January 2013
Beverage Media
NYSLSA Roundtable
Focuses on Trends
After attending one of the NYSLSA
Holiday Trade Shows (featured in our
December issue), The Beverage Net-
work sat down for a roundtable discus-
sion in Albany with leading members
of the association. The lively discussion
addressed issues affecting retailers today
and into the future. Below are some of
the group’s take on top issues.
Beverage media:
What are some
trends in products and pricing you
have noticed recently?
“We’ve been seeing a lot of this
‘skinny’ concept—low-cal. A glass of
wine has always been 100-110 calories,
but bringing that info out and tagging it
to a product has been an effective mar-
keting tool. The high point was at the
beginning of this year, but now I’m start-
ing to see it fade. Pricing is too high and
copycats are coming in too late.”
“You only have so many dollars at
a given time to budget and you have to
stretch sometimes. I can’t carry multiple
cases of every Skinnygirl flavor. A smart
retailer is going to put his money where
he can get the most bang for it.”
“You have to pay attention to what’s
on the horizon. If a retailer is just now
picking up the skinny trend, it’s too late.
If one supplier and then another and
another all put forth a honey product,
you better get a honey product on your
shelves. But I’m also selective with new
products and choose what I think my
customer will buy.”
“I am noticing the trend for breast
cancer products—a lot of pink coming
in the door. It almost makes you feel
compelled as a retailer to bring [these
products] in. But there are a million good
causes. Pink is big and retailers have
got to market that in your windows.”
How about in the spirits category?
“We’re seeing more fruit-infused
products, like the sangria concept but
with spirits. It sort of gives the consumer
the feeling of buying illegal moonshine,
but adding fun with fruit like cherries,
strawberries, etc…. Our suppliers are
very demanding; you have to keep
things fresh and have good marketing
positioning in your store so consum-
ers can see these products and maybe
make an impulse buy.”
“There are many brands with fla-
vors, especially in vodka with flavors
and they are often similar. I can’t carry
them all. Demographics are important.
I live in a college town. We have doc-
tors, lawyers and whatnot, but then I
have the blue collar people, so price is
a big consideration. I have to pick one
or two lines to get behind that will fly off
my shelves. One trend that has been
consistent the past 24 months—small
batch distillation, local New York State
or not, flies off the shelves.”
“Sweet whites and Moscatos are
a long-term trend, knocking White Zin-
fandel off the racks, but producers are
still making White Zinfandel. Flavored
vodkas are big and they are hurting
schnapps, and schnapps producers are
not reacting. An alarming trend, to me,
is about gift packs. We used to sell them
year-round, but now we don’t get them
until October, and if you don’t get them
then, you don’t get them at all. It takes
us out of the gift-giving business.”
What are your thoughts on the
recent initiatives to cut down on
underage drinking and the challenges
retailers face from the increasing
sophistication of fake IDs?
“Looking at the profile of an indi-
vidual that owns and runs a store, they
are sole proprietors. In this economy,
they’ve been chief cook, bottle washer,
running the cash register and doing the
merchandising. So when it comes to is-
sues like underage drinking they are not
always aware of the tools available to
help them. We have an opportunity to
speak to store owners upstate and send
the message that these tools are avail-
able to them, and we can use
to spread the word. It’s where I
go to get information on what’s happen-
ing, politically and with trends.”
Back row (from left): 2013 New York State Liquor Store Assn. President Tom Edwards, Todd Vandervort, Scott Allen,
Kevin Hughes, Jamie Castellani. Front: Steve Carpenter, Don Bombace, John Semmeles, William Slone
Skinny Drinks
Honey Products
Pink Promotions
Fruit Infusions
Small Batch Spirits
Flavored Vodkas
Gift Packs
Tools to Fight Fake IDs
Shelf Space
Roundtable Hot Buttons
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