WAP (Whipped Alcoholic Potables)
Plus: Booze startup $$$, right-wingers vs. Rittenhouse, Death & Co. RTDs + more!
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🧾 The Settle-Up
— Cardi B Is Now Hawking Boozy Whipped Cream, Which, Fine!: Earlier this week, Bronx rapper and failed trademark applicant Cardi B launched Whip Shots, a vodka-infused whipped topping available in three flavors. It’s produced by Starco Brands, a company I’ve never heard of that apparently specializes in aerosol-packaged goods, including sunscreen, “popcorn seasoning spray,” and now this. Sure, fine… but why isn’t it this product called WAP (whipped alcoholic potable)? Whip Shots are being released in super-limited, sneaker-style “whip drops,” which is actually kind of an interesting model that a lot of craft brewers would benefit from if they were categorically permitted to sell direct-to-consumer, which they are not. Regrettably, Whip Shots are non-dairy, but Cardi being a visionary, she’ll no doubt see hard milk’s undeniable potential. Let’s link and build, fam.
— Death & Co. Makes First CPG Play with RTD Cocktail Launch: The pioneering New York City cocktail bar Death & Co. has expanded considerably since opening its doors in the East Village in 2006. It’s latest move is a push into the red-hot canned cocktail category, where parent company Gin & Luck hopes the brand’s on-premise mixology bona fides can command off-premise customer curiosity and cash. Hmm!
— Is Moët & Hennessy’s Parent Co. Trying to Freeze Out 21 Club’s Union?: Sure seems that way! Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, the French conglomerate that owns every luxury brand you’ve ever heard of, also owns Belmond, a hospitality company that operated NYC’s 21 Club until November 2020, when it maybe-permanently closed the Midtown icon due to the pandemic. Its ~150 unionized workers, represented by Unite Here Local 100, have been wrangling with the firm for severance ever since, and the delays have understandably created strife in the ranks. At one point, Belmond was offering as little as $600 severance per employee, which doesn’t sound like much, and sounds like even less when you remember LVMH is owned by Bernard Arnault, who occasionally leapfrogs Jeff Bezos for the title of world’s richest man. Cool, cool.
— Rittenhouse Rye Disavows Right-Wing Drinkers Toasting Rittenhouse Verdict: In a depressingly predictable development following Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal last month, right-wing ghouls began buying up a bunch of Rittenhouse Rye to celebrate. Real sicko shit. The brand has been around since 1934, and is unaffiliated with the teenaged killer in question. Rittenhouse Rye is made by Bardstown, Kentucky’s Heaven Hill Distillery (a firm familiar to Fingers readers as the opponents of a six-week strike earlier this year), which to its credit released a statement condemning such nakedly awful behavior in the face of “profound loss of life.” Naturally, the company was pilloried by right-wing publications like Breitbart and Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire, as well as a social media brigade of white nationalists, anti-semites, and gun-humping dipshits for this (very normal, very basic) show of humanity. Bad country.
— Topo Chico Hard Seltzer Launches Glass Bottles in Select Markets: The Molson Coors x Coca-Cola joint venture finishes out a big year by putting its strawberry guava flavor in the Mexican brand’s beloved glass bottle (rather than the hard seltzer-standard 12oz slim can.) The Takeout’s taste-tester Marnie Shure was not impressed!
— Investments in Booze Startups Boomed This Year, But Will The Buzz Linger?: As you may have heard, there’s a shitload of venture capital flying around at the moment, and the beverage alcohol sector has not been exempt from the windfall. Per analysis by Crunchbase’s Janice Bitters Turi, booze startups took in over $1.25 billion in investments in 2021on the strength of existing online sales, the promise of more to come, and new innovations in composition and packaging. That’s so much dough! Reminder to the capital class: Fingers is not for sale. Unless you want to buy it, in which case, lol of course it is, let’s talk.
— Budweiser NFT collection sells out in an hour. 75% up for resale: I’m not going to get into this in-depth here because I’ll have a full story about it for VinePair next week, but… just know that I know. And now you do, too!
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📬 Good post alert
What age are you if you only save old liquor bottles to propagate pothos cuttings in? I’m that age.
Editor’s note: If you see a good post and want to share it with the rest of the Fingers Fam, please send me that good post. You can email me or DM me on Twitter.
🤝 Only for Friends of Fingers
This week I recored an audio read exclusively for paid-up Fingers subscribers:
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🔝 This week’s top comment
Speaking of hard milk, tucked beneath my pre-Thanksgiving dairy-vangelist dispatch was this gem from Friend of Fingers Paul:
Even as someone who drinks a lot of milk, this is horrifying. Great work.
Good comment Paul, thank you Paul. Remember Fingers Fam: commenting privileges are exclusively for paying subscribers. To join the conversation... well, you know what to do!
📲 Everyone’s favorite Fingers meme this week
Likely because they drank too many Dark Lords over the holiday weekend, the Fingers Fam double-tapped this meme more than any other posted to the boozeletter’s official Instagram in the past seven days.
If you haven’t followed Fingers on Instagram yet, you’re missing out on free daily original content about the booze business. Don’t do that! Do this instead:
Your feed will thank you. (Not really, that would be weird. But you know what I mean.)
Thank you to Friend of Fingers Molly O. for bringing to my attention the latest advance in celebrity-backed, dairy-adjacent booze.
Speaking of not being impressed: did you know Coke (which acquired Topo Chico in 2017) has been selling the O.G. non-alcoholic mineral water in plastic bottles lately? So much for “honor[ing] and respect[ing] Topo Chico's century of heritage” like Coke execs promised a few years ago. Glass is not exactly great for the environment, but pretty much anything is better than single-use plastic. Plus, glass vessels retain carbonation better and don’t impart off-flavors to the beverages therein. But plastic is cheaper to manufacture and ship, so… enjoy your faintly acetaldehyde-flavored Topo Chico, folks!
At least $155 million of this investment went to a single company: Vivino, a wine recommendation/marketplace app that closed its latest fundraise this past February. Credit to Friend of Fingers Josh M. for reminding me about that one; feels like forever ago.
Honored to have one of mine be chosen as the top comment!