Lauber Selections Hosts 2013 Grand Annual Tasting

Posted on | June 28, 2013   Bookmark and Share
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Lauber Selections, the fine wine division of Fedway Associates, held its 2013 Grand Annual Tasting on May 15th at Mayfair Farms in West Orange. Attendees tasted through a diverse portfolio of wines from around the world.

The Find: July 2013

Posted on | June 28, 2013   Bookmark and Share
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BELVEDERE HAS ALL 19 HOLES COVERED

Belvedere Vodka has been named as both the Official Vodka of the PGA of America. The agreement aligns the world’s largest professional sports organization (27,000 strong) with the superpremium unfiltered vodka through 2015. The sponsorship will be highlighted through advertising, social and digital media activation, country club viewing parties and fine wine and spirits store promotions. As for weekend linksters, Belvedere may not be able to correct that pesky slice, but it may make golfers feel a little better at the proverbial 19th hole.

belvederevodka.com

SOUTHERN COMFORT EXTENDS CHEEKY TV CAMPAIGN

Southern Comfort has launched the next chapter of their “Whatever’s Comfortable” campaign with a new television spot entitled “Shampoo.” Mark Bacon, the brand’s managing director, notes: “We’re comfortable being Southern Comfort and we want our consumers to embody that same attitude.” The integrated campaign, created by Wieden+Kennedy New York, also includes digital activation, outdoor placements and on- and off-premise account activation. Additional spots focused on Southern Comfort Lime and Southern Comfort Bold Black Cherry will roll out later this summer.

southerncomfort.com

 

GOOD SCOTCH COMES IN SMALL PACKAGES

Scotch lovers like to speak of “a wee dram.” This compact trio from Glenrothes appears to put the emphasis on “wee” but delivers big on the dram side. The set contains three 100ml bottles: Glenrothes Select Reserve, with full malty flavor and medium sweetness; the soft and mature 1998; and 2001, vivid on the palate with a finish of sweet oaky vanilla and lingering spices. Priced to sell for $39.99, the smartly packaged set presents an opportunity to try (or gift) three different single-malt Scotch expressions from a top producer without breaking the bank.

anchordistilling.com

 

 

OWL’S BREW: TEA FOR WISE MIXOLOGISTS

Amid the countless vodkas and whiskies and gins at this year’s Manhattan Cocktail Classic, Owl’s Brew stood out—because it’s not alcohol at all. It’s thoughtfully crafted tea, designed to be a mixer for clever cocktails. Owl’s Brew is fresh-brewed and bottled, with three simple ingredients: water, tea and agave syrup (the agave is key because its low glycemic index makes it easier to digest than sugar). The three varieties of Owl’s Brew are sweet yet spicy Coco-Lada with a touch of coconut; Pink & Black, a Darjeeling tea with hibiscus; and Naked Arnold (think lemony Arnold Palmer), sweetened with stevia and under 10 calories per serving. Bottled at a strength to mix with a variety of spirits in a 3:1 ratio, Owl’s Brew is already popping up on cocktail menus at Pure Food & Wine, SPIN NYC and Gramercy Park Hotel. Wholesale pricing: $8.99/32oz.

theowlsbrew.com

 

New Products & Promotions – July 2013

Posted on | June 28, 2013   Bookmark and Share
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CROP ORGANIC VODKA ADDS MEYER LEMON TO ROSTER

All the vodkas in Crop’s stable are made to strict USDA organic standards. That now includes Crop Meyer Lemon Organic Vodka. The new flavor starts with the crisp Crop organic vodka base and adds the fragrant character of Meyer lemons, which are not as tart as other lemons. Other variations include Artisanal (80 proof), Tomato and Cucumber. 70 proof.

cropvodka.com

SRP: $29

TIME FOR DESSERT WITH NEW ADDITIONS TO MALIBU PORTFOLIO

Malibu has expanded into the confectionary spirits realm with two dessert-flavored additions to the line. Malibu Sundae brings together the brand’s famous coconut taste and the flavor of chocolate ice cream; Malibu Swirl pairs coconut with strawberries and cream. A summer visual campaign features decadent dessert-themed drink ideas. Both are 42 proof and available in 1L, 750ml and 50ml sizes.

SRP: $14.99/750ml

malibu-rum.com

 

WILD HARE WINERY GROWS UP WITH NEW LABEL

Sonoma’s Wild Hare Winery nods toward ancient legends which recount that spotting a single hare racing through a vineyard at night would ensure a bountiful and high quality harvest. With a new, mature label, the focus for Wild Hare is crafting legendary California varietal wines which include a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Marketed nationally by Bronco Wine Company.

broncowine.com

 

 

HEAVEN HILL LAUNCHES CINERATOR HOT CINNAMON FLAVORED WHISKEY

Heaven Hill Distilleries launched Cinerator Hot Cinnamon Flavored Whiskey this spring, prompted by growing consumer interest in everything hot and spicy. Cinerator combines hot cinnamon flavor with smooth American whiskey and adds some kick with a high proof of 91.1. The eye-catching label is set ablaze with drawn flames drawn upwards. Available in 1L, 750ml and 50ml sizes.mber. 70 proof.

SRP: $14.99/750ml

heavenhill.com

 

RUSSIA’S GREEN MARK VODKA IS NOW AVAILABLE IN THE U.S.

For the first time, Russian top seller Green Mark Vodka is available in America. Originally launched in 2003, Green Mark is made from a traditional vodka recipe capturing the essence of classic Russian vodka. The name was inspired by the Glavspirttrest Agency, which conducted strict quality control to ensure purity in the early 20th century—only vodka that passed all assessments received the coveted “green mark” seal.

SRP: $11.99 – $13.99

ZIPZ OFFERS UP WINE CHOICE FOR EVERY EVENT GLASSWARE CAN’T GO

This spring saw the launch of Zipz, a selection of new single-serve wines. Each Zipz glass is made from food-grade PET plastic, which allows Zipz to be served where traditional glassware cannot be used including stadiums, arenas, pool areas, picnics and barbecues. Each Zipz glass is packaged in patented Zipz Clean Wrap. The first offerings, Z Selections, are California Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet with other varieties to follow.

zipzwine.com

SRP: 4-pack/$13.99; per glass/$3.99

 

 

SVEDKA GETS IN HOLIDAY SPIRIT WITH LIMITED EDITION BOTTLE

Just in time for the red, white and bluest holiday on the calendar, Svedka has come out with a limited party-edition Stars & Stripes bottle. The decorative bottle takes inspiration from the American flag and makes a bold patriotic statement for summer. Some flag-inspired cocktails are available on the Svedka website.

svedka.com

SRP: $21.99/1.75L

 

 

 

 

BACARDI PINEAPPLE FUSION IS A SPIRIT OF COLLABORATION

Bacardi recently released Pineapple Fusion, bringing together the sweet notes of pineapple rum with toasty notes of coconut rum for drinks that are full of Caribbean island flavor. Bacardi Pineapple Fusion is recommended as a chilled shot or mixed with coconut water, fruit juice or soda. 70 proof.

bacardi.com

SRP: $14.99

 

PICKET FENCE PRESENTS 2012 ALEXANDER VALLEY SAUVIGNON BLANC

Winemaker Alison Crowe captures the heritage of the Alexander Valley in Picket Fence’s new 2012 Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is rich with aromas of summer—fresh grass, white flowers, peaches, mango and passion fruit—with a delicious tang. Picket Fence Sauvignon Blanc is fresh as the Russian River that flows near the vineyard.

broncowine.com

 

 

TRINCHERO FAMILY ESTATES PRESENTS DR. ANGOVE “THE RECIPE”

The first vintage of Dr. Angove, a 2012 red blend from South Australia, has been launched by Trinchero Family Estates and Angove Family Winemakers. Dr. Angove “The Recipe” is a blend of 50% Shiraz, 30% Grenache and 20% Petit Verdot. The wine is a modern take on Dr. William Thomas Angove’s original red wines that he created in Adelaide, more than 100 years ago.

tfewines.com

SRP: $12.99

CANADIAN MIST MAKERS LAUNCH MIST FLAVORS

Brown-Forman and Canadian Mist are introducing new Mist Flavors in select markets across the U.S. beginning in June. The flavors are Peach Mist, Cinnamon Mist and Maple Mist whisky, and all start with Canadian Mist blended with proprietary cinnamon, maple or peach liqueurs for a smooth, light selection. All are available in 50ml and 750ml sizes and bottled at 70 proof.

canadianmist.com

SRP: $9.99/750ml

 

 

WINERY EXCHANGE LAUNCHES OGIO WINE BRAND

California-based Winery Exchange recently launched the OGIO wine brand in the U.S. The stylish portfolio includes a Prosecco, Pinot Grigio and Tuscan red blend, which first debuted at the South Beach Food & Wine Festival. Key distribution markets for 2013 include New York, Boston, L.A., Miami, San Francisco, Charlotte and Dallas, with full rollout planned for 2014.

ogiowines.com

SRP: Pinot Grigio/$12.99; Tuscan red/$12.99; Prosecco/$16.99

 

 

Wine Buzz: July 2013

Posted on | June 27, 2013   Bookmark and Share
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‘WINE FOLLY’ POSTERS MAKE COMPLEX TOPICS SIMPLE & ATTRACTIVE

Once upon a time, framed maps of European wine regions were considered a sign that a retailer was serious about “fine wine.” In today’s market, geography still matters, but topics such as wine types/styles and food affinities—have become more relevant to the customer shopping experience. Wine Folly, a Seattle-based blog, has developed a series of colorful “infographic” posters that make some of wine’s most complex concepts amazingly elementary. Suitable for framing, the posters make attractive educational additions to a wine shop’s walls—and with wholesale pricing available, you can sell them, too. Priced from 15.95 SRP; wholesale minimum order $300.

winefolly.com

 

 

DRINK PINK TO SUPPORT CANCER RESEARCH

Liquid Geography, the newest rosé from Spanish wine importer Olé Imports, illustrates the perfumed, delicate side of Monastrell. “Location in wine matters,” says Olé co-founder Patrick Mata. “Oftentimes, people associate the flavors of a grape to be always the same. When grown in the higher elevations of southeastern Spain, Monastrell grapes produce floral, uplifted and very elegant wines.” All proceeds raised from the limited first release will be donated to the T.J. Martell Foundation, a national non-profit dedicated to raising funds for cancer research. SRP $12.

mgracias.com

 

 

 

VINKARA TAPS NEW WINES FROM ANCIENT SOILS

Like many ancient wine regions that have been rediscovered (think Greece, Israel, parts of Spain), Turkey is just embarking on a major quality revolution. One of the leaders of this pack, Vinkara, has just hit American shores. As is almost always the case, indigenous grapes make the most interesting wines here, and Vinkara focuses on Narince, a beautifully aromatic white variety that shows tropical fruit flavors and terrific acidity; and Kalecik Karasi, a cherry-rich red grape that is Pinot Noir-like in its delicacy and spicy earth profile. Both retail for $15, with reserves at $25. Founded in 2003 by Ardic Gürsel, Vinkara uses 100% hand-picked estate fruit. Imported by Fine Terroir Selections, the wines are currently in CT, NJ and NY.

vinkara.com

 

 

NEW CALI BLENDS STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

The proliferation of kitchen-sink blends has become dizzying, with the bulk clumped in the $10-$12 range. Brassfield Estate, perched in the little-known High Valley AVA of Lake County, is making a case that the “splendid blended” bar can and should be raised. Brassfield’s “Eruption”—whose name aptly evokes its volcanic soils—is a mix of Syrah, Mourvèdre, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, Zinfandel and Grenache. Ripe but not just jammy, supported by judicious oak and tannins, it retails for $20 but has more intensity and flavor interest than many singlegrape peers as well as pricier blends. The $15 white “Serenity” (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer) is also a winner, with plush texture and fruity-floral character.

brassfieldestate.com

 

Know The Law: TTB Extends Mandatory Statements to Internet

Posted on | June 27, 2013   Bookmark and Share
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The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“ TTB”) Industry Circular 2013-01, issued on May 13th, provides guidance on the application of TTB’s advertising regulations to internet activities. It is important to understand that in general TTB regulations do not apply to the retail tier; rather these regulations are addressed to suppliers, importers and wholesalers, known in TTB parlance as “Industry Members.”

Federal regulations require the Industry Member, who is the responsible advertiser, to include certain Mandatory Statements in all advertisements. In the case of wine, the Mandatory Statement includes the name, city and state of the responsible advertiser as well as the class, type and distinctive designation of the product. In the case of spirits, the Mandatory Statement includes the name, city and state of the responsible advertiser, the class and type of the product, alcohol content, percentage of neutral spirits and the name of the commodity. Some of the information may be omitted when the advertisement is addressed to a broad category of beverages rather than to a specific product.

In addition, Federal Regulations forbid the inclusion of any statement that is false, disparaging to a competitor’s product or creates a misleading impression as to the effects on health.

In its May Circular, the TTB warns that advertising regulations apply to the types of advertisements listed in the regulations and advertisements in “any other media.” When an Industry Member creates a Facebook page, uploads videos to YouTube, creates an internet blog or sets up a Twitter account for consumers to follow, its purpose is to induce sales in interstate or foreign commerce. Therefore, these are considered advertising and are subject to the TTB regulations.

When using blogs, Facebook and other webpages, which combine into one document with sub-tabs, the TTB recommends that the responsible advertiser place the Mandatory Statement on the “profile” or “about” page.

The TTB recognizes that it is not practical to require the Mandatory on each statement sent out on a micro blog such as Twitter. However, the Mandatory Statement must still be placed on the responsible advertiser’s “profile” page.

If the Industry Member provides a link from one website to another, the Mandatory must be placed in each website. If the purpose of a posting or action is to drive consumers to the product or to keep the consumer loyal, it is an advertisement and comes under the regulations.

Governor’s Summit Impact Continues

Governor Cuomo hosted a summit on New York’s Alcoholic Beverage industry in October of 2012. Following through on one of the summit’s topics, the administration has sponsored legislation to spirits producers in the state.

The legislation is clearly intended to boost New York’s agricultural community. Products manufactured substantially from ingredients grown in New York are designated as “New York Labeled” and have special tasting and sales privileges. In addition, manufactures, except distillers, are authorized to sell a great number of souvenirs and additional products.

The proposed legislation also would allow producers to otherwise use areas of buildings and equipment not fully employed in the production of an alcoholic beverage, when such use (i) is reasonably necessary to realize the maximum benefit from the premises and equipment and/or reduces the overhead of the [licensee]; (ii) is in the public interest because of emergency conditions; (iii) involves research projects related to equipment, materials, processes, products, by-products or wastage; or (iv) in the judgment of the authority, will not impede the effective administration of the ABC law.

The proposed bill also codifies a portion of the SLA Advisory related to marketing/supplier permits. Under the proposed legislation, these permits will be available only to manufacturers and importers from sister states.

Brand Profile: Shake Up Summer with RumChata

Posted on | June 26, 2013   Bookmark and Share
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The brand has a seasonal focus on mixability and adult milkshakes.

The flagship product for Agave Loco Brands is RumChata, a blend of the creamy beverage horchata mixed with high quality Caribbean rum. Since RumChata entered the scene a few years ago, it’s been a grassroots sensation, carving out a niche in the cream liqueur category. “First quarter sales were up 70% over 2012,” says Tom Maas, RumChata founder and master blender. Originating in ancient Egypt, horchata made its way to Spain and eventually to the Americas, where it is made most often with rice and milk or water. RumChata uses real dairy cream from Wisconsin and is flavored with cinnamon and vanilla.

Aiming to continue the brand’s momentum, a new trade campaign aims to show how well RumChata works in summertime drinks. “We are trying to get the trade to understand that RumChata sells very well during hot months as it is lighter than your average cream liqueur,” says Maas. (The ABV is 13.75% and a 1.5 oz. serving is 140 calories).

One fun way the brand is activating for summer enjoyment is with adult milkshake recipes. “RumChata adult milkshakes like the Strawberry Chata™ Shake and RumChata by Elvis are highlighted in all of our summer advertising,” says Tom. The RumChata sales and distributor sales teams have already been engaging with on-premise accounts “to put together RumChata adult milkshake and summer drink specials around the country.”

Bartender’s Bestie

Maas shares that RumChata is sometimes referred to as the “bartender’s best friend” because the liqueur mixes so well with a variety of products, from root beer and coffee to flavored vodkas and premium bourbon. “It comes down to its perfectly blended real flavors,” Maas adds. RumChata is made with cream, it will curdle when mixed with anything that is highly acidic like fruit juices. But Maas says no cause for concern; one tip to mitigate that effect is to pour the mixer over ice first and then let it cool before adding RumChata.

Fans of RumChata ask for it by its full name or just “Chata” at bars across the country and bartenders and mixologists are responding creatively. Maas says, “At the Grid in Chicago, they are serving a RumChata Cereal Shooters Flight. The popular flight includes RumChata shooters with flavors that taste like Froot Loops, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs.” There are some clever Youtube fans who have filmed themselves trying RumChata with their cereal instead of milk too.

Long Shelf Life

Though cream-based, RumChata does not require refrigeration, because, as Tom Maas explains, “The cream has been homogenized with the rum and the alcohol acts as a preservative.” An unopened bottle can last years if stored between 50-80 degrees F; opened RumChata can be kept at room temperature for over six months. But Maas admits, “We are confident that if you try one of our more than 100 recipes online your bottle will not last longer than a single visit with a few good friends.”    

The summer is proving very busy for RumChata, as Agave Loco aims to expand distribution and promote RumChata summer cocktails and adult milkshakes. Additionally, the brand is providing on-site sponsorship of popular Chicago music series, The Ravinia Music Festival.

ABSOLUT Open Canvas – Brooklyn

Posted on | June 25, 2013   Bookmark and Share
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This weekend, more than twenty celebrated emerging contemporary artists transformed ordinary features of North 6th street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn into an extraordinary immersive and participative experience as part of Absolut’s Open Canvas initiative.  From wind art to crocheted fence tapestries and digital projections, the co-created interactive art exhibition celebrates the first iteration of Absolut’s TRANSFORM TODAY™ global campaign, a movement inspiring creative risk-taking amongst today’s creative class.
 
From Mundane to Extraordinary

The North 6th Street transformation (between Kent and Wythe) began June 10, when building facades, flower pots and fences became stark white canvases with an inspirational call-to-creative-arms “The Future is Yours to Create.” On Saturday, June 22, dubbed “Transformation Day,” the collective of artists pushed the boundaries of imaginative inspiration, sharing their respective creative mark on the block while onlookers experienced the creative process in motion.  
 
“Open Canvas serves as a reminder that we can all transform our present and future if we adopt a daring spirit and use creativity to stretch everyday reality,” said Maxime Kouchnir, Vice President of Vodkas at Pernod Ricard USA. “Collaborating with artists who deliver the unexpected is part of our rich heritage; Absolut has creativity in its DNA.”
 
Through June 29, New Yorkers are invited to experience Absolut Open Canvas and interact with the creativity that surrounds them, including:
 
·     Justin Lowe & Jonah Freeman’s “The Starchamber”– a visual and digital experience surrounding the 1970’s cult sci-fi hit.

·     Ryan McNamara’s “Dance” – a mesmerizing and interactive dance celebration on the streets of Williamsburg, individually tailored for each viewer.

·     OLEK’s “Forgotten Barrier”– an 80-foot long crocheted yarn fence reminding onlookers that “all we need is love and money.”

 “My art has always sought to bring color, life, energy, and surprise to the living space,” said OLEK. “ABSOLUT’s Open Canvas project has given me the creative freedom to produce exciting new work and share it with the public.”
 
Collaborating artists participating in Absolut’s Open Canvas include: Asger Carlsen, Tony Cox, Craig Damrauer, Ara Dymond, Jonah Freeman & Justin Lowe, Aurora Halal, Dev Harlan, Valerie Hegarty, KATSU, Andrew Kuo, Ryan McNamara, Joseph Montgomery, Mark Nystrom, OLEK, Rostarr, el_peego, JK5, Dominic Neitz, Signal, TwoJay, Kevin Phillips, itsalrightwerealright.com , Justin Beal, Michael Zahn, Lucas Knipscher, Steven Rose and Joanna Seitz.

Later this summer, ABSOLUT’s Open Canvas initiative will transform San Francisco.  Visit absolut.com/opencanvas  to experience the initiative.

By The Numbers: July 2013 Edition

Posted on | June 25, 2013   Bookmark and Share
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New York Scores Big at Tasters Guild
At Taster’s Guild International’s 26th annual wine competition in May, New York wineries collected nearly 200 medals. Double gold medals, requiring a unanimous vote by the judging panel, went to Schulze Vineyards & Winery 2011 Block Three Ice Wine ($54.95); Swedish Hill Winery 2010 Late Harvest Vignoles ($23) and 2011 Vidal Blanc ($11.99); and Torrey Ridge Winery Blue Sapphire ($11.29).

Among gold medalists, Keuka Spring Vineyards and Osprey’s Dominion led with four, while Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Goose Watch Winery, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Thirsty Owl Winery, Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars and Torrey Ridge took home three. The competition, held in Grand Rapids, MI, featured more than 2,000 wine entries from 10 countries and 27 states or provinces. Full results at tastersguild.com

Beer’s Loss = Wine & Spirits’ Gain
U.S. beer consumption peaked in 2008, while wine and spirits sales have been consistently growing for more than 20 years, according to the research firm Consumer Edge Insights. In 1985 wine’s share of consumption was about 13%, while beer’s was 55% and spirits represented 32% share. Now wine is sitting at 16% share, spirits at 31%, and beer’s share is down to 53%. David Decker, president of Consumer Edge Insights, attributes this trend primarily to evolving tastes; the attraction new brands and/or flavors; and consumers’ perception of wine as being healthier than beer.

Not all is lost for beer. It is still consumers’ favorite category with 40% who say they prefer it. Wine and spirits are essentially tied for second place with 28% and 27%. But when it comes to women and Millennials, two growing demographics, wine and spirits rule. Of consumers aged 21-27, 32% prefer spirits, followed by beer at 31% and wine at 23%. Women prefer wine by (40%), followed by spirits (27%) and beer (25%).

It’s interesting to see how the mix of favored spirits has changed over just three decades. In 1980 whiskey held the greatest share in terms of consumption at 49%, followed by vodka (19%), gin (9%), rum (7%) and tequila (2%). Fast forward to 2010: whiskey’s share was halved 24% and vodka’s share was up to 32%. Rum and tequila also grew steadily in share to 13% and 6% respectively, while gin slipped to 6% in 2010. Since 2010, however, whiskey and gin have been on the upswing and gin is gaining popularity in craft circles.

Indicative of a broader—and perhaps more adventurous—spirits market overall, “other” categories of spirits rose from a 14% market share in 1980 to 19% in 2010.

Napa Back on Top
Auction Napa Valley celebrated a return to splendor this year. Led by the live auction—which brought in $14.3 million in less than four hours and only 45 lots—the four-day event raised more than $16.9 million in all, topping their previous record of $10.5 million set in 2005. The 2013 event also put Auction Napa Valley back atop the charity wine auction scene; the total take was more than $1 million above the previous record, set by the Naples Winter Wine Festival in 2007.

Moonshine on the Fast Track
Junior Johnson started selling his family’s moonshine when he was 14; now at 81, he’s selling it legally. But those aren’t the most impressive numbers about Junior and the moonshine category; outpacing the competition by 2:1, Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon is on track to sell more than 500,000 nine-liter cases this year. Fueled by products that range from 80 to 100 proof and include six fruit infusions, it seems that the NASCAR legend’s brand, first launched in 2007, is serving as a pretty zippy pace car for the entire category.

Talkin Tech: Like Starting Over – Rebuilding Traffic after the Demise of Amazon Product Ads

Posted on | June 25, 2013   Bookmark and Share
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In his classic text on the history of California wine, Leon Adams described the cycles of boom and bust that characterized the early days of that state’s budding wine industry. Sometimes it feels like he might as well have been discussing the options for selling wine online for retail stores. Recent changes in the available marketing options for wine stores have some wondering if recent years were part a boom cycle that is coming to an end.

Last summer Google pulled the plug on free traffic from their shopping feed service and converted it to a paid service now called Google Shopping. The larger problem was that alcohol ads were banned while Google worked on rolling out their new program. In April this year the advertising ban was lifted, but not completely. Wine stores must identify their selections as “non-family-safe” which severely limits the available traffic. So far Google Shopping has not produced the expected results, however it is likely they will continue to tinker with and improve their policy towards wine.

The impact of Google’s alcohol ban was lessened by the success of a powerful new advertising option from Amazon. While it was not free, Amazon traffic had a high conversion rate and stores found it a profitable replacement. Then in early June this year, Amazon canceled its Product Ads program on wine, beer and spirits. Now wine on Amazon’s website is only sold on behalf of wineries using a marketing agent business model that, while popular in California, has been heavily scrutinized by the NY State Liquor Authority. Fees for the “Selling on Amazon” program can run a winery as much as 35% of their margin, a price structure that doesn’t work for retail stores.

With Amazon out of the picture and Google’s feed traffic still “missing in action” retailers are casting about for new sources of referral traffic. A review of affected websites on the Bevsites eCommerce platform shows the value of building your web business around a broad base of traffic sources. The impact of losing this business from Amazon ranges from a drop of only 2% of sales to a high of 78% of sales. With all their eggs in one basket the stores at the upper end of this range have experienced a bust and need to work on replacing the traffic from Amazon.

It is worth noting that while Amazon delivered a healthy conversion rate on its traffic, stores found it challenging to build repeat business from these customers; their loyalty really remained with Amazon. As always stores need to follow up on any advertising with email marketing that reaches for that second sale. Without those repeat sales the average lifetime value of an Amazon customer is less interesting than a new customer that might cost more to acquire but is a candidate for additional business.

There are other sources of traffic for stores that like to use shopping feeds, they may not be as sexy as Amazon but they represent the slow and steady growth of a business around customers you can keep. Building a diverse portfolio of marketing options will protect your store from the recurring boom and bust cycle of marketing wine online.

New York Personal Page – July 2013

Posted on | June 25, 2013   Bookmark and Share
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Hidden Dangers

No doubt you heard: New Jersey investigators cited 29 establishments on suspicion of filling empty bottles of premium liquor with cheaper brands.

Setting aside for a moment that this is clearly an unacceptable practice, one may think: “No harm done.” Did the customer even notice the difference? Not a big deal. Well it is a big deal.

We don’t need headlines such as:
• Russia declares an emergency as deaths from fake vodka soar.
• China: Its black market in fake alcohol is a health risk and costly to legitimate restaurants and bars.
• 24 die in Indonesia from tainted alcohol.

So, you figure, that doesn’t happen here! Of course not, and that is the point. We offer significant protection against that kind of danger… it is called the three tier system. Our products pass through a carefully controlled system from supplier, to wholesaler to retail licensee. It’s a system that ensures both safety and trust.

Refilling a bottle, even if the contents do not harm someone, is just the kind of explosive ammunition that those who seek to attack our industry are looking for. Don’t give them the tools to do it.

William Slone, Chairman

.05% is Not the Solution

In May, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that the threshold for DUI blood alcohol count (BAC) be lowered from .08% to .05%. Unfortunately, this proposal has the potential to sidetrack both our industry and our society.

There has been tremendous progress in reducing incidents associated with drunk driving in recent years. Public education, more effective enforcement and technologies like interlock devices have all played a role. Meanwhile, multiple studies show that the greatest danger from DUI comes from chronic offenders with blood alcohol levels well above .08%. Lowering the BAC threshold to .05% is not going to serve as a deterrent to these people. On the contrary, because drinkers can reach .05% without feeling tipsy, changing the legal limit could generate undue concern among the general public, and could have a chilling effect at restaurants and bars.

Jason A. Glasser, Chief Executive Officer

Seeing Clearly

The vodka category has been a pioneer in innovative, playful and unexpected flavors for years and the trend has spread of course to other spirits. Our vodka feature this month takes a refreshingly retro look at neutral versions, still a popular segment for a diverse body of consumers and often necessary as an anchor product for flavorful expansion.

This issue also catches up with Punch, the old-fashioned crowd-pleaser that is infinitely variable and showing up on more and more menus at restaurants and bars across the country. We’d love your feedback about how punch is doing in your establishment or how you suggest spirit choices for customers to craft punches at home—share your thoughts here on our website, our facebook page or tweet at us @bevmedia.

Take a trip to ProWein 2013 with our recap of the Dusseldorf wine trade show and relive all the fun from Manhattan Cocktail Classic 2013 at the start of our Around Town pages. I hope all our readers are having a fun and productive summer.

Jody Slone-Spitalnik, Chief Operating Officer

 
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