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Publisher’s Page April 2015 News & Views

Posted on  | March 25, 2015   Bookmark and Share
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Protect Yourself (Year Round)

Competitive pressure, changing customer habits and damaging legislation are the kind of challenges that we periodically have to face. But one challenge that demands constant attention: the responsible retailing of our products both on- and off-premise.

To help focus on that, Diageo, in collaboration with ABL and the Responsible Retailing Forum, recently distributed a calendar that is full of resources and tips. Jan. – Clearly set policy with staff. Feb. – Train on the risks of underage service. March – Tools to check ID. April – Avoiding over-service to an intoxicated customer. May – Establish clear routines for checking ID. June – Be a community. July – Monitor staff performance. Aug. – Document your training. Sept. – Avoid marketing to underage audiences. Oct. – Set clear instructions on how to handle an intoxicated patron. Nov. – Set the right tone for temporary employees. Dec. – Management responsibility is a constant concern.

Granted, most of the topics covered are applicable every month of the year. But by presenting them in a full-color, attractively designed piece, Diageo has made it way more likely that managers across the country will keep them top of mind.

William G. Slone


Not our Pal

As you have probably heard, “Palcohol” is back. The powdered alcohol product has received TTB label approval, and now spokesmen for the producer are adamant that consumers “need to contact your legislators to tell them you don’t need the government to be our nanny.” Sorry, Pal, it’s a little late for that in this culture.

Not to stretch the analogy, but legislators are more like partners, if not always by choice, in a decades-old effort to enable the trade of products to the American consumer in a socially responsible way. Alcohol is not just any product. Never has been, never will be. This is why we live with highly supervised licensed outlets committed to controlling the appropriate distribution of our products.

Access to and potential misuse of powdered alcohol stirs up significant new concerns, especially as it could relate to young people. So far eight states have moved to ban the sale of this powdered product. Several others, including New York, are still considering such a move. Time to touch base with your legislative and association contacts if you want to help avoid creating the kind of social issues that so distract from the positive aspects of our business.

Jason A. Glasser

Chief Executive Officer

Tequila in the Fast Lane

This month’s cover story on tequila is like a case study on how quickly categories in our industry evolve. Years of competition and attention to quality have made agave practically a household word among spirits drinkers. Yesteryear’s Tequila Sunrise and Margarita have given way to tequila-driven craft cocktails. And now, acceptance of 100% agave as a baseline for tequila excellence has led numerous brands to develop high-end expressions that offer both greater complexity and compelling stories. If tequila producers and advocates have their way, bourbon, Scotch and other brown spirits are going to have some more sipping competition.

This month we are also pleased to bring some articles that can help you reboot your business for spring. Jim Clarke, for example, makes a case for restaurants to offer pairing menus (page 34). Off-premise, “Selling the Good Stuff” (page 42) shows how independent retailers are having success creating new value “sweet spots” rather than trying to compete on price.
The change of season is a great reminder to keep your business fresh. New products, new displays and new offers are among the simple ways to give customers reasons to come in, and come back.

Jody Slone-Spitalnik

Chief Operating Officer


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