USBevX is a conference and trade show for Eastern and Midwestern beverage producers. The conference sessions address a plethora of in-the-weeds topics about producing and marketing alcoholic drinks; the trade show collected about fifty vendors of products and services who would be delighted to facilitate that production.
Entering the ballroom of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, I was prepared for an interesting variety of purveyors, but the fifty-odd booths beggared my imagination. There were those I expected: suppliers of bottles, labels (and label-makers), kegs, equipment, and raw materials. And those more far-fetched: software, banking services, marketing, laboratory analysis, additives, sewage systems, web services, tchochkas. Everything the modern winery, brewery, and cidery could ask for! Oh, and some very friendly folks from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (AKA, revenuers).
One of the first folks I talked to was Harris Goldstein, of Gravotech, Inc., who was pleased to demonstrate how anyone could custom-etch glassware and other items with his engraving machines. I now possess a unique pen advertising Catillation.com – I will treasure it forever!
I was struck by the contrast between the shiny, modern equipment on display
and the antique cider press at Kauffman’s Fruit Farm and Market stall. Also, Tim Kauffman, who didn’t look like the stereotypical Amish man from Bird-in-Hand, PA. He had been adopted during an evangelical visit to South America, but could extol the merits of his family’s fruit juice as well as any of his relatives.
Tim’s stall was next to Chaddsford Winery, which uses Kauffman apple juice to make their hard cider. We have been drinking Chaddsford wine for years, but I didn’t know that they had begun cider production. I tasted some, courtesy of Corey Krejcik, who explained that it was made in the style of early Colonial days, cold-fermented and unfiltered. It was delicious. I could imagine it would be refreshing very cold, on a hot summer’s day.
What else was new to me? Canned wine, of which there was a selection. The selling point is that one can take it where bottles would be inconvenient – swimming pools, the beach – but no one expects it to age well (or at all).
But the company that supplied the canning line was bullish! Brendan Pevarski of Lucky Clover Packaging in Elkton described his plans to take his portable canner on the road, to service small breweries and wineries.
And now I must confess to plans to pervert two of the products to my own purposes. Amoretti purees are meant to be used for cocktails.
And Oakwise is supposed to add that smoky, oaky taste to wine, but Brian Spillane allowed as how it might bear a certain resemblance to a product that was always in my mother’s refrigerator: Liquid Smoke.
So stay tuned, as I might be reporting on certain experiments involving other than spirits in my kitchen.