Pennsylvania Lawmakers Propose Liquor Sales Compromise

Plus other news and notes in the world of wine, spirits and beer.

In a report published today by Pennsylvania's Morning Call newspaper, some of the state's lawmakers are pushing proposals that will grant semiprivatization of the state's liquor business. Last year, the state House passed legislation that expanded sales of alcohol and effectively ended the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's control on the industry, but the effort failed in the Senate. Governor Tom Corbett's latest proposal would create a new category of wine-only stores, while also creating a license for grocery and convenience stores, allowing them to sell up to four bottles of wine per customer per visit. If passed, the legislation would also expand beer sales to restaurants and distributors, leaving liquor sales exclusively to state-owned liquor stores. 

In honor of World Water Day on March 22, Marc Mondavi, The Divining Rod, and the C. Mondavi & Family company announced a new campaign and donation to support charity: water, a nonprofit organization that brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Mondavi and his family's company, C. Mondavi & Family, have donated to charity: water and have also set up a donation page for other to donate as well. Mondavi's wine brand, The Divining Rod, will run other promotions throughout the year benefiting the charity. 

Membership-based dining group Dinner Lab is launching a 10-week dining series "sourced entirely from data." The group will survey members across 10 cities in its network, who will decide the location, the menu and the up-and-coming chef who will prepare the meal. The crowd-sourced event will feature 10 different dinners and happy hours across the country, billed as "kind of like Top Chef, but real." Based on feedback from attendees, one of the chefs will win their own restaurant. 

Television personality and co-host of the Today Show Kathie Lee & Hoda Kathie Lee Gifford launched her own wine brand in partnership with Monterey's Scheid Family Wines. Named GIFFT, the initial offerings include a 2012 Estate Grown Chardonnay and 2011 Estate Grown Red Blend, both priced at $20/750ml, available nationally and online. 

On April 7, beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev will enter the cider market with its Johnny Appleseed Hard Apple Cider. The launch comes amidst flagging A-B domestic beer sales while categories like cider and craft beer continues to grow their market shares. The Johnny Appleseed cider is A-B's first new brand in eight years. Available nationally, it will be packaged in 6-packs of 12-ounce bottles and sold individually in 16- and 24-ounce cans. 

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