Posted on | September 22, 2014
Written by | Cara McIlwaine
Wild World of Whisky
The most visible signs of America’s broadening perceptions of whiskey relate to the recent spike in flavors. Unlike vodka, which seemed a natural base for flavors, who would have thought whisky could draw such wide interest for so many variations? Wild Turkey did it with honey years ago, but was always considered a bit of an anomaly.
And now, who would have thought there would be increasing interest in building your personal wine—oh, I mean whisky—cellar. CNN ran a report recently on how distilleries began paying greater attention to limited editions and special releases in the ’90s. Today, collectors seek out specific bottlings with the passion they would normally apply to locating a Mouton Rothschild 1959.
Now, a quick search on beveragemedia.com for Macallan Scotch; you’ll see rarities with market prices in the tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Few are immediately available, but searching for other high-end whiskies is easy. I did see a couple of single malts for $200+ and $850+.
Not suggesting you buy them. Just
making sure you are in the know.
William G. Slone, Chairman
What’s On Tap?
Bar owner Neal Bodenheimer recently commented in a WSJ article that “When you come to a cocktail bar, one of the things you pay for… is the theater of watching someone make your drink from start to finish.”
On the other hand, there are issues of providing adequate service, and balancing “theater” with the ability to turn out these sophisticated drinks in a timely and profitable manner. New York City’s Alder restaurant has a thoroughly modern response to that challenge: three different (and complicated) cocktails are kept on tap and customers can even get a small taste before deciding. I am not bringing this up to start a debate over bartender vs. machine, but I really like the idea of thinking creatively about the tools available to take fuller advantage of opportunities.
Incidentally, when it comes to beer, which is commonly available on tap, I don’t think there has been any lack of creative thinking. At the table recently at a Florida bar, we never had to get up to order a fresh beer, or wait for the server to swing by. Just had to pull on one of the taps in the middle of the table.
Jason A. Glasser, Chief Executive Officer
Things That Go Boo(M)
Halloween is around the corner and we are happy to offer a few ideas to help tap the holiday spirit. Check out the selection of “dark” red blends in Wine Buzz (page 12), and pumpkin-powered drinks in Cocktail Corner.
Halloween scares are just for fun. For something really scary, some industry watchers say just look at whiskey, where shortages loom. This may well be the case, but for now, Jack Robertiello points out that demand is what merits attention, putting upward pressure on every price point.
The whiskey boom theme (with a bit of an Irish accent) is echoed in our cover story. Pernod Ricard USA’s ability to keep growing in a rocky economy makes for a compelling read, ripe with strategic innovation, clear brand strategies and a commitment to cooperation among industry tiers. It’s also encouraging to note that the executives behind this global success are making our market the epicenter of their efforts.
Of course, you’ll be able to sample many of Pernod Ricard’s products at the Southern Wine & Spirits Trade Day at the New York City Wine & Food Festival. We’ll see you there, October 17th!
Jody Slone-Spitalnik, Chief Operating Officer