Ring of Fire Monitor

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011


For those out there who need to be a trendsetter, this is hot off the press for you. This weekend, over cocktails, you can impress your friends (and foes) with your knowledge of what’s going to be hot this summer. You better run out and buy a case before it is all gone. Could it be that the LCBO margins on these items are better so why not herd the sheep over to those items? Tell me it ain’t so Dalton and Dwight, the Dalton Gang.


TORONTO, March 30 /CNW/ - LCBO is showcasing what it believes will be the top trends in beverage alcohol this year during The Trend Report, a promotion taking place in all 616 stores throughout April. Premium vodka and spiced rum , blended and full-bodied red wines, summer refreshers like wheat beer and Pinot Grigio and practically anything local are poised to take centre stage this spring and beyond, according to LCBO.

"We've spent the winter talking to producers, attending tastings and looking at sales trends to see what's hot in wine, spirits, beer and ready-to-drink products," says Shari Mogk-Edwards, Vice President, Merchandising for LCBO. "We are now sharing our findings with our customers to help them discover new products, make informed choices and inspire them when entertaining and gift buying."

LCBO predicts:

Customers will see a lot more of two great red wine varieties - Ripasso from Italy and Pinot Noir, affectionately known as the heartbreak grape because of how tricky it is to grow. While Ripasso is fuller bodied than Pinot Noir, both are food-friendly and quite versatile. Annual sales of Ripasso are $8.8 million, up five per cent from the previous year.

Deluxe aged and spiced rums are expected to be popular, as spirit drinkers look for products with richer flavours and uncompromising quality. Spiced rum is growing at 26 per cent.

Blended wines are the mainstay in regions like Bordeaux, France where most wines are blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and sometimes Cabernet Franc. Winemakers the world over, including Ontario, are embracing this tradition to create some of today's most well-rounded, complex yet versatile wines.

Wheat beer and Pinot Grigio are expected to be popular choices for spring and summer with their crisp, light flavours and versatility. Wheat beer is a growing segment at LCBO, with sales up 12 per cent.

Vodka may be colourless but it's not flavourless. Made from rye, potato and wheat, each style has its own unique character and taste and customers will begin to explore the differences. Vodka sales are growing at seven per cent.

Ontario wine and craft beer will continue to win fans. Whether pairing local craft beers, like Beau's All Natural Lug Tread Lagered Ale, or Ontario VQA wines like Jackson Triggs Proprietors' Reserve Semi-Dry Riesling, with local seasonal cuisine, it's a winning "Go Local" combination. Ontario Craft Beer is the fastest growing beer segment and is showing a 50 per cent growth year after year.

LCBO also sees modern classic cocktails, drinks made with super-premium vodkas (up 14 per cent), 100 per cent agave tequila (up 28 per cent) and single malt Scotches (up 9 per cent) topping the list at bars. And, sparkling wine will be a popular choice for Saturday night dinners and movie-night Tuesdays, not only special occasions.

Customers can find these drinks and recipes to match in the magazine-style Trend Report available in stores while quantities last. They can also visit www.lcbo.com for the flipbook version of the magazine, as well as featured food and drink recipes and information on in-store tastings.

For more information on The Trend Report, featured products and recipes, call the toll-free, bilingual LCBO Customer Service at 1-800-ONT-LCBO (668-5226). In Toronto, call 416 365-5900, visit your nearest LCBO store or go online to www.lcbo.com/service. The TTY number for the deaf and hard of hearing is 416 864-6898 or 1-800-361-3291.

Consumers are reminded to bring a reusable bag when shopping at the LCBO and to take empty beverage alcohol containers (large and small glass bottles, PET plastic, Tetra Paks, bag-in-box and cans) to The Beer Store for a full deposit refund.

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