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Quick Flight, Small Pours


Wine and food pairing: you’re trying too hard.

That said, here’s pairing wine in the post-apocalypse.


We’re still excited about winning Wine Enthusiast’s Retailer of the Year

…We’re also pretty stoked on winning Buzz Weekly’s Best of CU “Best Place to Buy Alcohol.”

…extra love to Buzz for mentioning the Binny’s Blog!


This was Black Friday at Binny’s Lincoln Park.

This is the hugs and kisses aftermath.


Getting beer geeks to play nice? A noble deed.


Drink French Fluently with St Germain


You say you like making cocktails? Then you just how essential St Germain can be behind your bar. The French elderflower liqueur can add delicate sweetness and subtle floral complexity to an array of your favorite classic cocktail concoctions.


St Germain invites you to “Drink French Fluently” this holiday season, starting with a seminar at Binny’s South Loop. There will be appetizers, St Germain drinks and cocktail demonstrations. The details:


Binny’s South Loop
South Loop Tasting Room
Wednesday, December 5th, 6:30-8 pm
$10 for your seminar seat plus swag
RSVP soon: 312-768-4400


Seating for this event is limited to 25 people, so RSVP soon.

Unique Gulten-Free Beers Debuting Soon

Unity Vibration is one of the latest, and possibly most unique breweries to hit Binny’s shelves.  Instead of traditional brewing practices of using mainly malt, hops, yeast, and water, the Michigan based brewery uses Kombucha.  What is Kombucha?


“Kombucha is a sweet and tart fermented drink that usually is naturally carbonated. It is made from a Kombucha culture (symbiotic colony of friendly bacteria and yeast), water, sugar and tea. Kombucha Tea originates from China and Russia – people have been drinking it for thousands of years!”

Thanks to the Kombucha, the resulting liquid is organic, gluten-free, and vegan.  The beer is also brewed with dried hops, and either fresh raspberries or ginger (the beer comes in 4-packs with 2 bottles of the ginger and 2 bottles of the raspberry version, and also 22oz bottles of both variations).  Lastly, Unity Vibration treats their beers like lambics, by using open air fementers and by barrel aging them.  Funky lambic qualities are the highlight of these beers.


Look for these beers in your local Binny’s gluten-free or lambic section.


Binny’s Top Ten of 2012


Binny's Top 10 of 2012


Binny’s Beverage Depot has the best and brightest people in the industry. Over the last calendar year, we have studied, handled, sampled and sold over 50,000 products. We asked Binny’s specialists from Chicago to Champaign for their Top Ten picks from 2012. The only ground rule was these items must still be available at most Binny’s stores. Distilling the list down to .02% of everything that passed through our 29 stores wasn’t easy.


W.L. Weller 12 Year Old BourbonFirestone Walker Wookey Jack

#10  W.L. Weller 12 Year Old Bourbon
The perfect wheated bourbon for every day. Butterscotch, cinnamon, nutmeg, toffee and custard all in one easy sipper. Ever hear someone say they don’t like bourbon? Weller might change their mind. – Will Heine, Assistant Manager at Binny’s Downtown Chicago,
Chuck Campagna, General Manager at Binny’s in Niles,


#9 Firestone Walker Wookey Jack
We always love rye IPA, and Wookey Jack isn’t just a rye IPA, it’s a Black Rye IPA! Love that bite of rye malt, plus the lively citrus. Wookey Jack is another outstanding beer from Firestone Walker. – Martin Elkmann, Beer Consultant at Binny’s in St. Charles,


Bodegas Borsao Berola El Credito El Perrito

#8 Bodegas Borsao Berola
Ripe black cherry and more tannins and acidity than the price suggests. Ten months of oak aging adds balance and vanilla notes. Another ten months of bottle aging makes this Berola ready to pop right now. – Cristian Martinez, Wine Consultant at Binny’s Glen Ellyn,


#7 El Credito El Perrito Cigar
A powerful little Dominican dogwalker – el Perrito means “little dog” in Spanish – and a howling success. Rustic and gutsy with a Connecticut broadleaf binder and an Ecuador Habano wrapper. Give you and your canine a new leash on life when you’re out for a stroll. – David Stevens, Cigar Consultant at Binny’s in Highland Park,


2011 Domaine Laroque Vins de Pays de la Cite de CarcassonnePlantation 20 year Anniversary Rum

#6 2011 Domaine Laroque Vins de Pays de la Cite de Carcassonne
A ridiculous value. Savage elegance defines this stunning Bordeaux lookalike. Cabernet franc driven, its big herbal flavors are enhanced by ripe black fruits and a richness that belies its reasonable price. – David Poweska, CSW, Wine Manager at Binny’s in Bloomingdale,
Michael Bach, Wine Manager at Binny’s in Arlington Heights,


#5 Plantation 20 Year Anniversary Rum
Our favorite rum under $40. This is a blend of old Barbados rums aged in Bourbon barrels for boldness and then in Cognac barrels for elegance. Notes of vanilla, banana, coconut and toffee. An ideal sipping rum, light and easygoing. – David Bond, General Manager at Binny’s in Algonquin,
Dan Culen, General Manager at Binny’s in Glen Ellyn,


Lagunitas A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' AleAndre Tissot Cremant du Jura  Extra Brut

#4 Lagunitas A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale
This California (soon to be Chicago!) brewery has many great beers, but none as popular as Lil Sumpin’. The flavor, a touch of wheat and a blast of fresh hops, makes this one of the best beers we’ve ever had. Its loyal following made it a top seller. – Trevor Hagen, Beer Consultant at Binny’s in Glen Ellyn,
Jerry Krzak, Beer Consultant at Binny’s in River Grove,


#3 Andre Tissot Cremant du Jura Extra Brut
From traditional Champagne varietals, this sparkler shows subtle notes of almonds, pastry dough, baking spice, and red apple skin that all meld together in a cider-like aroma. The QPR is fantastic! Seek it out because bubbly at this price is just too good to pass up. – Don Sheil, Wine Manager at Binny’s South Loop,


Revolution Eugene PorterBuffalo Trace Bourbon Handpicked

#2 Revolution Eugene Porter
Well balanced and on the sweet side for the style, which only adds to its drinkability. Black as night, robust, big notes of cocoa and a touch of coffee. From a great new Chicago brewery, finally in cans. What’s not to like about that? – TJ Glovan, Beer Consult at Binny’s in Skokie,
Chuck Campagna, General Manager at Binny’s in Niles,


#1 Buffalo Trace Bourbon Handpicked
No Question, the champion this year is Binny’s Handpicked Buffalo Trace. Not only are these barrels hand selected by our experts, but this is one of the most versatile and value driven bourbons out there. With its inviting bouquet, notes of caramel and cocoa, and endless finish, Buffalo Trace is the old friend you hope to meet again (and again). – Andy Heiden, General Manager at Binny’s in Champaign,
Gregory Fullham, Wine Consultant at Binny’s in Hyde Park,



What do you think? Leave a comment with your favorites of the year!


Relentless American Syrah

Yes, the 2008 Shafer Vineyards Relentless, Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year, has long sold out. It’s no surprise – it’s one killer bottle of syrah (with just a touch of petit sirah), made by one of California’s great craftsmen who is gainfully employed by one of Napa Valley’s finest estates. But what is all the more remarkable is that it was even nominated at all.


Why so? Since 1988, when its Top 100 list first appeared, Wine Spectator has nominated a cabernet sauvignon or Bordeaux blend or varietal 13 out of 25 times, and a Southern Rhone blend only four times. Systematic bias? Perhaps, but I suspect someone can forcefully defend each of those 17 choices and win the argument. Cabernet blends are as powerful as they come, and the finest age as gracefully as Cary Grant; and besides, who doesn’t love the full-figured, Brigitte Bardot flavors that a great grenache blend can take? I certainly love both, but at least for me, syrah is as fine as cabernet and finer still than grenache. And I love grenache. Especially any from Gigondas and thereabouts, but I believe in ranks and orders, and syrah is higher on my list! Only one other time has syrah enjoyed the pole position in Wine Spectator’s annual ranking, and that was Penfold’s Grange, way back in 1995. Of course, Grange enjoyed a renown long before the Wine Spectator nominated its 1990 vintage for top honors. Grange is often regarded as the Southern hemisphere’s greatest wine and the equal to any First Growth, but because it’s Australian my contrarian side regards Grange as distinct enough from Shafer to mark the Relentless as truly and remarkably singular. It is the first time that an American syrah has earned that most coveted spot on the Top 100.


I hope not the last, for California – and increasingly Washington state – is awash with great syrah. California enjoys a Mediterranean setting, and Washington state enjoys levels of sunshine greater than those of California (if you can believe it) and a cool climate. BOTH settings, oddly enough, are ideal for easygoing syrah. A large measure of syrah’s success is due to a number of pioneering winemakers affectionately known as the Rhone Rangers – Bob Lindquist of Qupe, perhaps the most vocal supporter of California syrah when so little was planted. We do have some Qupe in stock, but today a number of producers in both California and Washington state are crafting syrahs that do the United States proud. Here are just a few of them (and the ones I suggest, in no particular order, are: Charles Smith, Copain, Qupe of course, Betz, K-Vitners, Cayuse, Neyers, and some others we don’t even carry!) all proof positive that syrah thrives in the United States


Now, there is syrah from France and even Australia, but perhaps we’ll visit that in the future….

The Wine Hotline: November Update is Huge


Okay, the new WINE HOTLINE is freshly updated and live for your reading pleasure.


Of course, the big story is that Wine Spectator released their #1 wine of 2012 today, rounding out their Top Ten for the year. We list which of these coveted wines are still at Binny’s – meaning the info will be accurate for about three more hours. Watch for the full Spectator Top 100 early next week.


But there’s so much more! We highlight some of our favorite wines from the Binny’s November Wine Sale on Binny’s Best Buys, and of course they will all make perfect pairings for your big Thanksgiving dinner (By the way, somebody told us your house was the place to be next Thursday… Where’s our invite?). Then there’s our Small Batch Highlights, showcasing world-class wines available only in limited quantities. Des Plaines Binny’s Wine Manager Barb Steadman gave us her fave five for Thanksgiving in Staff Picks, and our cellarmaster gave us a couple Cellarmaster’s Selections from the Douro. Plus a there’s a Regional Spotlight on the Southern Rhone, and seriously, a whole bunch more stuff.


Like we said, it’s huge. Go check it out.


The Freshest IPA to Ever Hit Our Shelves Returns


The freshest IPA to ever hit our shelves is returning, thanks to Chicagoans swiftly gobbling up everything that came our way during the last release.  The beer who shares its name with its expiration date, and whose expiration date is only around a month from being bottled, is set to return next week.  You would be hard pressed to find another beer that is both bottled and shipped on the same day.  Stone’s new brew has a mind boggling array of hops:


Beer details:
Stats:  9.4% abv, 88 IBUs
Hops bill: Calypso during the mash; Super Galena hop extract for bittering; Simcoe, Delta, Target, and Amarillo for flavor; Motueka, Citra, and Cascade for aroma; Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy for dry hopping.


Be sure to check your local Binny’s next week so you can get this brew in time for Thanksgiving dinner!


Quick Flight, Small Pours


Congrats to Chicago restaurants awarded with Michelin Stars.


Congrats to Binny’s, Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Star Retailer of the Year.


Charlie Trotter’s is closing, and they’re selling their cellar tomorrow.

… Except for a couple pallets of wine that didn’t make it to New York.


The recent trend in blackening major brands spreads to beer.


… Thoughts?


Binny’s Party Planning Hits the Airwaves

Well… internet airwaves, anyway. It’s a series of tubes.


Jeff Caldecleugh is our party planning guy. He specializes in easing your fear and anxiety when it comes to lining up the beverages for your next big event. By combining his experience with the massive selection and prices Binny’s offers, he can… wait… let’s just let him say it. He went on The Wedding 101 Radio Show with David Rothstein this morning, and you can listen to the show right here:


[apparently the widget no longer works, so click through – gv]


We especially like the part where they say “Binny’s” like 85 times.


If you’re planning a big event of your own – from weddings to anything else – talk to Jeff He’ll help  you save money and make sure your event goes off without a hitch. Email Jeff at or call 847-257-2583.

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