Nov 13, 2018


Nov 13, 2018


Some seasonal favorites all retailers should have featured on their shelves this season.

Fall and winter seasons are an exciting time of year for both retailers and consumers. We brace for increased business, and consumers anticipate crisp weather and holiday celebrations that provide the excuse they need to shop for beverages with bolder, more adventurous flavors.

Spiced Beers

Pumpkin ale is the most autumnal, and American, of beer styles. Spiced, squash-infused beers were originally developed in the colonies around the time of the American Revolution. Since the revival of the style by pioneering craft brewers, pumpkin ale has found its way into retail coolers every fall. The style remains, like all things pumpkin spiced, a craving for some and a peculiar novelty for others. Fortunately, clever variations such as pumpkin stout (Elysian Brewing’s Dark O’ The Moon) and pumpkin based wild ales (Cascade Brewing’s Pumpkin Smash) have expanded the palate of these pie flavored brews.

Amber Lagers

There will always be those who aren’t wooed by spiced beer, so it is important to stock some Old World seasonals as well. Munich’s late-September celebration, Oktoberfest, is a world famous beer party. The original Oktoberfest beers were brewed in the M’rzen style, which is German for March, when these long aged beers were fermented. These are reddish lagers with spicy notes. Today, this style is more internationally known as Vienna lager, or amber lager. A popular example is the Mexican brew, Victoria.


Oktoberfest Inspiration

Only beers brewed within the city limits of Munich can be true Oktoberfest, served in Oktoberfest tents. The best example of 19th century M’rzen Oktoberfest is the orange-tinted Spaten Oktoberfest, whereas Hofbr’u’s Oktoberfest is a more modern, golden lager crafted in the broader “festbier” style. Both beers are delicious fall choices.

Seasonal Craft Beers

Today, there are many American craft brewed interpretations of “Oktoberfest” aiming for that original Vienna lager style. These American “Oktoberfest” beers are typically darker, nuttier and drier than classic malt-forward Bavarian brews. Although perennially popular, any reddish lager makes an appropriate and approachable seasonal beer choice. Amber-tinted American classics like Yuengling Lager, Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Brooklyn Lager may not say “Oktober” on the label, but they are all close to the Vienna Lager style, and they are some of America’s best selling beers.


When considering “autumn wines”, the stalwarts of the Thanksgiving table come to mind: Beaujolais, Zinfandel and Riesling. These are all appropriate wines for harvest festivities, but one holiday weekend doesn’t need to define the entire season. Chilly fall celebrations are the perfect condition for indulgence in bold, sweet flavors. Why not savor a glass of Taylor Port or Badia a Coltibuono Vin Santo, while the kids gorge on Halloween candy? Dessert wines aren’t particularly well known to the American market, but when shoppers try them, they usually like them more than they’d expect. These make for clever “trick-or-treat” in-store tastings.

Sparkling Wines

Every holiday season brings an increased demand for sparkling wines. Champagne is always the king, but we prefer to cellar our’s for New Year’s Eve. Few wines match the fresh, fruity spirit of the harvest and the warm flavors of a fall feast better than a bubbly red lambrusco. Lambrusco is a fun, affordable sparkling wine made from fruity red grapes. It’s tannin and juicy berry flavors open the possibility for culinary pairings with hearty dishes that would steamroll sparkling white wines. Classically, lambrusco is paired with pizza. However, a dry lambrusco, like Denny Bini Lambrusco Dell?Emilia, is an incredible match for game and fruit sauces, like, say, turkey and cranberry relish.


Large meals call for the digestive aid of quality spirits. America habitually looks to its most famous spirit, Bourbon, to celebrate. The sweet oaky flavors of Bourbon offer a soothing epilogue to fall meals. The caramel apple scented Woodford Reserve is a classic choice for Bourbon enthusiasts. We particularly enjoy the bitter-sweet flavors of amaro or fernet after a good meal. Although amari typically leans towards the more wintertime aromas of mint and spruce, Mexican Fernet-Vallet offers more autumnal notes of clove and star anise. Its brooding black-brown color and syrupy texture evoke Day of the Dead celebrations.


Ultimately, nothing tastes more like fall than apples. Since brandy is a warm way to end a meal with friends, apple brandy makes a particularly thoughtful choice for fall gatherings. Apple brandy has also seen increasing popularity as an ingredient in cocktail recipes and fall punches. The famous French apple brandy, Calvados, remains an affordable luxury, offering the depth of Cognac with the juicy flavors of apple. Pere Magloire Calvados offers a VSOP grade product that customers can still afford to use as a mixer.