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Tips for Pops

Posted on  | May 20, 2015   Bookmark and Share
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Father’s Day spells golden opportunity for spirited gifting.


With competition from neckties waning every year, wine and spirits are in a better position than ever come the third Sunday in June. Spirits in particular stand out as smart Father’s Day gifts; they have classic appeal, sharp packaging and—in an edge over wine—the ability to keep giving once opened.

This year, the calendar is smiling on gift-givers (and sellers) as Father’s Day falls on June 21st, leaving three solid weeks of selling days. Make no doubt, this is a serious shopping holiday: In 2011 the National Retail Federation calculated that Father’s Day spending reached more than $11 billion, with Americans shelling out an average of $106 for dear old Dad.

Here are some factors to bear in mind as people shop for Pop.

Cross-Sell & Upsell

Giving a gift of spirits to Dad naturally involves a degree of familiarity—“he likes [blank].” That blank, of course, could be ultra specific (“he likes The Macallan 12 Year Old”), or it could be blissfully vague (“he loves vodka!”). But whatever the starting point, it’s a good idea to keep both cross-selling and, depending on budget, up-selling in mind.

Within a category, American whiskey fans have shown a great degree of curiosity and flexibility. The Four Roses or Woodford Reserve or Maker’s Mark drinker is usually happy to find room for an Angel’s Envy or Blanton’s or Knob Creek. A Speyside Scotch drinker, given that single malt’s more particular profile, may well be more particular. Or, on the other hand, perhaps a single malt from Japan could be just the thing.  

Gift-giving may hinge on how adventurous (or brandy loyal) Dad is in his drinking. If Dad does have a favorite brand, that could be the perfect opportunity to try something new within the same family. A happy Crown Royal drinker, for example, might take a shine to Crown Royal Apple, or Crown Royal Reserve. If Dad already has Michter’s Bourbon, he’ll probably welcome Michter’s Rye (Michter’s latest is the US*1 Barrel Strength Rye, which checks in at 108-110.8 proof). For a Wild Turkey lover, Russell’s Reserve, the small-batch release by Master Distiller Jimmy Russell, makes a sensible gift. Another natural option is a local craft spirit, or similarly, one from Dad’s old home state or even a place he’s always wanted to visit.

One cross-selling angle that still stays on target with Dad’s favored tipple might be to suggest a bottled version of his favorite cocktail—the new Esquire Jefferson’s Manhattan, for example. If he likes to mix his own martinis, maybe a new brand of vermouth would be just right. Or, if he is a master of the Bloody Mary, he might want to add a peppery vodka or Ancho Reyes Ancho Chile Liqueur to the home bar.

When it comes to up-selling, it’s not only about price point. The most compelling gifts will also have a sense of pedigree that justifies the upgrade. Staff should be ready to explain tequila’s blanco, reposado and añejo; ditto for Cognac designations and Scotch age statements. With top-shelf vodka and gin, ingredients and techniques can make a huge difference in meriting a higher price tag.

In smaller stores that don’t have the shelf space to carry a wide selection of trophy spirits, being able to clearly point out the special qualities of all and any ultra-premium spirits they do carry becomes even more important.

Make Gifting Easy

Unlike the holiday season, when distributors are suddenly armed with prepackaged spirits from absinthe to ouzo, Father’s Day merchandising is totally up to the individual store, and displays can be created without necessarily stocking a ton of new product. Tweaking your displays—not to mention your advertising and social media outreach—to prompt customers to remember Pops.

Don’t wait until mid-June—signage or shelf talkers flagging bottles that may be “Great for Dads!” can help prompt impulse buys as soon as the calendar hits June. And when picking bottles to promote, be sure to include a wide range of price points, making gift-giving accessible to all budgets as well as making impulse add-ons in cases where a customer may already have another gift selected.

Make gift-giving as simple as buying. If you offer wrapping, make sure there is a sign at the register. Gift bags are even better than gift-wrapping for many customers. Do you typically stock miniatures at the registers? Flag them as great “Don’t Forget Dad” items; the same holds for gift cards if you offer them.

All things considered, Father’s Day is a great way of simply freshening up your store’s overall look and feel for the June.


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