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Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Archive for November, 2017

What’s So “Natural” About Natural Wines?

November 14th, 2017 by Dean Ricker

Filed under: Skolnik Newsletter, Wine

As a general rule, technology is a good thing. Right? It’s a tangible example of human’s progression— how we improve our lives and surroundings. The wine industry has certainly seen massive benefits from advances in technology. From vineyard to glass, we have tinkered with everything from fertilizer to fermentation. Adding sugars, tweaking yeast; modern winemakers work hard to scientifically engineer every step of the process. Even here at Skolnik, we seek to improve the wine production process with control and waste-reduction provided by our stainless steel wine barrels.

There has, however, been a new trend in the wine industry that rejects technology. Rather than embrace the advances at our disposal, natural wines forgo them entirely. Instead, they seek a return to simpler, more traditional times. These vineyards make wine as their ancestors once did, by merely harvesting grapes, crushing them, and allowing them to ferment. The end result is a straightforward snapshot of that particular vineyard in that particular year. It also means that any irregularities or impurities, flaws or faults all make it into the end product, warts and all.

Of course, how one defines “warts” is part of the experience. While a drinker could devalue natural wine if it’s cloudy or oxidative, another could celebrate the diversity and find their new favorite bottle among the variety of previously unexplored flavors. It’s also very attractive to anyone who is wary of all the chemicals and additives used in modern winemaking and for those concerned that we are becoming less and less attune with nature as we seek control over every single step of production.

Much discussion has been had about the legitimacy of this movement, with equal part supporters and detractors, but the biggest challenge it faces is the lack of accreditation. At this point, anyone can claim to produce natural wine, and there is not yet a governing body to confirm or deny those claims. There is progress towards rectifying that, and establishing quality charters will do a lot to help the legitimacy of the wines

Despite any negative opinions though, in a GMO, pesticide and additive-wary culture, natural wine is a growing industry. Perhaps adopting stainless steel wine barrels is the modern touch the movement needs to push it to mass consumption, or maybe that’s just wishful thinking. After all, the beauty of stainless steel is that it protects against impurities or unwanted additives. Regardless, it seems that natural wine is here to stay. With about 400 natural winemakers in France alone, and many more around the world, this return to a simpler process and the results it produces has enough fans to sustain it for now. For information about our complete line of stainless steel wine drums, check out www.skolnikwine.com

Keg Theft Concerns Highlight the Value of Stainless Steel Barrels

November 9th, 2017 by Natalie Mueller

Filed under: Stainless Steel

We here at Skolnik proudly serve a wide variety of industries with a full range of products, including the ever-popular 55-gallon stainless steel barrel. Our 55-gallon stainless steel wine barrel has deepened our ties with the beverage industry, where we’ve noticed a unique container challenge recently: keg theft.

Keg theft has plagued the beer industry for years. With the rise of DIY art and furniture, more and more craft beer enthusiasts are pilfering kegs from their local bars in hopes of making a fun conversation piece for their living rooms. Of course, this is illegal and hurts everyone from the bars — who are merely renting the kegs from their distributors — to the brewers — who now need to replace the container. With a sticker price on average of $130+ per beer keg, it’s not a cheap replacement.

Now, the distribution models of wine and beer are certainly different, and kegs are more vulnerable than a 55-gallon steel barrel, but it is certainly as much of a problem if inventory goes missing.

The beer industry has deterrents in place — hefty deposits motivate renters to return them safely– it is yet to be seen if such security standards are required for wine barrels. Luckily, if were to come to it, there are plenty of notes for our wine partners to take from the beer industry as they navigate the problem.

At Skolnik, we regularly receive requests for barrels to use in similar DIY projects. Luckily, as a wholesale supplier, we are at a lower risk for the kind of theft plaguing the beer industry. Our customers come to us for bulk purchases of containers, not individual rentals. Even so, by keeping a keen eye on the troubles faced by our partners in other parts of the beverage community can help protect us from future harm to our own businesses.

Some very impressive work has come out of peoples’ interest in these industrial containers, but the beauty of the piece is only tarnished by ill-gotten materials. We agree that the Skolink brand 55-gallon stainless steel barrel is a piece of art, just make sure you’re not committing a crime to get your hands on them.