Booze News: March, 2015

All the news that’s fit to drink.

March 7, 2015

BuzzIssue 11: March/April 2015Orange

Tucson Hop Shop

The rapid pace in which Tucson has embraced all things craft beer may seem out of control but there are still major areas of town that remain underserved. Ilustration by Bridget ShanahanAlthough Noble Hops has made a dent in the vacuum of Northwest Tucson’s beer scene, Tucson Hop Shop, an upcoming project by husband-and-wife team David and Jessie Zugerman, will provide another much needed break from the endless chain-restaurant draught programs. The Zugermans started their shared love of beers while attending the University of Oregon; their early drinking years were influenced by the Pacific craft-beer culture. They both found “normal” careers after college but have returned to their love of beer. They say they haven’t secured a location yet, although they suggested we keep a lookout at Ina and Shannon. Their plans for the Tucson Hop Shop already sound exciting. Early ideas include an extensive rotating handle list, an on/off premise retail bottle selection, and a dedicated selection of homebrew goods. Finally—somewhere to buy double-fermented, Italian oak-barrel aged sour beers other than Tap & Bottle!

Arizona Beer Bill

The Arizona Craft Brewer’s Guild is hoping to pass some changes to SB 1030, dubbed the Arizona Beer Bill, with the help of Senator Kelli Ward of Lake Havasu, Legislative District 5. Under the current law, a brewery loses its special status as a microbrewery after reaching 40,000 barrels of beer per year, which means it must reclassify itself as a producer and is unable to hold any retail licenses. The end result is that microbreweries that find success will be forced to shut down their restaurants and tasting rooms—often their main source of income to subsidize the actual beer production and distribution.

Ilustration by Bridget ShanahanThe proposed changes will allow a microbrewery to obtain up to seven retail licenses until it hits the 40,000-barrel cap. After that, it cannot gain any more but can keep its existing licenses. Tristan White of Dragoon Brewery assured us that its production is nowhere near the barrel cap but it is still defending the law as necessary for the health of Arizona’s craft breweries. In the past, most laws that affect the industry have had little to no input from the industry itself, so negotiations around SB 1030 seem to be a coming of age moment for the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild—a time to band together and try to achieve change in the best interests of Arizona’s future as a microbrew haven. The bill has support from countless breweries and multiple distributors but is finding major opposition in the form of the Arizona Wine and Spirits Wholesale Association, an organization made of the big three liquor distributors in the state: Young’s Market Company, Southern Wine and Spirits, and Alliance Beverage Distributing. The Guild urges people to show their support by signing the petition at and reaching out to their state senators in support of the changes to SB 1030.

Connor’s Sundays @ Scott

Connor Mansanger, Scott & Co. mixologist alumnus, became part of the Tucson bartending diaspora when he left town to work in the promised land of Portland, Oregon, a few years ago. After tending bar at the highly acclaimed Woodsman Tavern, he moved to New York City where he continued to build his impressive resume at the Long Island Bar in Brooklyn. With an impressive bartending pedigree in hand, Mansanger has returned to Tucson with one thing in mind: to run a dive bar. Since The Buffet has no management positions available, he is installing a pop-up bar inside of Scott & Co., featuring a selection of house shots, a selection of cold beer, and Kyuss’ greatest hits playing on the stereo. Stop by for some day drinking and stoner rock every Sunday with an overqualified mixologist in a tank top. Scott & Co. 47 N. Scott Ave. 520.624.4747.

Liquor Dan

Ilustration by Bridget ShanahanFor the size of our town, Tucson has an enviable number of independently owned liquor stores. Sometimes it takes a bit of work to find them but each one has something special hiding on their shelves that makes the search worth it. Liquor Dan, located at Bilby Road and Sixth Avenue, sports some of the most in-depth liquor selections in the city. Although the big box booze shops probably have more bottles, Liquor Dan has gleaned a selection of hard to find, out of production, and rare bottles that takes hours of window shopping to fully enjoy. On a recent search through the padlocked
plexiglass windows lining the liquor shelves, I was able to find an original wax-top Del Maguey Pechuga mezcal bottle, Hans Reisetbauer’s Austrian plum brandy, Schlichte Steinhäger German dry gin, and Japan’s Nikka Coffey Grain corn whisky. Visiting on Fridays can be difficult because the store doubles as a check-cashing location but the trip to the Southside is worth it. Buy some of Liquor Dan’s chicharrones and stock up on tax-labelled Armagnac. Liquor Dan. 6121 S. Sixth Ave. 520.294.4313.

Bryan Eichhorst is a native Tucsonan, unapologetic sommelier, dedicated evangelist of Oaxacan mezcal, and the beverage director at Penca.

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