Oh boix, La Croix
The Hustle

Oh boix, La Croix

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Thanks to intoxicating whiskey prices, investors are pouring cash into ‘liquid assets’

Over the past year, high-end whiskey outperformed all other “luxury assets” as an investment, according a recent, non-sobering report.

As Scottish firewater becomes more popular in markets across the globe, the value of high-end bottles of whiskey is rising even faster than their owners’ blood alcohol levels.

Liquid assets

Bougie booze-buyers have some serious appreciation to appreciate: According to the impossibly pretentious-sounding “Knight Frank Rare Whisky 100 Index,” rare whiskey bottles appreciated 40% in value over the past year. 

Other similarly snobby luxury assets, on the other hand, appreciated far less spectacularly: Rare coins appreciated 12% and both high art and fine wine appreciated 9%. Jewelry actually depreciated by 5%.

So, what led to this boom in high-quality hooch? 

An intoxicating status symbol 

Sales of traditional Scotch whiskey are booming in popularity across Asia: In 2018, sales of whiskey increased 44% in India, 35% in China, and 24% in Singapore.

Driven by Chinese drinkers’ demand for Scotch, an airline created the first direct flights from Beijing to Edinburgh last year. Now, deep-pocketed Chinese investors are regularly flying straight to Scotland to invest in the premium whisky motherland.

Last year, a 92-year-old bottle of Macallan whiskey set a record when it sold for $1.5m. The buyer was anonymous, but the auctioneer who sold it guessed it could have ended up in Asia.

Where the whiskey flows like wine

Inspired by the increased global demand, Scottish distillers are building out new facilities to cater to whiskey tourists.

Diageo, the British multinational booze conglomerate, recently announced plans to invest $240m on whiskey-themed tourist attractions and visitor centers. Last year, 10 new Scottish distilleries announced plans to open.

But where there’s a booze boom, there’s sure to be Scotch scandal: Last year, a Chinese millionaire paid $10k for a single glass of whiskey that turned out to be counterfeit. Researchers who recently tested a sample of 55 “rare” whiskeys found that 21 of them were fake.

Whiskey business

Amazon and the Yankees team up to say yes… to the purchase of the YES Network

The Bronx Bombers and the world’s largest e-commerce company teamed up to purchase the YES Network, a New York metro area-based sports broadcasting company, for an undisclosed sum.

Amazon and the Yankees may seem like an odd couple, but both businesses are eager to tap into the rabid fan base of New Yorkers who tune into the YES network to watch the Yankees, Nets, and NYC FC.

So is Amazon coming to New York after all?

The answer is: YES. But the e-commerce giant isn’t coming to the Big Apple to build a 2nd headquarters — it’s coming to buy a regional sports broadcasting network.

21st Century Fox became the majority owner of the YES Network 5 years ago when it increased its stake to 80% of the company, which was valued at about $4B. 

But more recently, the value of the company slipped to approximately $3.5B, making the network a desirable acquisition target.

Several reasons to say YES

For both buyers, saying YES could be a great deal (the transaction will take several months to close, meaning its terms are not yet final). 

For the Yankees, whose games are broadcast by the network, owning the distribution rights to their baseball games will cut out a costly middle man and provide a valuable new revenue stream.

For Amazon, the YES Network could give millions of Yankee fans a reason to pay $199/year for Prime.

» Amazon said YES

Seafood’s getting slimy: New investigation shows ⅕ of US seafood is mislabeled

Ever order the Chilean sea bass but end up getting the cheap Antarctic toothfish instead? Well, whether you knew it or not, odds are that the answer is: yes, you have.

A new investigation by Oceana found that of the 449 fish tested outside of the Seafood Import Monitoring Program — a tracking program that combats seafood fraud by requiring high-fraud-risk seafood like tuna to contain key traceability data — 1 in every 5 was mislabeled.

Somethin’ fishy is going on here

The group tested more than 250 restaurants, seafood markets, and grocery haunts across the country. By species, sea bass had the highest rate of mislabeling at 55%, followed by snapper at 42%.

Seafood fraud is running rampant around the globe, and Oceana believes that fish fraud not only impacts our wallets and hurts honest domestic fisherman, but it also poses serious health concerns.

That’s why, in 2018, the Seafood Import Monitoring Program was launched. But right now, the current program covers only 13 different imported species, and it stops at the US border. 

From boat to table

Oceana’s report now calls for regulations requiring that all domestic and imported seafood be tracked from the time of catch to when it is sold at market or served in a restaurant.

Most of the mislabeling was found at restaurants, but it is unknown exactly where in the supply chain seafood fraud actually takes place.

» Find the fraud, find the problem

La Croix loses its sparkle

The stock of La Croix’s parent company, National Beverage Corporation (ticker “FIZZ”), plummeted as much as 24% Friday in response to a 40% decrease in third-quarter sales.

For Croixin’ out loud…

True to form, National Beverage’s CEO Nick Caporella published a bizarre, exclamation-point-studded press release in which he apologized and vaguely blamed “injustice” for the weak quarterly earnings.

Caporella’s spokesperson later explained that he was referring to the recent lawsuit that accused the “all-natural” La Croix of using artificial ingredients (including a cockroach insecticide). 

In his statement, Caporella went on to compare brand management to caring for a handicapped person (dude…) and wrapped up with this little gem: “Just ask any LaCroix consumer . . . Would you trade away that LaLa feeling? ‘No way, they shout – We just love our LaCroix!’”

Investors to sell(tzer) their shares

Strangely, stockholders weren’t feeling the La-La-love after his manic rant: Guggenheim Securities recommended selling shares on Friday and lowered National Bev’s 12-month share price target from $72 to $45.

Analysts cited powerful competition bubbling up in the category –- with recent sparkling acquisitions by big players like PepsiCo (Bubly) and Coca-Cola (Topo Chico). 

In a final dig, one analyst even suggested LaCroix sell to… Dr. Pepper. 

» *Gasp*

According to HubSpot, only 5% of prospects consider salespeople to be trustworthy

Yikes. But why? 

HubSpot VP Katie Ng-Mak has an idea: Individualized sales training.

See, when you force reps to act like someone they’re not, prospects see right through it. And when you’re trying to build trust and relationships, authenticity matters… a lot. 

Well, enough is enough. 

One-size-fits-all sales training doesn’t cut it anymore

It’s time to embrace the future of sales coaching — and that means not making every salesperson at your company a mini-me of their manager. 

Instead, Ng-Mak suggests focusing on individualized attention and strategies, not generic sales tactics. That means tailoring your advice to the areas a salesperson is struggling with, in a way that plays to their strengths. 

One-on-one, group, or even peer-to-peer coaching — however you choose to do it, this personalized approach makes for effective, authentic salespeople. 

Are you ready to rethink how to train and lead the salespeople of tomorrow? Check out HubSpot’s Sales Blog for more.

Rethink Coaching → monday morning review

Hold the bacon…

Yesterday I went to brunch (I know… we’re twins). Brunch is great — it’s breakfast and lunch… combined. 

Q: What’s not to love?

A: Bloody Marys.

Before the brunch-hive loses it, roll with me on this for a hot sec: I’m a fan of Bloodys — I repeat — a fan. Of. Bloodys.

But yesterday, I ordered a $19 Bloody Mary (when In Boise, Idaho amiright??). The ingredients were as follows: Bloody Mary mix, celery, salted rim, lime juice, a factory line-style drizzle of Sriracha, and then… quadruple bacon — that’s four, cold(ish) slices of fried pork. In a drink.  

I grimaced as someone next to me dipped the last of their already soggy hog meat into the depths of their ¾ finished Bloody Mary, whirled it around (until pork floaties consumed the lasting liquid), then pulled it out, and ate it. 

And bacon’s nothing. Porky is merely the gateway garnish to literal lists of other garnish monstrosities — just look at this stuff

Pork rib. Lobster tale. Cheeseburger (I actually saw this at a Hard Rock Cafe)?? When will the Bloody bubble burst??

Moral of the story: Life is good. Also, if you’re ever ordering me a Bloody Mary — hold the bacon, please.


Wes Schlagenhauf — Chief of sunday fundays

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