Cocktail Book Program 2021 Book Club

Welcome to the BevFluence Cocktail Program sponsored by Ryland Peters & Small. Here are the minimal content requirements per participant.

  1. Please use all of these tags and Hashtags for each post.
    #CocktailswithBevfluence #Allthebooks #Negroni
    Keli Rivers: @allofthedrinks
    David Smith: @summerfruitcup
    Instagram: @rylandpetersandsmall
    Twitter: @RylandPeters
    FB: @RylandPetersandSmall

  2. Virtual Tastings
    Each participant will participate in at least two Author Virtual interviews.
    Each participant will attend ALL virtual book club meetings which can include the author
    if they are available.
    Each book club meeting will be scheduled once a month and should last an hour if not
    more, where we will discuss the books, the recipes and give general thoughts. Then it
    could easily devolve into what these clubs are all about, hanging out and getting to know
    each other.

  3. Foundational Content
    Each Core Blog/Livestream/Video/Podcast will include:
    a) 1,000 words +
    b) A review of what you thought of the book.
    c) What did you enjoy, what was fun, which recipes you tried.
    d) Linkbacks to Authors/publisher and BevFluence
    e) Once a blog post is published please send via email to &

    *If you do not have a blog please write a review and we will find a place to get it published either
    on BevFluence or another outlet.

  4. Social Media Content
    Each participant should publish at least three posts per social media channel per book
    This includes
    ● Videos making a cocktail,
    ● Produce and photograph two cocktail recipes per book (at least)
    ● Picture of the book or pages and excerpts you liked
    ● Stories
    ● Interviews with authors
    ● Pictures of the group
    ● Include the hashtags listed above in every post and story
    ● Tag 10 people
    ● 3 posts please
    ● Include the hashtags #XXX in every post and story
    ● Tag 10 people
    ● 2 stories per BOOK +
    ● 3 posts please per book
    ● Tag 10 people
    ● Include the hashtags #XXX in every post and story
    ● 3 posts please
    *if you do not use Twitter, please add these posts to another channel
    These are the minimum requirements to participate but there is plenty of time over the next few
    months to have some fun, read some books, and make some cocktails. Include pairing or tasting
    *Please tag other members of the group in your social media post as described above

The BevFluence #1299Challenge

In December 2020, BevFluence invited a community of wine enthusiasts to select a retail outlet (supermarket, large beverage retail chain, or online wine store) and purchase several wines under $12.99 to review. The concept was to show the availability of very drinkable and affordable everyday table wine. The reviews show that apparently, Spain is still a reliable resource for such wines, but value gems can be found throughout the world – even in the United States.

“Narrowing the field to $12.99 somehow still broadened wine horizons. It made me pay even closer attention to ways of finding wine value at any price point. A good challenge.” -Mary Beth Vierra of Crush Course

Good old Charles Shaw better known as house brand for Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck hit the shelves at the chain in 2002. Since then there have been many discussions of cheap vs. expensive wine. The fact remains that most wine purchased in America is still consumed that day or within a few days. The fancy labels, limited releases and once-in-a-lifetime bottles may dominate the magazines, social media and our dreams, but everyday wine is a much larger factor than many talking heads give it credit for. 

We at bevfluence got together with some of our community all who love wine, write about wine and have great palates and made them buy the cheap stuff. “It’s always refreshing to know there is excellent wine at every price point. Several followers appreciated the options!” Thea Dwelle

We threw down the gauntlet to the crew to go and find wines they enjoy and spend less than 13 bucks a bottle. This challenge meant taking people who review hundreds of wines a year, often single vineyard rare wines and getting them to buy everyday bottles. The challenge was met head-on with the community which is not nearly as snobbish as some think. The fact is that those of us who review wine, beer or spirits regularly love to drink different things often and enjoy the change to challenge our conceptions. Our community is full of diverse, fun and thrill seeking people who reject the snobbish, sommelier style instead embracing a down to earth enjoyment of wine. 

We had fun shifting through various stores to find interesting wines and the results while not shocking were surprising.  Wine does not have to be expensive, in fact it should be an affordable luxury and far more accessible. It was not hard for most of us to come up with good points in these wines, no one struggled to say nice things. “This exercise was an excellent reminder that with a little work, you can find tremendous value and drinking pleasure in this price range.” – Jim VanBergen

Even tasting the under five dollar wines for this challenge meant being impressed with how approachable they were. It is easy to see why cheap wines are popular. 

For our team at bevfluence it  this was eye opening since we often only get the chance to try wines we are sent. Buying wine from $2.99 to $12.99 and everything in between produced a wide range of reactions. We are impressed at the quality and even bought wines that others had recommended in their posts to try. 

Everyone who enjoys wine knows that not all wine needs to have a huge price tag to be good. This project has proven once and for all what many have known forever, you do not have to spend a ton of money to drink good wine. “Truth be told, I thought I was going to be drinking these wines just for this challenge only and that would be the end of it. Turns out I am heading back to Bottles to pick up more of the Bobal and the Sangiovese. These will be perfect on a Tuesday. Maybe even a Thursday. Thus I am reminded that inexpensive does not necessarily mean cheap, poorly made or bad.” – Rick Dean Link

Below is a list of all of the wines tasted by this group although there are plenty more outside of this. We shared some laughs but mostly some good recommendations of inexpensive wine.

Check out these blogs and follow these people who love wine and sharing stories about their journey in the beverage world! ….

Mary Beth Vierra (CrushCourseWine) – Trader Joes
Emma Reichert Gewürztraminer, Pfalz, (Qba) 2018, Germany ($6.99)
Ruggero di Bardo Susumaniello IGP Puglia 2019, Italy ($10.99)
Vignobles Lacheteau Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie AOP, France ($7.99)
Adaline Bodegas Verdejo, 2018, Spain ($4.49)
Roustabout Meritage 2018, Paso Robles, California ($7.99)

Fred Swan (NorCalWine) – K&L Wine Merchants
2019 Atance Cuvée No 1 Valencia DO Spain ($12.99)
2018 Foris Pinot Gris Rogue Valley, Oregon ($12.95)
2019 Tahbilk Marsanne Nagambie Lakes, Victoria Australia ($12.99)
2017 Bodegas Olivares Altos de la Hoya Monastrell Jumilla DO Spain ($11.99)
2016 Niepoort Rotolu Tinto Dao DOC Portugal ($11.99)
2020 Viña Maitia “Aupa” Pipeño Red Wine Maule, Chile ($12.99)

Jim van Bergen (JVBUncorked) – Total Wine
San Gregorio Single Vineyard Las Martas Garnacha 2018, Calatayud DOC, Spain ($9.99)
Latitud 42 Rioja Ecologica 2018, Rioja DOC, Northern Spain. 100% Tempranillo ($9.99)
Marchese di Borgosole Salice Salentino Riserva 2017, Apulia, Italy ($12.99)
Seastone Albariño 2019, DO Rias Baixas, Spain ($11.69)
Herederos del Marques De Riscal 100% Rueda Verdejo 2019, DO Rueda, Spain ($5.49)
San Gregorio Single Vineyard La Muela Macabeo 2019, Catayud DOC, Spain ($11.99)

Kelly Cohen (Off the Beaten Glass) –
2018 Ballard Lane Chardonnay, California ($11.99)
2019 Ruffino Pinot Grigio Lumina, Italy ($10.99)
2019 Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand ($8.99)
2019 J. Lohr Bay Mist White Riesling, California ($9.99)
NV Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava Brut, Spain ($11.99)

Rick Dean (Strong Coffee to Red Wine) – Bottles, Mount Pleasant, SC
2018 Mont Gravet ‘Old Vine’ Carignan, IGP Pays D’ Hérault, Languedoc-Roussillon, France ($9.99)
2019 Atance Bobal, Valencia DOP, Spain ($12.99)
2019 Vina Galana Verdejo, Chinchilla de Montearagón, Albacete, Spain ($12.99)
Trevini Sangiovese, NV, Rubicone IGT, Trevini, Italy ($7.99)
Broadbent Vinho Verde Sunflower, NV, (50% Loureiro, 40% Trajadura, & 10% Pedernã) Portugal ($9.99)
Moulin de Gassac Guilheim Rosé 2019, (40% Grenache, 40% Cinsault, 20% Carignan) IGP Pays d’Hérault, Languedoc, France ($12.99)

Sandra Crittenden (Wine Thoughts) – Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods
Dibon Cava Brut Rosé, Spain ($10.99)
Vallobera Rioja Blanco 2019, Spain ($12.99)
McPherson Piquepoul Blanc Timmons Estate 2017, Texas ($11.49)
Domaine Vigneret Côtes de Provence Rosé, Provence France ($12.99)
Girasole Sangiovese 2017 Mendocino County ($12.99)
Le Vassal de Mercues Malbec de Cahors 2018, France ($12.99)

Todd Godbout (WineCompass) – Wegmans
Fox Run Vineyards 2018 Simmons Vineyard Traminette, Finger Lakes NY ($11.99)
Emilia Natura 2018 Carmenere, Chile ($9.49)
Koenig Pinot Blanc, France ($10.99)
Hugl Gruner Veltliner, Austria ($10.49)
Fontana Candid Frascati 2019, Italy ($8.49)
Vinos de Arganza Lagar de Robla Mencia Premium 2016, Spain ($9.99)

Thea Dwelle (WineBratsSF)Bottle Barn
Broadbent Gruner Veltliner, Austria ($9 – liter)
Murgo Etna Bianco – 70% Carricante 30% Catarratto, Italy ($)
AIA Vecchia Vermentino Toscana 2019, Italy ($10.99)
Bodega Sierra Salinas Mira Salinas Monastrell, Spain($12.49)

This project, or campaign or whatever you want to call it was beyond fun, and more than just a little informative. It was a killer good time and exercise that gave our community the chance to dive deep into wines that may not be cellar worthy but certainly deserve a look.  


The BevFluence Team

The Craft Beer Industry Expanded During COVID – Albeit at a Decelerated Rate

In mid-May, Julia Herz, the Craft Beer Program Director at the Brewers Association, predicted that the number of craft breweries would continue to increase even with the COVID lockdowns and economic uncertainty.  A couple months later, the Brewers Association have released the first half of 2020 data and it looks like her prediction was on target. According to Bart Watson, Chief Economist at the Brewers Association in the 2020 Midyear Survey Shows Challenges for Craft Brewers (behind firewall):

As of June 30, the Brewers Association database showed 8,217 active craft breweries, up from 7,480 during a comparable time frame last year. Adding in large and other non-craft brewers brought the U.S. total to 8,341. Although considerable growth, that is a deceleration from mid-year 2019, where the number had increased by more than 1,000 during a similar time frame. 

Looking at our database, the decrease is largely attributable to a slowdown in openings, more so than a sharp increase in closings. While it remains possible that closings will accelerate as 2020 continues, through the end of June, our database only shows 112 closings. That’s only 4% higher than the number we had found during the same time period last year. In contrast, we have only counted 301 openings, a number that is about 20% lower than the opening count through the first 6 months of 2019 (found by this point last year).

Photo courtesy of the Brewers Association

Regarding openings, we are actually surprised that the drop was only 20% lower — based on the lockdowns that we had experienced over the Spring.  Yet in our interview below Ms. Herz stressed that breweries in planning actually had a hidden advantage in that they planned for an opening during a stressful economic climate. These breweries could not afford to rush their opening without proper due diligence.  And based on monthly data inferred from the New Brewer Magazine, over 60% of the 301 new openings occurred after March 1 — right before the national lockdown.

As for closures, only a 4% increase shows the resilience and flexibility of small independent craft brewers.  And according to the same monthly data, only 40% of the closures occurred after March 1 as brewers have modified business models to cope with the pandemic. Furthermore, the overall number of closures was affected by the retrenchment among larger craft brewery chains.  Gordon Biersch,  Rock Bottom, Granite City, and RAM closed a combined 18 brewpubs in the first half of 2020, representing 16% of all closures. Removing this number from the overall closures would actually show a 10% decline in the overall number of closures.

Mr. Watson alludes above that closures may accelerate in the second half of 2020,  and the statistics referenced here relies on the Brewers Association obtaining valid non-member data.  However, there is optimism that the craft beer industry will not only survive the pandemic but continue to grow. In the same article, Mr. Watson mentions the optimism expressed by smaller brewers – where they predict 12% growth in the second half. In six months we will discover the accuracy of this prediction or are smaller brewers “simply wearing rose-colored glasses”.