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    Editor's Note: Here’s to Innovation

    Beverage alcohol suppliers are nothing if not innovative. Take the example of Lyons, Colo.-based craft brewer Blue Oskar, which together with the Beer Bloggers Conference and other craft brewers in the Centennial State, is offering the First-Ever Colorado Virtual Beer Tasting event Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. on Twitter, Facebook, beer blogs, the Beer Bloggers Conference website, “and anywhere beer lovers would like to chat about beer,” as Blue Oskar puts it.

    Beverage alcohol suppliers are nothing if not innovative. Take the example of Lyons, Colo.-based craft brewer Blue Oskar, which together with the Beer Bloggers Conference and other craft brewers in the Centennial State, is offering the First-Ever Colorado Virtual Beer Tasting event Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. on Twitter, Facebook, beer blogs, the Beer Bloggers Conference website, “and anywhere beer lovers would like to chat about beer,” as Blue Oskar puts it.

    How does it work? Interested consumers must go to the store first, of course, to pick up the varieties they want to sample, then share their impressions [m] and find out what others think as well [m] in the comfort of their own homes.

    Such ideas show that many in the beverage alcohol industry are thinking outside of the stein, so to speak, to promote their products and make connections with consumers [m] and such efforts appear to be handily paying off, if the Brewers Association’s figures on the strong sales experienced by craft brewers in the first half of 2010 (see the story below) are any indication.

    Other forward-looking ideas featured in this newsletter include the introduction of automated self-service wine kiosks that elegantly [m] and legally [m] circumvent Pennsylvania’s stringent laws about selling wines and spirits on supermarket shelves, and the U.S. Drinks Conference’s slated inclusion of a presentation and discussion panel on how suppliers can employ social media marketing to their best advantage.

    Meanwhile, on the corporate responsibility front, the industry’s showing it’s no slouch in that department, either. Frederick Wildman & Sons is helping to turn New Jersey towns teal to get the word out about greater ovarian cancer awareness, and St. Louis stalwart Anheuser-Busch recently joined forces with hometown grocer Dierbergs to come to the rescue of homeless dogs in their beloved city.

    What all of these activities show is that beverage alcohol is way ahead of the pack when it comes to marketing creativity [m] and that can only mean good news for the bottom line, regardless of the economic weather.

    In that spirit, Progressive Grocer raises a glass to the sheer inventiveness of the industry, which shows no signs of going flat anytime soon.

    Cheers,

    Bridget Goldschmidt
    Managing Editor
    Progressive Grocer

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