Beer sales down, thief swipes grease, Frank Bruni passes fork to new critic

Beer sales down, thief swipes grease, Frank Bruni passes fork to new critic

Hot commodity: vegetable oil makes a biofuel good enough to steal (Photo by schrislloyd) 

• A man was arrested in Britain after allegedly stealing 8,200 gallons of vegetable oil from restaurants all over the city of York, including the chip stand and the Dairy Queen. The grease is a valuable biofuel that can power any car engine. We have to wonder if he’s a Simpsons fan. [Seacost]

• Sam Sifton will be replacing legendary New York Times food critic Frank Bruni. Sifton, who starts the job in October, established his gourmet cred through editing the Dining section, writing a food column for the New York Press and making meatloaf for Nora Ephron. Also changing at the Times is the tradition of concealing the appearance of food critics. The Observer illustrates this today by publishing an enormous photo of Mr. Sifton. [New York Observer] • A cold July and the lingering recession have put a dent in sales at Molson Coors, makers of popular beers Canadian and Coors Light. And they’re not the only brewer having a rough summer: worldwide beer sales are down 3.2 per cent. Yet Molson also reports that despite the drop in business, people are drinking more beer—they are just favouring cheaper stuff. [Canadian Press] • Fast food restaurants in the western U.S. are now selling wine. Burgerville, a 39-store chain, is successfully marketing merlot at its Vancouver, Washington store. In downtown Seattle, the once-mighty Starbucks plans to rebrand one of its locations as 15th Street Café, which will sell wine. And in Napa Valley, Taylor’s Automatic Refresher pairs burgers and fries with half-bottles from local vineyards. While the latter has potential, we think most people will stick to milkshakes at Burgerville. [Fox News] • New restaurants that open in New York may not be able to offer their patrons any booze until January. New York State is facing an intractable financial crisis, so understaffing at the State Liquor Authority is likely to blame for the six-month wait for licenses. But cheer up, New York; Boston licenses traditionally take a year. Lucky for Torontonians, the Ontario Alcohol and Gaming Commission takes just 10 to 12 weeks. [New York Times]