Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Major Golf Drinks By Jeff Piraino

Golf has blessed us with much more than this magnificently frustrating game. It has blessed up with a coping mechanism for when we’re trying to stay sane on the links. Legends like Arnold Palmer and John Daly will be remembered for much more than their heroic major wins, they’ll be remembered for the drinks we enjoy on and off the course. But it doesn’t stop there with just major winners. It’s also the major venues themselves that have “secret” drinks worth getting. Finally, we’ll get to my favorite underground drink that I’ve found out about after joining Metacomet CC.

Arnold Palmer’s high swing finish and 7 majors has him saluted well into the Golf Hall of Fame. For those who don’t golf, they may recognize the name for his drink that he made famous, the Arnold Palmer consisting of a perfect 50 50 blend of iced tea and lemonade. Many have recognized it in their local convenience stores in the Arizona brand bottle. Deep in the golf world, stories have made their way from one another, and the ones who knew Arnie knew that from time to time he would spike it and make an adult version. For years, we have been making this on our own with Smirnoff or Tito’s Vodka, but now MillerCoors has made life ultra simple and taken that step out. We can now go to the liquor store and find Arnold Palmer sitting on the shelf in a single, 6 pack, or 12 pack. As ones who enjoy trying a new drink, a few of my friends and I took a taste test, for science. The results were 5/5 of us thought it tasted 95% similar to the Arizona Arnold Palmer. Also, after 3 of these drinks, 5/5 of us noticed a significant change in our behavior. Be careful when enjoying this drink because it tastes that good! It will most likely be your new go to on the links or at the beach. This adult drink replicates the John Daly. Golfers have been known to share many secrets and maybe, in this instance, Arnie shared his beverage of choice with John, and John Daly made the adult version famous. Now that Miller made the adult version, they have you covered!

Nothing beats 5 golfing Sunday’s every year. Can you guess what those 5 Sundays are? It’s the 4 major Sundays and the Sunday of the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup. A few years back my dad got to have the experience of a lifetime and witnessed the Masters in person. He saw Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player all play together in the par 3 contest, truly a golfers dream! On top of the golf stories that I could go on for hours about, he mentioned that there’s an official drink of the Masters. Huh? I knew of the famed pimento sandwich but never a beverage. After a quick google search I found the Azalea, the Masters famed drink! It consists of 1 part lime juice, 1 part pineapple juice, 3 parts gin (I recommend Tanqueray) and a splash of grenadine. Shaken with ice is the way to go! Next April when you’re watching the Masters come Sunday, remember the Azalea and you’ll feel more connected to the tournament.

At the moment I am not aware of official drinks of the other 3 majors or for team USA. At the very least, please, let's come up with a drink for when we support team USA at the end of the year during the Ryder Cup. Until we do, we can support with an American classic in Miller Lite on Sunday.

If people want to vote one in, I am voting for a Transfusion. After many hear the name of this drink, I see a confused look on their face, and the notorious question soon follows. What’s a Transfusion? I fell victim to this when I first joined Metacomet CC in Providence, RI. After playing in a weekend tournament, I ordered my golf go-to, a Cape Codder (Cranberry, vodka, and lime), and the table all ordered Transfusions. This is the first time I learned about this notorious golf beverage. It consists of vodka (Kettle One or Tito’s work great!), ginger ale, and a splash of grape juice. Trust me, once you have one you get hooked! Chances are you may order them afterwards at other restaurants/bars. A fair warning, that puzzled face look that your friends gave you when you ordered one at the golf course- a non golf course bartender may give you that same puzzled look. If you’re in any luck, the restaurant will add it to the menu after they find out about this golf secret and name it after you.

Golf has many twists and turns and finding out about golf secret drinks may be one of them. Be careful, if you dive deep into this it opens up a whole new world, especially when you search for European golf drinks. My beverage go-tos have expanded from this so I would definitely recommend trying the transfusion! We all thank MillerCoors for their phenomenal work in creating a drink worthy of the King. In conclusion, let’s rally together and come up with a drink for team USA, thank you America!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Brews and the games we love- an intro to beer sponsorship beyond your backyard!

There has always been a symbiosis between sporting events and beverage marketing. All over the world, beverage brands are sponsoring teams/leagues to promote themselves to their consumers. In this piece, we are going to look at different sports all over the world and the brands that support them in hopes of expanding our horizons and seeing how other regions celebrate their local ball games.

North America
Starting in our own backyard, I’m sure many of you are already familiar with the powerhouses that market in the USA, Canada and Mexico. Coors Light and Molson Canadian are huge sponsors of the NHL Hockey league. Heineken is a main sponsor of the Major league Soccer organization. Their Tecate Mexican beer is the “Official beer of Boxing”. Even right here at home, Sam Adams and Boston Beer are now the main sponsor of the Boston Red Sox!

South America
Soccer in South America has a rabid fanbase and a long history, but- in 2003- beer and other forms of alcohol were banned in stadiums in Brazil and other nations in an attempt to limit fan violence. Those bans were lifted in 2014 to allow for the world cup and have since made a slight comeback. Modelo Especial has become the main sponsor of UFC which has been growing in popularity over the last decade.

Outside of the main World Cup sponsor, brands like Heineken, Carlsberg and Guinness are some of the more well-known sports sponsors in Europe. Heineken is the main sponsor of the UEFA Champions league and has a large global reach with their main sponsorship of F1 – Racing. Carlsberg sponsored the European championships and a Canadian beer company Carling, which is owned by Molson Canadian, was the main sponsor of an inter-league tournament in England from 2003-2016.

Carling and Castle are the most popular beverages in South Africa but alcohol sponsorships are an area of concern for the region. Petitions against alcohol marketing campaigns are gaining traction due to rising issues with alcoholism.

Asia / Oceania
Asian alcohol is largely an unknown quantity for those of us who haven’t traveled over there. However, through my research I discovered there are many brands that are quite popular. Asahi Extra Dry is one of the most popular beers in Japan and is a staple in most Japanese baseball stadiums. The Chinese beer brand Tsingtao is a popular choice and is the main sponsor of the Asian Football Confederation and have recently extended their contract until 2020.

It is clear to me from this short investigation that many brands are still using sports to promote themselves to consumers across the globe with big players like Molson Coors and Heineken International still taking a huge chunk of the profits. However across the globe there is still a number of brands out there vying for their place on center stage. Smaller brands like Carling, Castle or Asahi give us opportunities to expand our taste pallet beyond our local package store.

By Cam Corey

All photo copyrights belong to original sources (Sam Adams, Modelo, Tecate)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

What to Drink When You are Gluten Free - By: Jon Churchill

What to drink when you are Gluten free 
By Jon Churchill

When I first went gluten free about 3 years ago, giving up the pastas, pastries, pizza and breads were tough. But my biggest struggle was how was I going to replace BEER???
For the last 15 plus years, I have been living with digestive issues.  I had been tested for Crohn’s disease, lactose intolerance, Celiac, etc. Even though I had tested negative for an allergy to gluten, eliminating or reducing it drastically from my diet is the only thing that has gotten rid of my chronic headaches and eased my stomach problems.   
The gluten-free options for both food and alcohol choices were extremely limited.  My wife was great. She tried to make all my favorites gluten-free but the substitutions left the end result less than desirable.  Now the pasta, flour, pizzas have come a long way and I am enjoying eating food again.  

As far as my question of how I was going to replace beer?  Well, I first turned to the Cider category.   Angry Orchard was my first cider that I turned to. Some of the others on the market were too bitter, or too sweet, or had an aftertaste.  I also found out that Captain Morgan rums were gluten-free so adding a floater to my Angry Orchard changed the taste and gave me some variety.  I kept trying all the ciders and added Woodchuck and Downeast to my list of favorites.   While traveling, I came to like cherry ciders so my choices expanded.   
Another category that has become popular with the gluten-free community is the Spiked Seltzers.  I had never been a seltzer drinker and wasn’t a fan of the first few that I tasted. I did find one that I enjoyed and as a softball/ hockey/ golf enthusiast, I could drink a few after a game or round. White Claw became my summer go-to drink of choice. 

As I researched for my blog, I stumbled on some news that has changed the landscape for gluten-free beer for me.   I have tried many of the gluten-free beers on the market and- especially as a light beer drinker- none of the options I took home were ones I could sit down on my couch, watch and game and actually enjoy drinking.  Back to the ciders and seltzers for me. 
Then I found out that- in the US- to be labeled as gluten-free there must be less than 20ppm (parts per million) when tested.  In other countries they require it to be less than 5ppm.  I found out a few beers that were under 20ppm do not advertise as gluten-free but are, in fact, safe to consume- especially for someone with a gluten sensitivity or preference.   This is not a professionally run test and everyone’s trial will vary, of course.
In my findings with trying to drink these low gluten-type beers, my results were mixed.  I experienced moderate side effects with Pacifico and Coors Light but, for whatever reason, Miller High Life allowed me to consume beer for the first time in over 3 years without leaving me with a gluten hangover that lingers for days.  
So, after doing lots of semi-scientific experimentation, it looks like beer, like food, has come a long way in the gluten-free category. There are a lot of tasty ciders, spiked seltzers, and low-gluten beers out there!