Beverage Bulletin February 2009

California Beverage Retailers Association

P.O. Box 56686

Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

(818) 788-8120


Newsletter February 1, 2009

This newsletter marks several firsts for us. The CBRA is 60 years old, but this is the first issue of our newsletter. We hope it will be something our readers will anticipate with interest. There is a lot to tell in the liquor industry and we are here to tell it. California laws are changing. Customer tastes are changing. Ways to make money are changing. Our members need to keep up with all of this to stay in business and prosper.


This is also the first time in over 20 years that the CBRA will be open to new liquor industry members and the first time we will be admitting Associate Members. We would like to extend a warm welcome to those new members who joined this past month. We look forward to serving you and hearing from you. What do you want in the newsletter and the CBRA? Write and let us know at and of course join us in raising a glass to the future of the liquor industry.



As of this writing several bills have been introduced in the legislature that will change liquor laws. The changes that will affect our industry the most involve tax increases and recycling. The legislature needs to solve its budget problems and a $41 billion deficit. They expect alcoholic beverage sales to cover a part of this. The taxes would be imposed at the wholesale level. However, initially retailers would be required to inventory their stock and pay the tax. Markups at all levels would end up changing the price structure of the entire industry.


Two bills have been introduced to charge a 25 cent recycling fee on plastic carry out bags. There are some exceptions and exemptions to this, but just like bottle and can recycling programs, it is sure to grow. This and other current legislation is listed on our website. We urge you to read it and let us know your opinion.



Quick Shots

Coca-Cola Co. will remove the "classic" name from its flagship brand. It was removed from 16-oz. bottles in limited test markets and will come off all products by mid-year to make the company's packaging consistent worldwide.


Anheuser-Busch will be changing the label design on Bud Light for the first time since 2005. According to a spokesman, the new blue labels will emphasize drinkability and refreshment. The new packages will be out this spring.


Miller/Coors will be reformulating Sparks to remove caffeine, ginseng, and other ingredients. In an agreement with several state attorneys general the company is making this change in order to reduce Sparks appeal to younger drinkers.


Would you like a Glass of Wine Vintage 6000 B.C.? The world’s oldest wine has been discovered- a vintage produced by Stone Age people 8000 years ago. Scientists have found residues of wine inside 8000 year old ceramic storage jars in the former soviet republic of Georgia. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have found that Neolithic man used tree resin as a preservative for grape juice, so their wines could be kept for longer after fermentation. They think the wine could have tasted something like retsina, still popular in Greece. They have also found evidence of the cultural and possible religious importance of this early vintage wine. The pottery jars used to store wine were decorated with tiny, stylized images of Stone Age people celebrating.

February Promotions

February holidays include Valentines Day and President's Day. These holidays are great opportunities to promote extra sales by reminding customers to buy some chocolate for a gift or to display and advertise cherry flavored drinks in honor of George Washington. Cherry Brandy, Cherry liqueurs, and Cherry Wine fit the bill. Every extra sale represents an additional profit that helps the bottom line.

CBRA Opens Membership for the first time in 20 years

Now, more than ever, access to your industry is paramount. The CBRA is California's only statewide association of licensed retailers, and for the first time in 20 years the CBRA is open to new members.


What is the CBRA? The CBRA is an association of store owners and retail companies that are licensed by the state to sell alcoholic beverages. Our membership includes liquor stores, chains, grocers, and beer and wine licensees. We provide a point of contact where you can get answers to your questions about selling alcoholic beverages, what is going on and where to find things in the industry, what laws are changing and how they affect your business. We know your business is tough. You face day to day problems dealing with minors, state laws and rules, and a lot of other difficulties. We can help because we have spent a lifetime doing just what you do.


What do you get? A monthly with up to date information on alcoholic beverages, what changes in the laws the state is planning, online beverage information, a way to meet and network with other people in your business and a place to call when you or your business need help.