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U.S. Breweries are Booming According to Census Bureau; Wine, Distilled Liquor Industries Also Up

The number of U.S. breweries more than doubled from 398 to 869 between 2007 and 2012, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released from the 2012 Economic Census Industry Series. The breweries industry reported $28.3 billion in shipments in 2012, an increase of nearly 33.6 percent since 2007.

Employment in the breweries industry also climbed over the five-year span, rising to 26,077 employees in 2012, up by 3,825 or 17.2 percent from 22,252 employed in the industry in 2007. Still, while overall employment within the brewing industry grew, the average number of employees per brewery decreased sharply from 56 in 2007 to 30 in 2012, a possible indication of the growth of smaller craft breweries within the larger American brewing landscape.

The economic census data also reveals that beer shipments in kegs have grown substantially but still represent just a fraction of overall beer shipments. Specifically, beer shipments in barrels and kegs rose 88.2 percent to $2.4 billion in 2012. However, kegs represented just 8.6 percent of all beer shipments, up from 6.1 percent in 2007.

The newly released economic census data also detailed growth within the American wine and distilled liquors industries. Data shows that the wineries industry employed 37,602 people in 2012, up from 33,390 people in 2007. Average payroll per employee increased 10.7 percent during this period.

Total product shipments of wineries was fairly evenly split between red and white wine: 31.6 percent red wine, 29.2 percent white wine. Meanwhile, rosé grape and other fruit and berry wines accounted for 2.6 percent of total shipments.

Sales of distilled liquor increased 29.9 percent from 2007 to 2012, outpacing the increases observed in wine sales (16.5 percent increase) and beer sales (9.6 percent increase) during the same period. Wine and distilled alcoholic beverage merchant wholesalers reported $78.3 billion in sales, a 23.6 percent increase from 2007 to 2012. By comparison, beer and ale merchant wholesalers reported sales of $57.7 billion in 2012, up 10.7 percent.

Future 2012 Economic Census Industry Series reports will be released through February 2015. For more information on these future releases or to see which industries’ data have been released already, see http://business.census.gov.

Celebrate the Craft of American Cheesemaking at New York’s Saxelby Cheesemongers

SaxelbyCheesemongers1-RNBy Lucas Witman

For those venturing into the burgeoning world of American farmstead cheeses there is probably no better point of entry than New York’s Saxelby Cheesemongers, and there is perhaps no better tour guide than the store’s founder and namesake Anne Saxelby. Saxelby has dedicated her career to promoting the craft of American cheesemaking, and at her flagship cheese shop in Manhattan’s Essex Market, hungry shoppers can indulge in some of the best dairy products the northeastern United States has to offer.

Saxelby began her career as an art student at New York University, but it was during an early employment opportunity at New York’s most celebrated cheesemonger Murray’s Cheese that she fell in love with the dairy staple. Her stint at Murray’s led her to an internship at Cato Corner Farm, a small dairy and artisan cheese producer in Colchester, Connecticut, where she began to open her eyes to the immense world of American farmstead cheeses. From there, Saxelby began traveling around the United States and eventually Europe, visiting small family dairy farms and educating herself about the artisan cheesemaking process.

From the beginning of her career, Saxelby knew that she wanted to open her own business, but it took her a while to find her niche within the specialty food landscape. While traveling in Paris, she became acquainted with Fromagerie Laurent Dubois, a gourmet store specializing only in artisan cheeses. It occurred to her that there was no equivalent to this shop in New York City. “In New York, you find all these specialty food stores, but there was nobody just focused on cheese and dairy,” she said. “Cheese is where my expertise is. I’m not an expert on olive oil. I’m not an expert on vinegar. I’m not an expert on the best olive or cured meat selection. So this is perfect for me.”

In 2006, Saxelby first opened her eponymous shop in the eclectic Essex Market on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The modest shop occupies a mere 150 square feet and includes a long counter, finishing at a simple 3-foot cheese case. A walk-in refrigerator rounds out the location, where shoppers can pick up milk, cream, butter and other dairy staples. Saxelby in part credits the small size of the shop with its continued success. “It allows us to really move through products and rotate things and change product constantly,” she said.

The business philosophy behind Saxelby Cheesemongers is simple: the promotion of American farmstead cheeses produced at small, independent dairy farms in the American Northeast. “American farmstead is not only delicious, but it is made locally, and it is about supporting local farmers,” Saxelby said. “The goal was then as it is today to be a bridge between the farm and the person eating the cheese.”

Saxelby offers customers a carefully curated selection of artisan cheeses produced by farmers who she knows by name at farms she and her staff have visited themselves. Although always looking to learn about new farmers and bring her customers something fresh, Saxelby does admit to having a few favorite cheesemakers. She praised The Cellars at Jasper Hill for its consistent commitment to producing great cheeses. Of West Cornwall, Vermont-based Twig Farm, she says, “They are unparalleled in terms of flavor and quality and nuance.” She also expressed particular admiration for Cazenovia, New York’s Meadowood Farms.

When it comes to the particular cheeses that are most popular among Saxelby Cheesemongers’ customers, it can be difficult to pin down a specific favorite, as the selection is constantly in flux. However, there are a few standouts Saxelby points out as particularly in demand. The Ledyard from Meadowood Farms is a current top seller – a soft-ripened sheep’s milk cheese wrapped in grape leaves that have been soaked in local beer. Woodcock Farm’s Summer Snow, a sheep’s milk camembert-style cheese, is another favorite. And Cabot Clothbound Cheddar form the Cellars at Jasper Hill is a perpetual bestseller.

SaxelbyCheesemongers2-RNAt Saxelby Cheesemongers, Anne Saxelby attempts to create a unique shopping experience that lures cheese aficionados and beginners alike away from the supermarket cheese case and into this dedicated space where she can offer them something that they simply cannot get anywhere else. “We’re really fun. Everyone that works at Saxelby, we have a really distinct passion for these cheeses. The experience is going to be a lot different from going to a grocery store. We are not intimidating, but try to educate through taste,” she said.

“We also have a selection of things you’re probably not going to find at the grocery store. The quality of the cheese we have is amazing, because we are cut-to-order, and we move through our inventory really quickly,” Saxelby added.

In addition, Saxelby and her staff pride themselves on the personal service they are able to provide, guiding the customer to the particular cheese of their dreams. “We are a cut-and-wrap cheese counter. Nothing is pre-cut. Nothing is pre-packaged. When a customer comes up to the counter, we play‘cheese detective’ and try to snuff out what they are looking for,” she said. “We give as many samples as people may want … We really just try to ask questions and see what people are looking for.”

With the holiday season approaching, Saxelby invites holiday shoppers to come into her shop to pick out the perfect cheese selection for a cocktail party or holiday get-together. And for those traveling home to spend the season with family, Saxelby Cheesemongers offers shoppers a special selection that is sure to surprise and delight loved ones.

For Saxelby, American farmstead cheese is a personal passion that extends well beyond her professional commitments and into her basic philosophies about life. And this commitment to our country’s vast cheese landscape shows itself in the quality of products that Saxelby Cheesemongers offers, as well as in the shop’s quality of service.

“For me, the pleasure of eating artisan cheese is just incredible. Once you’ve had a really wonderful piece of cheese, it changes your outlook on things in general,” said Saxelby. “Cheese is a living thing and should be treated as such. We’re entrusted with these really wonderful things that the cheesemakers have made, and it almost feels sacred in a way.”

Natural Grocers Opens in Golden, Colorado

 Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. is opening its 32nd Colorado location in Golden on October 21. 

“Natural Grocers is honored to open a new location in the Golden community,” Kemper Isely, Co-president of Natural Grocers. “As a Colorado company approaching our 60th anniversary, we view every new Colorado store as a celebration of making healthy living more accessible and affordable for everyone.”

Shoppers in the Golden area may wonder how a grocery store can change people’s lives. “It’s because we provide the resources that people need to live a life of optimum health and vitality with natural products and honest labels,” Isely explained.

Golden’s new store takes over the location of the former Golden Bowl, which was also a Colorado-owned company that opened the same year as Natural Grocers in 1955. Many elements of the bowling alley will live through in the grocery store, including the lanes, which were refurbished into tables, and a garage door that will open to create an open air produce area.

Fairway Market Names Dorothy Carlow As CMO

Fairway Group Holdings Corp. has named Dorothy Carlow as its new Chief Merchandising Officer, effective Monday, November 3Carlow will lead the merchandising team and the company’s buying and sales strategies. She will also be working with the marketing department to amplify and develop programs and promotions that articulate and bring to life Fairway’s very unique value proposition.

“Dorothy has experience in building innovative business plans to propel improved efficiency and sales,” said Jack Murphy, Chief Executive Office of Fairway.  “Over her career, she has demonstrated talent for improving profitability through focused initiatives that standardize merchandising, purchasing, and ordering processes across a multi-state grocery store fleet.”

Carlow is extremely excited to join the Fairway team, noting that, “I look forward to working with all the people I have met.”  She added, “Fairway is an iconic New York brand with huge growth potential – one that I am excited to be a part of.  The food experience is very much like New York – it is memorable.”

Carlow comes to Fairway from her most recent position as Chief Merchandising Officer of Earth Fare, a North Carolina based specialty supermarket chain, where she led merchandising, marketing, transportation, and logistics.

At Fairway, she will report directly to Jack Murphy, Chief Executive Officer.

Spooky Gourmet Cocktail Mixes

Spooky Cocktail Mixers are made using high quality natural ingredients that deliver a truly extraordinary fresh, balanced taste with no high fructose corn syrup, no MSG, no allergens, and are gluten-free.

Spooky Gourmet Cocktail Mixes include a Horseradish Bloody Mary that will scare your taste buds and put your mouth into pure delight with its 30 natural ingredients. It is brimming with chunks of spice and the great taste of horseradish. Friendly Bloody Mary is made to delight your taste buds without the horseradish, but with 29 other ingredients providing an amazing and complex big bold flavor. Blue Agave Nectar Margarita delivers a unique and exceptional flavor, not too tart and not too sweet. It gives you smooth refreshing perfection in a glass. Mojito features a light minty flavor with real lime juice and sweetened with just the right amount of pure natural sugar making a balanced, refreshing flavor. Rum Runner  is a unique and fresh blend of natural tropical fruit flavors.

Sweet & Sour is a blend of high quality natural ingredients creating the ideal sweet and sour mix that is fresh tasting and perfectly balanced. Strawberry Daiquiri is a wonderful blend of natural ingredients that makes an excellent strawberry daiquiri, margarita or other creations. It delivers a freshly made taste and is made with real strawberries and naturally sweetened with real sugar. Pina Colada is a refreshing blend of natural flavors that is rich, creamy and perfectly balanced. It’s made with real pineapple, coconut and naturally sweetened. Spooky’s Lime Juice is naturally sweetened and the flavored lime juice delivers the fresh taste crucial to making a perfect cocktail. It’s also great for cooking.

Spooky Gourmet Cocktail Mixes come in 32-ounce bottles. 1.75 liter bottles, 1 gallon bottle and 3- and 5-gallon bag-in-box. They can be found at foodservice and beverage retailers and distributors, grocery and discount retailers, food and beverage catalogs, specialty retailers or online at www.spookybeverages.com

Feeding America Releases New Findings From Landmark Hunger Report

Feeding America, the nation’s largest provider of charitable food assistance to low-income Americans, today announced additional findings from its landmark report, Hunger in America 2014.

The study is the largest and most comprehensive study of people seeking charitable food assistance in the United States ever conducted.

Among the findings of the study:

  • 40 percent of households report that, in the past year, they have watered down food or drinks to make them last longer, in an effort to have enough food to feed everyone in the home. This rate rises to 45 percent among households with children in the home.
  •  Sixty-nine percent of households report choosing between paying for utilities and paying for food in the past year. Thirty-four percent report making this choice every month. This is a particularly tough choice to make in the midst of harsh, cold winters, especially in homes that include seniors and children.
  • Nearly 5 million households not currently enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) may qualify for the program based on their reported household income.
  • Among the nearly 55 percent of households who receive SNAP benefits, a fifth exhaust their full month’s benefit within a week.
  • Only 5 percent of the households served by Feeding America are homeless.
  • 57 percent of households report choosing between paying their housing costs and buying food in the past year. 27 percent report making this choice every month.
  • Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of agencies served by Feeding America report reductions in services in the past year, totaling 11,000 agencies that have needed to cut they hours they operate, lay off staff, or limit the area they can serve.
  • An estimated 28 percent of feeding programs (such as food pantries and meal programs) report having less food available than needed to meet client needs.

More than 60,000 people confidentially answered questions about their personal circumstances for the study.

The study represents findings from 200 Feeding America food banks, which annually provide more than 3 billion meals to people facing hunger through 58,000 food pantries, kitchens, and meal service programs.

Initial findings released in August reported that, at some point in the year, more than 46 million people are currently relying on food assistance from an agency served by Feeding America, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors.

Party in a Box for a Fabulous Wine and Chocolate Tasting

The new tasting party gift set from Brix includes four varieties of chocolate in 3-ounce boxes: Extra Dark at 70 percent cacao, Medium Dark at 60 percent, Smooth Dark at 54 percent, and Milk Chocolate at 46 percent. The set includes a wooden cutting board and knife to break chocolate into bite size pieces and is packaged in a keepsake box with a special tasting guide.

Each chocolate pairs with different wine varietals or styles. Try Extra Dark with full bodied complex reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Barolo or Malbec; taste the Medium Dark with fruitier medium-bodied wines like Merlot, Shiraz, Zinfandel, Chianti, and Rhone; try Smooth Dark with Champagne, Riesling and softer reds as Pinot Noir, or vintage port.  Milk chocolate complements rose, Burgundy, port, sherry and dessert wines. Find pairings suggestions on all Brix packaging.

When Brix owners met up with Philip Goodband, Master of Wine, one of 300 of the highest level wine experts in the world, he tasted something very special in the pairings.

“It is the degree of bitterness combined with the other ingredients that is the key,” Goodband said. “Brix has a different set of textures, something in the formula that I’m not privy to but whatever it is, it works.” Goodband helped Brix to write the tasting guide in the gift set. An ideal gift for the wine enthusiast, the tasting set is available at gourmet retailers, wineries or at the Brix Online Store.

Brix is crafted from the finest single origin cacao beans from Ghana known for red fruit tones. Blended with the best confectionery chocolate, it’s the perfect companion to wine.  Brix is also available in 8-ounce bars, 3-ounce bars, or single-serve bites packages.  Created by Dr. Nick Proia in 2008, Brix is distributed in the US, and 14 other countries.

Doxy’s Pasta Sauce Herbs Turned Canned Tomatoes into Sauce

For an effortless way to add zest to food, Doxy’s Fine Foods , a brand of artisanal seasoning blends, announces the launch of its newest product: Doxy’s™ Pasta Sauce Herbs. The Pasta Sauce Herbs mix, made of sweet garlic and natural spices, is the perfect addition to Italian-style home meals, without added preservatives or excessive sodium.

“Knowing Americans have limited time in the kitchen, I developed our blends to make meal preparation easy, delicious and fun,” says Nina Faull, Founder and CEO of Doxy’s Fine Foods. “Doxy’s Pasta Sauce Herbs is so versatile, and provides a feeling of la bella vita to weekday, home-cooked meals.”

All of Doxy’s seasonings boast gluten-free, fat-free, and no-added MSG natural goodness to meet another demand among Americans: health. With Doxy’s Pasta Sauce Herbs mix, Americans can add flavor to their meals without sacrificing health. Available on Doxy’s website for just $3.50, a package of Pasta Sauce Herbs takes quick home-cooking to the next level. Enhance simple canned tomatoes with a packet of all-natural Doxy’s Herbs to create an impactful, healthy dish. Mixed with extra virgin and olive oil for an herb vinaigrette, or dusted atop buttered baguettes, Doxy’s Pasta Sauce Herbs offer a new twist to a typical standby meal.

National Geographic Announces Multiyear Initiative Focusing on Food

The National Geographic Society is engaging in a multiyear commitment to exploring issues relating to food security and sustainable food systems. The initiative grows out of an eight-month National Geographic magazine series looking at how to feed a growing world population and will touch all platforms of the nonprofit Society, including media and educational outreach. To mark this commitment, the Society is publishing a free iPad app, collecting all currently published stories from the magazine’s food coverage. A short companion video, “Food by the Numbers,” and a world diet interactive will be published online at natgeofood.com.

“We conceived of the magazine series, which launched in May 2014, as an ongoing dialogue with our print and digital audiences, designed to offer context and deeper understanding of challenges and solutions to feeding the world’s population,” said Gary E. Knell, President and CEO of the National Geographic Society. “The topic of food is relevant to all of us, and it quickly became apparent that we could have the most impact if we organized our efforts to span several years, allowing us to make investments in developing deeper layers of storytelling and engagement around the issues.”

The Future of Food iPad app features in-depth coverage from National Geographic’s magazine series, using rich storytelling, photography, video, and interactive maps and graphics to provide a multifaceted perspective on how we can feed our burgeoning population. At natgeofood.com, a short motion graphic video called “Food by the Numbers” lays out solutions to feeding the world’s population, and an interactive world diet calculator shows 40 years of food consumption changes in 22 countries. All are now available.

Additionally this fall, the Society has produced a six-hour television series, “EAT: The Story of Food,” which will premiere over three nights, Nov. 21-23, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, on the National Geographic Channel, to be followed by the DVD release on Dec. 16 via shop.nationalgeographic.com; and the National Geographic Museum will host “FOOD: Our Global Kitchen,” a traveling exhibition from the American Museum of Natural History, New York, beginning Oct. 16.  For more coverage of food issues, visit natgeofood.com. To download the app, go to natgeofoodapp.com.

Editorial coverage in 2014 has been bolstered by a collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which, along with other organizations, provided data for articles and graphics. Together, the Food and Agriculture Organization and National Geographic have participated in joint events to help educate and promote awareness about hunger and nutrition.

The app was made possible through the advertising support of Bayer CropScience, Cargill, Land O’Lakes, Inc. and United Technologies. The diet calculator was supported by a grant from Grace Communications Foundation. The 1772 Foundation, The Christensen Fund and The Rockefeller Foundation contributed grants in support of the magazine series.

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization that believes in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. Each year, National Geographic funds more than 300 research, conservation and exploration projects around the globe, and every month it reaches more than 600 million people through a wide range of media, including digital, print and TV. National Geographic’s grantmaking and reporting are supported by subscribers to the magazine and other members of the Society.

Tribe Hummus Pairs Extra Virgin Olive Oil With Exotic Herbs To Create Newest Limited Batch Flavor

Tribe’s new Herb Infused Olive Oil hummus has a bold taste that is both rustic and refined. The brand’s beloved Classic hummus is blended with exotic za’atar, which is a mixture of sumac, sesame seed and herbs frequently used in Mediterranean foods. This distinctive blend is topped with dried roasted garlic, sesame seeds and then drizzled with olive oil that has also been infused with za’atar, the final touches on this complex flavor is that is simply delicious.

Tribe’s Limited Batch Herb Infused Olive Oil is as versatile as it is unique. Perfect for those looking to add flavor without loading on the sodium or fat, it makes for a great spread or dip for all types of breads, replacing every day table olive oil and butter. Additionally, it’s a great accoutrement for all vegetables including a simple crudite platter or roasted vegetables, namely cauliflower, eggplant and zucchini.

“We’ve gained a reputation of continually introducing new and exciting flavors and flavor combinations to hummus lovers, and the addition of za’atar really delivers on that,” said Adam Carr, CEO of Tribe Mediterranean Foods, Inc.  “Once again I think we found a premium partner for our beloved chickpea.”

Herb Infused Olive Oil is the fourth installment in Tribe’s popular Limited Batch series. Its previous flavor, Rosemary Focaccia, which launched this past summer, was so well-received it recently became part of the permanent portfolio, rebranded as Lemon Rosemary Focaccia, joining the ranks of Everything, another former Limited Batch flavor that became part of the Tribe family of flavors back in 2013.

Tribe Limited Batch Herb Infused Olive Oil can be found at fine grocery stores nationwide. The suggested retail price of the eight-ounce bowls will be $3.49.