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Publishers Page March 2015 News & Views

Posted on  | February 19, 2015   Bookmark and Share
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SPIRITED DECISIONS 

The recent surge in whiskey, confirmed by DISCUS’s recently released 2014 supplier numbers report, raises a question: How do you set limited back bar and shelf space to best take advantage? That question, as familiar as it is, is nonetheless more challenging than ever—thanks to the flow of new products and labels that only seems to get accelerated by category success.

But here is a valuable clue: keep an eye on the proverbial top shelf. According to the DISCUS figures, revenue on value-range spirits ($12 or less at retail) actually fell by 1.3% over the course of 2014. The picture brightened as shelf price went up. Revenue in the $12-$18/bottle range grew 3.1%, for a boost of $145 million. From $18-$30, better yet: sales jumped 5.8% in value, bringing in $433 million more than in 2013. And finally, no letdown at the luxury end, with a 5.1% growth netting a windfall of $351 million.

Now comes the tricky part. Local whiskey, imported, flavored, reserve, line extensions, limited editions…. With whiskey growing across types and price segments, you’ve got your hands full when it comes to filling your shelves or back bar. But keep thinking premium!

William G. Slone

Chairman

 

SPEAKING OF COCKTAILS

The New York Post recently highlighted the emergence of “dessert speakeasies”—bars that combine a specialty service of cocktails and desserts.

Allison Kave, a baker and partner at Butter & Scotch in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, laments that the challenge of retaining a pastry chef in many restaurants has resulted in lackluster desserts. Her approach, along with partner Keavy Blueher, is to make dessert the star, and add a twist (drinks). They position Butter & Scotch as “a place to head after dinner for a really well-made cocktail and dessert.”

Dominique Ansel, the James Beard Award-winning pastry chef and creator of the famed Cronut, is also opening a “dessert tasting bar” in the West Village. “Red wine goes well with meat and white wine with fish. For desserts, it’s cocktails!” Ansel told the Post.

Is this a trend with legs? Time will tell. Always does. Meanwhile, however, these examples remind us all that novelty for the sake of novelty may not be the answer, but sometimes creative wheels turn in unexpected directions.

Jason A. Glasser

Chief Executive Officer

 

MARCHING TO A NEW WHISKEY TUNE

It’s certainly natural to make Irish whiskey the focus of our March issue. After all, it’s the month when St. Patrick’s Day appears on the calendar—and if ever there was a “spirited” holiday, that would be it.

But on further thought, we would be remiss to just build an issue around Irish whiskey without acknowledging that Irish has moved way beyond its role as the Most Valuable Whiskey of St. Paddy’s Day. More than 9% annual growth—added to several previous years of growth—is more than enough to solidify Irish whiskey as a booming segment, for which March 17th is only one very bright flash among a generally bright outlook. See our cover story (page 20) to see how new distilleries and products are rapidly upping the profile of the entire Irish whiskey category.

That’s not the only trend we have covered this month. Check out this month’s articles on Peru’s Pisco (page 16); red-hot Rhône wines (page26); Chilean Sauvignon Blanc (page 30); Amaros (page 40); and for something completely different: shochu and baijiu (page 44).

Jody Slone-Spitalnik

Chief Operating Officer


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