Brew and Booze News

TGIFF! Craft Beer and Whiskey News for March 7, 2014

Below are a few of the more interesting press releases that landed in our inbox over the past couple of weeks…

Making the Cut: The Search for the New Face of Hudson Whiskey

NEW YORK, MARCH 3RD, 2014 – Whiskey distillation is a science of circles. Circular barrels. Circular bottles. Circular stills. The circle of Gable Erenzo, co-master distiller and soon-to-be-former brand ambassador of Hudson Whiskey, is almost complete, as he will once again focus his efforts back at the distillery full-time. But as is the nature of circles, with the end of Gable’s journey begins a new one. Enter “Making the Cut”: the search to replace the irreplaceable Gable with a new face for the Hudson Whiskey brand, and one qualified individual’s shot at a full-time job as Hudson Whiskey’s brand ambassador.

“Making the Cut” is not a hunt for the world’s greatest mixologist, or the foremost scientific mind in distillation. It is to find the human embodiment of Hudson Whiskey’s ideals and identity. Ten years ago, the Hudson folks set out to open a climber’s ranch, but the neighbors balked. They had to either go home or try something new: whiskey. As New York’s first whiskey distillery since Prohibition grew, Gable rose to Everest- level heights as the brand’s global ambassador. However, he has now decided to forego his time on the road and return to his precious distillery, nurturing and improving upon our country’s craftiest of craft whiskies.

With “Making the Cut”, the Hudson Whiskey team, brand founders Ralph Erenzo and Gable Erenzo, and the highly decorated distiller William Grant & Sons, which acquired the brand in 2010, is looking for someone who gets that make-it-happen, can-do spirit, and who gets the importance of shaking hands, meeting face- to-face and telling great stories. They want someone who understands how experiences circle back into the product, and how the product is comprised not just of distilled grain and rich barrel-aged flavor, but engrained with the personalities of each and every member of the distillery staff (there are only a handful!). Ralph and Gable chose whiskey over defeat, and they want someone who will make that same choice.

The newest member of the Hudson Whiskey family will circle the country, speaking with bartenders, restaurant owners, whiskey enthusiasts and press, hosting tastings, connecting with fans via social media and representing our brand in the national press.

Think you’re the one for the job? Ralph and Gable think so too. But they need proof, so send them a short video or a collection of photos, proving your readiness to begin your own circle of whiskey. Make a cocktail. Get crafty with some bottles. Recite your declaration of whiskey dependence. Then log on to to submit your application. The chosen contenders will join us at the distillery to drink some good whiskey, meet some friendly people, and engage in a month-long course in craft distillation by Ralph, Gable and the rest of the distillery team. All will learn the wonders of craft whiskey from the leaders of craft distilling, but only one will make the cut to become the new Hudson Whiskey Ambassador.

Enter at or find out more at    


Cask Ale


Popular Philadelphia Brewers Plate Event Celebrates Ten-Year Milestone at Kimmel

Philadelphia, PA – March 6, 2014 – Celebrating its 10th Anniversary (#BP10), Brewer’s Plate, the highly anticipated great-grand-pappy of the beer and food pairing movement in Philadelphia, is back bigger, bolder and better than ever before, this Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 5:30 pm at Kimmel Center. Time is running to take part of what is sure to be spectacular for craft beer and food locavore lovers alike. General admission tickets are available for $65 per person and VIP tickets are $135 and include, a one-hour preview to the entire event. Tickets are available at with all proceeds supporting Fair Food, a local non-profit dedicating to promoting Philadelphia’s healthy and sustainable local food system.

New this year:

  • General Admission Locavore Lounge – a separate area representing the best of the best in local food and beverages ranging from nano-breweries to small-batch food artisans and top of their game craft brewers.
  • Angry Orchard Cider House – attendants vote between five Philadelphia mixologists who compete to be crowned King (or Queen) of the Brewer’s Plate favorite cider cocktail.
  • VIP ticket holders will witness the tastiest Brewers Plate battle ever, “Sausage Showdown: The Best of the Wurst,” – celeb judges Iron Chef, Jose Garces; Fair Food’s Ann Karlen; Eagles’ Brent Celek; TV’s Marc Summers; Victory Brewing Company’s Bill Covaleski and NBC10’s Sheena Parveen vote amongst seven Garces Group Restaurants, along with the Garces Catering Group, for best tasting and inventive sausage and beer dish. In addition, VIP ticket holders will also sample the debut of vegan cuisine, artichoke cakes with roasted golden beets, horseradish aioli and micro greens compliments of Miss Rachel’s Pantry as well as commemorative tasting glasses to fill with Brewer’s Plate Stout, an exclusive Victory Brewing Company and Samuel Adams collaboration brew. The stout will only be available at the Brewer’s Plate and for a limited time at Victory’s Downingtown, PA brewpub and Sam Adams tasting room in Boston, MA.

Sample Food and Beer Pairings:

  • El Camino Real – Drunken maple bacon shake & pork belly slider paired with Weyerbacher Brewing Co.’s Last Chance IPA and Heresy Russian Imperial Stout
  • Varga Bar – Braised short rib and root vegetable stew and breakfast cereal ice cream paired with Saucony Creek Brewing Co.’s Kutztown Lager bier
  • Victory Brewpub – Vietnamese chicken and cabbage salad with garlic oil, fried shallots, fresh mint and roasted peanuts paired with Victory Brewing Co.’s Swing Session Saison, Mad King’s Weiss, DirtWolf and 1337
  • Southwark Restaurant – Banger terrine with curried egg gribiche and rye flatbread paired with Nodding Head Brewery’s Rufus Ale and  ‘Secret Bonus Beer’
  • Fette Sau – Smoked burnt ends with spicy slaw paired with Sly Fox Brewing Co.’s Fat Pig Ale
  • Alla Spina – Beef tongue involtini paired with Yard’s Brewing Co.’s Schwarzbier



Philly Farm & Food Fest Doubles in Size for 2014

Shop, Support and Learn About Local Farmers, Food Artisans and Sustainable Businesses at Region’s Largest, Local Gathering

Philadelphia, PA – March 3, 2014 – Philly Farm & Food Fest is thrilled to be bringing additional demonstrations, vendors and speakers to the Pennsylvania Convention Center Annex in April.  Now in its third successful year, Philly Farm & Food Fest has doubled in size with more local farms, food artisans, farm-to-table restaurants, local beer and spirits as well as loads of sustainable businesses. Include a healthy dose of DIY kitchen demos and kid-friendly workshops, featured speakers and industry leaders in nutrition, healthy lifestyle and sustainable entrepreneurship. Be prepared for a day filled with fun, food and information. Philadelphia area residents can shop, taste and enjoy this family-friendly event on Sunday, April 13, 2014 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Annex.

A joint project of Fair Food and PASA (the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture), Philly Farm & Food Fest is a one-day only event that will connect shoppers with food artisans and producers and local farmers.  General admission tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Children 12 and under are free. Tickets are available at

Over 100 vendors will be sampling and selling locally grown and produced foods – from fruit and veggies to specialty gluten free baked goods to meats, poultry and eggs to decadent desserts and organic ice cream. Presented by Whole Foods Market, Philly Farm & Food Fest also receives support from Door to Door Organics, Lancaster Farm Fresh Coop, Applegate Farms, Republic Bank, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, CoBank, The Merchants’ Fund, The Reinvestment Fund, and Kimberton Whole Foods.

This year’s Philly Farm & Food Fest will feature an exclusive Shellfish Salon, a guided tasting by Sam Mink, owner of the legendary Sansom St. Oyster House, and an expanded Local Libations Lounge with local spirits and an opportunity to learn from the makers themselves.  Get inspired at the Demo Kitchen, where farm-to-table chefs will create easy DIY dishes featuring local ingredients all available for purchase in Hall G.  Get ready for summer with a “sneak peek” of Watermelon Magic, a family friendly movie by renowned Philly filmmaker, Richard Hoffman. Top off all this fun with an informative and exciting panel discussion, “Great News About Good Food” led by nationally acclaimed hospitality consultant and food blogger Clark Wolf.


Victory Brewing

Victory Brewing Company Merits 2014 Sustainable Agriculture Business Leadership Award

DOWNINGTOWN, PA, February 14, 2014 – On Saturday, February 8, Victory Brewing Company® (Victory) was awarded the 2014 Sustainable Agriculture Business Leadership Award by the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA). Presented as part of the PASAbilities Leadership Award Series at PASA’s 23rd annual Farming for the Future conference, the honor recognizes Victory’s long-standing commitment to sustainability, innovation and environmental leadership within the community.

“When we joined PASA many years ago, we recognized the group as a sort of refuge of like-minded individuals,” said Bill Covaleski, President and Brewmaster of Victory Brewing Company. “At the time, local production and consumption were strange ideals to many, so we felt the need to band together with this group. It was ideological respect that drew us to PASA, and now, to earn respect from those whom we respect, is simply phenomenal in terms of the sensation it creates upon us.”

Since first opening their brewery in an abandoned Pepperidge Farm factory in Downingtown, Pa. in February 1996, Covaleski and Co-founder and CEO, Ron Barchet, have emphasized environmental responsibility, implementing effective energy generation and conservation measures and practices there and at their new, second brewery in Parkesburg, Pa.

“In a sustainable food system, we need skillful farmers and informed consumers, of course, but we also need hardworking, innovative businesses to draw them together,” said Brian Snyder, Executive Director of PASA. “We are so proud of what the Victory Brewing Company has accomplished, not only for connecting consumers with the sources of their food and drink, but also for setting an example of how a sustainable business is truly possible in today’s complex retail world . . . and for giving us all a venue for celebrating our accomplishments at the end of the day!”

In Downingtown, the brewery harnesses the energy of the sun through 345 solar panels, generating clean, green electricity to help power the facility; while Victory’s state-of-the-art Parkesburg brewery features high efficiency lighting, insulation and recovery systems throughout to reduce overall energy consumption.

Also focused on decreasing waste, Victory recycles the nearly 25,000 pounds of spent grain generated every 24 hours through an arrangement with a local farmer who uses this brewing by-product as animal feed. In 2010, the brewery initiated a composting program in its restaurant and now composts more than 73 tons of food waste annually.

“Sustainability, to us, means more than just implementing practices and policies that conserve our precious resources,” Barchet added. “We’re fortunate that our products and platforms permit us a unique opportunity to affect positive change in our communities.”

In 2012, Victory initiated the Headwaters Grant to support environmental advocacy groups working to protect the Brandywine Watershed. Funded through the sale of Victory’s popular year-round brand, Headwaters Pale Ale, one cent for every bottle sold is collected and donated to organizations such as the Guardians of the Brandywine and Brandywine Conservancy through the Grant.

“If all Bill and Ron did was make amazing beer, we’d have ample reason to be grateful.  But Victory also has built a business that reflects their social and environmental values, and recognizes the interconnectivity of nature and healthy communities,” offered Marilyn Anthony.  Anthony, who is the former Regional Program Director for PASA’s Southeastern Pa. chapter, current executive director at Lundale Farm, Inc. and longtime partner in sustainability, brought together Victory and PASA at their annual fundraising Bike Fresh, Bike Local ride, more than seven years ago.

The event, which began in Chester County, has grown to include two additional locations and dates across the state on Pennsylvania. In Chester County, the ride begins and ends at Victory Brewing Company, where participants enjoy a post-race celebration after navigating and appreciating the countryside that is their local foodshed.

Anthony continued, “Through their generous support for clean water, clean energy, and sustainably grown local food and farms, Victory offers solid proof that a company can do well while doing good.  And their legions of loyal customers love them for it, as well as for the awesome beers.”

“As we look to the future, we’re most excited by the progress we have made here in the U.S. as a consuming culture who now cares about the integrity, quality and source of what we choose to consume,” Covaleski said.  “We’re excited to witness more Americans adopt sustainability and integrity as priorities in their food choices, thanks to the commitment of organizations like PASA and the business and farming leaders associated with this group.”

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