Friday, May 27, 2016

Morano Gelato, "The Best Gelato in America", announces launch of new franchise system

Various flavours of gelato
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Morano Gelato, called “the best gelato in America” by Forbes, has announced the launch of its franchise system. Entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of Americans’ insatiable appetite for fresh, authentic Italian artisan desserts will find a perfect fit in Morano Gelato, which is seeking franchisees to serve up its products nationwide, modeled after the success of the company’s New England shops.

Morano Gelato founder Morgan Morano has spent 15 years in the food industry and the past seven years studying the craft artisan Italian gelato, making it her mission to bring this Italian dessert to the US in its traditional form. Her first two shops, in Hanover, NH and Chestnut Hill, MA, have been smash successes, leading Forbes magazine to call her work “the best gelato in America.” Morano has also written The Art of Making Gelato.

After strong interest and demand for franchising opportunities from across the country, Morano has teamed up with industry franchise veteran Troy Taylor, who brings 30 years of experience as a Franchisor and Multi-Unit franchisee in fast food and casual dining, bringing start-up concepts to national chains. Morano Gelato is seeking owner/operators who have a passion to bring traditional Sicilian artisan gelato, sorbet, granita, Italian espresso, Italian hot chocolate and more to their communities.

“I fell in love with the craft of gelato-making while studying it in Italy and I am excited to continue teaching Americans the difference when it comes to authentic gelato made in small batches with fresh and often local ingredients,” says Morano. “As I’ve honed my craft, I’ve developed an accessible way to bring the Morano Gelato concept to markets around the country, and I hope to find entrepreneurs with a passion for gelato to join me.”

Morano Gelato franchisees will have a unique opportunity to enter a marketplace of minimal competition and join a brand positioned to be a major player in the industry. The stores’ small footprints of 800 to 1,500 square feet provide an opportunity for great real estate opportunities, faster launches with lower construction costs and higher profitability than other food franchises.

The Morano Gelato concept provides reduced labor costs with an efficient business model, limited but high-quality menu and lower food costs for gelato and sorbet, alongside high-margin coffee and espresso drinks. With minimal competition and a simplistic business model, Morano Gelato provides a unique and exciting investment opportunity for entry-level franchisees as well as experienced multi-unit franchisees.

About Morano Gelato Franchise Company, LLC 
Morano Gelato Franchise Company, LLC provides franchise opportunities for authentic Italian gelato retail shops across the country. After being featured in outlets like NPR, the Boston Globe, and Yankee Magazine, and being called “the best gelato in America” by Forbes, Morano Gelato has launched a franchise concept with a small footprint, high operational efficiency and minimal competition. For more information, visit or contact Troy Taylor, VP of Franchise Development at 603-722-9868 or

Rare and craft beer haven Pub 365 to open inside Tuscany Suites and Casino

Pub 365's Profile PhotoPub 365, the newest craft beer mecca, is slated to open during this year's summer and will feature 365 rotating craft beers and 40 draft handles. With their vast selection of impeccably sourced collection of rare and craft beers, the new pub is planning to be the premiere Vegas destination for beer lovers. The always evolving beer collection will be served by a team of all Cicerone certified servers and bartenders. Anyone looking for the perfect beer to pair with their meal will most certainly be in good hands. The menu at Pub 365 will include a modern spin on traditional pub fare with iconic burgers, locally sourced tacos and more.

Created with the beer lover in mind, PUB 365 will boast a lucrative beer loyalty program that gives members the opportunity to win exclusive prizes, attend private tap parties and score a personalized tap on the pub’s Founder’s Wall. The app-based program will allow guests to earn rewards based on the number of beers they try from the rotating menu. Once open the restaurant's hours of operation will be from 11am until 4am daily.

About PUB 365
Opening summer 2016, Pub 365 will feature a collection of 365 rotating beers and a menu of traditional pub fare with a modern spin including homemade small bites, iconic burgers and locally world-famous tacos. Located inside Tuscany Suites & Casino in Las Vegas, Pub 365 is a true beer lover’s dream with an extensive beer collection that will include an evolving list of rare, specialty brews. Join Pub 365’s Mug Club to win exclusive prizes, private tap party invites and the chance to earn a personalized tap on the Founder’s Wall. Pub 365 is live on Facebook (Pub365) and Twitter (@Pub_365) for more information.

Aimee Plesa

Red, white and blue fruit salute recipe from Wish Bone

If you are looking for something different to serve to your 4th of July guests, try this recipe from Wish Bone. Its loaded with patriotic color and delicious flavor!

  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves [or torn Boston Lettuce leaves] 
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion 
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery 
  • 3 large slices watermelon, cut into stars* 
  • 2 ounces sliced part-skim mozzarella cheese, cut into stars* 
  • 1/4 cup Wish-Bone® Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing [or Wish-Bone® Italian Dressing
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
Arrange spinach and lettuce on serving platter, then sprinkle with onion and celery. Arrange watermelon and cheese stars and blueberries in alternating stripes over salad. Just before serving, drizzle with Wish-Bone® Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing.

*Use 3-inch star cookie cutter to cut star shapes. Cut remaining watermelon into cubes and remaining cheese into strips and serve with salad.

TIP: Use shredded part-skim mozzarella instead of sliced mozzarella. See nutrition information for sodium content.

Aimee Plesa

Five bean baked beans recipe

English: Polish bretonne beans with tomatoes
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you want to serve baked beans at your Memorial Day gathering, but your tried and true recipe has gotten a little boring, try this one instead. If one type of bean is good, than five types are awesome, right?

  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 6 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 1 (15 1/2 - 16) ounce can each red kidney beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans, butter beans (all drained and rinsed) and pork and beans in tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup ketchup 
  • 1/3 cup molasses 
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon mustard 
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook the onions, bacon and garlic in a large skillet until the bacon is crisp and onion tender. In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients and stir to combine. Pour into a 3 quart casserole and bake for an hour.

Aimee Plesa

Boston baked beans recipe

Memorial Day wouldn't be quite so memorable without a cookout! Make sure to bring these delicious Boston Baked Beans to Monday's celebration and enjoy the yummy taste they bring to the party.

English: Baked beans in tomato sauce ‪中文(繁體)â€...Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound dry navy beans
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped onion 
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery 
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots 
  • 1/4 cup molasses 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper 
  • 2 cups water
Rinse beans and place them in a medium size saucepan with 3 cups of water. Cover and let sit overnight. The following day, rinse and drain beans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a 1 and half quart casserole add beans, onion, celery, and carrots. Stir in all of the remaining ingredients. Bake for until the beans are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Make sure to stir occasionally and add more water as needed.

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Aimee Plesa

Salmon burgers with basil mayonnaise recipe from Kellogg's

If you are looking to try something this Memorial Day that breaks away from the traditional burgers and dogs, this recipe from Kellogg's sounds like a winner!

2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise 
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil, divided 
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-fat sour cream 
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel 
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten 
  • 1/2 cup Kellogg's® Corn Flake Crumbs -- or -- 1 cup Kellogg's Corn Flakes® cereal 
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream 
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion 
  • 1 can (14 3/4 oz.) salmon, drained, flaked and skin and bones removed 
1. In small bowl stir together mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of the basil, 1 tablespoon sour cream and lemon peel. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.
 2. Lightly coat cold grill rack with nonstick spray. In medium bowl stir together remaining basil, egg, KELLOGG'S CORN FLAKE Crumbs, 1/4 cup sour cream, lemon juice and onion. Add salmon; mix well. Shape into four 1/2-inch-thick patties.
3. Grill over medium heat for 10 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once.
4. Serve topped with mayonnaise mixture.

*NOTE: Patties may also be cooked in contact grill. Preheat contact grill for 5 minutes. Cook patties in grill about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve as directed above.

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Aimee Plesa

Grilled chicken fajitas recipe

jeffreyww @flickr
Memorial Day weekend is here and many of us are chomping at the bit to break out our grills and let the celebrations begin. This recipe for grilled chicken fajitas is a delicious way to kick off your holiday weekend! 

  • 1/2 cup sour cream 
  • 2 teaspoons taco seasoning
  • 1 pound chicken breast tenderloins 
  • 2 tablespoons fajita seasoning 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice 
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 green pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into strips lengthwise
  • 1 sweet red pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into strips lengthwise
  • 1 yellow pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into strips lengthwise
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut into rings
  • olive oil 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 flour tortillas, 6 or 7 inch size
  • guacamole 
  • shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese 
  • salsa

In a small bowl, combine sour cream and taco seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to serve. In a large bowl combine fajita seasoning, olive oil, lime juice, and hot sauce. Add chicken and toss to coat thoroughly and set aside. Brush the peppers and onions with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the veggies on a foil covered rack over medium heat until they are tender and slightly charred, turning a few times as they cook. When done, remove from the grill and add the chicken to the rack. Close lid and cook until no longer pink in the center, approximately 4-6 minutes. When done, remove from the grill then add tortillas. Cook until just heated through, about 30 seconds per side. Serve with guacamole, shredded cheese, salsa and sour cream mixture.

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Aimee Plesa

Potato salad recipe

Potato salad with egg and mayonnaise
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Potato salad is a great way to use leftover Easter eggs AND serve them up at your Easter dinner. Don't you love a side dish that does double duty? This dish is also popular for summer time entertaining. Just make sure you keep is stored somewhere cool so no one gets sick from rancid mayonnaise.


  • 5 pounds potatoes, peeled(if desired) and cubed 
  • 111/2-2 cups mayonnaise 
  • 1/3-1/2 cup yellow mustard 
  • 1 cup chopped onion 
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish 
  • 8 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped 
  • 3 dill pickles, chopped salt and pepper, to taste 

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a rapid boil and cook until tender, about ten minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add onion, salt and pepper to the hot potatoes. Once the potatoes have cooled, stir in the condiments and pickles and stir well. Gently fold the eggs into the mixture. Chill until ready to serve.

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Aimee Plesa

Australian winery, Penfolds, to let barrel buyers in on secrets of wine craft

ONE of Australia’s most iconic wine brands has launched a barrel program to give collecters unprecedented access into its inner workings and winemaking craft.
img - Industries_Primary Industries_Tourism_160527_Penfolds to let barrel buyers in on secrets of wine craft_bannerP-2South Australian winery Penfolds, the makers of world-renowned red wine Penfolds Grange, launched the Magill Cellar 3 barrel program to a global audience this week at Vinexpo in Hong Kong. The red wine in the 260-litre barrels is not available in anywhere else in the world. Each vintage release will reflect the most optimum style and highest quality blend of Shiraz and/or Cabernet, as selected personally by Penfolds Chief Winemaker Peter Gago.
The release of barrels each vintage is expected to be small, allowing the ongoing program to preserve the uniqueness of finite and tiny blends. The $198,000 AUD price includes flights and accommodation to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, to visit Magill Estate, Penfolds’ spiritual home, where the barrels are kept.
Under the Magill Cellar 3 program, barrel owners have unmatched access to an otherwise concealed world of Penfolds and unprecedented access to behind-the-scenes winemaking and tastings. Revealing the journey of a rare Penfolds wine, the Magill Cellar 3 program offers intimate and exclusive experiences at key milestones of the wine’s journey at Magill Estate. A personalised choice of bottle size is available together with a dedicated Global Concierge Service to enrich the interaction.
“This exquisite barrel release goes beyond the wine, offering unprecedented access to the inner workings of our winemaking craft and culture at Penfolds – unmatched, unparalleled - a first,” Gago said at the launch of the barrel program.
Provenance assured, the handmade French oak barrels made exclusively for this release will reside within the oldest and most intimate cellar at Magill Estate, Cellar 3. The nineteenth century cellar dates back to the founding days of the winery, established in 1844.
Nurtured under the guardianship of Gago and the senior Penfolds Winemaking Team, the barrels convey an altogether different journey that remains intrinsically Penfolds.
img - Industries_Primary Industries_Tourism_160527_Penfolds to let barrel buyers in on secrets of wine craft_bannerP
The inaugural 2015 Magill Cellar 3 barrel release was offered to private collectors and is now committed. Penfolds is taking expressions of interest for the 2016 Magill Cellar 3 Program, which will be on sale from July 1.
South Australia is consistently responsible for almost 50 per cent of Australia’s annual production. More than 200 cellar doors are within an hour’s drive of the city centre of Adelaide. The state is best known for full-bodied red wines such as shiraz and cabernet sauvignon and top quality white wines including riesling and chardonnay.

Aimee Plesa

BigMouth Inc has the wine gifts you need

This post may have best been made in time for National Drink Wine Day, which was this past Wednesday (May 25th). Unfortunately, life sometimes gets in the way of writing and I was able to share this information until now.
But let's be honest with each other, every day is a good day for wine-and wine related gifts. And the folks over at BigMouth Inc have some great gifts to help us celebrate our collective love of wine 365 days a year! You can shop for these unique wine inspired products nationwide at retailers like Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom and online at and For the full selection of wine accessories and other gifts, feel free to check out their online catalog here

The Wine Bottle Glass (right)
Finally, a wine glass that fits your needs! This hilarious gift holds an entire 750mL bottle of wine and can be corked to store the rest of the bottle.
Price: $21.99

The Before & After 5 Wine/Coffee Glass is a great gift for anyone who needs some “special sauce” to make their whole day great! It is a fully functional stemware and glass mug combo that's easy to clean, too!
Price: $17.97

The most accurate mood measuring tool to date. Cut right to the chase with this popular wine glass. It’s a great gift for the wine lover who's been a hard worker all day. Measures by “Good Day”, “Bad Day”, and for those extra stressful days, “Don't Ask!”
Price: $13.98

One glass a day keeps the doctor away! This hilariously huge wine glass holds three 750mL bottles of wine (or one drink). It’s great for bachelorettes, birthdays, and wine parties.
Price: $30.39

The most scientific way to measure personality. This high quality wine glass has clever “mood metering” on the side for that wine lover who turns into a badass after a few sips.
Price: $7.99

The other most scientific way to measure personality. This high quality wine glass uses it’s “mood metering” system to measure the personality of that wine lover who turns into a smart ass after a glass or two.
Price: $9.99

The sophisticated way to get tipsy. Sold as a pack of 2, the tipsy wine glasses have a curved stem to hold your drink with a woozy lean. Glasses include “Wanna Get Tipsy?” and “Let’s Get Tipsy!”, making this a great gift for a housewarming, bachelorette or wine parties, or for a pair of best friends.
Price: $17.50

A corkscrew with a musical twist! The fastest way to class up a bottle of wine, the Musical Corkscrew plays ‘O Sole Mio when you uncork your wine. So open up a bottle of your favorite wine and let the music invoke dreams of luscious vineyards, romance, and well, getting a little drunk.
Price: $15.24

Aimee Plesa

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Santera Tequila offers a variety of cocktails for your Memorial Day celebrations

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to summer all across the land. If you're like many of our readers, cocktails are just one of the many components to your long weekend celebrating.Whether you like unaged or aged tequilas, there’s a simple recipe for everyone to make with Santera Tequila: the brand new line of 100% blue agave tequilas that are expertly distilled and aged and wonderful sipped neat, on the rocks or in your favorite tipple.

If you like silver tequilas
Santera Blanco Santera Margarita (top right) nothing shows off a blanco tequila like the classic margarita. Refreshing, cold and a perfect blend of sweet and tart in a glass.
  • Spicy salt rim, optional. 
  • 2 parts Santera Blanco Tequila 
  • 3/4 parts Fresh Lemon and Lime juice 
  • 3/4 parts Agave Syrup
Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with a lime wheel.

If you like a bit of aging
Santera Reposado Mustache Tickler (middle right) this cocktail has a bit of spice, so depending on your tolerance for heat, add as little or as much Sriracha Sauce as you like!
  • 2 parts Santera Reposado 
  • 3/4 parts Fresh Lemon Juice 
  • 3/4 parts Honey Syrup 
  • 1/4 parts Sriracha Sauce 
Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with a lemon wheel.

If you like your tequilas like whiskey
Santera Añejo El Anticuado (bottom right) Santera Añejo is aged up to 3 years, with a bit of extra añejo tequila added to the final blend to round out the full flavors of this spirit. Try it in your favorite whiskey cocktail like the one below or try it neat.
  • 2 parts Santera Anejo Tequila 
  • 1 Sugar cube 
  • 5 drops Bittercube Bolivar Bitters 
  • Large Orange Twist 
In a rocks glass, muddle sugar cube and bitters. Add 1 large ice cube, tequila and stir until very cold. Express an orange twist over the glass and rim and garnish.

For more information about Santera Tequila, please visit their website, Facebook page or Twitter feed. As always, please celebrate responsibly and stay safe this holiday weekend!

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Aimee Plesa

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Aussie wine region flaunts Italian style

A wine region more than 15,000 kilometres from Tuscany is emerging as a primo producer of Italian varieties and styles. Many of the more than 100 wineries in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia are making Italian style wines with some of them receiving recognition on the world stage.

In a competition first at the prestigious International Wine Challenge this month, wineries Bird in Hand and Mr. Riggs were both awarded Gold medals for Adelaide Hills wines made from Montepulciano grapes. It was the first time a non-Italian Montepulciano has won Gold.

The 2014 Bird in Hand Montepulciano went on to win a trophy at the London event while its 2012 Nest Egg Shiraz, 2014 Bird in Hand Shiraz, 2013 Marie Elizabeth Cabernet Sauvignon were also awarded gold medals at the show.

Bird in Hand Winemaker Dylan Lee said the winery began making a Nero d’Avolo in 2011 and the Montepulciano in 2012. Grapes for both single vineyard wines are sourced from the Kersbrook area of the Adelaide Hills. “It’s particularly well suited because it’s a little bit warmer (than most of the Adelaide Hills) and drier so it suits those more robust type wines such as the Monte and the Nero,” Lee said. “Initially it was done as a trial – a three-year contract to see how the wines looked – and they looked fantastic from the get go.”

Lee said Bird in Hand was working on an Italian range in collaboration with Sydney-based Italian actress, blogger and cookbook author Silvia Colloca. He said the new range would likely include the Montepulciano, Nero d’aAvolo, Pinot Grigio and Arneis. “We are definitely looking at these wines for the long term and so far it’s been really positive,” Lee said. “They are small production at this stage … (but) we find a lot of our Italian wines have a pretty loyal following.”

Adelaide Hills winery Scott & La Prova produces a dozen different Italian wines including Sangiovese, Aglianico, Fiano, Pinot Grigio, Montepulciano and Nero d’Avola. Winemaker Sam Scott’s first experience making Italian styles in the Adelaide Hills was with a 2010 Fiano, which he produced under the Scott label. La Prova – and Italian term meaning “The Trial” or “The Experiment” – was launched by Scott in 2012. “I was looking for textural, savoury varieties, which led me to the aromatic dry white Fiano and also to Sangiovese,” he said.

“Culturally we’ve had a shift with the styles of food and our lifestyles and these varieties are medium weight, they’re textural, savoury, they’ve got a finesse and a really good character from rustic through to polished. The Adelaide Hills really is like a mini-Italy, we’ve got lots of little almost sub-regions that have very particular differences from Piccadilly at the highest point in the hills to somewhere like Kersbrook, which is one of the warmest parts. The actual diversity of what we can grow and make is astronomical.”

Scott said Italian grape varieties were not just performing well in Adelaide Hills vineyards, the closest wine region to the South Australian capital Adelaide, they were also proving popular with drinkers. “They just work around a lot of different flavours and the Adelaide Hills is just an incredible backyard to have at your disposal as a winemaker,” he said. “But it’s still early days for Italian varieties in Australia, it’s traditionally been very much weighted to classic French varieties or international varieties like Riesling but we’re probably more Mediterranean in our climate particularly in South Australia.”

Australia was awarded 815 medals at the International Wine Challenge including 80 Gold, 375 Silver and 360 Bronze to finish second on the leaderboard, beaten only by France. South Australia is consistently responsible for almost 50 per cent of Australia’s annual production. There are 18 wine regions in South Australia, including the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Coonawarra, Adelaide Hills, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, Limestone Coast and Riverland. More than 200 cellar doors are within an hour’s drive of the city centre of Adelaide.

Aimee Plesa

Stone Brewing to open Napa Valley facility

 Stone Brewing will begin renovations to a 10,000 square-foot iconic building in downtown Napa, bringing its bold and flavorful craft beer to the region well-known for its amazing wine. Stone’s newest outpost, located on 3rd Street and Soscol Avenue, will include a pilot brewing system, a dining experience, growler fills and Stone merchandise. 

“The historic Borreo building is the perfect space for us to put down our roots in Napa,” said Greg Koch, Stone Brewing CEO & co-founder. “Not only is it literally made of stone, it’s one of downtown’s most iconic links to the 19th century and a landmark that’s been vacant for the past 15 years. We recognize the high quality of wine that comes from the region and the appreciation that Napa Valley locals and visitors have for fresh, well-crafted drink. We are elated to become a contributing part of such an artisanal town.”

The 10-barrel pilot brew system will enable brewers to produce Stone’s iconic bold and innovative beer using core recipes as well as indigenous ingredients from the local geography. The Stone Brewing Tap Room - Napa will fill growlers and serve Stone’s year-round beers as well as special releases brewed onsite.

Stone’s food philosophy will carry over to its newest Tap Room with a dining experience that incorporates the local Napa flavors for enjoyment on premise or to take away picnic style. Stone proudly specializes in locally grown, small-farm ingredients and features an eclectic menu of world-inspired cuisine and a unique take on comfort food. As strong advocates for environmental responsibility and high-quality food, Stone will purchase local and small-farm organic produce from the Napa region. Making the most of outstanding weather is something the San Diego-based company is quite familiar with. Locals and tourists visiting Stone Brewing Tap Room - Napa will enjoy an outdoor seating area complete with communal tables, fire pits and views overlooking downtown Napa.

The historic Borreo building, named for the family that formerly owned the historic stone structure, is an Italianate Renaissance design made from native-cut stone. It was completed in 1877 and has been vacant since 2001. While keeping historic elements in place, Stone plans to transform the building’s western wall, adding expansive doors to a stunning garden facing the Napa River.

“I’m a huge Napa fan,” said Koch. “I’ve been visiting for more than 20 years and I first toured through the Borreo Building nearly five years ago. We’ve tried a few times to make something happen there, and are thrilled to finally see it come to fruition!” With an anticipated opening in 2017, Stone Brewing Tap Room - Napa joins two expansion projects already underway for the growing company. Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens - Berlin will open its doors in Germany this summer. Stone Brewing - Richmond will begin supplying fresh Stone beer from its 250-barrel brewhouse in July.

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Aimee Plesa

Red wines are emerging trend for summertime sipping

Once upon a time, white wines, rosés and sparkling wines were considered the only fashionable choices wine lovers had for summertime enjoyment. Thankfully, times have changed and an emerging trend is taking the wine industry by storm. More and more people are enjoying their red wines chilled or as-is as the weather heats up. Leading the way is a delightful red varietal from Santa Margherita Wines.

Chianti Classico Riserva is an intense ruby hued wine featuring low tannins, fresh acidity and aromatic notes of forest fruits and sweet spices against a backdrop of herbs and autumn leaves. It pairs wonderfully with beef tartare or carpaccio, barbecued meats, game meats, mushrooms, and rich stews. The Sangiovese grapes this wine is crafted from have a bright cherry note with touches of oregano and rosemary, which means this wine is also an excellent pairing for any tomato based dishes.

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Aimee Plesa

Bright future ahead for Rockford Brewing Company as they transition to Prairie Street Brewing Company

In the same riverside brewery an English immigrant named Jonathan Peacock began building in Rockford, Illinois in 1849, a trio of young Rockfordians fulfilled their shared dream to be in the craft brewing business.  In 2013, they opened an all-new version of Peacock’s Rockford Brewing Company.
The beer was flowing and the kitchen was busy. In summertime, the riverside docks were filling up with boats, beer drinkers and diners. Business was good. Very good. In the backs of their minds, though, the three owners (Dustin Koch, Reed Sjostrom and Chris Manuel) knew one aspect of their business needed streamlining and improvement: the brand identity and how the business was being promoted.
“We actually had two names and that was confusing people, including us,” said Dustin Koch. “Rockford Brewing Company stood for brewing craft beer and Prairie Street Brewhouse stood for everything else that went on in the building, from meetings and weddings to leasing offices and loft apartments. We knew we had to take a long look at our brand and get better and more efficient.”
The company was full steam ahead when the trio received a message from the owners another Rockford Brewing Company, this one in Rockford, Michigan. "We had no idea there was another Rockford Brewing Company,” said Dustin Koch. “I mean, here we were in this historic building that had been named, ‘Rockford Brewing Company,’ back in 1900. The last thing on our minds was, 'hey, ya think there are any other Rockford Brewing Company's out there?"
One of the owners of the Michigan brand visited the Illinois brewery. He liked the Rockford owners and what they were doing, and the two groups agreed to co-exist. “He seemed like a nice guy. He wished us luck, and we went ahead and copyrighted our name and moved forward. Then, later that year they hit us with a cease and desist order. Needless to say we were pretty shocked,” said Koch. After the Rockford owners filed an initial lawsuit to protect their name, a period of fairly cordial communication resumed between the two ownership groups. They talked and emailed and an out-of-court agreement was reached to, again, coexist.
But, that didn’t satisfy the Illinois partners’ desire to improve their branding. “We still knew we had to streamline our brand,” said Sjostrom. “And we needed to be better prepared for moves we want to make in the future. Even after the quarrel with the Michigan boys, we were still confusing our own customers and we needed to pave the way for a strategically strong future. We wanted to create an original brand, something uniquely ours and distinctive to this Rockford generation - but still rooted in our building’s history. It was definitely time to make another change.”
To honor the legacy of Jonathan Peacock, the business will now be called Prairie Street Brewing Company. Its logo will feature an image of peacock bird as well as three feathers - an oblique reference to the three new owners.
“It turned out the real secret to our brand was in the ingenuity and spirit of the British gentleman who started brewing on these grounds in 1849,” said Chris Manuel. “That’s pretty cool. I really believe Jonathan Peacock’s spirit is still alive here, and we should honor him. If he didn’t do what he did, Dustin and Reed and I might not have decided to build this business together. We have become like brothers, and we think of him as sort of a long-lost great, great grandfather. So, it feels right to honor his name and legacy with our brand identity.”
Prairie Street Brewing Company is soft-launching the new brand-identity and progressively introducing new elements such as a new menu emblazoned with the words, Birds of A Feather Drink & Dine Together.
“That’s pretty much it in a nutshell,” said Reed Sjostrom. “Birds of a feather. Everyone is welcome and among friends here. We want every guest to have a memorable, relaxing experience and let go of their worries - whether they’re stopping by for a beer in the Pub upstairs or Dockside Taproom downstairs, or they’re renting the Barrel Room for a 300-guest wedding.”

There’s a lot more in store for fans of Prairie Street Brewing Company in the near future, as well.
“There’s a LOT more coming,” said Dustin Koch. “We’re getting started on a new website, new signage, new merchandise, new advertising.” “There’s also this little brand-spanking new restaurant we’re going to open at theUW Health Sports Factory in downtown Rockford this summer - and it’ll have something to do with beer. Well, a lot, actually…but, shhhhh! Don’t tell anybody. It’s a secret,” laughed Manuel.
Any last thoughts on the shift to Prairie Street Brewing Company?
“I’m really happy with where we're going now,” he said. “I’d like to think it would make Jonathan Peacock happy, too. Proud, in fact. Peacock Proud.”

About Prairie Street Brewing Company's Success

In 2014, the brewery hand-crafted 23,300 gallons of beer, headed toward a 33,600 gallon total in 2015. In 2015, 150,000 retail customers were served in the brewery’s many event spaces, the brewpub dining room, Dockside Taproom downstairs and the “out on the docks” outdoor seating venue. Many more customers were served offsite as the company continued to expand its reach via catering services and at special events where they pitched their tents and poured many thousands more pints for thirsty fans. All those performance indicators are expected to be exceeded dramatically in 2016.

About Jonathan Peacock & His Historic Old Brewery

Prairie Street Brewing Company is housed in the oldest brewery building in the state of Illinois. There were older ones, but they all burned down in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
Jonathan Peacock, who built the building, immigrated from Markingham, England to Chicago, IL in 1847 where he found employment with Diversey & Lil Brewery. Wanting more out of life, he purchased a small Greek revival home at 200 Prairie Street alongside the Rock River in nearby Rockford, Illinois in 1849 and founded his own brewery: Peacock Brewery. He invested $200 in the purchase of the home. There, in the early days of Peacock Brewery, he ground malt in a hand-milled coffee grinder, brewed mash in a washtub and delivered his brew to fellow Rockfordians in a wheelbarrow.
Peacock’s limestone home still stands at the intersection of Prairie Street and Madison on the southeast corner of the PSB property.
The Englishman’s success wasn’t immediate, but business was good. In1857, Peacock built a brewhouse/bottling plant on the two acre site behind his home. Thanks to an on-site artesian well, he had access to good, fresh water - and the Rock River provided ice for many months of the year in those days. On the east side of his property ran the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad for easy distribution. In 1860, Peacock brewed a hit: a lager he called Nikolob, “The Beer That Made Milwaukee Jealous.” Legend has it that’s where the idea for Michelob originated.
Peacock passed away in 1896 at the then ripe old age of 75. His sons, Edwin and Frank, took over the brewery’s operations. In 1899, the brothers’ passed away and the brewery was operated by Frank’s widow for a brief time. In 1900, Peacock Brewing Company was sold to a Croatian immigrant named John V. Petritz, who re-named it Rockford Brewing Company. By 1909, Petritz brewed nearly 75,000 barrels of beer annually.
In 1919, Petritz and two business partners tried to circumvent the new US Prohibition ban on alcoholic beverages. The Feds found out and the brewery was soon converted to Rockford Storage Warehouse.
Prohibition was repealed in 1933 and Petritz reenergized his brewery until 1934 when it again changed hands. It was purchased by John Fox, who operated the company as Rock River Brewing Company. In 1945, the Stormont family purchased it and converted it once again to a storage and warehouse business.
In 1999, Loyd and Diane Koch purchased the building and began to design and convert an expansive mixed use development. The purchase was made by the couple in part due to the many years they had spent boating and enjoying the Rock River.
“We love Rockford and we love the Rock River,” said Loyd Koch. “We always admired the old brewery building and thought it could - and should - be a destination for boaters as well as people who want to experience the river from land. For too long, too much of the land along the river has been devoted to industrial sites. Diane and I wanted to create positive access to the River, and we hope others will be inspired to do the same thing.”

About Prairie Street Brewing Company’s Commitment to Green Business Practices

Green isn’t just the dominant color in Prairie Street Brewing Company’s new logo - it’s a way of life for the business. Owners Dustin Koch, Reed Sjostrom and Chris Manuel make a point of thinking about the environment first when making business decisions:
  • The building itself, originally started in 1849 by Jonathan Peacock, is a lovingly restored historic landmark that’s on the National Historic Registry.
  • All the bar tops and most of the public furniture at Prairie Street Brewing Company are hand-crafted of retrieved lumber removed from the building during renovation.
  • Prairie Street Brewing Company employs geothermal energy for heat and air conditioning throughout the building and in the brewing process.
  • In its operations, the business recycles as much waste as is humanly possible.
  • The brewery is committed to operating with efficient and long-lasting LED lightbulbs.
  • Prairie Street Brewing Company even sends spent brewing grains grain to a local farmer to feed livestock.
Aimee Plesa