Beverage World presents the latest news from across the worldwide beverage market.

Minta eyes March launch for "Tea in A Box"

Minta Beverages, Inc. will officially launch its new natural beverage product line, Tea in A Box, through major natural food supermarkets and other food and beverage retailers in mid March in the United States and later this year in Canada. The natural and organic flavored teas will be offered in a unique bag-in-box format that enables consumers both easy use and storage. Founder of Minta Beverages, Jenia Kokotuha, explains, “Our packaging creates a revolutionary advantage in BIB packaging. We faced a difficult task to locate co-packers who are able to fill organic, non-alcoholic products and as a result, we decided to heavily invest in technology to package our tea aseptically in order to offer an over 12-month shelf life for our products.”


Labor union files complaint against Brown-Forman

A labor union representing hourly workers at Brown-Forman is accusing the spirits maker of unfair labor practices after recent rounds of bargaining failed to produce a new contract. Workers resoundingly rejected two proposals offered before the contract ended Feb. 1, and negotiations this week ended in a stalemate, said Teamsters Local 89 president Fred Zuckerman. (Courier-Journal)


New Belgium pushes back N.C. opening slightly

Don't make plans for that first cold beer or a tour of West Asheville's New Belgium brewery just yet. New Belgium has pushed back the opening of its Liquid Center tasting room until March and brewery tours until April, company spokeswoman Susanne Hackett said. The Liquid Center was originally announced to open this month, with tours beginning in March. (Citizen-Times)


American brandy makes comeback through craft sector

In the late 19th and earlier part of the 20th century, American brandy was a booming industry. The period of Prohibition and its subsequent repeal would be its Achilles heel, however, as it got lost to the popularity of cheaper to produce whiskey and vodka and French brandies like cognacs. Mention brandy to the average drinker today, and you might get a confused stare or elicit a vision of aristocrats retiring to a drawing room with a snifter and a cigar. "We are a nation that drinks brandy; we just don't talk about it," says Joe Heron, founder of Copper & Kings American Brandy in Louisville, Ky. But all that may be changing as the growth of craft distilling inspires new interest in America's reportedly first distilled spirit and it finds its way back into cocktail culture. (Chicago Tribune)


Boulevard to open visitors center

When Boulevard opened its doors in 1989 it began welcoming those interested in touring its brewery and tasting its beers. For years the company offered just one tour a week, often attracting 15 or 20 people. As the company grew in size and stature, so too did demand for its tours, recently ranked by national publications as among the best in the country. In 2015, Boulevard hosted almost 60,000 visitors on some 2,300 tours, turning away thousands more due to lack of space. “People tell me it’s a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem,” says Jeff Krum, Boulevard’s vice president of corporate affairs. “Now we think we’ve found a solution.”


Mims teams with wildlife conservation group

Mims Distributing Company, a leading North Carolina wholesale beverage distributor, is partnering with Triangle Delta Waterfowl (TDW) for its 5th Annual Banquet on Friday, Feb. 19. For more than 50 years, Mims Distributing has maintained a commitment to develop partnerships with groups throughout the state dedicated to the conservation of natural habitats and stewardship of one of the world’s most precious resources – water. Since breweries rely on local water sources for production, Mims Distributing works with these groups to emphasize clean, safe waterways.