Top 10 April Fools news stories
Love them, hate them or love to hate them, or hate to love them, or, indeed, love to hate to love them, prank news stories are as much a part of April 1 as the word ‘April’ or the number ‘1’ – until the clock strikes midday, of course.
In the pages that follow db presents its top 10 drinks industry April Fools stories which had a fair crack at making us all look a bit silly…
1. Wine tap
Intaplonk – Midlands manufacturer creates first wine tap for the home:
It’s time to ditch the bottle and reach for the spout after a Midlands-based manufacturer creates its first-ever wine tap for the home.
The IntaPlonk, created by heating and plumbing product manufacturer Inta, will allow homeowners to enjoy a glass of red or white straight from their tap, making it the ultimate luxurious addition to any modern home.
The first of its kind, the tap’s stylish chrome finish makes it appear like any other, with the only difference being that instead of ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ functions, the IntaPlonk offers ‘red’ and ‘white’.
Stuart Gizzi, Director at Insta, says: “We’ve all been there – cracked open a bottle of wine after work, only wanted one glass, and then the rest of the bottle ends up spoiling and going down the drain. With the IntaPlonk however, simply pour as little or as much as you want and no wine will go to waste.
Plus, as it’s coming straight from a tap, it means no more empty bottles, so gone are the days of your neighbours spying how many empties end up in your recycling. We reckon it’s going to completely revolutionise the industry.”
Speaking on how the product works, Gizzi adds: “We’ve worked very closely with a team of designers and plumbers to ensure that installation of this product is easy and cost effective. Once the specialist tap is fitted, all that is required is a diverter valve and the attachment of a bag of wine via the rubber gasket – then wine will be flowing from the tap. It’s really that simple.”
Designed in association with the manufacturer’s Italian partner Amore Chianti, wine enthusiasts will be able to buy specialist 5 litre bags of wine from a number of wine merchants across the UK, including Boxed Vino in Bridgwater.
Berry DeCanter, sommelier at Boxed Vino, said: “There’s this belief that wine must always be served from a bottle but in fact, a bottle is actually harmful to the delicate and elegant notes of fine wine. There are a tonne of things that can disturb a great wine just from it being stored in a bottle – from a broken cork to oxidizing – which is why I always urge connoisseurs to enjoy wine from a tap. The introduction of the IntaPlonk is a sommelier’s dream and something that I can’t wait to install in my own home.”
Inta’s IntaPlonk will be available online at www.intatec.co.uk on Friday, 1st April only.
2. ‘Ginder’ gin-based dating app
Master of Malt unveils Ginder Dating App – Find Your Perfect Junipartner!
Master of Malt are launching a new dating app designed to bring kindred spirits together based on their drinks preferences.
Built entirely in-house by their development team, Ginder is available to try now on mobile.
Once you’ve swiped right to at least six gins, the app will find you somebody with similar tastes!
The full version is due to launch soon on iPhone and Android will allow users to swipe right or left through hundreds of gin botanicals, brands and serves on Ginder’s extensive database, teaching the app more about your preferences and increasing the accuracy of your matches.
3. South African Wine and Spirit Board announces legislation changes
The South African Wine and Spirit Board today announced several amendments to current SA wine legislation including the introduction of new categories of wine and spirits.
According to Eugene Mousepractice, a senior staff member at the board, the move is intended to bring SA wines and spirits further in line with international styles whilst still retaining a distinctive South African heritage.
“Wine has been made in Africa for over 350 years,” he explains “and whilst it has obviously benefitted us to follow European trends in the past, we do need to incorporate our local traditions and customs as well.”
With that in mind, plans include the introduction of an African version of the famous Hungarian wine, Bulls Blood of Eger involving pedigree Nguni cattle, as well as the launch of a local rendition of mezcal or tequila which will allow for the use of preserved mopane worms.
“We had intended also to incorporate an interpretation of Chinese snake wine involving Cape Cobras, but one of our researchers was very badly bitten whilst carrying out a feasibility study into this wine style so we decided to abandon this,” said Mr Mousepractice. “Also, the snakes are a bit too big for 75cl bottles.”
The trend towards more natural wines, including so-called ‘orange wines’ is set to continue according to senior executive Festus Raisinbran, and this will be extended to include a new category of what will be termed ‘yellow wines’. These will be made by footstomping the grapes in a traditional Portuguese manner in a lagare, but without permitting the footstompers to leave the lagare at any time over the first 48 hours.
“Obviously if people are footstomping over a considerably long time they will get thirsty,” says Mr Raisinbran, “and that means they will want to drink more and if they can’t leave the lagare for any reason at all as the new law will clearly state, then undoubtedly nature will take its course, if you see what I mean, hence the term ‘yellow wine’. To be honest, most natural wine tastes of piss anyway so we don’t really think this will be a problem for most aficionados and other lovers of this style.”
But probably the most shocking announcement is that the decision has been taken to include beer and craft beer into the remit of the Wine & Spirit Board. This will now be renamed the Beer, Wine and Highly Alcoholic Hooch-makers Association (BWAHAHA for short), and one of the first regulatory measures will be to control facial hair on the part of the brewer.
This follows several complaints of froth being trapped in beards leading to that common problem ‘hairy brew’. In future, although all brewers will now have to have facial hair in order to be able to actually brew beer in South Africa, this must be covered with beard guards and moustache nets.
This very controversial move has already caused much anger, with one craft brewery warning against future possible job losses.
Corlea Fourie, winemaker at Bosman Wines and part owner and brewer at The Brew Crew says: “I’m really upset at this decision for two reasons. Obviously, I strongly object to the discriminatory nature of this new ruling which is going to severely curtail my career in brewing.
“But I’m even more upset at the idea that my husband (Bertus Fourie, also a winemaker and partner in The Brew Crew) is now going to be a dead ringer for ZZ Top. And I hate their music. I really do.”
With feelings running very high on this issue, it is clear that for BWAHAHA, the issue of facial hair is no laughing matter.
4. Germany introduces beer scare labels
The German Health Ministry announced on Friday plans for mandatory warning labels on alcohol, similar to those used on cigarette packages.
The plan is part of a larger effort by the ministry to fight alcoholism and binge-drinking, and was pushed by the state-funded Netzwerk für Alkoholismus und Rauschgifte Recherche (Network for Alcoholism and Drug Research, or NARR).
“Alcoholism is a serious problem in our country and one which we need to tackle head-on,” chief NARR researcher Carl Doofmann told The Local.
Germans consume more alcohol per capita than the European average, according to the World Health Organization, and are among the top beer drinkers in the world, beat out only by the Czech Republic and Austria, according to Kirin Beer University.
Officials are especially concerned about growing trends of binge-drinking among young Germans between the ages of 15 and 20. Between 2000 and 2014, the number of youths hospitalized due to alcohol and acute intoxication rose from 7,320 to 19,444, or by 165.6 percent, according to the Federal Statistics Office.
A previous proposal had entailed a government alcohol monopoly like Sweden, Norway and Finland have to regulate consumption, but this was shot down as too impractical.
The health ministry said it plans to keep the labels simple, imitating those found on cigarette packets which say “smoking can be deadly” by declaring “drinking can be deadly”.
“Young people are extremely concerned with how they look and taking good selfies, so we want to remind them that drinking can actually make you look not so cool,” he explained.
NARR’s suggestion would include an image of a man or woman with a beer belly, along with the caption “drinking can be ugly”.
“We can’t force people to stop drinking in excess, but at least we can subtly remind them what the impacts are on their future well-being,” Doofmann said.
But not all are enthused about the new labels.
Alcohol producers will be required to foot the cost of placing the extra labels on bottles themselves, just like cigarette manufacturers, or face a hefty fine.
This could force companies to raise prices, which business owners say in turn may cause them to lose customers, especially in the beer market as Germans have over time been chugging back less and less beer.
Germans’ consumption of the nation’s beer last year fell to the lowest it has been in 25 years, the national statistics office said in January.
“Germans are already drinking less and less beer, and now they [NARR] want to remind us about beer bellies,” Bielefeld-based Flunkerei Brewery said in a statement.
“There are better ways to fight alcoholism than with these scare tactics.”
*This story from The Local is actually not that far-fetched; however the keen-eyed will notice that Flunkerei – the name of the brewery quoted in the article – also means story/fib in German. Also, the brewery doesn’t exist.
5. Boutinot plants Manchester’s first vineyard
More used to tending grapes in France, South Africa and Italy, we have just established our first vineyard in our home city of Manchester.
MD Dennis Whiteley explains: “Hunting for new office space, we stumbled across Burgess Farm in Salford, Greater Manchester, and secured planning permission to build a new Boutinot HQ. However, the preliminary site survey showed a deep layer of Kimmeridgian soil just like in Champagne. So we thought, what if we grew vines here instead?”
In view of southern England’s recent success with quality still and sparkling wines, we began exploring the viability of growing wine grapes in Salford and brought in English wine experts from Plumpton College to consult on potential plantings in this historically wet and cool region of the UK.
“Last year, we established test plots of Seyval Blanc on various rootstocks which thrive in cool and wet climates, particularly on limestone and calcium-rich soil,” explains Chris Foss, head of Plumpton College’s Wine Department.
“We were excited when Boutinot contacted us about their site and it was a perfect real-life project for our viticulture and oenology students to explore the importance of rootstock selection in marginal climates”.
After a 10-month trial period which evaluated the vigour and health of the vines, a single rootstock has been identified.
“We chose to use rootstock 125AA,” says Matteo Marangon, course leader for MSc Viticulture & Oenology. “It’s particularly useful for wet soils and it has high limestone tolerance which is necessary for this site”.
The results of the trial will be presented at The International Cool Climate Wine Symposium in Brighton in May.
We plan to produce our first vintage from the two hectare plot in 2019. Meanwhile the hunt for the perfect space for our new office continues…
6. Majestic launches Definition Water
“The essence of palate-cleansing purity, Majestic’s Definition Mineral Water races across the palate like the first gusts of a moorland rainstorm. Chill and serve by itself or with dishes ranging from the completely bland to tongue-burning curries.” Olly Smith
Flavours: minerality, purity
Origin: A versatile liquid, found predominantly in the sea, rivers and rain. A particular speciality of the British Isles, where they age water in underground caves to mature.
Taste: Our water, from the incredibly wet 2013 vintage, chosen for its soft, luxurious texture. Find notes of absolutely nothing.
Enjoy: Great with water biscuits and crackers
Country: United Kingdom
7. The Wine Society tastings to include karaoke
Wine tastings can be perceived as rather stuffy affairs. While this is far from the truth for Society tastings, we feel that a certain amount of levity would not go amiss from time to time.
To this end it has been decided that tutored tastings, in future, will begin with 15 minutes of optional karaoke. Society staff and our honoured guest presenters will start the ball rolling, but it is hoped that in time members too will be forthcoming in wanting to display their penchant for belting out some chart hits before getting down to the serious matter of tasting.
We had a trial run in February already, with Head of Buying Tim Sykes giving a great rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s apposite Mrs Robinson just before Jancis Robinson MW introduced her presentation with Robbie Williams’ Let Me Entertain You to a suitably impressed audience.
Our next tutored tasting will begin with excerpts from the Broadway & West End hit show Chicago, with Head of Tastings Simon Mason giving members the old Razzle Dazzle, before Tastings Co-ordinator Emma Briffett will echo members’ reaction to this by singing those legendary lines from Cell Block Tango: “He had it coming!”
Written by Ewan Murray
8. World Whisky Day celebrated on-board International Space Station
For the first time ever a World Whisky Day celebration will be taking place in space.
After months of deliberation with between the organisers of World Whisky Day and the International Space Station (ISS) and its constituent space agencies, an agreement has been reached to allow an event to take place on-board the satellite on Saturday 21 May.
A legislative loophole was navigated to allow for a consignment of whisky to be sent up as part of a cargo drop 250 miles above the Earth’s surface.
Due to a UK law prohibiting the presence of open alcohol containers on-board the satellite, the crew will be enjoying the whisky in a bar module called Dramnik, specially designed for the occasion.
The module, which will be berthed between the satellite’s five existing Russian modules, will be classified as an ‘external safe zone’ under Russian jurisdiction, meaning that the crew (Tim Peake included) will be permitted to consume alcohol on-board for this one-off occasion.
Hans Kessel, head of design for Dramnik, said: “We’ve left nothing out for the boys on-board. This is a fully functioning whisky bar, complete with a pool table, dartboard and a cantina band. We can’t wait to see it attached.”
The module will also come fitted with a renowned mixologist who has been undertaking an intensive training course at NASA’s Zero Gravity Research Facility in Brook Park, Ohio. The course has been designed to adapt his bar skills for the satellite’s zero gravity environment.
In the interests of responsible drinking, the crew will be issued with three servings over the course of the day – and these only when off-duty.
“This one event is representative of what World Whisky Day is all about,” said an ISS representative. “We want to prove that people all over the world can bond together over this incredible spirit.”
The cargo drop is due for take off on 27 April, with Dramnik taking off on the 1 May, both from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Be sure to follow the day’s events on social media.
To view the official event registration visit: http://www.worldwhiskyday.com/event/world-whisky-day-2016-on-board-the-international-space-station/
9. Bibendum PLB and Instil launch UK’s first craft kumis
In a major announcement, Instil and Bibendum PLB today launched the UK’s first Craft Kumis. The fermented Mare’s Milk drink has been popular among Mongols, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz for centuries. Now it’s set to be the next big thing on the UK’s increasingly adventurous bar scene.
“This is going to change the face of the Brandy Alexander forever” said Lindsay Castling, sporting a white moustache from the foam on her fermented horse-milk cocktail.
“We’re constantly looking for ways to bring innovation to the bar scene. To be honest, we’re surprised nobody’s done this before”.
Alex Linsley, head of the market insights team, agreed. “With their big beards, top-knots and skinny-jeans, London’s hipster ‘cocktail curators’ are always on the lookout for something more bizarre than they are. This is the perfect product. It sounds disgusting but if you add enough vodka it tastes slightly less like baby sick.”
The precise formulation is a family secret, handed down by generations of Yakut tribesman from the Central Asian Steppe.
“Make sure you put Yakut,” says Alex. “Not Yakult. That’s a yoghurty thing people drink when they can’t poo.”
10. Pimm’s to sponsor Big Ben
Pimm’s, the quintessential drink of the British Summer, has this morning unveiled the result of an unprecedented sponsorship deal to display its logo on the world’s most famous clock tower.
The drinks brand’s logo will be displayed across the dial of Elizabeth Tower, better known as Big Ben, throughout the summer months until Wednesday 31st August.
Marketers at Pimm’s approached officials at the Houses of Parliament with ‘a generous offer’ to contribute towards the restoration of the Grade I listed timepiece in exchange for the unique sponsorship placement.
A 23ft transparent vinyl overlay has been installed behind the hands ensuring that the historic face remains protected while the famous Pimm’s logo will be discretely visible to tens of thousands of Londoners in the streets below.
The sponsored clock face was unveiled in the early hours of this morning with a team of abseiling workers revealing the advertising artwork.
Jo Segesser, Pimm’s Senior Brand Manager said “We’re delighted to be playing our part in restoring the monument. Pimm’s O’Clock is a national catchphrase and so the opportunity for us to sponsor Britain’s most famous clock was too good to pass up.”
Respected TV broadcaster Peter Sissons was one of the first reporters on site and has recorded a special video report on the landmark event.