January 16

Red Food Coloring Not Covered by Tariffs


Plucky American Wine Directors have wasted no time adjusting to the upcoming wine tariffs.  With the looming trade war threatening to crush their margins on glass pours, these operators are innovating their way to profitability. “As middle class America slowly forgets what decent wine tastes like,” reported David Elsen, “I look forward to finally using up the red food coloring in the pantry.”

Tariffs on French wines are scheduled to be 100%, making it nearly impossible to serve them by the glass in most restaurants. Domestic wines are unable to take their place, since they are often at higher price points for similar levels of quality. Luckily, Wine Directors like Elsen got creative.

“If I’m looking for something to replace a Cote du Rhone, I can buy Franzia Chardonnay by the box and hit it with McCormick Red Food Color,” he swirled a sample and gave it a long sniff. “It still has that floral meets rain-wet soil quality. I think it’s from the cochineal.”

“If I need something regional, like a Lambrusco,” he continued, “I can mix red food coloring with Bud Light Seltzer for an effervescent effect.”

With a new set of tricks up his sleeve, Elsen is sure his restaurant will survive the oncoming tariffs. “It’s not like they’re going to raise the price of imported cheese, whisky and olive oil, right? Right?”


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