All the News You Can Drink: Russian Vodka Boycott, TGI Friday’s Big Bill for Fake Booze and more


LGBT Supporters Boycott Russian Vodka

The LGBT community in the US have had much to celebrate in recent months as the Supreme Court gave them two victories in June and more and more states keep toying with the idea of legalizing same-sex marriage. Those in Russia, however, aren’t feeling quite as loved as anti-gay laws and anti-gay violence are now the norm there.

As a result, gay-rights advocates have called for a boycott of all Russian vodka and spent part of Wednesday pouring out what they already had onto the streets of New York and other major US cities outside Russian consulates. “Boycotts are set for a reason. We’re trying to influence change, and maybe change what’s happening in Russia,” said Chuck Hyde, general manager of Sidetrack, the largest gay bar in Chicago, according to Reuters.

One Russian brand, Stolichnaya, is doing everything it can to tell consumers that it doesn’t support the views of the Russian government on the LGBT community, posting supportive banners and a message on its website.[more]

T.G.I. Fridays Pays Big Fine for Serving Fake Booze

Eight T.G.I. Fridays restaurants in New Jersey come clean on charges that they were filling premium-brand liquor bottles with cheaper booze. The company will pay a fine of $500,000, according to

Owned by the Briad Restaurant Group LLC, the restaurants will need to pay $400,000 for the violations and $100,000 for investigative costs accrued by the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Briad also has to have an ABC monitor on staff until next June. 

“Briad’s restaurants were scamming customers by serving them a cheap substitute for what they ordered,” said Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman. “This fine should send a clear message to every bar and restaurant throughout New Jersey that customers should get what they pay for every time without exception.”

Diageo Banking on North America

America is well on its way to a recovery following the recession, and Diageo’s new chief exec, Ivan Menezes, is hoping that will lead to increased revenue from North America, the Wall Street Journal reports. He also “hasn’t ruled out a possible bid for Beam Inc., owner of the Jim Beam brand of bourbon whiskey,” the Journal notes.

While some markets have slowed down on liquor sales, North America is getting stronger. Continuing sales rose 5 percent in the year ending June 30. And Menezes said that the way the company will get even stronger is likely through acquisitions, whether it is Beam or another company altogether.

More Booze News:

– The US Postal Service’s financial troubles in recent years have been enough to drive traditionalists and Luddites to drink, but it may be that drink cthat ould help the USPS survive. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told the AP that Thursday delivery of alcoholic beverages is on his wish list as a way to boost revenue.

– Louisiana-based Sazerac Co. has produced one of the most popular liquors in the country: Sales of its Fireball Cinnamon Whisky have nearly tripled since 2012 and now command 2.3 percent of the market for liquors sold at bars and restaurants. All that without commercials or big print ads. Instead, Sazerac gets its product attention via social media from those who pour it: bartenders and bar owners.

– California’s Jordan Vineyard & Winery isn’t interested in selling itself to old guys in ascots and genteel ladies. At least that’s not who its latest video-marketing effort, which features gals in bikinis paying a lot of attention to CEO John Jordan, all dancing to the beat of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Party on, dude.

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez is batting .370 for one of baseball’s best teams this season. He’s long been known for making an “I see you” hand-binoculars gesture. Now his signature move has been captured in a new “I see you” wine. Enjoy, Dodgers fans.

PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur is asking pro bartenders across the land to share their secrets with them and offer up their tastiest recipes for a competition that will see six finalists facing off in November in New York City.

AB InBev reports that its sales went down in the second quarter, but its revenue went up 3.6 percent to $10.6 billion. The cool summer has hurt sales, but consumers helped out by moving up to more expensive brands, such as Bud Light Platinum, Budweiser Black Crown and Bud Light Lime-a-Rita. 

– “Mens’ rights’ activist” Roy Den Hollander has lost yet another lawsuit against a Manhattan bar in his attempt to gain better standing for men in New York drinking establishments. He’s previously sued to stop ladies’ nights. This time around, he was upset that a bar “made him” buy a $350 bottle of vodka in order to enter while it let a young woman in for free. The court tossed the case. Hollander plans to appeal.

Cruzan Rum is getting into the horchata business by launching Cruzan Velvet Cinn, a combo of Cruzan rum, bakery cinnamon, and sweet dairy cream.