News Blog / Monthly Archives: May 2017

Heineken 0.0: Apparently There’s A Market For This


Non-alcoholic beer is officially trend, y’all. As of two weeks ago, Heineken jumped on the bandwagon, releasing a non-alcoholic version of their signature product at the Spanish Grand Prix. While we obviously support the pairing of driving and sobriety, we wanted to take a closer look at the new launch.

Why would Heineken do this now?

As with everything corporate, economics. From 2010-2015, the overall beer market shrunk in Europe, while the non-alcoholic beer market grew by about 5% each year. Non-alcoholic beer is also taxed at lower rates, giving producers higher profit margins. The competition (aka AB InBev, which produces over 1/4 of the world’s beer) is already on board with the idea as well. Their stated goal is to have 20% of their product classed as low- or no-alcohol by 2025.

Sounds like it checks out. Why isn’t everyone jumping on this?

Non-alcoholic beer has historically had a bit of a problem with, well, tasting absolutely disgusting. In short, getting rid of the alcohol comes with serious gustatory risks. Heineken 0.0 is no exception. While the producers feel they’ve come close to their signature beer’s taste, it’s actually a blend of two completely different brews.

Heineken 0.0 is set to launch in 14 markets throughout Europe, as well as Russia and Israel.

Intend to keep selling alcoholic beer despite this trend? We can help with your TABC permit renewals, in addition to new licenses. Just leave it to us, and we’ll make sure everything gets done properly and on time!

SOURCE: Business World.

State’s Hiring Freeze Affecting Craft Beer

You may have missed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott instituting a hiring freeze in January that will last until the end of the fiscal year in August. The measure was intended to improve the state’s financial situation as it faces an expected budget shortfall. The measure has caused some problems for the craft beer industry, however.


The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), as a state agency, has been unable to fill 20 positions due to the freeze, one of which is the beer and wine label approver. They’ve put someone on it temporarily, but due to this person’s other responsibilities, the average wait time for label approval is now 40 days. This is a massive problem for the state’s craft brewers because it can hold up the entire production schedule and limit consumption. The freeze could definitely impact brewers’ ability to get their summer seasonal beers onto shelves in a timely manner.

The TABC applied for a waiver in order to fill the position, but it hasn’t yet been approved. So in the meantime, you’re stuck with your old favorites.

Interested in making and selling your own beer despite these bureaucratic hurdles? Well, we’re a  great team of [liquor license] hurdlers here at LaBarba…actual hurdles would be a disaster.


Today in Science: People Are Gullible

fireYeah, we know, breaking news headline there. But it’s the exact nature of this human stupidity that interests us in the alcohol industry. In this case, a new study has once again shown how powerful the placebo effect is when it comes to drinking.

So what did those crazy scientists try this time?

They told a bunch of young guys that they were going to be drinking cocktails made of energy drinks, vodka, and fruit juice. Then they actually gave them all the same thing, but placed in glasses that had one of three different labels: Red Bull & vodka, vodka cocktail, or fruit juice cocktail. Presumably, they then hid behind a two-way mirror to laugh at the participants.


  • Guys who had the Red Bull label on their cocktail reported levels of perceived intoxication 51% higher than the other groups. It also increased their intention to talk to women, confidence that the women would be receptive, and willingness to take risks in a gambling game.
  • The overestimated perceived intoxication was particularly high in men who expressed the belief that energy drinks increase the effect of alcohol.

So, solely based on marketing (i.e. the label), people thought they were getting way more drunk than they were. In a pleasant surprise, the overestimators did also indicate an intention to wait longer before driving. Fool me once, blame the label?

Sensing a marketing/sales opportunity here? Let us know, and we’ll get you all set up with the correct TABC liquor licensing permit in no time!

SOURCE: PsychCentral.

Policy News: Made in Texas

This week’s Super Interesting Legislative Fight relates to who can claim their wine is “made in Texas” (HB1514/SB1833). The pro camp argues that only wine made with 100% Texas grapes should be technically allowed to market itself as “Texas” wine. The anti camp says the Texas wine industry isn’t mature enough to keep up with demand yet, and that this restriction would cause undue hardship to growers contending with the state’s crazy weather.

Current Rule: If it’s made with a minimum of 75% grapes grown in Texas, it can be labeled as a Texas wine. This is in line with federal labeling regulations. States such as California and Washington have adopted stricter standards for geographic labels.

The vineyard at William Chris in Hye, Texas. Credit: Miguel Lecuona FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN
The vineyard at William Chris in Hye, Texas. Credit: Miguel Lecuona for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Who’s in the pro camp and why?

Mostly smaller winemakers who say the proposed regulation would enhance the value of the “Made in Texas” designation. They also say wine drinkers often feel duped when they’re informed that the “Texas wine” they’re drinking might have 25% California grapes in it.

Who’s in the anti camp and why?

The Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association, which points to highly unpredictable weather that leads to yields that are often insufficient to support high-volume production of 100% Texas wines. They also say there are other, bigger issues facing the industry at the moment, such as contamination from herbicides.

So, what’s going to happen?

Right now, probably nothing, because the bill is stuck in committee and the legislative session is about to end. It’s something to keep an eye on though!

Do you have strong feelings about the integrity of “Texas” wines? Want to start a 100% Texas grape winery? Well, it starts with a winery permit from the TABC, so give us a call and we can help get you started!

SOURCE: austin360.

Marketing Alcohol to Millennials

Ragging on Millennials has long been a favorite pastime of cultural critics, with marketers jumping into the game not long after. The essential issue? As Millennials’ buying power increased with age, it became more and more apparent that they often approach the consumer experience with a very different mindset. Organizations that were slow to realize and respond to this shift often got burned.

A recent study showed that interesting consumer behavior is also present when Millennials shop specifically for alcohol.

Key takeaway? Lack of brand loyalty. I know, we’re all very surprised.


Things the study showed:

  • Regardless of age, relatively few people buy alcohol on impulse (just 11% of Millennials did this in the last month). Over three-fourths of all shoppers planned their alcohol purchase.
  • Less than a quarter of Millennials have a particular brand in mind when they go shopping for alcohol, compared to more than half of Baby Boomers.

So there’s a clear opportunity for marketing to play a role here, right?

Absolutely. Alcoholic beverage companies totally have room to capture Millennial consumers as they’re standing in the store. Labeling in particular should therefore be given even greater consideration.

Do you want to make or sell alcohol to Millennials? Well, that takes great marketing and a liquor license from the TABC. We’re specialists in the latter, but [inevitably terrible] marketing advice is also available on request.  

SOURCE: Food Dive.

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