Discover more from Fingers
Sell that red, get that bread, I guess
Plus: Boston "T" party, international absinthe forgeries, the laziest Halloween tweets + more!
Editor’s note: Welcome to the 62 new readers who have joined the Fingers Fam in the past month. We’re glad you’re here! If you haven’t yet, please consider purchasing a subscription to support this project! You’ll get access to bonus stories, podcasts, and more, plus my eternal gratitude.—Dave.
🧾 The Settle-Up
— Snooki’s Wine Goes On Sale November 2021: Figured I’d get this one out of the way up top. As a proud Italian-American and son of New Jersey, MTV’s Jersey Shore brought me virtually uninterrupted shame and embarrassment as it aired last decade, and since. But in service of the Fingers mission to deliver offbeat booze news to your frontal lobe, I must inform you that Nicole Polizzi’s upcoming wine brand, Messy Mawma, will supposedly be available for sale starting next month. Sure, whatever. Sell that red, get that bread, Snooki. (I say “supposedly” because the single-page website is just an email form with a password gateway. I signed up for updates so you don’t have to. Stay tuned.)
— Truly tosses ‘millions of cases’ instead of discounting it, says parent co.: As Friend of Fingers/Charleston City Paper editor Sam Spence put it, there’s a bit of a Boston “T” Party afoot, as Boston Beer Company—parent of Truly, as well as Sam Adams, Twisted Tea, Angry Orchard, etc.—announced last Friday that it destroyed a shitload of hard seltzer to reduce inventory. “We were very aggressive about adding capacity, adding inventory,” said BBC chairman/noted hop-sniffer Jim Koch, “and, frankly, we overbought.” [Disclosure: I bought some BBC stock in September 2021.] This is part of an ongoing hard seltzer hangover after Truly sent BBC stock soaring to insane premiums throughout late 2020 and early 2021. Huh. Anyway, best of luck to all the brewers who aren’t BBC trying to line up cans amidst the global aluminum shortage!
— Interpretation of 'Agave' at Center of Hard Seltzer Lawsuits: Fellow Beer Byliner Kate Bernot had a great write-up for Good Beer Hunting about the class-action lawsuits Anheuser-Busch InBev is facing over the marketing of Cacti, its stumbling hard seltzer joint venture with rapper/one-time Midas-toucher Travis Scott. At the core of the suits, a question: do consumers know the difference between malt-based “agave spiked seltzer” and spirits-based ready-to-drink tequila soda? It’s a semantic debate unheard of since… well, since ABI’s other hard seltzer-related legal battle with Constellation Brands kicked off earlier this year, at least. Catch up on that (unintentionally hilarious) situation right here.
— The Vintage Absinthe Forger Who Swindled Global Collectors for Years: Evan Rail’s VinePair column is a wormwood-infused international caper with Billionaire’s Vinegar shades. Endorsed!
— Voodoo Ranger Be Raging: GBH data don Bryan Roth has a chart of New Belgium Brewing flagship sales that should chill the bones of any regional/national IPA family brand managers. Voodoo Ranger, which will presumably have a big Halloween weekend given the holiday alignment and cultish following of its titular skeleton mascot, has basically pulled even with its 2020 numbers with a full two months to go in 2021. Yeesh!
— Pennsylvania’s Distro-Backed Bill Would Force Non-PA Brewers to Use PA Distro for In-State Retail: This inside-baseball Pennsylvania beer news from other fellow Beer Byliner/Brewbound reporter Jess Infante threw me for a bit of a loop. Not because I’m surprised the Keystone State’s beer distributors are backing (successfully so far) new legislation to protect their lucrative middemanning gigs from common sense—that’s par for the course. But how was this not already a law in the state with some of the country’s most retrograde booze rules on the books?
— The Prisoner is one of Napa's most popular wines. It also glamorizes something ugly: Great piece here from The San Francisco Chronicle’s wine critic Esther Mobley on the discomfitingly carceral branding of The Prisoner, the Napa red blend that practically created the red blend segment back in 2000. Since then, Mobley points out, “[t]he conversation around the crisis of mass incarceration has grown more urgent,” but the brand’s now-owner, Constellation, seems to be leaning further into the shackled stylings of the influential mass-market heavy.
📬 Good (bad) post alert
This is a public service announcement from Fingers HQ, reminding you not to tweet the laziest Halloween joke format imaginable:
✍️ Other writing from this past month
Despite getting married and traveling a bunch this month, and regularly publishing original Fingers coverage to your inbox, your ol’ pal Dave still filed a few stories to VinePair in October. Here they are, with some unofficial, ~*Fingers-exclusive*~ alternative headlines to pique your interest:
Elvira’s Short, Sexy Stint as Coors Light’s Halloween Queen: Or, “How The Mistress of the Dark Sold Silver Bullets, Then Spooked The Conservative Coors Clan”
With Slowing Growth and Pandemic Uncertainty, Who’s Financing Craft Breweries In 2021?: Or, “You Thought Wrong: There’s Still Money in the Beer-nana Stand, It’s Just Harder to Get”
The Inevitable Grift of Slinging ‘Conservative’ Wine and Beer at a Country Driven Mad by Social Media: Or, “The Black Rifle-fication of Booze Is Coming. Brace Yourself.”
Check ‘em out at your leisure, if you’re interested. But Dave, you cry with chagrin, why not just publish all these stories in the boozeletter? So glad you asked. For one thing, it’s nice to have an editor and art for bigger stories, and I don’t have the resources or the foresight to line up either for the boozeletter right now.
And for another: despite all the (genuinely very awesome!) financial support from 100+ paying Friends of Fingers, the boozeletter alone doesn’t pay the bills! Not yet, at least. So! If you haven’t yet, please consider buying a subscription to support this project:
Thanks as always for reading, sharing, and financially underwriting Fingers. I appreciate the hell outta each and every one of you.
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