Coffee Brake

February 9, 2016

CarsGettingCoffee-229I’ve lately become a fan of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, the web series hosted by Jerry Seinfeld. The comedians we see are almost always understated. They spend the time talking about honing their craft. For instance, in the episode with Jay Leno, the former Tonight Show host tells Seinfeld he used to sharpen his material by being the followup act to Richard Pryor back in the day. “Did I bomb? Most of the time. It just made me a stronger comic.” (And while the abrasive types like Howard Stern and Don Rickles are seen here in a more mellow state, it’s funny to see Leno drop the f-bomb.) The latest segment features Will Ferrell, who, among other things, admits “I have to work out just to look fat.” Also, he took stand-up lessons at a community college. There’s more at

Photo credit: Eric Charbonneau & Crackle


At I write of two interesting developments in the booze world: Brown-Forman is selling of Southern Comfort to Sazerac and the $379 bottles of Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Century have sold out. SoCo brought in Danny McBride to endorse the brand, but sales of this liqueur continue to sag. Will Sazerac keep on Kenny Powers? Meanwhile, you can’t land a better endorsement than the Chairman of the Board, who literally took Jack Daniel’s to his grave.


When Taco Town Shuts Down

January 20, 2016

800px-Chipotle_Mexican_GrillOn February 8, Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants across the country will be closed for lunch. Employees will get a pep talk and learn about better food-handling procedures. Better late than never: Since last summer, more than 500 people have gotten sick eating at Chipotle locations on both coasts. The culprits have been e. coli, salmonella, and norovirus. The stock has plunged as have same-store quarterly sales. A federal investigation is underway. And yet there are still many Chipotle devotees. You can read more at

Photo by Octavio Ruiz Cervera


StLouisABPackaging_PlantI discuss the AB InBev-SABMiller merger at Two things I left out: What does SAB stand for? South African Breweries. This is significant as it conveys the global extent of this potential multibillion-dollar merger. So even if the new company sheds Miller (which could end up with Molson Coors), it’ll still have plenty of brews around the world. Go to SABMiller to see just how many brands are in the mix. Second, I failed to mention that not only are fewer Americans drinking Budweiser, but also fewer Americans are drinking beer. The number of beer drinkers in this country continues to decline while the number of wine and spirits consumers continues to rise. Hence the thought that this merger is less about world domination than it is about survival.

Photo by Maksim


Smirnoff Dance Party!

December 28, 2015

I have my doubts this gambit will pay off, but Smirnoff’s new strategy to reverse declining market share involves sponsoring electronic-dance festivals. I mean, maybe if they were selling glow sticks, too. (Okay, fine, I know I just dated myself with a 90s rave reference. But didn’t Go! just come out a couple years ago?) You can read more at


Did He Just Call Me ‘Kim’?

December 22, 2015

A funny thing happened on the way to the theater. Or maybe not so funny. My dad and I were going to purchase tickets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the Marquee Cinemas Orchard 10 in Toms River, NJ. It’s 2 in the afternoon and no one’s around. In fact, the box office is […]

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A Nation of Boozers

October 26, 2015

Over at the Washington Free Beacon, I review Susan Cheever’s latest work, Drinking in America: Our Secret History. It’s a mostly entertaining read on how American history has forever been entwined with alcohol—a love/hate relationship that began with the Pilgrims (lovers of beer) vs. the Puritans (guilt-ridden over intoxication). We drank more than anyone in […]

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Singular Sensation

October 15, 2015

Earlier this week I attended the launch of a new single malt from George Washington’s distillery in Mount Vernon. There were lots of Scots on hand and rightfully so: The barley used for the Distillers’ Reserve and Limited Edition came directly from Scotland. Three Scotch whisky distillers added their expertise to this three-year project. And […]

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Cachaça—It’s What’s for Happy Hour

September 21, 2015

Since the publication of Vodka: How a Colorless, Odorless, Flavorless Spirit Conquered America, I’ve been fortunate to receive the occasional sample of liquor. But a recent miscommunication led to my acquiring an entire case of Cachaça 51—that clear spirit fermented from sugar cane (as opposed to molasses, which leads to rum). It was only proper […]

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Will Jon Taffer Rescue America?

August 27, 2015

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of speaking with business entrepreneur Jon Taffer, host of Bar Rescue on Spike. He had just spoken at the Defending the American Dream Summit in Columbus, Ohio. It was his first political event and probably not his last considering how much he enjoyed it. You can find my […]

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