You’ve been procrastinating and you know it. Don’t worry. For one thing, you’re not the only one. For another, there’s still time to get awesome gifts for everyone you know in time for Christmas.
The most failproof presents are food and beverage accessories, because everyone loves and needs to eat and drink. As such, we’ve compiled our favorite epicurean gift guides of 2014. Here, you’ll find many of our products as well as a whole host of other great gifts. And while many of the items featured are made by other companies, we make or distribute many of them ourselves as well (like the bottle writing pens and giant glass on Wine Awesomeness’s list, Spin-The-Shot and whiskey stones in Sur La Table’s guide, or Scrappy’s Bitters as featured by Food52). So check to see if we’ve got what you want, and remember, order them through our website by 3pm and we’ll ship it out the same day! (That’s all year round, too.) Happy shopping!
“It’s an indisputable fact that life is better when you’re drinking well.” True that, Supercompressor. Check out their guy-focused Holiday Home Bar Gift Guide, with a ton of True products including The Penguin Shaker, Twine‘s Moby Whale Bottle Opener, and all eight products in the Under $10 section (skull shot glasses, Colossal ice cube tray, muddler, strainer, jigger, reamer, flask funnel and shaker). You can still get the ones that have sold out via Supercompressor – just order them through our website.
Food52 is one of our favorite recipe sites for dishes and drinks alike, and they love assembling the beautifully curated Provisions section of their website into gift guides based around themes from stocking stuffers to holiday exclusives to “For the Cocktail Connoisseur.”
Tasting Table offers “the smoking gun of holiday gift guides” tailored to everyone on your list based on their food and drink preferences.
Check out Wine Awesomeness for Five Great Gifts for Winos, including red wine stain remover, bottle writing pens and a giant glass capable of fitting an entire bottle of wine.
Dot & Bo is a wonderful resource for gift ideas at any time of year, and their seasonal gift list is filled with unique home, kitchen and beverage pieces including our ZinZig board game and Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup.
Shoppe by ScoutMob never stops hunting for inspired, independently-made goods including gifts for the wine lover, gifts for the beer lover, and boozy gifts in general (“Is there a better present? Hint: no.”).
We’ve been posting festively pretty images of our favorite gift-worthy Twine items (plus a few other products) for #12DaysOfTwine over on our Twine Living Instagram since last Monday. Watch for a complete post on the Twine Living blog this Friday featuring all the products and the basics of wrapping and giving a beautiful gift.
Of all the national holidays we celebrate with glasses raised, one day is more deserving of that fanfare than all the others.
December 5th marks the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition – the 81st anniversary, as of 2014. The enactment of the Twenty-First Amendment in 1933 was one of the greatest milestones in American history, marking the only time a constitutional amendment (the Eighteenth) has been repealed.
Prohibition was a time unlike any other in the United States. What began in the late 19th century as advocacy for temperance quickly became a drive toward teetotalism that would cleave a nation, turn law-abiding citizens to lawlessness, drive governmental crime and corruption, fund astonishing levels of gang violence, spark a monumental shift in social customs, especially for women, and profoundly shake public faith in federal institutions. It spawned speakeasies, generated the word scofflaw, and fanned the careers of people like Lois Long, a writer and socialite in New York City whose illicit escapades into Prohibition’s kaleidoscopically colorful nightlife the rest of the city followed ardently.
Consequently, its rescission demonstrated a national willingness to accept and remedy misguided policy, returned funding to a government in straits, and rekindled a national industry and traditions whose legacies carry on today. Yet for decades – up until about eight years ago, when Portland bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler began officially championing the reinvigoration of Repeal Day – December 5th passed almost unnoticed.
Morgenthaler, who had been encouraging his patrons to celebrate Repeal Day for years, began using his blog in 2006 to publicize the date, which he felt far more people ought to fete. Reaching out to like-minded industry bloggers and bartenders across the country and beyond, Morgenthaler began to build a small but stalwart support for the cause, which quickly snowballed.
Today cities from Seattle to Chicago to Washington, D.C. commemorate December 5th with parties, decor, drink specials and general revelry, and while the movement is still gathering steam, it seems a likely candidate for imminent adoption by the masses. After all, who doesn’t want another excuse to celebrate?
Today, spread the word to customers and coworkers alike – for most people, all it takes for them to get in the Repeal Day spirit is knowing about the occasion. And after work, we recommend gathering your friends, popping a bottle of wine or champagne, pouring a mugful of foamy beer, or kicking back with classic cocktails – because you can. Cheers to Repeal Day!
‘Tis the season for friendly competition! We’re having a Holiday Design Contest open to all you talented designers in the holiday spirit. Design a wine gift bag, standard gift bag or greeting card, and your design could win you $1,000 in cash – and a chance to be featured in our Holiday 2015 paper goods collection!
DEADLINE: JANUARY 1st, 2015
First Place: $1,000 cash prize
Second Place: $300 cash prize
Third Place: $150 cash prize
Submitted designs will be judged by a panel of True Fabrications experts and some of the industry’s most respected retailers in wine and spirits. Coverage of the competition designs will be featured here on our True blog and on our Twine Living blog. Winners will be announced on both blogs on January 15, 2015.
Download full contest details and templates in our Holiday Design Competition Submission Kit here:
Questions after reading? Contact us: email@example.com.
Best of luck to all of you!
Meet Taiko, product model extraordinaire and one of our many #DogsOfTrue!
Job Title: Product Model
Person: Val, Marketing Design Manager
Best Dog Friend: Shadow
Time at True: 1 year, 8 months
Favorite True Product: Playful Pup Bottle Holder
Favorite True moment: When we moved into our new office, the first time I got to run around the roof with the other dogs. It was the BEST.
(Left to right: Oakley, Rain, Cedar, me and Rasta. You’ll meet them all soon.)
(That’s Erin in my kennel.)
(I’m very popular.)
Signature trick to get attention: Tripping, bumping into walls.
Worst trouble I ever got into: One time Val went into a meeting without me, so I pulled all the papers off her desk and ate her catalog.
Fun Facts: I’m the only known dog to have failed the guide dog test on clumsiness alone. Here’s what my reviewer said about me:
“Early in training, it was noticed that Taiko lacked coordination and general body control, tripping and even falling on a regular basis, especially on stairs. He was thoroughly examined by our vet and an outside neurology specialist. Though nothing definitive was found during medical testing, his coordination was compared to that of a 6 month old puppy. It was decided that Taiko’s lack of coordination could pose safety issues when guiding a blind client. Due to this, Taiko is being career changed. He is a friendly and affectionate dog who will make a nice addition to a loving family home.”
The entire True team was ecstatic when I failed the test – and I got to come back to Val and True for keeps!
Follow me on Instagram @TaikoWaiko, and check back on the True Blog soon to meet my fellow #DogsOfTrue.
A lot of food holidays are arbitrary. (You just missed National Pizza With the Works Except Anchovies Day, for instance.) But National Apple Cider Day comes with a folkloric history.
According to legend, on November 18, 1307, William (Wilhelm) Tell and his son Walter were passing through the town square in the Swiss Alpine village of Altdorf. At the center of the square stood a pole, upon which the town bailiff, Gessler, had placed his hat. The hat stood for the imperial Austrian authority, under whose rule Switzerland was subjugated, and which Gessler represented. All who passed before the hat were to bow, upon penalty of death.
As can be expected with this type of legend, William Tell refused to bow. Gessler ordered Tell’s immediate arrest. Seeking to make an example of the dissident, Gessler then posed Tell, who was a known marksman, a simple challenge: shoot an apple from his son’s head, and both would be allowed to walk free. Miss, and both would die.
Tell took two arrows from the selection offered, and took aim at the apple atop Walter’s head. He shot cleanly through it. Tell was then asked what he had taken an additional arrow for, and he replied that had his son been harmed, it would have been for Gessler. At this second act of treason, Gessler refused to release Tell. Instead, he had him bound, and Gessler himself set off with Tell to bring him to jail in Kussnacht.
Had there not been a storm in sailing to Kussnacht, Apple Cider Day still might not have a backstory. Instead, a storm blew up on Lake Lucerne, and the crew released Tell, who was capable of steering the boat to shore. Tell leapt to shore himself, pushed the boat with Gessler and his crew back out onto the wind-whipped lake, and set off to Kussnacht. There, he awaited Gessler’s party, and as they approached in pursuit he shot Gessler through the heart. As the story goes, the act would spark a series of events that would lead to the Swiss revolution.
True or not, eight hundred years later people across the globe commemorate the folkloric incident by sipping cider on the same day.
Statue of William and Walter Tell in the town square in Altdorf, Switzerland.
Apple cider itself is more tightly bound up in American revolutionary history than in Swiss. It was a de facto national drink of choice around the time of the revolution, which circumvented colonial dependence on Old World imports like wine and tea. Another folk hero, Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman), is to thank for taking seeds from Pennsylvania cider mills and planting the early states’ western frontiers with apple trees, paving the way for American expansionism. As pioneers moved west, hardy fruit awaited them. The apples were used not to eat (cider apples are extremely bitter, often to the point of inedibility) but to make cider, a safe alternative to water that likely helped many colonists, including children, survive.
Cider apples in Sister Bay, Wis.
Today, the joys of apple cider are being rediscovered. The fruit is so genetically diverse that the seed of any given apple will grow to produce a fruit entirely unique from its predecessor, meaning there is no shortage of apple varieties to be explored. Meanwhile, traditional American cider apples, used in colonial times and reproduced over the years by grafting, are resurfacing along with a cider culture that has begun to truly recover for the first time since Prohibition. Cider bars, cider festivals, cider pairings and cider cocktails – even cider mimosas – are all trending at breakneck speed.
Thanks to its renaissance, November 18 is certainly a day to celebrate.
Sources: Swiss Info, The Smithsonian, Ken B Travels, Sister Bay, The Boys Club and Cidercraft Magazine.
Above: The HOST Tilt Variable Aerator, featured in the November 2014 issue of Gourmet Business.
As a well-informed and thoughtfully curated resource for gourmet retailers, we have long followed Gourmet Business online magazine. As such, we were honored to be included in GB’s November issue, as the very first item in the feature article on innovative barware that is revolutionizing the category.
Welcome back to the True blog! We’ve been busy, but we’re ready to return with weekly posts dedicated directly to you, our readers. Here, you’ll find hypercurrent information addressing everything you need to know in the industry: wine, beer, spirits and merchandise trends, gift guides, retail tips and tricks, the stories behind our products and people, and go-to beverage basics to rely on. Bookmark, and check back next week!
The beverage industry is rebranding. Where the markers of the finest wines and liquors were once indecipherable French labeling, prestigious chateau designations and intricate design, today’s most enticing brands are bright, bold and modern.
Top left: Minneapolis’s Bauhaus Brew Labs Sky Five. Top right: Queseria La Antigua de Fuentesauco, inspired by vintage milk bottles. Bottom right: La Cale, France. Bottom left: Kabinet Brewery, Serbia.
The trend stems from both the producer and consumer sides. For producers, obstacles to joining the industry are ever fewer. New World wine regions are unlocking their potential, encouraging a plethora of new winemakers in regions from the Finger Lakes to South Africa and Walla Walla to New Zealand. Antiquated liquor laws are relaxing their grip on small-scale distillers. Beverages once considered second-tier, including beer and cider, have risen dramatically in quality and, accordingly, prestige. These advances have bred a healthy competition for consumers’ attention.
TL: Aluminum bottles support an outdoor adventure theme – Base Camp Brewing Co., Portland, Ore. TR: Niagara Oast House Brewers, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Center left: Calif.’s Stack Wines come packaged in four unbreakable take-anywhere vessels. Bottom: 450 North Brewing Co., Columbus, Ind. Below: Great Raft Brewing, Shreveport, La.
And more consumers are taking notice. Much has been made of the rising numbers of younger drinkers, especially Millennials. This generation is more adventurous than previous ones in its beverage decisions – nearly 15% of its members will try a new drink at any given bar, as compared to only 8% of the general population – and though Millennials’ spending power per capita is currently the lowest, overall spending power is expected to overtake every other market segment based on the generation’s raw numbers.
Millennials’ consumption patterns challenge producers to provide a unique experience sans wine snobbery at a low price point. These patterns reflect a larger democratization of beverage: where once fine wine and spirits served as status symbols, the movement to make them accessible across new demographics has simplified complex vocabulary, devalued pretense and made it okay for drinkers to like a beverage simply because it tastes good – no need to pick out all the subtle undertones and nuances.
TL: Rosso del Vigneto Nuovo bagged wine by Reverse Innovation. TR: Westbrook Brewing Co.‘s Gose, brewed in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. with coriander and sea salt. BR: Alcohol branding has crossed over into other specialty beverages, especially coffee. Here, Colo.’s Whiskey Barrel Coffee beans. BL: Paradise Gourmet Club coffee sampler in wood box.
As shelves fill with the bounties of a new guard of urban craft breweries and biodynamic micro-wineries, branding and packaging have become the most effective way to communicate accessibility and individuality. Bright colors, simplified labels and bold graphics are among the motifs of modern beverage packaging. Where vintage aesthetics are tied in, they are incorporated with a modern spin, and sometimes even ironically. Unconventional packaging shapes and functions are frequently used as building blocks of a unique brand identity. The overall outcome is a reconfiguration of the world of beverage as low-key, highly varied and enjoyable for everyone.
Above: A bottle of traditional Polish Nalewka designed by Foxtrot Studio in Warsaw.
Below: Where brands reach for traditional or handmade aesthetics, they often do so in a modern way. TL: Quebec’s Chic Choc Spiced Rum modernizes a classic look. TR: Stockholm-born global company Our/Vodka makes its liquor local by building microdistilleries in various cities, sourcing ingredients from nearby and naming the final product after that city. BR: Tennessee’s Ole Smoky Charred Moonshine, packaged in long-trending Mason jars. BL: Auckland, New Zealand’s Stolen’s Coffee & Cigarettes Spiced Rum goes for a handmade look.
Product popularity reflects the same trends. Brightly colored and playful beverage accessories have been enjoying steady increases in popularity, as have vintage pieces with a modern spin. Click to shop top sellers.
Photo credits: Punch Drink, The Dieline, Uncrate.
Bruce is on the Loose! Get creative and take a picture of this fun guy for a chance to win $50 in True credit and an exclusive gift. Submit photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the hashtag #bruceontheloose. The photo with the most likes wins! Contest ends March 31, 2014 at 11:59 pm PST.
You represent that you own all copyrights in the photographs and have been given permission by each individual depicted or represented in the photo and bind such individuals to these release terms. As a condition of submitting your photo(s), you unconditionally and irrevocably 1) assign all copyrights and other ownership rights in the photo to True Fabrications, Inc. (“True”); 2) waive all claims to compensation for use of the photo; and 3) waive any claims under copyright law, right of publicity or privacy, misappropriation or misuse of image, defamation, and another common law or statutory claims under the laws of any jurisdiction. You acknowledge that True may, in its sole discretion, use said photos for any purpose including videos, publications, advertisements, catalogs, news releases, web sites, and any promotional materials in any medium of communications and may be used for advertising, promotion, the use of trade, and/or other commercial purposes.
Valentine’s Day, love it or hate it, is almost here. Don’t worry singles, you only have four more days of watching the lovebirds canoodle until VDday 2015. Lovebirds, if you’re not going out for dinner, why not stay home and cook for two? Here are the TrueFab top three tips for cooking with our favorite ingredient, wine!
1. Cook with what you’re drinking. If you’re serving red wine, don’t cook with white – the acidic flavor of the white won’t complement the richness of the red. Even better: buy two bottles of the same wine, one for cooking, one for drinking (bonus: if you cook with less, that means more to drink).
2. DO NOT COOK WITH “COOKING WINE.” This is likely a cheap wine with food coloring and nice packaging. You’re better off sticking with a classic two-buck chuck.
3. You can’t drink it? Don’t cook with it. Poor wine can ruin an otherwise wonderful dish. This can be tricky though (see point 1) as you may find yourself running low in the bottle as you sample your ingredients (hence, the importance of two bottles).
Cooking not your style? Wine and takeout pair quite beautifully as well.
Cheers to a very Happy Valentine’s Day from The True Fabrications Team
Champagne, by any other name, is typically a blend of of vibrant, high-acid wines blended down to create a house style that shouldn’t vary from year to year. While that is comforting when you’re looking for the old stand-by, smaller grower/producers are creating some vintage releases that are unique, vibrant, and still won’t break the bank. Look for champagne that is labeled RM (Recoltant Manipulant) and don’t be afraid to spend a couple dollars more than you might have on one of the big name Champagnes. The larger houses and distributors offer special incentives to retailers to offer these wines at small-losses, just to establish themselves as the champagne of choice. The return when buying RM wines should be two-fold; the retailer and the grower are getting paid, and you’re getting a wine that is hand-crafted and unique. Look for the vintage “Special Club” releases for wines that are typically affordable and are drinking well above above their price.
When looking outside of Champagne, there are terrific wines and terrific values. Franciacorta, Prosecco, and Moscato are all great options from Italy. Spain has their Cava, but beware the lowest priced bottles as they tend to be headaches waiting to happen. The Loire Valley has some incredible Samur Mousseaux, which is a Chenin Blanc perfect for seafood. Domestic wines are producing some excellent contenders, and offering them at very (very!) reasonable prices. Oregon and New Mexico (yes, really) are making some of our favorites.
So as you celebrate the New Year, think about exploring the versatility of these wines on a more regular basis. The bright acidity will cut through fats, and the toasty notes will come through in the finish. With bubbles becoming increasingly affordable, you can try them all and celebrate your way through the year!