000 24-ounce glasses at five New York City restaurants with smaller tumblers, CEO Josh Lebowitz told the Journal.
Movie theater concession stands also are subject to the new soda-size rule, a change Movieworld in Queens expects will bite into its annual sales to the tune of between $20,000 and $30,000, general manager Russell Levinson told WABC-TV.
Starbucks told Yahoo News that it doesn’t plan to immediately comply, citing lawsuits that may ultimately strike the law from the city’s books. Trade groups, including the American Beverage Association, the National Association of Theatre Owners of New York State and the National Restaurant Association, have filed a lawsuit in an effort to overturn the law, saying it puts city establishments at a disadvantage compared with stores such as 7-Eleven that operate in the city but are regulated under state laws and so aren’t subject to the ban. (read more…)
Wine is everywhere these days, from high-end cellars to Walgreen’s shelves, but the growing ubiquity isn’t necessarily translating into higher consumption, according to Nielsen data. Wine sales volume increased 1.5% last year compared to a 4% rise in 2011, Advertising Age reported, while beer and liquor saw 2% increases.
Brewers reversed a 0.8% decline the year before and saw 44% growth of beer sales at bars and restaurants, most of it coming from new and improved brews. During the same period, wine sales at the same venues rose 32%, and there seemed to be a shortage of hot new wines to take the place of formerly uber-popular malbecs and moscatos, Nielsen Vice President Danny Brager told AdAge.
But just because beer may be catching up on the innovation front, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to wine. And there’s also the adage that everything old is new again — it fits when it comes to the Alois Lageder wines from Italy’s Alto-Adige region, which the family make using biodynamic techniques perfected in the 1920s, as The Miami Herald reported. (read more…)
During the recession, many belt-tightening restaurant patrons kept the check down by ordering water instead of pricier beverages. Today, efforts such as New York City’s ban on big soda have sought to raise awareness about high-calorie beverages and their role in obesity and to persuade people to cut back on sugary beverages.
But there’s evidence the ban might not be as necessary to fulfill that mission as Mayor Mike Bloomberg thought when he proposed it. The Wall Street Journal reports that soda sales decreased in the second half of last year, including the holidays, when soda sales typically peak. Demand for soda has declined 16% in the past decade, but until recent months, soft drink companies were able to raise prices enough to keep up revenue.
Companies including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple Group increased prices significantly to shore up sales amid higher commodity prices in 2011, according to the Journal. (read more…)
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Craft brewers sold nearly 11.5 million barrels of beer in the U.S. last year, a 15% increase from the year before, according to the Brewers Association. But they didn’t sell it in the barrels. Sure, some was delivered in kegs to brewpubs aiming to please the increasingly sophisticated palates of their patrons. But the rest went into bottles and, increasingly, aluminum cans. Since Colorado-based Oskar Blues Brewery became the first sizable micro brewer to put its beer into cans 10 years ago, many others have followed suit. Three years ago, Brewers Association founder and beer author Charlie Papazian reported in The Examiner that 52 craft brewers had begun packaging their beer in cans, following the Oskar Blues example. (read more…)