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Pantone Creates New Wine-Inspired Color

Wine has helped fuel many an artist's creative endeavors. And now, a particular wine is the muse behind a new unique color from the Pantone Color Institute.

Pantone partnered with Valspar Paint and Laithwaite's Wine to develop English Sparkling Laithwaite's Wine. The color takes its inspiration from the shade of Wyfold Vineyard by Barbara Laithwaite -- one of England's most awarded sparkling wines.

Pantone said English Sparkling is "a subtle and stylishly elegant, creamy hue that quietly expresses effervescence and good taste. Young in spirit and timeless in its appeal, this natural off-white shade conveys feelings of spring freshness and modernity. Carrying an undertone of pleasantness and geniality, the inherent warmth of Laithwaite's Wine English Sparkling creates a sparkling yet soothing presence."

Available as paint from Valspar, the new hue could harbinger forthcoming color trends in the apparel world – something promotional product distributors whose clients have fashion-forward tastes and audiences will want to be aware of.

"English Sparkling is more than just a new shade of Valspar paint. Like every bespoke color we mix, it's about eternalizing a personal feeling, a moment in time, a memory," said Kasia Wiktorowicz, marketing communications manager at Valspar. "For us, this color is reminiscent of a warm laughter-filled summer's evening, enjoying an English Sparkling wine with close friends and family."

The new hue is also serving to promote English sparkling wine, elevating it into the official pantheon of color terminology in a manner akin to continental rivals like "burgundy" and "champagne."

"Just as burgundy and champagne are very well-known terms for colors, it's now time for English Quality Sparkling Wine to take center stage," David Thatcher, CEO of Laithwaite's Wine, was quoted as saying. "Creating an official color is a great way of acknowledging the ever-growing popularity of the English wine industry around the world."

Minnesota Twins & Princes Estate Launching Merch Line

Purple Rain is going to fall during Minnesota Twins games this baseball season.

The Twins have struck a deal to sell Prince-branded merchandise throughout the year at their stadium in Minneapolis – Target Field. Items, which will include hats, shirts, pins, patches and balls, will go on sale at the Twins home opener on April 5th. The StarTribune reported that the co-branding deal could be the first of its kind for a Major League Baseball team.

Why the Twins and Prince? Simple: The international best-selling musical artist was from Minneapolis. "Along with our fans, we look forward to celebrating the legacy of a man who brought an international spotlight to our great city," Twins CEO Dave St. Peter told the StarTribune.

For the second year in a row, the Twins will also host a special Prince Night. During the June 8 game against the Los Angeles Angels, additional Prince merchandise will be on offer. Game attendees who purchase a Prince Theme Night package will receive a Twins/Prince co-branded hat.

Attribution: Minnesota Twins

Perhaps most interestingly for Prince Night, there will be a special giveaway – inflatable purple guitars in the shape of Prince's famous symbol that will also display Twins branding. During the 7th inning stretch, the 10,000 folks lucky enough to have scored the limited edition guitar giveaway will be encouraged to stand and illuminate the item – a show of remembrance and respect to the hometown musical genius who passed away in 2016.

Attribution: Minnesota Twins

Who knows, the inflatable purple guitar could become a sought-after bit of merch. After all, the umbrellas the Twins provided fans on Prince Night in 2017 were being offered for as much as $220 on eBay.

Attribution: eBay

For those curious about the nuts and bolts of the co-branding deal, it seems that Delaware North Sportservice, the Twins' retail provider, negotiated it with Bravado – the company handling the merchandising and branding for Prince's estate. The word from the Twins is that Prince's family is cool with the merchandising.

The Bobblehead Tax: Cincinnati Reds Court Case Could Impact Promo Industry

The Cincinnati Reds, Ohio tax officials and branded game-day merchandise like player bobbleheads are at the center of an intriguing court case that could send reverberations throughout the promotional products world.

On Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed to consider an appeal from the Reds. The Major League Baseball team argues that state tax officials have no legal basis to demand the payment of $88,000 in taxes tied to Reds-branded promotional products that the team provided to fans on game days between 2008 and 2010. The Ohio Department of Taxation, however, is doing just that, saying the Reds owe the levy.

The Reds contend that they're entitled to a resale exception/exemption because they're reselling the items as part of advertised ticket sales. Ohio law exempts companies from paying tax on items they buy to resell.

Lawyers for the Reds explained their position: Team officials identify certain games on the schedule they suspect fans won't be as interested in attending. To beef up ticket sales to such contests, the team advertises – and then provides – bobbleheads, player cards and other Reds-themed memorabilia as part of a fan's ticket purchase. "The price paid for the ticket includes consideration for the promotional item," Reds attorneys say in a court filing. "Accordingly, the Reds purchase of such items is exempt from tax since the items are resold to game attendees."

Ohio tax officials take an altogether different view. They say the Reds didn't resell the promotional items as part of the ticket price, but rather gave them away for free to increase interest in games. As such, the state tax commissioner contends that the promotional items should be taxed because the Reds bought the products to be distributed as freebies and are not, in fact, part of a ticket sale.

To support their position, tax officials say that the ticket price for each particular seat is the same throughout the season, whether a promo item is offered or not. Furthermore, not all patrons are guaranteed that they will get promo merch for a game in which it's advertised because supplies are limited. Relatedly, if a game attendee decides she doesn't want, say, a bobblehead, then her ticket isn't discounted. Given all that, the state Board of Tax Appeals denied an appeal from the Reds.

"We conclude that the Reds have not provided this board with competent and probative evidence in support of the position that it does not owe the assessed tax," board members wrote in their ruling. "It is the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals that the decision of the tax commissioner must be affirmed."

The Reds decided to appeal to the state Supreme Court. There the case rests, awaiting an initial hearing.

Depending on how the court rules, the case could have sweeping implications for the promotional products industry. Should the court side with tax officials, will teams and other businesses in Ohio be discouraged from investing in branded merchandise for game-day promotions and, indeed, other events because they don't want to pay taxes on the items? Could an Ohio ruling in favor of the tax commissioner's findings influence other states to enforce similar actions? Stay tuned.

Beach Town Considers Towel Ban

A tiny coastal town on Italian island Sardinia has proposed a ban on beach towels and large beach bags, in an effort to preserve the sand dunes at La Pelosa beach. The popular Mediterranean beach attracts thousands of tourists each day during peak season, many of whom leave with sand-caked accessories.

"We didn't come up with the idea of banning towels," Stintino Mayor Antonio Diana told La Repubblica. "The entire plan is based on scientific studies that indicate towels as one of the biggest dangers, since when they're damp they retain a lot of sand. This isn't some airy-fairy idea."

Instead of towels, beachgoers would be able to rent folding chairs, mats and reusable see-through bags.

La Pelosa is also scheduled for a number renovations to begin after the summer of 2019, including removing the road that leads to the beach and replacing it with pedestrian paths and bicycle lanes. The plan also calls for installing a new raised walkway along the beach to keep pedestrians off the sand dunes.

Last year, La Pelosa was ranked one of the top 10 beaches in Italy by Trip Advisor. Diana said he's not ruling anything out to protect and preserve the popular beach.

Most Amazing Facts about GOLF

Golf season is upon us, and it's time to dust off the clubs and get your butts down to the course for an early start. For some people, golf is a great way to relax, get in shape and have a fun day outdoors. For others, it's an obsession; a lifestyle choice that bridges both playtime and business. You might think you're a Pro, but read along to find out just how many of these amazing golf facts you already know!


Most people equate the origins of golf with the rolling green hills of Scotland, but that might not be the case. It's up for debate, but University lecturer Martin Hahn (PhD) believes that the Chinese Song Dynasty might have been responsible for the first iteration of golf, known as "Chuiwan," way back in A.D. 943. He goes on to theorize that the Mongolians may have imported the game to Europe between the 12th and 13 centuries. Though not universally accepted as fact, it's an interesting thought!


During WWII, the Richmond Golf Club amended the official rules of the game to include collecting lawnmower-damaging shrapnel from any German bombs that might fall mid-game, or diving for cover during heavy gunfire. When the violence had ended, golfers were allowed to replace any golf ball knocked out of position during the enemy attack without suffering a penalty, and continue on through their game. Naturally.


The Scottish Parliament has banned golf several times throughout history. In 1457, both golf and football were banned under pain of punishment in order to preserve the historical and cultural strength of archery. Both were given the heave-ho again in 1491, as Parliament believed that it would distract soldiers from a possible English invasion. Golf would be banned in Scotland several more times, in 1589, 1592, and on American streets in 1659.


One of the first golf balls ever invented were made of thin leather stuffed with tightly packed feathers. This allowed the golf balls to travel the farthest possible distance at the time. Three pieces of leather were stitched together and then turned inside out before feathers were packed within. Both materials were wet during creation, allowing the feathers to expand while the leather shrank, creating a very tight fit. It was a painstaking process, as well. A typical ball maker would only finish a maximum of 2 to 3 balls per day!


Before it was abandoned in the mid-90s, avid golfers were hitting the Tuctu Golf Course in Morococha, Peru. At 14,335 feet above sea level at its lowest point (!!!) Tuctu held the world record for the highest golf club in the entire world. As expected, golfing at Tuctu was no easy feat, and many golfers reported suffering nosebleeds due to the increased elevation.


Did you know that the chances of scoring two holes-in-one in a single round of golf are approximately 1 in 67 million? How about Tour Pros missing 85% to 95% of their three-footer putts? Finally, 80% of all golfers never reach a handicap less than 18.


Golf balls travel farther in hot weather, thanks to greater elasticity which creates much higher force when struck with a club. During a 100 mph swing, a golfer will carry the driver up to eight yards longer for each increase in temperature of 25°C. If you've ever wanted to play your best round of golf, it might be time to consider taking a trip to Dubai!


64 year old Mike Austin hit the longest drive in history in 1974 at a staggering 515 yards (471 meters). His weapon of choice? A 43.5" steel shafted persimmon wood driver. The longest golf putt in history goes to Fergus Muir, who sent a golf ball traveling a ridiculous 375 feet from the tee to a cup. This amazing feat was exhaustively checked, re-checked and TRIPLE-re-checked by the Guinness Book of Records team, earning him an honorary spot in the annals of mind-blowing accomplishments. Coincidentally, it was Muir's first hole in one, EVER! His weapon of choice? A hickory-shafted putter made by Condie of St. Andrews. To put things in perspective, the longest TELEVISED golf putt ever recorded was a pitiful (depending how you look at it) 200 feet by Dave Pelz.


The fastest golf drive ever recorded was 204 miles per hour. Calgary World Long Drive Champion Jason Zuback accomplished this breakneck feat, but it's been estimated that under the right conditions, Zuback can drive a ball 468 yards out.


Apollo 14 astronaut Alan Shepard wasn't content to plant another flag on the moon in 1971. Instead, he busted out a six-iron he'd smuggled on board the ship, and played one-handed golf on our planet's craggy companion. Even with a cumbersome space suit, Shepard managed to knock his second of two balls out 200 yards, all thanks to the advantages of lower gravity and minimal atmosphere. Shepard would donate the iconic club to the USGA Musem, while a replica rests at the Smithsonian. After retiring, Shepard took up residence right near Cypress Point in Pebble Beach, California. Very fitting!

We hope you enjoyed our Most Amazing Facts About Golf! How many did you already know? Make sure to check out our Specials on Golf Shirts and other items to get you prepped for the new season. Whether it's rain, shine (or snow...you never know!) we hope you have a fun season out on the links this year.

Backlash Over Walmart T-Shirts Portraying Negative Ethnic Stereotype

A New York man of Irish ancestry is calling for a boycott of Walmart's online store because the retailer's website is selling St. Patrick's Day-themed tees that feature images and messaging that promote negative stereotypes about Irish people being drunks.

After Kevin Westley, a radio show host and Irish dance instructor from Long Island, found a slew of shirts on Walmart.com that bore such portrayals, he began calling for the boycott. A search for "St. Patrick's Day shirts drunk" on Walmart.com makes it evident that Westley isn't making things up. See pictures below for examples from the site.

Back in 2015, Westley took up a similar cause when he bought hundreds of St. Patrick's Day T-shirts with stereotypical portrayals that were on sale at his local Walmart – just to clear them from the shelves. He then returned the tees on March 18. Westley's actions gained ample media attention and led at least a couple Walmarts in his area to desist in carrying such shirts.

Still, tees like "Kiss Me I'm Irish or Drunk or Whatever" and "Loud Proud Drunk Irish" remain available for purchase on Walmart.com. And, Westley wants to change that.

"All stereotypes are bad, regardless what group they demean," Westley states, according to IrishCentral. "Think of the thousands of job or housing opportunities that have been lost because of them. If you agree with me, please call Walmart corporate office on their toll-free line at 1-800-925-6278. Better yet, 'contact' them at https://help.walmart.com/ and let them know what you think about these T-shirts."

Westley has stated that, so far, Walmart has not replied to him.

IrishCentral has thrown support behind Westley, and encouraged site visitors to confront other retailers about St. Patrick's Day-related merchandise they find offensive. Suggestions include asking stores to remove the merchandise, while explaining that St. Patrick's Day is a holy day in Ireland and asking stores if they "would sell offensive stereotypical T-shirts for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Puerto Rican Day, St. Joseph's Day, etc."

If retailers refuse to remove the merchandise, IrishCentral suggests taking a page from Westley's book and buying up the merch, then returning it after St. Patrick's Day.