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Alcohol Celebrity Grub Drinks

Toast House of the Dragon Wines Ahead of the HBO Series Premier

As Cersei Lannister once said, “An unhappy wife is a wine merchant’s best friend.” It only makes sense that there’s more wine coming from “Game of Thrones”.

Vintage Wine Estates, Inc. and Warner Bros. Consumer Products have partnered to launch a selection of House of the Dragon wines in celebration of the upcoming HBO and HBO Max series of the same name.

Vinted and bottled by Seven Kingdoms Cellars, a division of Vintage Wine Estates, the offering includes an Oregon Pinot Noir, a proprietary red blend from the Lodi appellation in California, and a Cabernet Sauvignon from California.

House of the Dragon wines is available nationally in 750ml bottles now in anticipation of the release of “House of the Dragon”, which premieres on August 21st. Each wine is $20 and can be purchased here.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Outback Steakhouse Jumps Into the NFT Space

Outback Steakhouse has entered the metaverse and everything’s coming up onions. The home of the “Bloomin’ Onion” sold 8,000 NFTs in 20 minutes. 

Created as part of its Outback TeamMATES program, the NFTs were made available to consumers for free on National Onion Day (June 27) and are redeemable at all Outback Steakhouses for rewards from the brand. 

To close out the Spring 2022 semester, Outback also teamed with eight new college baseball and softball athletes, signing them to NIL deals as part of the Outback TeamMATES program

The TeamMATES class of 2022 for college baseball and softball includes the University of Oklahoma Softball’s Jocelyn Alo and Jayda Coleman, University of Washington Softball’s Baylee Klingler and Kelley Lynch, University of Tennessee Baseball’s Jordan Beck and Ben Joyce, and University of Florida Baseball’s Hunter Barco and Colby Halter. 

Each TeamMATE promoted the NFTs on their social media channels, alerting fans about the opportunity to own digital collectables that unlock access to exclusive prizes offered by Outback. 

Outback will continue to build the TeamMATES program with additional male and female college athletes throughout the year, with all eligible student-athletes for the 2022/2023 school year encouraged to apply for consideration at www.outback.com/teammates. The deadline for the fall application period is August 12, 2022. 

To date, Outback Steakhouse has fielded more than 350 applications and has accepted 150 athletes across 24 different NCAA Division I sports into the program.

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Alcohol Celebrity Grub Drinks

Playboi Carti, John Cena, Sarah Jessica Parker and Other Celebs Get Into Canned and Bottled Cocktails

Moscato but make it “hard.” That’s the idea behind rapper Playboi Carti’s new ready-to-drink cocktail with Thomas Ashbourne Craft Spirits, Hardscatto.

A 20% ABV blend of premium vodka and flavors of grapes, peach, apricot and elderflower, the ready-to-drink has already been awarded a gold medal by the Drinks Business & Spirits Business 2022 Spring Tasting.

Carti is just one of a handful of celebs who’ve teamed with Thomas Ashbourne for signature canned and bottled cocktails. The all-star team of founding partners also include John Cena and his Classic Old Fashioned, Rosario Dawson and her Margalicious Margarita (with Ashley Benson and Vanessa Hudgens) and Sarah Jessica Parker and her Perfect Cosmo… obviously.

“We’ve been focused on sourcing high-proof, premium spirits with the best natural ingredients to elevate the Thomas Ashbourne portfolio above the pre-made cocktail standard. With the help of our celebrity partners, each flavor profile was meticulously crafted and demanded the highest standards in taste, quality and sophistication,” said Thomas Ashbourne CEO Cara Kamenev via a statement.

The Hardscatto and other cocktails from Thomas Ashbourne retails for $59.99 for eight 200mL cans.

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Alcohol Celebrity Grub Drinks

Hit Music Producer Polow Da Don Launches His Own Gluten-Free Vodka

From making beats that slap to a liquor that does, hip-hop hitmaker Polow Da Don looks to share more of himself and his world with the launch of YoCo Vodka. 

Representing his “Young Country” culture, this all natural Tennessee vodka is made from corn and is certified gluten-free. YoCo’s bottle represents “a backstage pass to one hell of a time.” 

Known for his work with Fergie, Nicki Minaj and Usher, Polow has created numerous number one hits. His stated mission to connect creatives, spawned his very own Young Country 96.7 FM Nashville in June of 2019. Now with YoCo, Polow aims to bridge together the music industry with a lifestyle, solidifying the connection between music, cultural events and social gatherings.

“Young Country, or YoCo, is the manifestation of our inner circle — judgement-free and welcoming,” Polow says. “We created Young Country Radio with the purpose of breaking down the stereotype of country music and giving young artists the space to be their true selves and create freely. Now, with the introduction of YoCo Vodka, we’re taking it one step further and providing consumers the liquid to elevate and enjoy their experiences.”

Now available in Tennessee and online nationwide, YoCo Vodka will soon be available in Georgia, California, Florida, New York and more for $19.99.

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Alcohol Culture

Crown Royal Honors Black Cowboys and Cowgirls to Celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth became a national holiday, in large part, to the work of many Black Texans. So, it only makes sense that to toast to this celebration of freedom, we return to its roots.

To honor the cowboys and cowgirls of Texas, Crown Royal will be hosting a grand procession of all Black riders including, Crown Royal Rider and Professional Steer Wrestler, Tory Johnson, equestrian, horsewoman and activist, Brianna Noble, award-winning Steer Wrestler, Denard Hunt, and Compton Cowboys’ solo cowgirl, Keiara Wade, through the Fort Worth Stockyards in advance of the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo on Saturday, June 18.

The procession ends at the Cowtown Coliseum within the stockyards, which will house a photo exhibit of the Black cowboy and cowgirl. Images and artifacts sourced by Tramaine Townsend, a Texas native and mixed media visual artist, and the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum were included to amplify and honor the cowboys and their important place in our country’s history.

“I am excited to celebrate Juneteenth in partnership with Crown Royal as we raise a glass to the cowboy community,” said Jim Austin, Founder of the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum. “The grand procession and photo installation give people a full perspective of how Black cowboys shaped our country and continue to impact our nation.”

The museum strives to provide a full historical perspective of the people and activities that built the culture of the American West. In support of their efforts, Crown Royal, through the Crown Royal Generosity Fund, will be donating $25,000 to the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum in Fort Worth.

“As we celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, Crown Royal has been such an amazing partner in joining our mission of uplifting the Black cowboys and cowgirls who have impacted the culture in and out of Fort Worth,” said Margo Wade-LaDrew, Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo National Development & Marketing Director, “And we look forward to the inaugural procession this Juneteenth weekend through the streets of the stockyards.”

In honor of the storytellers, historians, photographers, and more that preserve and share the iconic cowboy culture, Crown Royal will announce Ms. Opal Lee as one of the first Royal Rider award recipients for her commitment and efforts in making Juneteenth a national holiday.

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Alcohol Drinks Feel Good

This New Ready-To-Drink Cocktail Gives Back To the Music Community

There are a lot of ready-to-drink cocktails out there. If you’ve read any of my articles here before, you know I’ve written about MANY of them. That said, Country Luau caught my attention for its mission to support up-and-coming musicians through grants and nonprofit partnerships.

Born and brewed in Nashville aka Music City, 2% of Country Luau’s profits go to Mixed for Music, which financially supports musicians through nonprofit partnerships and a grant program. 

“It is important to support the communities we work in and with,” said Country Luau Founder and CEO Adam Kost. “Our mission as a company is to bring people together, and nothing does that better than a great band and a refreshing cocktail. Hence, it feels natural to support local musicians to keep their dreams alive as they are huge drivers of local beverage and music economies.”

Inspired by the narrative style of country music and the laid-back vibe of the luau, Country Luau’s 12 oz can is highly sessionable (5% alc/volume), made with premium spirits and contains only two grams of sugar and 100 calories. Flavors include tropical twists on classic profiles, such as:

  • Strawberry Daq Shack — white rum, natural strawberry and lime flavors, sparkling water
  • Yuzu Ranch Water — blanco tequila, natural yuzu and lime flavors, sparkling water
  • Mango Mosa — vodka, natural mango, orange and champagne flavors, sparkling water
  • Pineapple Jalapen-Y’all — vodka, natural pineapple and jalapeño flavors, sparkling water

Country Luau is available in liquor stores throughout Tennessee and online with shipping to 38 states at countryluau.com/shop.

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Alcohol Drinks

Absolut’s Newest ‘Out & Open’ Initiative Looks to Bring Awareness and Support to LGBTQ Bars

LGBTQ bars and restaurants have been a safe haven for many. Absolut Vodka, a longtime supporter of Pride Month, is looking to help better support these businesses via its ‘Out & Open’ campaign. 

The initiative taps voices like actor and comedian Bowen Yang of Saturday Night Live to highlight the impact of these businesses. It looks to bring awareness to their plight as they face a steady decline in the industry by partnering with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), with a significant contribution towards succession planning education for these establishments and other LGBTQ-owned businesses. 

An audio-visual series, led by photographer Bronson Farr, launched Out & Open on Absolut.com by bringing to life real stories from inside the walls of these vital spaces.  In the series, members of the LGBTQ community share their stories and highlight the role that LGBTQ bars have played, and continue to play, in their lives. In a ‘Love Letter’ to New York City LGBTQ bar Eastern Bloc, Yang says, “LGBTQ bars are monuments to our past, venues for the present and gateways to our future.”

“Certain places have a hold on you from the moment you walk through their doors the people, the energy, the possibilities. This is especially true for members of the LGBTQ community like myself,” said Bowen Yang. “These bars simultaneously hold our history and our future, bringing people of all walks of life together in celebration of each other.”

To highlight the importance of protecting the future of LGBTQ bars and restaurants, Absolut partnered with the NGLCC to make the organization’s training programs around succession planning more accessible to more LGBTQ business owners. Only 34% of small business owners have succession plans, and of that less than 24% are in the bar and restaurant industry, according to research conducted in 2016 by the NGLCC.

The succession trainings, hosted by NGLCC subject matter experts, will take place in cities such as Minneapolis, New Orleans and Denver, among other cities as well as virtually.  LGBTQ business owners can register on the NGLCC website on a first-come-first-serve basis to learn how they can protect the future of their business so they can continue to provide a safe space to their communities.

Recent studies have shown that LGBTQ bar listings have declined by 15.1% between 2019 and Spring 2021, on the heels of a 14.4% decline between 2017 and 2019. While these closures have been exacerbated by the pandemic, a number of factors have driven this steady decline, including gentrification, technology and a lack of the succession planning that prevents these spaces from staying out and open for the next generation. 

However, despite being especially vulnerable to closures, these spaces are vital for the LGBTQ community. Whether providing a space for belonging, freedom and acceptance, serving as hubs for activism and fundraisers, or serving as a source for networking, resources and employment, these bars and restaurants exist at the center of the community and Absolut is committed to advocating for them to remain Out & Open.

Absolut’s long standing support of the LGBTQ community is made most visible by its Pride bottle, having featured Gilbert Baker’s iconic rainbow flag since 2008, and just released its new design. The rainbow flag represents the range of voices that make up the LGBTQ community, celebrating unity in diversity, much like Out & Open. 

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Alcohol Drinks Restaurants

This Vermont Bar Makes Rare Booze Available For All

Prohibition Pig might want to think about changing its name to Proletariat Pig because of its new Liquor Society menu. It offers flights in various liquor categories from around the world. 

With thirty flights available on the menu, customers are encouraged to keep a log and notes of their experiences. Each threesome highlights producers, styles, climates and production and aging strategies. Thanks to an approachable price and format, members can choose a flight featuring local favorites such as Caledonia Spirits’ Barr Hill Gin or Shelburne Orchard Dead Bird Brandy. Some might seek the chance to try a prestigious Fire and Ice Edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky from Highland Park or a rare El Jolgorio mezcal showcasing different species of agave plants.

“Something you know, something you don’t, and something you’ll never see again,” said Jackson Strayer-Benton, Prohibition Pig’s Beverage Director, certified sommelier and Executive Bourbon Steward from Stave and Thief Society, of the offering. “You won’t find a menu like this anywhere in the Northeast. There are only a handful of tasting selections this exclusive in the U.S.” 

Ten flights qualify members as a “Sea Bird,” named for the boat that would transport illegal booze from the “Rum Row” ships during Prohibition. “Malahat” members boast 20 different flights, named for a large ship that transported liquor from British Columbia to the West Coast of the United States. Completing the program with 30 different flights, “Tomoka” is named for William McCoy’s rum-running ship made famous for only carrying pure product, not watered down or polluted, as well as an intimidating machine gun installed on the top deck. These customers are rewarded with a private tasting for four and a complimentary dinner.

“Jackson is preparing the Prohibition Pig team to speak knowledgeably and with first-hand experience about each flight, conducting weekly tastings and on-site trips to local distilleries to understand the process, culture, and history of each liquor,” said Eric Warnsted, Prohibition Pig Chef and Owner.

“Eric changed the nature of restaurants. He understands that it’s all about relationships, whether that is with farmers, distillers, brewers, and especially staff and customers,” Strayer-Benton adds. “Together we looked at Prohibition Pig’s impressive wall of liquor and knew that this was another chance to create a destination experience and sense of belonging.”

Head to Waterbury, Vermont to check out Prohibition Pig’s new Liquor Society menu for yourself.