March 2020
Spring Cleaning
The groundhog did not see his shadow, so we are anticipating an early spring and boy do we feel it! It's hard to believe it's already March, and that means we are going to start seeing more and more jobs posted in Palaterra! This is a process though, so there will still be less work than what we had over the last quarter of the year. So, expect more competition for those events in the short term. We know it can be frustrating, but there are things that you can do to put yourself in a better situation to get more work!

  • Check Palaterra every day, multiple times per day - Although we send alerts when a lot of jobs are posted, we are constantly adding jobs in the system every day and they are being assigned once there are applicants.

  • Get your recaps in ASAP - If there are multiple applicants on a job and you submit your recaps within 2 days on average and the other applicant submits theirs within 1 day, they will be assigned over you.

  • Submit accurate recaps - If there are multiple applicants on a job and your recap rejection rate is at 10% and someone else has 0%, they will be assigned over you. Take your time on your recaps to ensure you're putting all the correct information in your recap.

  • Don't cancel last minute - This hurts your ranking the most! Cancelling at the last minute or no showing a demo can put you at the bottom of the ranking.

  • Retailer feedback - The feedback that we gather whether positive or negative also influences your job assignments. With Palaterra’s latest feature, retailers receive an email the very next Monday with your event info and your photo asking for their feedback. So, make sure to arrive on time, be prepared, and ready to talk to consumers intelligently about the products you are representing. You may even receive an extra $25 and a shout out on our monthly newsletter!

  • Apply for as many jobs as you are willing to do - We often have multiple applicants on a job, and the jobs that may be in those outer-lying areas will have less applicants than the ones that may be closer to you.

Spring is a great time to get yourself organized and on top of your work. Utilize this time to make sure you're doing all the above. The ambassadors that tend to have their schedules organized and focus on the actions highlighted above are the ones that end up working the most. Starting the day off right and having a morning routine can make or break one's workday. Start with the small stuff to get to the big stuff. Check out this article below on how small morning routines can help boost your work ethic.
FCT Team Showcase
Project Coordinator
Julia Fortkort has been with First Crush for 3 years and currently serves in the role as Project Coordinator and Market Coordinator for Houston, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Her primary duties involve scheduling and staffing events in her markets, recruiting ambassadors for her teams, and maintaining relationships with the retailers. Additionally, Julia creates our monthly newsletters, manages the First Crush social media outlets, creates product stories in Palaterra, and assists with Palaterra developments.

In her free time, Julia serves as President of the Austin Valkyries Women's Rugby Club and plays competitive rugby all over the country. If she's not playing rugby, she's traveling, enjoying the Austin nightlife, or hiking with her dog, Arya.
Director of Client Relations
Jen Mehis has been with First Crush for 6 years and currently serves in the role of Director of Client Relations. Her primary duties involve communicating with suppliers and distributors regarding past and upcoming events. She takes requests, confirms events, and maintains relationships with our customers. Additionally, Jen inputs all events into Palaterra and oversees the inventory and shipment of promotional items.

In her free time, Jen enjoys traveling, entertaining friends and family, dancing, and going to happy hour with her friends.
Spring Featured Drinks
Standard Proof
Wildflower Lemonade
Infused with fresh, real honeysuckle nectar, this premium rye whiskey is aged in new American oak barrels and has floral notes with subtle fruit sweetness. Perfect neat, on the rocks, or in your favorite cocktail!

Cocktail Recipe:
  • 2 oz Wildflower Rye
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 4 oz Lemon-Lime Soda
Add rye and lemon juice to highball glass with ice and top with soda. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Standard Proof Whiskey can be found at your local Specs, Goody Goody, Total Wine & More, and other independent retailers!
Cupcake Vineyards
Crafted in northern Spain in the traditional Champagne method, our Cava sparkling wine delights any palate with fine bubbles and creamy flavors of lemon mousse, baked pear, and toasted brioche. Our Cava comes from the Penendes region of Northern Spain, where mild temperatures and moderate rainfall create ideal grape-growing conditions. The wine is aged for 9 months in bottle, creating fine bubbles and a rich, complex flavor profile. The end result is a delicious, crisp yet creamy sparkler with a soft finish. Add a splash of your favorite juice for a great spring sipper! Cranberry, peach, and grapefruit juice all pair well with this sparkling wine!

You can purchase Cupcake Cava can be found at your local Kroger!
Rancho La Gloria
Margarita Bubbles
Available in Classic Lime, Strawberry, and Mango flavors, these ready-to-drink margaritas in a can are perfect for your spring break coolers! T his refreshing margarita is a convenient cocktail for barbecues and beach days. Pour over ice or enjoy right out of the bottle for a perfectly tasty warm-weather libation.

Rancho La Gloria Margarita Bubbles cans can be found at your local HEB and Total Wine & More!
Casa Madero
V Rosé
This rose gold wine with copper tones has fruity aromas like plum, apricot, strawberry, and raspberry jam. It's a refreshing demi-sec wine with a great balance between acidity and fruitiness. Best served chilled with paella, chicken tacos, or a seafood salad.

Casa Madero V Ros é can be found at your local HEB, Central Market, and Total Wine & More!
Upcoming Industry Events
If you're a supplier and need brand ambassadors for any of the below events, please contact us!
SXSW 2020 - Austin, TX
March 13th-22nd
"Join artists, innovators, and thought leaders from around the world and turn your ideas into reality this March. Experience 10 days of unparalleled discovery, learning, and networking with creatives across tech, film, and music industries at the 2020 SXSW Conference & Festivals from March 13-22, 2020 in Austin, Texas."

Big Texas Beer Fest - Dallas, TX
March 27-28th
"The Big Texas Beer Fest is Dallas’ original beer festival. The 2020 event is the 9th annual. As far as we know, we’re the first craft beer festival in Texas! Big Texas Beer Fest takes place over a *2* day period on March 27-28. The event takes place at the  Fair Park Automobile Building . Last year’s festival featured 100+ breweries and 500+ beers. We expect similar numbers for this year’s event."

Midtown Wine Fest - Houston, TX
April 4th
"This is a one day intimate wine experience focused on showcasing international and local wines for all wine lovers alike. On April 4th 2020 treat yourself to an afternoon of Wine, Music, Food and Fun at the beautiful Midtown Park. Over 60 amazing wines will be available to delight your pallet. Our first-class experience will not disappoint you!"

Food + Wine Festival - Austin, TX
April 24-26th
"All weekend long you’ll explore rows of renowned Central Texas chefs from top-rated restaurants, serving up their signature bites. Along the way sample sips from an array of wine and spirits exhibitors."

Industry News
Wine at the Tipping Point: Three Actions U.S. Wineries Can Take to Increase Wine Sales
What is happening? Here are some brief highlights:

Changing consumer demographics and behaviors
  • Is the wine industry adjusting or pivoting to the change of the consumer need?
What is changing with the consumers?
  • Slowing of legal drinking age population = slower growth of entire category
  • Strong health and wellness trend – 37% of American wine drinkers report they are reducing the amount of alcohol they drink
  • Consumers seeking more natural, gluten-free, low-calorie, low-carb, plant-based, sustainable, and organic products.
What actions can wineries take now?
  • Ingredient communication – A glass of wine contains 120-130 calories, sparkling wines even less. Most wines are produced in a very natural way too. Organic and bio-dynamic are even better news to share with consumers.
  • New product development – Look at developing “no or low” alcohol products to your portfolio. Spritzers, innovative packaging, lighter styles can help to take advantage of the new trends that emerging.
  • Micro Tastings – Many consumers are intimidated with buying a new wine to only discover after purchase that they don’t like it. In-store sampling allows them to try it before they buy it, often making a purchase they did not intend on.

Amazon debuts new store concept called Amazon Go Grocery
"The selection at Amazon Go Grocery includes fresh produce, meat, seafood, baked goods, pet supplies and grocery and household essentials as well ready-made dinner options (signed as "Meals Made Easy") and alcoholic beverages. A mix of organic items and conventional items from familiar brands are featured, along with local favorites from around the city and region. Every item is priced individually, which means that nothing has to be weighed. There is no meat or seafood counter and no on-site food preparation. But there are self-serve coffee and espresso stations.

In many ways, Amazon Go Grocery resembles the smaller-sized, neighborhood grocery stores that supermarket companies have been opening in urban centers. But it stands apart in its use of technology."

7-Eleven to expand new store concept nationwide
"7-Eleven is moving forward with its "evolution" store format. The c-store giant, which unveiled the concept last March in Dallas, has expanded it to Washington, D.C., with an additional location to open in San Diego in the coming months. 7-Eleven said it plans to continue to expand the concept across the country in 2020. The evolution format is designed to serve as a lab store and real-time experiential testing ground where customers can try the retailer's latest innovations." 

Wine Industry Experts Address Stiff Competition Ahead
"At the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, experts discuss hard seltzer, wellness trends, e-commerce experiences, and how to reach millennials. There wasn’t much good news for wine professionals convening in Sacramento for the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium (Unified) on February 4-6.

According to a report issued in January by industry tracker  IWSR Drinks Market Analysis  (IWSR), wine consumption in the U.S. dropped 0.9 percent last year—the first volume decrease the industry has seen in 25 years. Oversupply and decreasing demand will only increase, according to Silicon Valley Bank’s  State of the Wine Industry 2020  report. And a survey of 2,000 American wine drinkers by the firm Wine Intelligence suggests the slipping consumption is a function of moderation trends and category switching."

New Customer Alert
Harvest Hill Beverage Company
"Beginning with our acquisition of the beloved Juicy Juice® brand in June 2014, Harvest Hill has grown into one of the nation’s leading independent beverage companies in the U.S.
Our family of iconic brands, including SunnyD®, Veryfine®, Fruit2O®, Little HUG®, Daily’s Cocktails®, Nutrament® and Green Beginnings® will continue to delight families for years to come."

Vinicola San Lorenzo
"The vineyards and winery of Casa Madero are located at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains, in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila. On the 19th of August 1597, Lorenzo Garcia received a land grant from King Phillip II of Spain, with the purpose of growing grapes for the production of wine and brandy, giving birth to The Hacienda San Lorenzo, later to become known as Casa Madero. It remains the most awarded Mexican Winery."

Ambassador Shout-out
Each ambassador featured in our Ambassador Shout-out will receive an additional $25 in their next pay! Congratulations and Thank You!
Claudia from Houston
Her e's what the s tore said about Claudia:

Claudia did an exceptional job on a slower day.
Her sales really helped to keep my numbers on track. We love having her experience and enthusiasm in our store.

Thank you for representing First Crush so well!
Anna from Austin
Here's what the store said about Anna:

Anna always does a good job with her demos. The time slot was a little slow but she persevered thru it and made some sales.

Thank you for representing First Crush so well!
Lesli from Dallas
Here's what the store said about Lesli:

It was an absolute pleasure to have Lesli here at Kroger for those tastings this past Valentine’s Day Weekend. I will be looking forward to having her here again conducting more demos through First Crush.

Thank you for representing First Crush so well!
Flavia from Houston
Here's what Julia said about Flavia:

Flavia has become an asset to our Houston team. She is eager to work and I always see her in Palaterra applying for jobs. She is a consistent and reliable ambassador and we are lucky to have her working for us!

Thank you for representing First Crush so well!
Patty from Austin
Here's what the store said about Patty:

Patty does a great job every time. I love having her at my store.

Thank you for representing First Crush so well!
Stephanie from Dallas
Here's what the store said about Stephanie:

It was an absolute pleasure to have Stephanie here at Kroger for those tastings this past Valentine’s Day Weekend. I will be looking forward to having her here again conducting more demos through First Crush.

Thank you for representing First Crush so well!
First Crush Updates
Monthly Wellness Tip!
This month we learned about how our diet and lifestyle choices affect the health of our gut. Our gut microbiome plays a very important role in our health by helping control digestion and benefiting our immune system and many other aspects of our health. An imbalance of unhealthy versus healthy gut bacteria may contribute to weight gain, high blood sugar, autoimmune diseases and many other illnesses. Taking the utmost care of our gut health is crucial now more than ever, with Coronavirus being a dangerous presence in our immediate world. By feeding our bodies a healthy diet of whole, fresh foods combined with regular physical activity, reducing stress and getting adequate sleep will ultimately contribute to a strong and diverse gut flora, which will provide us with the best defense against illness.

We're on Instagram!
We're live on Instagram! Click the photo to the right or follow us @firstcrushtastings!

If you don't already, "like" our Facebook page and "follow" us on LinkedIn! Click the social media links below to be directed to the pages!