All posts in "Food & Beverage (F&B)"

State Overturns Local Liquor License Denials



In the four previous years, the board denied a total of 26 applications, compared with the 77 licenses that municipalities around the state recommended for denial.

A city or town council serves as an advisory body to the state board, recommending denial or approval of licenses that are then decided on at the state level. If the council chooses to recommend denial, the applicant can then make his or her case to the state board, which makes the final decision.

The board can also choose to deny an application that was recommended for approval by a city or town. That hasn’t happened in 2017, but occurred six times between 2013 and 2016 for applications throughout the state.


Read more…

Read More >

AZ Wants To Tax Soda!



For tax-cut-driven Arizona lawmakers, it might be the politically unthinkable: Tax soda to pay for education.

But a new poll suggests voters throughout the state might support the idea.

The poll, released this week by Phoenix-based consulting firm OH Predictive Insights, found 59 percent of voters surveyed would support a 0.2-cent-per-ounce tax on soda, if the revenue is earmarked for education.


Read more…

Read More >

Robotic Bartenders Are Popping Up Around Arizona


SCOTTSDALE – Robots can drive our cars, pick our tomatoes and change our thermostats. But would you want a robot to pour your next beer or wine?

The restaurant and bartending industry has embraced the latest automation trend: robotic bartenders. The technology has cropped up at several Valley establishments, including Sorso Wine Room at the Scottsdale Quarter.

Since opening a few years ago, Sorso has featured an automated wine dispenser that allows customers to choose from up to 32 wines from around the world.


Read more…



Read More >

Arizona Coyotes’ and SanTan’s Craft Beer Now Available In Cans



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Monday, October 9, 2017 GLENDALE, ARIZONA — The Arizona Coyotes and SanTan Brewing Company of Chandler, Arizona announced today that Yotes Pale Ale is now available in craft cans. Yotes Pale Ale will be distributed through many Valley stores including: Fry’s Food Stores, Sprouts, Bashas’, Trader Joe’s, Total Wine, BevMo and more. The Coyotes will donate $1 to the Arizona Coyotes Foundation for every case sold.

“The Coyotes and SanTan Brewing Company are thrilled that Yotes Pale Ale is now available at several stores in the Valley,” said Coyotes President and CEO Steve Patterson. “Yotes Pale Ale has been a huge success at our games and now Coyotes fans can enjoy this great pale ale at home.”

Yotes Pale Ale was created last November by SanTan Brewing Company and the Arizona Coyotes. The color of this American Pale Ale is Coyotes brick red created by the use of natural Hibiscus flowers. Yotes Pale Ale was brewed using flavorful Cascade, Nelson Sauvin and Citra hops and is 5.3% ABV and 40 IBU. The beer became available on draft at the Arizona Coyotes games last season at Gila River Arena on Nov. 23, 2016.


Read more…

Read More >

Businesses Unable To Renegotiate Leases



The popular New York pizza joint Grimaldi’s Pizzeria will serve its last pie on Nov. 25 after 10 years of feeding the University of Arizona campus area.

Grimaldi’s was unable to renegotiate its lease at its only Tucson location at North Campbell Avenue and East Sixth Street, but it is looking to relocate elsewhere in the local market, Grimaldi’s spokeswoman Ryann Checchi said.

The Brooklyn-based chain opened its only Tucson location in the Sam Hughes Place complex in late 2007, inside the former La Ferlita’s Pizza Cafe at 446 N. Campbell Ave. Options at the once-popular intersection of Campbell and Sixth have been thinning after the closures of Social House Kitchen & Pub in 2015 and, recently, Rosati’s Pizza across the street.


Read more…

Read More >

Robots And Autonomous Vehicles Take Arizona Mining Into The Future



As far as technology and mining are concerned, autonomous mining “is the new black.” Az Business talks with mining industry experts Christian Lemas, technical services manager at ASARCO’s Silver Bell Mine; James Stewart, technical services manager at ASARCO’s Ray mine; and Kyle Bennett, principal advisor of media and communications for Rio Tinto Copper & Diamond Product Group. The three discuss the latest developments and advancements in mining technology, and how it will affect a new generation of mining professionals.

Kyle Bennett: Significant advances in technology are taking place across our industry. These are allowing us to be precise in how we find and mine ore, reduce waste and energy consumption, and improve safety for our employees. For example, today we use unmanned aerial vehicles to collect data and perform 3D mapping and monitor areas previously impossible to access or areas we would avoid for safety reasons. We are also skilled at block cave mining, which is how we will mine at Resolution Copper Mine. This method allows us to significantly reduce waste compared to more typical open pit mining methods. Ultimately, our ability to develop and partner on technologies that allow us to capture better data and make faster and safer decisions will be important as we advance the Resolution project.

Christian Lemas: Advancement in the development of autonomous haulage system trucks. It is proven technology in remote mines in Australia and Chile. Some operators have demonstrated that implementing autonomous haulage means more material can be moved more efficiently and safely, creating a direct increase in productivity.

James Stewart: Autonomous mining is no longer science fiction, but a reality for some operations. Haul trucks are navigating from the loading shovels to the dumps and back without operators, while drills can navigate from hole to hole and set up and drill a quality blast hole with no operator.

CL: In my opinion, I think technology has altered the mining workforce already. Nowadays, robots are helping to increase overall output and save money, but not helping to add jobs. At Silver Bell, we are considering installing robots capable of stripping cathodes. Asarco’s Amarillo refinery is currently using robotics technology for this purpose. Educational institutions will need to provide a steady flow of graduates that have training in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

JS: Across the workforce, technology is altering the workforce in ways that will force workers to transition from managing people and tools to managing networks and data. The mining process from mine to mill generates huge amounts of data. The challenge is how to mine this data to generate knowledge. Educational entities need to prepare the workforce to function in an environment that is shifting from being managed/supervised/evaluated by individuals to being judged by algorithms.

KB: Mining will always go hand-in-hand with technology and education. We do not see innovation reducing jobs because we still need people to fix, maintain, capture and understand data. What innovation will require is a highly skilled and trained workforce that can gather and make safe and effective decisions based on the data we capture. It’s important for us to work with educators to develop the skills we will need and the pipeline required to fill roles. Our current community investments in education are focused on developing STEM capabilities, which will be critical for the workforce of the future.


Read More >

WAG Adds Arizona Wines To Artistic Offerings



Bill and Sandy Kester, owners of the Twisted Dogwood, have made another big splash in the downtown area. After opening Wickenburg Artisan’s Gallery (WAG) in June, the couple has added to their repertoire a monthly “meet the artist” event every third Saturday from 3-7 p.m. Shoppers can peruse the fine art of many local and regional artists at the gallery, along with a selection of Arizona wines.

Next door at the high-end home furnishings store, the Kesters are presenting an end of the summer clean out sale with discounts on selected inventory. Surplus inventory is placed on display at the Annex for Twisted Dogwood on Frontier Street.

“She has an eye for design, color and beauty,” Bill said of his wife. “You can tell just by looking around this store. I can’t do that, but I do other things. We’ve been able to help a lot of people, especially new home owners at Wickenburg Ranch.”



Read More >

Healthcare, Restaurant Industries Propelling Arizona Employment


Want to know what’s propelling Arizona employment?

Old people. And folks who like to eat out.

New figures Thursday show the state’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate for August ticked down a tenth of a point to 5.0 percent. It has hovered in that area there for about a year.

Meanwhile the national unemployment rate went up the same amount, to 4.4 percent.

The strongest gains in the state came among bars and restaurants which has added 13,500 workers in the past year. That’s a 6.2 percent gain, compared to a relatively anemic 1.4 percent year-over-year increase in overall private sector employment.

And he said the longer-term prognosis is promising.

Health care came in a distant second with a 3.4 percent increase in overall employment in the past 12 months. But Doug Walls, research administrator for the state Office of Economic Opportunity, pointed out that Arizona continues to do far better than the rest of the nation, with just a 1.2 percent employment gain in health care over the same period.

What’s driving that, he said, are demographics.

In 2015, 15.6 percent of Arizona residents were 65 or older. He figures that will reach 19.8 percent by 2027.

Conversely, the percentage of Arizonans younger than 18 will slide from 24.4 percent to 22.2 percent over the same period, with a similar decline among those in between.

What makes that important, Walls said, is that old people spend more on health care. A lot more.

The most recent figures show that Medicare spending by Arizonans on a per capita basis — including everyone in the state — is $10,096 a year. By contrast, the same figure for private insurance, the kind of coverage for most people younger than 65, is just $4,035.

All that spending supports more than 307,000 jobs in health care in Arizona, meaning one out of every seven people are working in the private sector.

“So as we see the population age and that share of the individuals 65 and older increasing, the demand for health services and medical services should also increase,” Walls said.

By contrast, the state’s retail sector continues to lose ground, shedding another 500 jobs in August and bringing the year-over-year drop to 900. Walls said this, too, reflects a shift, though not in demographics.

“The retail industry tends to be shifting as more and more consumers are looking for e-commerce resources to meet the needs of their consumption,” he said.

This isn’t just an Arizona phenomenon. Walls said online commerce nationally was just 3.5 percent of total sales nationally in 2008; by this year it rose to 9 percent.

Elsewhere in the economy, manufacturing posted a 2.8 percent increase in overall employment in the past year despite a continued decline among companies manufacturing computers, chips and other electronic parts. There are now 1,700 fewer people working at those firms than a year ago, a 5.5 percent drop.

Construction jobs are up slightly, by 1,000, but still 57 percent less than when employment hit its peak just before the burst of the real estate bubble and the recession.


Read More >

Court Sides With Restaurants Against Servers In Arizona Wage Dispute



Arizona restaurant owners aren’t required to pay full minimum wages to waiters, waitresses or bartenders, even at times when such workers are occasionally performing tasks that don’t generate tips, a court has decided.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in an opinion filed Wednesday, held that restaurants don’t need to separately track the types of tasks performed by servers and bartenders minute by minute, and thus don’t need to pay separate minimum wages. Restaurants generally pay lower minimum wages to employees who earn tips.

“This decision relieves companies from the burden of creating and managing timekeeping records based on tasks performed, such as rolling silverware into napkins versus serving food to a customer,” said David Selden, an employment attorney with the Cavanagh Law Firm in Phoenix.

Requiring employers to track the time employees spend serving customers, as opposed to wiping tables and other tasks, would have been impractical, he added. Selden helped argue the case on behalf of employers in San Francisco in April.

The case stemmed from a complaint brought in 2014 by Alec Marsh, who worked as a server at a J. Alexander’s restaurant in the Phoenix area from November 2012 to April 2013. Along with serving food to customers, Marsh occasionally brewed tea and coffee, cut lemons and limes, cleaned soft-drink dispensers, wiped tables, took out trash, scrubbed walls, cleaned restrooms and performed other tasks.

The case, Marsh vs. J. Alexander’s LLC, incorporated complaints from 13 other Arizona servers and bartenders who worked for companies such as International House of Pancakes, Arriba Mexican Grill, AMC Theatres Esplanade 14, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, American Blue Ribbons Holdings and Denny’s. The court’s decision applies to businesses operating in the nine Western states covered by the 9th Circuit, not just Arizona, Selden said.

Restaurants may pay a lower hourly minimum wage to servers who earn tips. As noted by the court, an employer must pay a tipped employee a cash wage of at least $2.13 but can make up the difference between that and the federal minimum wage of $7.25 by claiming a credit for tips earned by such workers.

“If the $2.13 cash wage plus the tips the employee actually received are insufficient to meet the $7.25 per hour minimum wage, then the employer must increase the cash wage to meet the minimum-wage requirement,” wrote Circuit Judge Sandra Ikuta. “As a result, tipped employees always earn at least the federal minimum wage.”

Arizona’s minimum wage isn’t identical to the federal minimum wage and wasn’t when the cases were filed, but the court called the differences immaterial for its opinion.

In the cases filed under Marsh vs. J. Alexander’s LLC, the various waiters, waitresses and bartenders argued that they were entitled to the full minimum wage, with no tip credit applied, if they spent more than 20 percent of their working time on side duties such as rolling silverware into napkins, brewing coffee, cleaning restrooms or emptying trash.

According to Selden, the servers essentially argued that they were engaged in dual occupations, for which employers should track their time based on the tasks performed, with full minimum wages owed for tasks that weren’t tip-related or primarily not tip-related.

The court found in favor of the employers, dismissing the claims of workers. It concluded that servers can’t claim to be engaged in dual jobs if performing side tasks or even unrelated tasks occasionally throughout the day.

But the court left open the question of whether workers could claim dual jobs if performing general maintenance or other non-tip tasks for an extended period.

According to the court opinion authored by Ikuta, “If the employer has hired a person for one job (such as waitress or counterman), but that job includes a range of tasks not necessarily directed towards producing tips, the person is still considered a tipped employee engaged in a single job so long as the person customarily and regularly receives at least $30 a month in tips.”




Read More >

Three Women Brewing Great Arizona Beer


Leah Huss, co-owner, Huss Brewing

1520 W. Mineral Rd. Tempe, AZ 85283


After nearly 15 years co-owning Papago Brewing in Scottsdale (7107 E. McDowell Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85257; 480-425-7439;, Leah Huss and her husband, Jeff, launched Huss Brewing in 2013. Many regard Papago as one of the pioneers of Arizona’s brewery world. Founded in 2001 as a bottle shop and homebrew supply store, Papago is to beer nerds what comic-book stores are to superhero fans. Leah Huss started there just after graduating from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, and she brings her chef sensibilities to the offerings at Huss. “When it comes to food pairing, you cannot find a more versatile beverage than beer,” she says.

When it comes to Arizona’s craft beer scene, she feels it is a supportive community, and wants to debunk the myth that it is an inherently sexist industry. “We all look out for each other. If people are drinking local and supporting local, then we all win. There is definitely enough to go around,” she says. “I’ve never encountered sexism in the industry. In fact, it’s more in the business world where I’ve come up against it. I just read a study about how women travelers feel more comfortable eating and drinking alone in a brewery than in a restaurant or bar. Breweries are a welcoming space, a friendly front.”

And what about those who don’t care for beer?

“There are so many beer styles. If someone says they don’t like beer, I tell them they just haven’t found their style yet,” she says, recommending her current local favorite: “Pueblo Vienna Lager at McFate Brewing Company in Scottsdale. It’s approachable, malty and toasty.”

Huss Brewing is Arizona’s fastest-growing brewery, and operates two tasting rooms, one in Tempe and one in central Phoenix. Signature beers include Scottsdale Blonde Kolsch, Magic in the Ivy Pale Ale, The Husstler Milk Stout, and Koffee Kolsch.

Julie Meeker, co-owner and brewer, Mother Bunch Brewing

825 N. 7th St. Phoenix, AZ 85006


After working in construction for most of her career, Julie Meeker had a revelation. “I always loved beer. Then I found out you could make it.” She visited breweries to learn the process, then started delving deep into homebrews. In 2014, she and her husband, Jimmie McBride, opened Mother Bunch Brewing in downtown Phoenix, a move that enabled them to not only elevate the local brew culture, but to also be part of downtown’s revitalization.

“It’s booming. It seems like there is a new brewery opening every month, and they are putting out quality products. This lets us get small-batch, handcrafted beers into more hands and, in effect, grow the size of the craft beer market here,” she says of the local beer scene.

When asked what it will take to get more women working in the industry, she had a simple answer: Education. “The more women can learn about the process and the industry, the more comfortable they’ll feel getting involved,” she says. “There’s not a ‘girl’ beer or a ‘boy’ beer. There is just ‘people’ beer. If you work hard and make a good product, people will drink it. At Mother Bunch, our biggest demographic is women ages 25 to 45.”

Her personal favorite? “McBride’s Irish Red. It’s dry and hoppy, and it’s a tribute to my husband.”

In addition to running the business of Mother Bunch, Meeker develops recipes, consults on ideas for new beers, and stays active in the local chapter of the Pink Boots Society, a national organization that brings women in the industry together to collaborate and network. Mother Bunch offers 10 to 15 beers in the tasting room, including the Old Skool IPA, Single Blonde, and Golden Ticket Pale Ale.

Kristin Luparello, brewer, SanTan Brewing Co.

8 S. San Marcos Chandler, AZ 85225


After working on the packaging line at New Hampshire’s Smuttynose Brewery, Kristin Luparello moved to California to bartend at Anderson Valley Brewery. It was there that she asked the brewmaster if she could switch to the production side.

“He told me it wasn’t glamorous, but sure, if that’s what I wanted,” Luparello recalls. “I knew nothing about science. I didn’t even know what pH was! But I learned.”

After earning her Certified Brewmaster’s certificate from a grain-to-glass program in Germany, Luparello was hired as a brewer at SanTan Brewing Co. in Chandler.

“The beer culture is so new in Arizona that I think a lot of women don’t even see themselves going for roles in craft beer. It never crosses their mind. But once you realize that you can do it, then you’ll realize that you love doing it,” she says, adding that there are a lot of misconceptions about being a female brewer, namely, that there is an overly competitive spirit. “We like to show off what we know, and this is true whether you’re a male or female brewer.”

Her current favorite SanTan beer is Moonjuice IPA. “It’s a super-hoppy IPA. I think it represents the SanTan brand the best.” But she is an equal opportunity beer drinker, giving props to Koffee Kolsch from Huss Brewing and Pine Mountain Sour at Arizona Wilderness Brewing.

SanTan has a large operation, doing 200 barrels a day, and Luparello works the nightshift to finish up the daily brews. Open since 2007, SanTan’s well-known and much-loved brews include Devil’s Ale, Epicenter Amber, Hopshock IPA, and Mr. Pineapple.

©2017 Phoenix New Times, LLC. All rights reserved.




Read More >
1 2 3 6
Page 1 of 6