Good news, bad news and new stuff we like2/5/2020
Black Velvet Canadian Whisky, the once and future king of Iowa, was the state’s most popular liquor brand.
Wheat exploded to a 16-month high bolstered by potential Chinese demand following a trade deal. Argentina, Ukraine, Russia and Australia growers all had problems with their wheat crops. As Chicago wheat rallied, other commodities followed along, with March corn, soybeans, and Kansas City wheat all reaching multi-month highs.
Our takeaways from Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division’s annual report: Black Velvet Canadian Whisky, the once and future king of Iowa, was the state’s most popular liquor brand, beating out Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum and Fireball Cinnamon. A total of 160,791 cases of Black Velvet were sold in Iowa; total liquor sales grew by 6 percent during the fiscal year with close to $340 million in sales; revenue growth from liquor sales allowed $115.6 million to be transferred to the State General Fund. Taxes from wine and beer and other revenue increased that to a grand total of $144.7 million. Beer and wine drinkers are not paying their fair share. Among Iowa-produced brands, Blue Ox Vodka overtook Templeton Rye Whiskey for the top spot. Blue Ox Vodka sold 12,618 cases, and Templeton sold 4,259. Polk County, where the most gallons of liquor were sold this year and last year, actually decreased in sales by 5 percent with 1,225,318 gallons sold. Linn County followed with 503,659 gallons. Fremont County sold the fewest gallons, at 1,125. Beer gallon sales dropped by about 1 percent, with 70,729,897 gallons sold. Wine sales increased by less than half a percent, with 4,697,034 gallons sold.
THE GOOD NEWS
Outlets of Des Moines announced the opening of Iowa’s first Beef Jerky Experience. That store specializes in more than 100 varieties and sizes of premium jerky. There are exotic meats including kangaroo, alligator, venison and elk, as well as specialty flavors such as Moonshine and Cajun… Ziggi’s Coffee of Colorado announced it will expand into Iowa next year with the addition of a location in Ankeny… Lent starts early this year and so will fish fries at local churches and walleye specials at Culver’s. The Des Moines diocese will publish schedules and menus on Feb. 21 in The Catholic Mirror and at https://www.dmdiocese.org/news/news-fish-fry-dinners. Last year, 11 Des Moines area parishes participated. Culver’s sources their superb walleye from Lake Winnipeg… Captain Roy’s hosts Shiver on the River Feb. 9 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with tents, heaters, booze, party liquor and chili. There will be $1,000 in cash prizes with music by the Snacks after 6 p.m… SKØL has closed for a remodel. It hopes to reopen in April, perhaps with a new concept.
THE BAD NEWS
Fighting Burrito closed its downtown store… El Rodeo closed its Euclid store… Bistro Nomad closed again. Sadly, brilliant chef Marc Navailles could not overcome the reputation inherited from previous management. They probably should have changed the name along with the menu, but it was such a great name, with a view of the Nomade sculpture that has become a local icon… Laughing Crab of Shreveport announced a winter opening on University in West Des Moines with Cajun-style seafood and chicken.
NEW STUFF WE LIKE
Scorno’s Italian Sauce is now sold at Hy-Vee. That is from the local restaurant that has been here since 1973… John and Rhoda Harris, owners of Ankeny’s My Learning Safari Child Development Center, planned to open their first coffee shop as franchisees in a proposed 13,000-square-foot building at 1606 N.W. Irvinedale Drive… Nomi’s Asian Cuisine opened with homemade Korean, Chinese and Japanese dishes in Altoona … Nosh Cafe and Eatery opened in East Village with bowls, toasts, bagels and grab-and-go options and a full menu of shakes, frozen yogurt, custards and nondairy options.
HONORS AND ACCOLADES
Flying Mango, Mike Wedeking’s smoking oxymoron of a fine dining BBQ in Beaverdale, appeared on Guy Fieri’s retrospective of his 50 favorite “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on the Food Network. ♦