All the News You Can Drink: Coors’ Puerto Rico Problem, MMMHops, Chinese Firewater and more

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MillerCoors Apologizes to Puerto Rican Community Over Beer Can Graphics

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade isn’t until June 9 in New York City, but there is already a lot of emotion in the air. Unfortunatley for the folks at Coors Light, which is a sponsor of the event, it isn’t all good.

Many in the Puerto Rican community were incensed that Coors Light placed what appeared to be the Puerto Rican flag on beer cans commemorating the event. The outrage has inspired MillerCoors to apologize and pull further cans from being sold. “We apologize if the graphics on our promotional packaging inadvertently offended you or any other members of the Puerto Rican community,” Nehl Horton, a spokesman for MillerCoors, wrote in a letter to the Boricuas group, according to The New York Times.

MillerCoors has sponsored the event for seven years, but not without incident. Two years ago, MillerCoors had to discontinue its Puerto Rican Day ad campaign that used the word “emborícuate,” which means “make yourself Puerto Rican.” But the play on words in the ad was on “emborráchate,” which means “get drunk.” Not a smooth move.[more]

Hanson Teases MMMHops Brew, Sells Branded Gear for Tornado Relief Efforts 

Now that the youngest member of the former teenybopper band Hanson is 27, it’s safe to say that the trio of long-haired brothers are allowed to pursue other forms of revenue, particularly in liquid form. The brothers, who are releasing a new album in June, announced last December that they’d be releasing a new brew, MMMHops. They teased the new beer at the recent premier of The Hangover III, which features their big-time hit “MMMBop,” and gave attendees a little taste, Time reports

Their famed tune left quite a lot of people feeling pretty giddy, and the boy’s likely hope that their new venture will have the same effect. While beer drinkers will have to wait a bit longer, the brothers have already started selling MMMHops gear on their website in order to raise money for those affected by the recent tornado in their home state of Oklahoma. 

Chinese Baijiu Look to the West for New Marketshare

Thanks to austerity measures, China’s extremely powerful distilled liquor, known as “baijiu,” is suffering from its first industry-wide contraction in the past decade. Last year, baiju brought in $72.8 billion, according to the International Business Times. The first quarter of 2013 saw a huge decrease. As a result, some high-end brands are bringing their prices down, trying to use the Internet more effectively to market their products, and hoping to build up their export business. 

That’s where America comes in. “Baijiu hasn’t been marketed to the West yet but I think it can be,” said James Rice, managing director of Sichuan Swellfun Co Ltd, a baijiu maker in Chengdu, western China, told Reuters. “People are interested in China and here’s a piece of Chinese culture that can go right to your dinner table.”

Diageo has taken a stake in Sichuan Swellfun and entrepreneurs are also getting into the baijiu game as importers and investors. Reuters points out, though, that the drink will need to grow on people since it doesn’t make a great first impression. “I thought it tasted like paint-thinner and felt like a liquid lobotomy,” Michael Pareles, manager at the US Meat Export Federation in Beijing told the site. “However, like many other things in China, I eventually grew to like it.”

More Booze News:

– Australian rock legends You Am I are reissuing their first three albums on limited-edition vinyl and to celebrate, the band is also launching its own beer, Brew Am I, which takes its ingredients from the home regions of the four band members. Take that, Hanson.

– Last week it was Vulcan Beer. This week it’s Star Trek wine. Trekkies can find three different limited-run Star Trek wines on Vinport.com, each named for a famous episode from the original series, “The City on the Edge of Forever,” “Mirror Mirror,” and “The Trouble with Tribbles.” 

The Aristocrat Group Corp. is launching its debut vodka brand this summer, the gluten-free RWB Ultra-Premium Handcrafted Vodka, and has a second vodka brand planned for later this year that will feature a “packaging innovation.”

Maker’s Mark got itself into big PR trouble earlier this year when it announced that due to all the bourbon being consumed and the inability to replenish that supply quickly, it would start watering down its bourbon and lower its proof. Imbibers were irate and the brand decided to stick with the 90 proof. Now Maker’s Mark is retooling so it can have a “state of the art rinse process” that’ll provide them with extra bourbon that’s been previously left behind. 

Diageo’s Show Your Spirit contest pitted drink mixers from across Europe against one another. The winner, a gin-sake mix called Jinzu, will now be distributed by Diageo while the winning mixologist, Dee Davies, will rake in 5 percent of the drink’s net sales during its first five years.

– Delaware’s Dogfish Head has found success selling beer so now it is looking to also sell packaged food products flavored with their ales. Canned clam chowder, four varieties of chicken and pork sausages and jarred pickles can be found in Dogfish Head’s food truck, Bunyan’s Lunchbox, which was specially made to look like a giant lunch pail. Local retailers will also sell the food and the pickles are available at Whole Foods nationwide.

– Not to be outdone by a bunch of Klingons, The Silence of the Lambs now has its own wine as well. The Cannibal Chianti and Suit Yourself Pinot Grigio can both be purchased at Alamo Drafthouses across the country for $32 a bottle. Last year, Alamo released a wine series inspired by The Princess Bride.

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