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Making Its Way to Your Mug: Big Bay Brewing

Big Bay Brewing is set to debut at a handful of our stores next week, and several more the following week.  Big Bay is headquartered in Shorewood, Wisconsin, having just opened up a fancy brewpub there with a shiny new pilot brewing system. Big Bay will be bringing three beers to our stores for their initial launch: Wavehopper Kolsch, Long Weekend India Pale Ale, and Boatilla Amber Ale.  We found all three to be easy to drink for their respected styles and perfect for a day outdoors, or as our colleague Pat Brophy likes to say, “good lawnmower beers.”  Big Bay will also feature several rotating seasonal beers, including Portside Porter and Summer Tide Wheat Ale.


Celebrate National Drink Wine Day


Monday, February 18th is National Drink Wine Day! We’re celebrating with some outstanding recommendations from our fabulous wine buyers!


Bob’s Recommendations:



Graham Beck Brut
This non-vintage “mini Champagne” will suprise you with its soft and fresh fruit flavor. It’s a South African favorite of Binny’s and will be sure to please any taste buds!


2011 Altos Las Hormigas Malbec
For this price, it can’t be beat! This Argentina beaut is smokey with fantastic blueberry and bacon character. For the complexity of the wine, it really should be sitting in the $14-17 category… but you can snatch it for just $9.99!


2011 Coquena Torrontes
If you’re a big fan of torrontes and are ready to take off the training wheels, this is a great place to start! This is a more serious version of this popular grape. Very forward and more dialed in to what you should be tasting.


Barb’s Recommendations:


2011 Patient Cottat Sauvignon Blanc Le Grand Caillou
A great value from the Loire, this vibrant, juicy white drinks like Sancerre but at half the price. The perfect summer quencher.


2010 Ridge Lytton Estate Petite Sirah
Ridge, one of America’s greatest wineries, first made Petite Sirah from Lytton Estate in 1972. This surprisingly elegant Petite has a pure, deep blackberry aroma, dense sweet mouth and firm but supple tannins.


Lustau Manzanilla Papirusa
One of the world’s greatest but more overlooked white wines. Bone dry, like a razor’s edge with an intriguing, nutty aroma and a salty, tangy mouth. One caveat, like any white wine, it will keep opened in the fridge a few days before it declines.


Salut to you on National Drink Wine Day! (We’ll use any excuse to drink more wine…)


Truman Cox

It is with great sadness I read the news of the passing of Truman Cox. He was a good friend, great father and husband and a passionate member of our whiskey fraternity.  Loved ones can never leave too late, but Truman truly left too early.  He will be missed.


Brett Pontoni
Specialty Spirits Buyer
Binny’s Beverage Depot



Truman Cox
From A. Smith Bowman Distillery / Buffalo Trace Distillery, Feb 10th


It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Truman Cox, Master Distiller of our A. Smith Bowman Distillery.   Truman passed away on Saturday, February 9 after a short illness.  Truman joined the company in 2004 as Lead Chemist at Buffalo Trace Distillery and in 2011 realized his dream to become the Master Distiller at A. Smith Bowman Distillery in Fredericksburg, Virginia.   Truman’s passion for our industry was evident to everyone who knew him and he left a notable and positive mark on our company in the time he was with us.


Truman will be sadly missed by his many friends at Sazerac and in the industry.  Please keep Truman, his wife Susan and daughter Emmy in your thoughts and prayers.

Lovely Cocktails for Valentine’s Day


Oh, Valentine’s Day. A time of celebration, love and of course- indulging! Try one of these recommended holiday treats with your loved one or single bff’s!


Popping bottles: The 2011 Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui is a sparkling red with festive cranberry color and has a fresh raspberry taste, with crisp acidity, enticing the palate with an initial softness, graduating to a round luscious finish with just a touch of sweetness to hit the spot.


For all of you adventurous beer lovers: Try Lindemans Framboise or  Liefman’s Cuvee Brut. They both offer a lot of sweet and tart fruit. Both are a pinkish red, succulently fruity, and almost dangerously sippable.


Now if you’re trying to get really fancy, we have some great cocktail choices fit to please everyone.


For the ladies

Be sure to try X-Rated Fusion Liqueur. At $22.99 a bottle, you have many ways to enjoy this sensuous fusion of ultra premium French vodka & Sicilian blood orange mingling with mango and passion fruits. Enjoy over ice or mix with Champagne for a fruity and bubbly Valentine’s Day treat.


For the men


Bring on the whiskey! This Cupid’s Manhattan is guaranteed to not disappoint. Pour him this spicy twist on a classic cocktail to make his head spin… in a good way. Include 2 parts Redemption Rye, 1 part M&R Sweet Vermouth, a dash of Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters for fruity sweetness and a dash of Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub Bitters to spice things up.


So whether you’ve got a hot date or are celebrating with your closest friends, be sure to try one of these festive liquid treats! Show us your version on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!


Happy Mardi Gras!


Happy Fat Tuesday to you all! One of the best days to indulge and not feel any sort of guilt… until tomorrow maybe…

Whether you’re celebrating from home or the bar tonight, do it right with one of these traditional Mardi Gras beverages.

Brewed in NOLA, Abita Beer is sure to please. After Hurricane Katrina, you couldn’t get this stuff for months!

Or try sipping on the traditional New Orleans Hurricane. You can never go wrong with rum. We found a great recipe for you to try here.

Straight from the French Quarter, try the Red Snapper. Heavy with whiskey and cranberry juice, it’s guaranteed to hit your sweet spot.


Binny’s Mailbag: Finished Bourbon


What could be more tempting than sneaking a peek at somebody’s mail? Here’s your chance to see the kinds of letters we get every day. Have a question of your own? Email us at or



I am extremely concerned about whiskeys being called bourbon, yet being aged in sherry/wine/brandy casks. Isn’t there a strict law about what can and cannot be called bourbon?




Angel's Envy

Hi YK!

Yes and no. The Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits (pdf) covers what needs to happen to whiskey before it can be called bourbon:


  • It has to be made from at least 51% corn.
  • It has to be aged in NEW, charred oak barrels.
  • It can’t be distilled higher than 160 proof and can’t be put into a barrel for aging at higher than 125 proof.
  • It has to be bottled at 80 proof or higher.


Bourbon that you see with sherry or port cask aging is FINISHED in those casks. These bourbons generally spend several years in the legally required new charred oak barrels, and then are finished in refilled port, sherry or whatever barrels for a short time, usually 3-9 months. Angel’s Envy is a great example of this – a bourbon that saw years in charred oak barrels that then sees extra time finishing in port casks, giving it its characteristic gobs of round fruit.


The Fizzy Iggy


This special cocktail comes to you from our party planner, Jeff Caldcleugh. No surprise here.. Jeff loves to party. He created this cocktail after hosting numerous get-togethers with his pals and a little inspiration from his pup, Iggy!



Cocktail GlassThe Fizzy Iggy


One part Hum
Three parts Cava
Dash of Simple Syrup to taste
Squeeze of Lime Juice


   Shake ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled Champagne flute. 

There ya have it, a sweet treat to enjoy anytime through out the year.


Did you enjoy making The Fizzy Iggy? Show us your version on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Be sure to check out our mixology centers in participating Binny’s.


Chicago Tribune Beer of the Month: Deschutes Chainbreaker

Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA is the Chicago Tribune’s beer of the month for February.  Just in case you missed it, this is what Binny’s had to say about Chainbreaker when we highlighted it in the New, Novel, & Notable section of our Beer Buzz last month:



  • Kyle: Far from the most popular Deschutes offering, but close to the most unique. Has more similarities to a witbier than an IPA, yet too hoppy to be a witbier, and too spiced to be an IPA. At times you will feel as if you are drinking one or the other. Even though there are only a few out there, this is the best version of a White IPA on our shelves. 


  • Pat: Witbiers are not one of my favorite styles. I like this one because of the balance the added hop bitterness brings. I have to agree with Kyle, probably the best “White IPA” we have. This is going to make a great lawnmower beer, when I finally have to start mowing the lawn again. 

Portland Brewing is Coming Back

Yesterday, we were excited to see an email in our inbox titled “Portland Brewing is Coming Back.”  This time the west-coast brewery will hit the market with more firepower in the form of the previously available 22oz bomber bottles, as well as new to the market 6-packs.  Check out part of the press release below regarding the 6-packs, which are set to debut in late March or early April.


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