Here I am, a shade past 60 and then some. I started in the Wine/Liquor industry in the early 1970s, then embarked on a career with IBM from 1974 until I retired in 2009. Back in the early 1970’s wine consisted of the fabulous French Bordeaux and Burgundies, the outstanding Italian noble wines, the famous Rhine’s and Mosel’s from Germany , and then of course the American Jug wine I was fortunate enough to be trained by an aging sommelier. He spent hours with me discussing wines, tasting wines, classifying wines and much more. At the age of 24, I was very adept in my wine skills. I became president of the Long Island Chapter of Les Ami dVin and hosted countless number of large and very private expensive tastings. Back then, it was also the cocktail era, so that the Gin’s, Rye’s and Scotch’s (Vodka was still a number of years away from being a mainstay) made their impacts. Of course you need to have a wide selection of cordials to satisfy any cocktail request. Beer, your choices were Pabst, Schaffer, Miller and Rheingold. Several years later Anheuser-Busch started to become a household word. Social drinking back then was divided into two major groups. The wine buffs who wouldn’t blink an eye at spending $45 for a wine just for the evening. And as always, the cocktail lovers made their presence. So, from a retail point of view, inventory was concentrated in those areas. To round things off, a few jug wines from California, by a new company called Gallo, and from some of the New York State Finger lake sweet wines. Depending on where you owned your Liquor store, you would decide on what the ratio breakdown would be for all of these items. FAST FORWARD…………. to the California Explosion!! I think no one person had a greater impact on wines from California, and then Robert Mondavi had. In the ‘60s, and the ‘70s California made its mark on the big jug wines. The ones you bring to picnics or at large family gatherings. Robert Mondavi in many ways was the pioneer who blazed the California wines on to the face of the earth. So many other wine masters followed his lead. Wine had made it to the USA! Over the next 20 to 30 years there was an explosion of Californian wines, in fact wines from New York, Oregon started to hit the retail market. These wines were good, they were made in small batches, hand crafted wines, the love of a winemaker and its land. This trend continued through the millennium and into the 201x’s. Nothing is going to stand in the way of the American consumer wanting the best wines at the best value. Wine bars opened up, Wine Forums and Blogs started to crop up everywhere. Magazines were filed with every type of wine advertisement of review you could think of. When you went to dinner, the waiter would bring you the “Wine List” People wanted to know more about wines. Online classes started to crop up to satisfy the public’s thirst for the knowledge of wines. Stores began in house wine tastings. Not only to educate the consumer’s palate but to expose them to so many different wines. Wine Clubs cropped up everywhere. You could join any one of those online clubs and have different wines sent to your house. The Corkscrew, The Bottle, The Wine was it is heyday in the USA! People who think outside the box began to envision something so much more. Sam Adams brewery from Boston, MA made a bold stand in creating ‘crafted’ beers for the knowledgeable consumer. Sam Adams brewery opened the door for crafted beers just as Robert Mondavi did for California wines. The wine drinkers in the ‘70s, ‘90s and more could speak about each grape, its characteristics, is bouquet,etc. Today, the avid beer enthusiast talks about Water ,Hops and Malt. After all, beer was so simple, German laws would allow beers to be brewed ONLY containing those 3 simple ingredients, nothing more. Today there are so many variations of Hops, Dry-Hopped, Wet-Hopped, what kind of malt to use and how much. The list of beer styles is longer than the list of wine styles. That was ONLY the beginning. Small crafted breweries started to crop up all over the states. Each had a brewmaster who knew exactly what he/she wanted to make. Today, most Wine/Liquor/Beer stores have cooler space for new and upcoming beers. Its an explosion that still has not reached its peak. In the overall scheme, making beer is easier to do then making wine. But that scheme is beginning to narrow. Why, because today’s brewmasters want to develop something different, more exciting than before. They are on a quest. Each week, we hear about new beers, new styles, etc. The correct glassware is also becoming standard when it comes to drinking beers. Today, we are a far cry from just opening a can of ice cold Coors. Just like today’s beer drinkers, there is a huge following for different types of spirits. The Whiskey Advocate publication concentrates on all the new spirits and rates the products very much the way Wine Spectator rates the wines. You can’t help but be caught up in this new wave. Its moving so fast and everyone wants a piece of it. The age groups varies, from the mid 20’s to those in their 50’s and older. People have always appreciated fine art works. Today, people are appreciating the efforts being put into making hand crafted beers or spirits. The labor of one persons vision on making a product is so very evident today. Almost every week, you will read about a new beer being made, a new type of whiskey being produced. Who would even think that Single Malt Scotch is now being made in Texas! I have never seen so much enthusiasm and eagerness to learn . Today’s consumer wants to understand how one wine/beer/liquor master produces high quality products. They want to learn and know more and more about the various products. We are experiencing sort of a new revolution in terms of alcoholic beverages. This era is growing rapidly and right now I do not see any end to it. Still, your wine shop will have the standards. The Cabernet, the Merlot, Red Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, etc. Those grapes have been around for a long time. What you might see is how a country becomes the ‘popular’ on in wine production. After the USA, Australia opened a new range in products, then Chile, now Argentina…… But the wines are basically the same. Are people going to get stale because there is nothing new and exciting in the wine market? I hope not, wine is an art; it is something that should be appreciated and enjoyed. Pairing a wine with a specific meal creates a heavenly environment. I cannot think of anything more special that opening a fine bottle of wine, allowing it to come into the world and provide you with so many different senses, that it comes close to perfection Hand crafted Beer and Liquor are now starting to do the same. I have been lucky enough to be part of this explosion. There have been beers and whiskeys that I have tasted over the past 18 months that I could never have imagined existed. The flavor, the boldness, the subtle taste, the lingering aftertastes, and so much very more. So, are we seeing the fall of wines in the USA in favor of Beer and Liquor?