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 e - NEWS

August 1, 2003



1.  Suddenly Chi-Chi:  The New Upscale Rums

2.      Diageo Reacts to Warning Signs

3.  Liquor License Holds up Fieldhouse Opening

4.  New World Brands Begins Bottling Their New Ready to Drink Cocktails

5.      Supreme Court Refuses to Rehear Liquor Liability Case

6.  Busted Bars Suing Underage Drinkers

7.  TIPS Trainers Get Ready


1. Suddenly Chi-Chi:  The New Upscale Rums

By Scott Craven – The Reno Gazette-Journal

July 29, 2003

RENO - Until recently, what most people knew about rum could be stuffed into a dead man’s chest with plenty of room left for a pirate’s yo-ho-hos.

But that is changing as rum, once a bit player on the cocktail circuit, is assuming center stage at the bottom of a snifter.







The beverage, which achieved much of its current fame when paired with its sidekick Coke, is going solo thanks to the emergence of the fine aged variety of the spirit.

At the Bahama Breeze chain of restaurants, there are 29 rums available, from the everyday (Bacardi) to the premium (Mount Gay and Appleton Estate, fine aged rums). Given Bahama Breeze’s tropical theme and the fact that rum originated in the Caribbean hundreds of years ago, rum’s popularity is not surprising, says manager Mark Setterington at a Phoenix franchise of the restaurant.

“Rum flies off the shelves,” he says. “It’s very popular now.”

Rum is the latest hard liquor to achieve barroom stardom, following single malt scotch, single barrel whiskey and fine aged tequila into the VIP area.

Not bad for a drink that was once to pirates what Gatorade is to athletes. For much of its history, rum had been considered the rot-gut of the seven seas, distilled since the 17th century when it was found that molasses (a byproduct of the sugar industry) fermented when left in the sun.

Its shelf life was beyond that of beer and bread, making it a popular post-pillaging beverage on pirate ships, though it was a staple on most long voyages.

Starring solo

But rum is shedding its reputation as the shortest distance between sobriety and drunkenness. The finer rums, some old enough to drink themselves, are designed to be sipped solo, not blended into a pina colada, says wine and spirits salesman Mike Fine.

“People are more discerning, more knowledgeable,” Fine says. “They drink to enhance their experience, not to get drunk. They want quality, and those who make rum are catching on to that and are finally offering a premium product.”

Rum selections ranges from Bacardi at $12 a bottle to Appleton Estate or Cruzan rum retailing for $70 to $80 a bottle. Some rums, says Fine, can go up to $250 a bottle.

The key to a fine rum is in the aging, Fine says. Oak barrels are the preferred method, with some rums aging 21 years before being bottled.

But this doesn’t mean the fun has gone out of rum. At The Drift, a Polynesian restaurant and lounge in Scottsdale, Ariz., rum drinks are dressed up with umbrellas and pineapple spears. One rum-spiked concoction, the hoti, is served in a ceramic Buddha.

“We wanted to bring the fun and cheesiness back to it,” says Drift owner Brian Chittenden. “We do a hell of a lot of business in rum. There’s a resurgence because rum drinks are very tasty and you can drink them all night.”

Just look out for the alcoholic content. Some rums are 151 proof (that’s 75.5 percent alcohol).



2. Diageo Reacts to Warning Signs With Health-Conscious Advertising Campaign as Alcohol Abusers Sue Industry

By Ian Fraser – Sunday Herald

July 27, 2003


Drinks manufacturers may be drinking in the last-chance saloon as governments round the world weigh up whether or not to insist that their bottles and cans bear health warnings – as they have done in the US for a decade – and whether their advertising needs to be reined in, or even banned.

Until now the drinks business has got off remarkably lightly compared with its tobacco and fatty-food producing counterparts, particularly in the UK. This is despite evidence to suggest its products cause dependency and, when drunk to excess, can be harmful to more than your health.

But the UK drinks industry may be next in line to see its freedoms curtailed (in the advertising and promotional sense). If so, it is going to have to become accustomed to the creeping restrictions that have affected the tobacco industry for decades.

Last week a group of 12 Scottish alcoholics aged 18 to 60 revealed they are planning to start legal action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh next month in what would be the first case of its kind in the UK. They will claim their lives have been ruined because of their addiction to alcohol and that the multi-million pound industry is to blame for failing to warn of the risks.

Jim Price, of Glasgow-based Ross Harper Solicitors, which is handling the action, said: “Alcohol is now promoted in the same way that cigarettes were in the 1950s. Manufacturers want us to believe that drinking alcohol is sexy and trendy. It was a very long time before cigarette manufacturers started putting health warnings on boxes.”

The chances of the action succeeding may be slight, but Diageo, the world’s biggest spirits company, is showing signs it is taking such threats more seriously than competitors.

Two weeks ago, the firm launched a humorous TV campaign intended to dissuade UK drinkers from over-indulging in Smirnoff vodka.

The campaign – a first on British television – has already appeared in the US where it is more common for responsible drinking messages to be woven into advertising. The advert features the fictional Hank and Cindy dining out to celebrate their engagement.

The couple are approached by a friend of Hank’s, who regales them with tales of Hank’s sexual conquests. Cindy is shocked. The pay-off reads: “Knowing when to stop is a good thing.”

The commercial, by the advertising agency J Walter Thompson, has been running across the UK and Ireland for the past two weeks – the height of the holiday season.

This bears the hallmarks of a pre-emptive strike. But Liz Yonge, head of social responsibility at Diageo, says: “It was always our plan to launch a campaign for social responsibility. We’re doing this because we believe it is the right thing to do. It is not in response to any external pressure.”

Diageo, which is spending £500,000 on the campaign, is determined to be seen as one of the good guys. But the company, which has its Scottish base at Edinburgh Park, is clearly worried about repeated allegations that it has played a part in promoting teenage drinking through alcopops such as Smirnoff Ice and would like policymakers to believe it cares about alcohol abuse.

“The commercial will hit half the target age group of 18-35 year olds at least once across the UK,” adds Yonge. “People in that age group do not listen to lectures and so it is quite difficult to get an educational message across.”

A second campaign to promote responsible drinking is being devised for Diageo by another advertising agency, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, with a budget of more than £2 million.

Until now, alcohol has remained a much less prominent public health issue than either fatty foods or tobacco. This has been achieved through the industry’s preparedness to submit to self-regulation and the success of the Portman Group, the industry-backed charity that promotes sensible drinking. As a result, the industry has been able to ward off intrusive regulation .

Jean Coussins, chief executive of the Portman Group, said: “The majority of people who drink alcohol enjoy it without causing harm to themselves or others. The Portman Group acts to reduce the misuse of alcohol by the minority through collaboration with other organizations locally and nationally.”

But the industry has been unable to persuade everyone it should be able to continue to proceed in such a relatively unfettered way.

It has not helped its case by producing a string of recent ads which explicitly link sexual prowess to drinking – including one in which a woman has an orgasm at the thought of her Bacardi Breezer-swigging boyfriend. Then there was the banning of alcopop fcuk Spirit and the fact that Diageo itself broke a voluntary ban on spirits advertising on TV with a commercial for Bell’s in September 1995.

Doctors at the British Medical Association’s annual conference recently stacked up the arguments against the industry by voting to lobby the government for a total ban on alcohol advertising. Vivienne Nathanson, head of science at the BMA, said: “We want to target the inappropriate images that encourage binge drinking.”

The first step would be to halt advertising on TV, she said, just as tobacco ads were removed from TV screens in the 1960s before being banned outright last year. But the industry does not seem likely to give up without a fight.

Hugh Burkitt, chief executive of the Marketing Society, said: “The industry is now holding its breath to see what the government’s strategy [due out in September] is going to say. I think some are beginning to recognize that if they don’t get their house in order, there will be a clampdown.”



3. Liquor License Holds up Fieldhouse Opening

By Vanessa Miller – Iowa City Press-Citizen

July 29, 2003

Sports bar ready to go, owner says

IOWA CITY - Anyone wanting to catch tonight's Chicago Cubs game at the renovated Fieldhouse Restaurant & Bar will have to make alternate plans.  While the 28-year-old establishment's reintroduction as an Iowa City entertainment venue was scheduled for Monday, eager residents will have to wait about one week until management can obtain a liquor license.

 "But we want to get 400 people in here right off the bat," said Dave Carey, who bought the business May 1 for nearly $200,000. He signed a 5-year lease that included several options with building co-owner Neumann Monson PC Architects of Iowa City.

Carey submitted his liquor license application to the City Clerk's Office on Friday and is waiting for the City Council to schedule a special meeting to approve it. Carey requested the special session because he does not want to wait for the next planned council meeting Aug. 19.

"We want to work all the kinks out before school starts," Carey said. The University of Iowa's fall semester begins Aug. 25. "We just want to get open by mid-August and it looks like we will get that. But we're not upset that we couldn't open earlier. We want to work 100 percent with the city and the Police Department."

Kwesi Dunston, 29, a UI graduate student, said he spent more time at The Fieldhouse when he was an undergraduate student, but might stop by for a game or two this season. 

"We just want to go somewhere where it doesn't smell, it has good specials and good food," Dunston said. "I've got a bunch of friends who are Cubs fans so they might like that."

Carey said all 75 new employees went through training last Thursday and will participate in the free alcohol training that state officials are offering all local bar employees beginning Monday.

Matthew Cisco, 30, of Iowa City, said he is wary of the need for another downtown bar.

"It seems like there are plenty of bars that have the same atmosphere as it does," he said. But Dunston said he expects The Fieldhouse's history to work as an asset.

"The Fieldhouse has a lot of memories," he said. "And that's never bad."

Before councilors can approve a liquor license, the Department of Criminal Investigation, the Iowa City Police Department and the Johnson County Attorney's Office must review the application, City Clerk Marian Karr said. The DCI, which runs a background check on listed management, takes one to two days, officials said. After the Police Department review, County Attorney J. Patrick White has up to five working days to review the application.

"But he usually doesn't take that long," Karr said. "We're operating right now on the DCI's schedule."

Karr said it is possible officials could complete the review and councilors could approve the liquor license this week.

"We will be ready by tomorrow so we hope to open Monday, Aug. 4," Carey said, adding that he hopes to have a full house for the Aug. 5 Cubs game. "We are 99 percent ready. We just need to get some tables ready and we need to clean again."

The Fieldhouse, which closed Jan. 5 because of financial troubles, will be Carey's sixth bar. He owns three Third Base Sports Bars in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and North Liberty, a second Cedar Rapids bar, Third on First, and a second Des Moines bar, Vieux Carre.

Carey said the new, Third Base Fieldhouse, packed with UI sports memorabilia, will extend its athletic loyalties to the Cubs and Chicago Bears.

"We're going to be a Cub bar, we have a big portrait of Harry Carey," Carey said, adding that his other bars have similar themes. "I'm an Illinois boy and we want this to be a big Cub and Bear hangout."

The 20,000-square-foot establishment at 111 E. College St., will shift from a restaurant and nightclub to a sports bar, Carey said. He has added 34 TVs to the previous 11, and will provide drinks along with about 20 sandwiches and 20 appetizers.



4. New World Brands Begins Bottling Their New Ready to Drink Cocktails, ``Xtreme Delight''


July 29, 2003


MIAMI--New World Brands Inc. (OTCBB:NWBD) and its wholly owned subsidiary, International Importers Inc., today announced that they have received full Government BATF approval of their Ready To Drink Cocktails. Bottling and distribution will begin immediately. An advertising campaign will be launched simultaneously with RTD cocktail shipments.

Allen Salzman, CEO of New World Brands stated: "I am very excited with the positive results of our target market taste testing. Xtreme Delight package design, labels and bottles have been carefully selected to appeal to our target markets." Nearly 100% of the focus group favored real spirit based RTD cocktails over the most commonly marketed malt flavored RTD beverages (flavored beer). Xtreme Delight will be sold in four spirit based cocktails, Tequila Sunrise, Vodka Splash, Margarita and a Cosmopolitan. Bottling will be done by our strategic partner, Maple Leaf Distillers, Inc. Maple Leaf is one of Canada's largest and fastest growing distilleries. Mr. Salzman stated that in addition to the US market he is presently in discussions with several European distributors.

Mr. Salzman stated that entry into this growing segment of the beverage industry will bring a significant amount of revenues and profitable business to New World Brands. Along with our Award Winning Estate Bottled Wines of L.A. CETTO, New World Brands is rapidly becoming a prominent importer of spirits.

5. Supreme Court Refuses to Rehear Liquor Liability Case

By Joan Barron - Star-Tribune capital bureau

July 30, 2003

CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming Supreme Court on Thursday refused to reconsider its decision upholding a law that limits the responsibility of bartenders and other employees who serve alcohol.

The court, in an order signed by Chief Justice William U. Hill, rejected the petition for a rehearing filed by the family of John Greenwalt.

The family sued Ram Restaurant Corporation of Wyoming, doing business as C.B. & Potts in Cheyenne, a bar and restaurant.

Their lawsuit claimed bar employees on May 13, 1999 continued to serve Quay Sampsell, a 21-year-old airman from F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, even after he was drunk.

After Sampsell left the bar he ran a red light and struck a car carrying Greenwalt, 20, and his passenger, Jennifer Rosner, 19. Both were killed in the crash.

Sampsell had a blood alcohol level of .21 percent, or more than twice the legal limit. He was sentenced to two consecutive terms of six to 12 years in prison for vehicular manslaughter.

In a 3-2 ruling handed down June 26, the court ruled constitutional the state law that says a liquor license holder who legally furnishes liquor to an intoxicated customer is not liable for damages caused by the customer's intoxication.

The motion for a hearing, filed by the Greenwalt family's attorney, Jack Speight, cited a state law that makes it illegal to sell alcohol through drive-up windows to customers who appear drunk.

He argued there was "no rational basis" to draw a line between selling alcohol to intoxicated drive-up customers and serving it to drunken bar patrons.

The Supreme Court order denying the petition said only that the court had examined the files and record and carefully considered the arguments contained in the brief filed on behalf of the family.



6. Busted Bars Suing Underage Drinkers

By C. Spencer Beggs - Fox News

July 29, 2003


When Kate, a 19-year-old University of Notre Dame (search) freshman, went out with friends for a night of drinking at a local bar called The Boat Club last January, she had no idea what was in store for her.


Shortly after midnight on Jan. 24, officers from the Indiana State Excise Police, the Indiana State Police and the local South Bend, Ind., police surrounded the two-story nightspot in a surprise raid aimed at cracking down on underage drinking.


Kate and 212 other underage drinkers were busted in the sting, and were ordered to appear in court.


The bar was given the option of having its liquor license revoked or paying a $5,000 fine and selling its liquor permit to a new owner.


Kate entered a pretrial diversion program, paid a $220 fine and agreed to a one-year probation. Notre Dame also "sentenced" her to do 40 hours of community service.


At that point, Kate thought her brush with the law was over.


Then things went from bad to worse for Kate, who asked that her last name not be used. In mid-April, a notice of hearing was pushed under the door of her dorm room: The Boat Club was suing her and others nabbed in the raid for $3,000 a piece.


"I was shocked and surprised -- sort of in disbelief -- I didn't think they could do this, I didn't think it was legal," Kate said.


Surprisingly, it can be legal. Stories like Kate's are increasingly common, as bars caught serving underage patrons are turning the tables on their busted clientele, suing for damages they incur from fines and loss or suspension of liquor licenses.


Bar owners like Mike McNeff, who exclusively owns The Boat Club's parent company, The Millennium Club (search), can sue their underage patrons for misrepresentation -- a type of civil fraud -- if they have reasonable grounds to rely on their claims that they are of legal age.


John Korpita, owner of the Amherst Brewing Company (search) in Amherst, Mass., successfully sued an underage patron for $3,713 in 1998. Korpita sued a University of Massachusetts senior after she used two fake IDs to enter his popular brewpub (search).


When undercover state alcohol investigators discovered the underage student, Korpita was told that his liquor license could be suspended for a period of three days or he could pay a $2,500 fine. Korpita opted to pay the fine, but filed a civil complaint against the student to recoup the loss.


Korpita said that liquor laws, which vary from state to state but tend to be similar, unfairly place a burden on alcohol retailers who are legitimately trying to prevent underage drinking. With high-tech fake ID production techniques that can make a bogus ID almost undistinguishable from a valid one, underage drinkers need to be held accountable, Korpita said.


"The fines are really horrendous and can even put a place out of business," Korpita said. "If you're doing the best you can, they should have some sort of consideration that you're just not blatantly letting people in underage."


But Joanne Stella, a lawyer retained by the University of New Hampshire's student government, said alcohol retailers are shirking their legal and ethical responsibilities when they try to recoup damages from busted underage customers.


Stella defended three underage students who were sued by a Durham, N.H., grocery store for damages after the students used fake IDs to purchase alcohol in two separate cases in 1998 and 2001.


"I think people that are selling liquor feel frustrated that they should have to do what the law requires you to do to sell alcohol," Stella said. "If you are going to make money off a dangerous product, you have to accept the responsibilities that go along with that. This isn't selling milk and cookies."


Stella said that alcohol retailers feel entitled to damages because when underage drinkers are busted, the establishment that sold liquor to them faces fines, loss or suspension of liquor license. The establishment owners and bartenders can even be arrested on the spot themselves. But Stella said that the onus should still be on the retailers to prevent underage drinkers from buying alcohol.


"In the three cases that ended up in a lawsuit, if they had asked for a second form of ID, none of these kids would have been able to buy alcohol," Stella said. "The bars and grocery stores and restaurants don't want to do that -- they make tons of money off of underage drinkers."


Stella successfully defended the 1998 case involving two students and settled the 2001 case out of court. But the legal precedent set by successful lawsuits like Korpita's don't bode well for new cases.


Attorney Ed Sullivan, who is defending 42 of the students in the complaint by The Millennium Club, said that liquor laws need to be tough on alcohol retailers so that they don't encourage them to use clientele accountability as a way to flout the law.


"By shifting that financial burden, it sets up an incentive for the bar owner to accept unreasonable IDs, let underage students in, make money off them drinking and then, if they are busted and fined, try to recoup damages," Sullivan said.


Sullivan has filed a motion to dismiss, which will probably be heard by a judge in September. South Bend attorney Mitchell Heppenheimer, who is representing McNeff and The Millennium Club, did not return repeated phone calls to his office regarding the case.


Kate said that she just wants to get the trial over with, but is miffed that she's being charged.


"I feel like I made my mistake and I paid for it," she said. "I did my hours of service, I learned my lesson. And just because they were negligent, I don't think I should have to pay."



7. TIPS Trainers Get Ready

By Vanessa Miller - Iowa City Press-Citizen

July 31, 2003


IOWA CITY - In preparation for alcohol training classes that convene Monday, officials with the Iowa City Police Department and the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division are meeting today in Ankeny for a test-run of the curriculum.

• Thirty-eight establishments have enrolled a total of 458 servers in the upcoming training sessions. Top participators include:
Third Base Fieldhouse Restaurant & Bar, 111 E. College St.: 72 registered employees
Brothers Bar & Grill, 125 S. Dubuque St.: 44 registered employees
The Sports Column, 12 S. Dubuque St.: 34 registered employees
Vito’s, 118 E. College St.: 33 registered employees
The Summit Restaurant & Bar, 10 S. Clinton St.: 31 registered employees
Mondo’s Tomato Pie, 516 Second St., Coralville: 20 registered employees

"This is no different than fifth-grade teachers getting together before school starts," said Officer Allan Mebus, community relations director for the Police Department.

Mebus and investigator Chris Akers will represent Iowa City's law enforcement as instructors in the Training for Intervention Procedures program, or TIPS. For the past 10 years Mebus, a seasoned TIPS trainer, has been offering the program to alcohol servers in the area.

"We try to offer training on one day every month," he said, adding that class sizes range from 10 to 30 students. The cost for the Iowa City-sponsored TIPS training program was between $35 to $50 per person, Mebus said. "It was $25 for about eight years, but we were losing money."

While city officials needed money to buy training manuals and test materials, the upcoming two-year trial program is sponsored by the state's Alcoholic Beverages Division and paid for with a $15,000 grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

That means bar employees will not have to pay to attend one of the 20 four-hour sessions offered from Monday through Aug. 15 inside the Sheraton Hotel, 210 S. Dubuque St.

"A lot of businesses are participating in TIPS because they can train their employees for nothing," Mebus said. As of Wednesday, 458 employees from 38 establishments had enrolled in one of the sessions. Less than two weeks ago, the count was at 180.

"I'm not surprised," Mebus said. "Many businesses have taken advantage of this program in the past. And this time it's free."

The training program has the approval of many bar owners, city officials, law enforcement and members of the Stepping Up project, a University of Iowa-led coalition against binge drinking. It comes in response to an Iowa City Council push to curb alcohol abuse.

During their May 6 meeting, councilors approved a law banning those under age 19 from entering bars after 10 p.m. The law takes effect Friday.

Councilors initially considered prohibiting everyone under 21 from entering the establishments, but bar owners, and UI students persuaded them to lower the age to 19. As part of their proposal, bar owners suggested adding bar monitors and employee training.

Donny Stalkfleet, owner of the Sports Column, 12 S. Dubuque St., and Joe's Place, 115 Iowa Ave., said he has sent managers to TIPS training before and plans to enroll about 55 employees in the upcoming sessions.

"This is the first time it's been offered in a blanketed approach to everyone behind the bar," he said. Stalkfleet said he thinks the program will provide varying levels of benefits to bar employees depending on their experience. "There are some people out there who do really need this, so it's a good situation."

Mebus said the curriculum, which is used to train alcohol servers nationwide, is largely scripted.

"This is a standardized curriculum and that's what makes it such a great program," he said. "It's a fun class and it can become a vital part of serving. If you can protect yourself and your clients, it's a win-win deal."

The training program is divided into three basic sections, Mebus said.

The first section identifies different levels of intoxication and the second part teaches intervention strategies.

"The overall idea is to keep from serving someone under the legal age limit," Mebus said, adding that the training also will help employees handle legal patrons who have consumed too much. "It teaches them to slow people down and cut them off."

The third part of the training provides students with role-playing opportunities.

"Someone plays the bartender and someone plays a patron," he said. "The idea is for the class to model for the rest of the class."

Mebus said today's test-run will blend the teaching styles of the trainers to ensure consistent quality for all the students.

"We've Iowa Citicized the program," Mebus said. "This is simply so we can combine presentations."