What an amazing month November was! Because of the generosity of those in St Louis that are buying Ludovicus, I'm already going to write Mission: St Louis a check for over $500, and we still have December to go! Keep up buying that wine!
I did want to make a short post about wine-on-tap. Yes, you read that correctly. Wine in kegs, just like beer kegs, has hit the St Louis restaurant scene. Sasha's on Shaw and Green Bean are already carrying it. It is being installed in Atomic Cowboy and 360 nightclub within the next couple of weeks, and several other places are heavily considering it.
Well, the short answer is that with wine-on-tap, you get the same benefits that you do with beer. The long answer is, well, longer. Here are the crib notes:
1) It's more Eco-friendly
Every time I order wine from a supplier, it comes shipped to me wrapped up on a wooden pallet. A normal pallet of wine is 56 cases, and weighs roughly 2000 lbs. It also contains 56 cardboard boxes, and 672 glass bottles that people say get recycled, but most often end up in a dumpster. For the same amount of cubic feet, I can bring in the liquid equivalent of 87 cases of wine in kegs, and it weighs 1300 lbs. This is a huge savings on the carbon footprint created by the shipping portion of this game. That also means that there is a recycling/landfill savings of 87 cardboard boxes and 1044 glass bottles.
2) It's less expensive
From the distributor (my) standpoint, the savings created by the wineries not having to produce bottles, boxes, labels, etc for all those cases of wine comes out to about $1-2 per bottle. I also save money on shipping, since it is lighter. This means that I charge restaurants less money, and they in turn charge less to the end consumer. At the end of the day, the consumer is getting a better bottle of wine for less money.
3) The wine lasts longer
If you run a bar, you know the feeling of coming in after you have been closed for a day or two, and having to dump out the leftovers in the bottles of wine that you pour by the glass. Most restaurant owners take this into consideration, and add padding to their pricing structure for the waste. With wine-on-tap, there is almost zero waste. The kegs are topped off with inert gas (usually a blend of nitrogen and co2) that keeps the wine from spoiling. Industry-types say that the wine will last over 6 months in a keg, but truthfully nobody knows. The wine is almost always sold before then. Once again, because the wine costs less, and there's no waste, you get to drink it for less $.
I think that's a wine-win.