Whether a VIP or just wanting to feel like one,
clubgoers in Chicago, like many other cities, are willing to shell out
hundreds, even thousands of dollars for their own bottle of alcohol, then
sit and be served at their own private table. Chicago clubs took a hit this
summer when the Illinois Liquor Control Commission cited several
establishments for selling an entire bottle of distilled spirits to a table
or group of patrons. This so-called “bottle service” is
prohibited under Illinois law. Illinois liquor control officials say bottle
service does not allow staff to properly supervise clients’ alcohol
consumption, which can lead to over consumption.
On the flip side, establishments providing bottle
service defend this method of serving because they say one server pours the
drinks and can more closely monitor drinking than they can when customers
are ordering from different bartenders. With bottle service normally
beginning at more than $200, the whole point is being seen, an attorney
representing several of the cited clubs told the Chicago Tribune.
At a club I recently visited in downtown Chicago,
bottle service consists of reserved premier seating, set with perfect
glassware, next to chilled premium water and ice; all ready for the patrons
to make their selection from a menu, with the least expensive bottle,
Captain Morgan, starting at $190. Any spirit a group could purchase would
be nearly 10 times its normal retail price, but that fee is not for the
spirit alone; it’s for the prime real estate in a chic club in a
fashionable downtown. As I’ve said in other columns, proper product
presentation is as much a consumer motivator as the product itself.
Consumers of any bottle priced to that extreme should enjoy every sip, and
I would guess that clubs who want this VIP clientele want their customers
to resonate class and wouldn’t foster unruly patorns.
The bottom line is that it’s a bar owner’s
responsibility to make sure people are not over served through whatever
service. Club owners cited for bottle service
will have an opportunity to present their argument at the end of the month.
Courvoisier cognac served as the exclusive sponsor and
host of the official BET Awards After Party held at Hollywood’s
Roosevelt Hotel. Celebrities, including business mogul Russell Simmons,
comedian Chris Rock and the night’s DJ Biz Markie, enjoyed cocktails
such as the Courvoisitini. The company also bestowed a special gift of
L’Esprit de Courvoisier, the world’s most expensive cognac, to
BET Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Debra Lee.
Cheers to the opera
New Yorkers gathered to sip and shop to benefit the
New York City Opera and its Thrift Shop at the Divas Shop for Opera event.
Fashionable guests enjoyed cocktails featuring Square One Organic Vodka,
the world’s only organic vodka made from 100 percent organic rye.
Beer and a movie
The upcoming film, “Beerfest,” cast
Binding Brauerei’s Radeberger German pilsner as one of its stars.
The feature from director Jay Chandrasekhar (“Dukes of Hazzard”) and Broken Lizard
(“Super Troopers”) tells the story of American brothers who
travel to Germany during Oktoberfest and find out about an underground beer
drinking competition. The film chose Radeberger as its beer of choice for
Coors Light and Weber Grills are encouraging consumers
to get grilling with Outdoor Grilling Guidebooks. Initially distributed
during the height of summer grilling, the companies will launch the Silver
Playbook in time for football season this fall. The Silver Playbook will
include recipes, pre-game tips and special offers on Coors Light products.
Clearly an MVP
Clearly Canadian Beverage Corp. has signed native
Canadian and Phoenix Sun player Steve Nash to a product endorsement deal.
The two-time NBA MVP will assist the company in re-establishing its core
brand of sparkling flavored water, launch new product lines and serve on
the company’s advisory board.
Nuevo Juan Valdez
Following a two-year search, a new Juan Valdez has
been named. Carlos Castañeda, a 39-year-old rural grower of
Colombian coffee, was found through a search by the National Federation of
Coffee Growers of Colombia. The new iconic representative of Colombian
coffee and his donkey, Conchita, will tour Colombia before traveling to the