A furious row has broken out in the drinks world over which product is the trendiest, with sherry, Riesling, shochu and Marsala all laying claim to being the next big thing.
The fracas started when each of the four drinks was simultaneously quoted across the media as being the hot style for 2023.
‘We took a team of journalists out to Jerez in the autumn and they were blown away by what they found,’ said Palomino Flor of the Sherry Shippers union. ‘They loved the weather, the seafood, the way of life.
‘And most of them thought the drink was ok if they mixed it with Coke.’
‘With six articles all conclusively claiming that sherry will be The Drink of next year, we think it’s obvious that we’re the trendiest category for 2023.’
However, sherry’s renaissance was dismissed by the Brotherhood of Riesling Exporters (BORE).
‘Look, if there’s one product that’s due a revival, it’s us,’ said BORE’s Waylon Sonnenuhr. ‘People have been talking us up without anything approaching supporting facts for the best part of 60 years.’
A five figure campaign that involved paying a 20-something insta-fluencer to pout suggestively while drying a chilled bottle of Riesling against her cleavage had, he said, ‘seen our engagement with the hard to reach ‘middle-aged pervert demographic’ triple overnight.’
The repositioning of the variety from intellectually austere food-match to mild aphrodisiac was, he said, ‘guaranteed to give a boost to both our sales figures and our drinkers’ trousers alike’.
Shochu producers, however, are confident that they alone are the trendiest drink of 2023.
‘Paying influencers and flying out journalists means nothing,’ said the Shochu Union’s Tayce Lyk Kak. ‘To have credibility, you need independent third-party verification.’
The Union’s recent round-table discussion with a group of Asian spirit importers, two Japanese restaurateurs and a bartending shochu ambassador had, he said, ‘proved unanimously that shochu is high up on everyone’s agenda.’
The fact that the magazine running the event had been handsomely paid to do so and rigorously ignored any negative comments was, he said, beside the point.
‘It’s there in black and white,’ he told Fake Booze. ‘So it must be true.’
Marsala producers, meanwhile, have questioned whether it’s ever possible to take analysis seriously when money has been changing hands.
‘We have not paid anyone to reach conclusions that Marsala is the next big thing,’ said Enzo di Erth of the Marsala Federation. ‘Not least because we are skint.
‘But what we lack in promotional budget we more than make up for by having 40 years of unsold bottles in our members’ cellars, which has allowed us to follow a robust ‘liquid on lips’ strategy.’
The Federation recently sent the editor of Drinks Trade News International a dozen cases for the magazine’s Christmas party, and 240 bottles for the editor’s impending wedding.
This had led to several favourable articles including ‘Why are we all forgetting Marsala?’, ‘Why I’ll be drinking Marsala in 2023’ and ‘Is Marsala the best-value wine ever – particularly when it’s free?’
The scrap for ‘trendiest category’ status has captured the attention of the trade, but seems to have left the public largely unmoved.
Fake Booze ran into John Public outside a branch of its local Pricefixer supermarket.
‘I’ve never heard of any of them,’ he said. ‘I mostly just drink things with animals on the label or anything at 15% alcohol. Ideally both. Though I think I’ve got some Marsala in my drinks cupboard somewhere.
‘Or is that Madeira? Or Merlot?
‘It doesn’t really matter – it all tastes the same anyway.’
Click here to read why all of the above drinks are wrong and the next big trend is, in fact, spicy rosé.