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Brix/Pacific Coast Wine Bar – Episode 430

Air Date: August 9, 2015
Season 4, Episode 30 – Put a Cork in It!
Location: Sunset Beach, California
Description: Pressure continues to build in Sunset Beach, when Jon Taffer and his experts challenge Rick Reich, owner of Brix, to focus less on being the center of attention and more on managing his finances and staff.

The Story

Jon Taffer and his team of experts head to Sunny California to rescue Brix, a wine bar located in Sunset Beach. Rick Reich, a former trucking business owner, opened Brix in 2005 when he moved him family from Washington to California. In its beginning years, Brix did very well, earning $1.2 million in their best month. However, with a lack of systems in place and no sales strategy, Rick is now in $180,000 worth of debt and loses roughly $4,000 a month. Investing all of his retirement and life savings into Brix, he needs to make a change and it needs to happen fast.

The Recon

Jon enlisted in the help of TV personality and wine enthusiast Maria Menounos and Kevin Undergaro to do recon at the bar. Maria and Kevin ask the bartender, Tina, for a wine suggestion and she suggests a red wine. When Maria asks for the price of the bottle, Tina is unable to answer. Tina was not the most knowledgeable when it came to answering questions about different wines, so she grabs Rick to have him explain instead. Maria is able to get Rick to open eight bottles of wine for her and her boyfriend to taste; eight bottles of wine is equivalent to 32 glass of wine and roughly $250. Maria then orders the pastrami sandwich, which is tasty but the flavors do not complement the wine well. Jon calculated that in 20 days $7,5000 worth of wine was being poured and only $3,000 was being made – therefore Rick was pouring away $4,000 worth of wine in 20 days.

The Stress Test

During the stress test, it is evident that Rick’s lack of leadership and assistance hinders the staff from performing their best. Samantha, one of the bartenders, is forced to leave her bar unattended when a guest asks for a beer because the beer taps are located in another section of the wine bar. Every time she leaves, it’s money and time lost. The kitchen is unexpectedly slow… only to realize the machine that generates food orders was unplugged. One the system was plugged back in, dozens of food orders came rushing through, backing up the kitchen. Rick performed very well under the stress test. He sold 12 bottles of wine with was two more than Jon asked him to sell.

The Rescue

Jon renamed the establishment Pacific Coast Wine Bar to give it a fresh start. The inside is redecorated to be more cohesive with the brand and ambiance of a wine bar. The bar tops are reupholstered in white leather to make the wine glasses “pop”. Jon also added two POS systems, to each room, from two touch and the systems connect to the kitchen making food orders easier to track. Additional beer taps were also added to the bar located in the wine room, so the bartenders will no longer have to leave the bar unattended to pour guests beer.

Updates

Four weeks later, Pacific Coast Wine Bar generated $63,514.80 in revenue and Rick implemented systems that have set up his staff for success. He is also more focused on his bottom line than being the center of attention.

 

Featured Cocktails

The PCH Spritzer

4 oz. Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

1½ oz Ginger Beer

Garnish with a lime wheel

 

The Berry Currant

4 0z. Acacia Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir

1 oz. Crème de Cassis

Garnish with a blackberry

Beverage Trends: The Rise of Craft Beers

American craft beer is experiencing an explosive growth in popularity, both domestically and overseas. Last year, the United States exported $100 million worth of beer, an increase of 35.7% from the previous year. Canada is the biggest consumer of American craft beer exports, at 53%, followed by Sweden at 12%, and the United Kingdom as a close third at 10%.  Demand in Brazil went up by 64% and approximately 38% in the Asian-Pacific market last year.

The foreign interest in American craft beer is due to the innovation and flavors offered by American craft brewers. Unlike other countries, the craft beer scene in America is not restricted by traditional guidelines for beer-making, which allows the freedom to experiment with production techniques and flavors. Within the next year, we will see more new, exciting flavors from craft breweries and the rise in popularity of the beer cocktail. The similarities between the craft beer and wine industries are growing everyday, with regional differences and specific varieties.

The demand for American craft beer is gaining the attention of some of the big global drink groups and they want to get in on the action. To keep up with these changes, big breweries like Anheuser-Busch (AHBIF) are snapping up the rising stars of the beer market so that, they too, can have the competitive edge that craft beers provide.

But not everyone is embracing the craft beer scene — some of alcoholic beverage companies have no interest in getting in on the action. “People expect one of the big guys to get in and roll up the craft business,” Rob Sands, chief executive of beer and wine distributor Constellation Brands (STZ) said in an interview recently. “But it’s not clear that’s a good strategy.”

Craft beers only make up a small percentage of the $100 billion beer market and few have been successful outside of their local markets. This just adds to the belief that it’s a very local business that may not be marketable outside of their own locales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer sipping! Cocktails and more drink pairings for your barbecue

Jon Taffer, star of Spike TV show “Bar Rescue,” serves up some drink pairings to go with our summer barbecue favorites — because everyone knows the best part of going to a barbecue is the drinking!