My Boozey Year in Review– as seen through the top 8 GIFs of 2013

It’s that time of year when all you see are articles recapping the year of… whatever. Whether it’s top food crazes or who wore it best, this is no different. It was an exciting year for booze with crazy campaigns and new releases that made me go whaaaa!?!? So here’s a brief recap of what I found to stand out. Also, I included some fun GIFs to mix it up.

I felt like I returned to my youth (and by youth, I mean college) this year when I heard liquor brands had the bright idea to mix wine with vodka. Seriously, people, these “mixes” belong in the frat house (I have a great recipe called the Velvet Hammer with vodka, sparkling wine and Sprite – amazing). With the release of Smoke (moscato and vodka) and Absolut Tune (sauvignon blanc and vodka), these elixirs are reminiscent of coconut body oil.

Washington State Wine Commission won the megabucks by sending influential sommeliers and media 100 iPad minis, featuring their marketing video in fancy “Recommendeuer” boxes. Pretty swanky. Who said that sommeliers and media had seen it all? Oh, right, me.

Craft is the new black, or so it seems in the beer world. Mass-produced mega-brewers from Bud to Miller to Blue Moon are all jumping on the craft bandwagon. Is this a marketing ploy? Is it for realz? Either way, this move shows the ever-growing importance of craft beer in the U.S. beer segment. In 2012, sales of craft beer were up 8.5%, and come next year, the numbers are predicted to soar higher yet. It’s a nice time to be a small craft brewer, as long as the big boys don’t screw it up.

Hennessy created the Wild Rabbit campaign to show celebrities sharing their “wild rabbit,” or rather, their passion. It was a beautifully crafted, artistic campaign that likely cost an arm and a leg. With that said, at the end of the day, I look at it as a campaign to diversify their consumer reach; their core target is primarily African-Americans, and now they want Caucasians. Am I jaded? Yes, I am, but it was pretty nonetheless.

Speaking of celebrities, it’s not every day that a celebrity comes out with a wine. HA! No, but seriously, apparently, the Jolie-Pitt & Perrin Côtes de Provence Rosé Miraval received a score of 84 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 of 2013, making it the highest scoring rosé. Don’t cry, Angie, maybe you’ll take over the entire list next year.

And now that we mentioned Wine Spectator, the magazine has traditionally chosen a wine as its number one of the year from great regions like Bordeaux, Napa, Tuscany, Chile… well, you get the picture. This year, the famous wine publication went outside the box and did something nuts! It chose a SPANISH wine from Rioja! Seriously? Spain has been making wine for centuries, so why is this a first? Tom Matthews explains. No matter how you look at it, it was a major coup for Spain, and Rioja* especially, making many Spaniards and Hispanophiles thrilled.

And where would 2013 be if Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon didn’t make an appearance. But seriously, it didn’t, or rather, it was stolen. First, it was the liquid gold from up north, Canadian maple syrup* stolen last year, and now, 65 cases of ultra-rare Pappy disappeared from a warehouse in Kentucky (worth around $25,000). It’s a sad, sad day when Pappy leaves you without a trace.

Also, not to take Pappy’s thunder, but Mitcher’s came out with a $4,000 limited production mash whiskey. They only created 273 bottles, including some aged for up to 30 years. So, if you happen to have $4,000 lying around, and you’re a whiskey fan, Mitcher’s Mash can be yours. Although, I’d rather put it towards my mortgage, but that’s just me.

2013 for booze was fun, exciting, created new products, some of which probably shouldn’t exist and campaigns were launched and will be the beginning of… well, only 2014 will see. Happy holidays to all and I hope the New Year brings more booze, more stories and more excitement than humanly capable.

*Editor’s note: PadillaCRT represents the wine region of Rioja and Canadian Maple Syrup, and the writer of this article works on the Rioja account.

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