Author: Jeff Siegel

Picking Up the Pieces: Storm-struck Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico assess damage and move forward.

Talk to people in the beer, wine, and spirits business, and the three historically powerful hurricanes that devastated parts of Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico were severe, but they could have been worse. Spirited checked in with a handful of producers across the region to find out how they fared—and what’s being done to help those in need. “We were pretty lucky,” says Ron Yates, whose family owns Spicewood Vineyards in the Texas Hill Country, which got as much as 10 inches of rain in three or four days—about one-third of the area’s average annual total. That’s because Hill...

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Buy or Lease? How to make the best decision for your equipment needs

When expanding a business, one of the most difficult decisions may well be the most overlooked: How are you going to pay for the equipment when you need to get bigger? And how do you decide whether to purchase or lease? “There are numerous options,” says Stephen King, president of craft bourbon maker Ironclad Distillery Co. in Newport News, Va., who was faced with those very choices when his company moved to commercial production several years ago. “How do you know what’s going to be the best option for your company?” Or, in the words of one winery executive...

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5 to Try: A Sampling of beverages from Off-the-Grid producers

If you’re intrigued by our feature, “Off the Grid: Alternative energy systems give small producers a unique story to tell,” you should seek out these offerings: Fig Leaf Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Quivira Vineyards; Healdsburg, Calif. Oaking sauvignon blanc often overwhelms the fruit, but the combination of new and used French and Acacaia barrels adds complexity and structure. Less grassy than many California sauvignon blancs, with lemon zest, lemongrass, and even dried green herb flavors. Daycation IPA Highland Brewing; Asheville, N.C. Less bitter and not quite as hoppy as many IPAs, but also richer and with more caramel and malt –...

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Off the Grid: Alternative energy systems give small producers a unique story to tell

Alternative energy isn’t just piece of New York’s Sundog Ciders’ story—it’s more or less the company’s reason for being. In 2004, when Sundog Solar in the Hudson River Valley (127 miles north of New York City) began installing panels for homes and businesses, many of its customers were the family-owned apple orchards that dot the valley. In 2014, Sundog owner Jody Rael decided to pursue his long-time interest by setting up a cidery in the solar company facility. Since the building had been converted from a paper mill and had already updated with solar panels for electricity, solar setups...

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