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Photograph by Thomas Mangieri
A Spirited Consumer
According to DISCUS figures, 2012 spirits sales were up 3%
by volume, with revenues up 4.5%. Hopeful indicator here of
shifting consumer attitudes towards higher-end choices. The
super-premiums (defined as $30+ per bottle) showed a hefty
increase of almost 8% by volume and 18% by revenue. These
don’t sound like the same customers who just a short while
back considered signs of extravagance inappropriate in this
Single Malt Scotches grew double digits. Bourbon and
Tennessee whiskey have broken into the flavor arena, and
super-premium expressions of these whiskies rose 12.4% (not
to mention Irish whiskey, featured in this issue, up a dramatic
22.5%). And vodka is getting its share of the super-premium
business while leading the continued explosion of new prod-
ucts—over 700 in 2012. (See “By the Numbers” on page 8 for
With limited back bar and shelf space, this range of choice
is a serious management challenge. But, if it keeps the con-
sumer interested, can’t complain.
Chief Operating Officer
William G. Slone
Season To Celebrate
St. Patrick’s Day is the kick-off event for spring entertaining.
It may be the biggest driver of Irish whiskey, but this month’s
cover story (page 16) proves that the category is way more
than a one-month wonder. We had a lot of fun shooting the
March cover at the recently-opened Dead Rabbit Grocery and
Grog in downtown Manhattan. Congrats to owners Sean Mul-
doon and Jack McGarry, who had to postpone the bar’s open-
ing after Hurricane Sandy badly damaged the space.
Passover starts on March 25
, and in that spirit we dis-
cuss how kosher and Israeli wines—and their frequent but not
automatic overlap—present an opportunity for merchants to
emphasize sheer quality in each market segment (page 48).
As the weather gets better, the industry event calendar fills
up (page 84). Be sure and bookmark our calendar page online
to keep track of everything that’s going on.
The Right Attitude
There was some very positive feedback coming out of a recent
meeting with NYSLA Chairman Dennis Rosen and members of
the Retailers Alliance (see page 68).
While talking about his primary responsibility to “protect
the public,” chairman Rosen seemed to translate this on a very
practical level. I could quote some measures of increased ser-
vice and efficiency, but what really caught my attention was
his statement about wanting the Authority out of “the minutia
of the day-to-day operations of licensees.” He added weight to
that position when, as an example, he reminded the audience
that he overturned the state’s restrictions on licensees return-
ing damaged goods.
On the other hand, the Department of Health’s letter grades
for restaurants and continuing fines over “minutia” lent immedi-
ate credibility to a front page
New York Post
story reporting that
Mario Batali had installed a hidden alarm system in response to
the DOH’s regular inspections. Mario refuted the
extreme claims, but he did make it known that he felt it neces-
sary to have a compliance person on staff.
It’s tough enough these days to earn a living in our business. Nice
to see the State Liquor Authority heading in the right direction.
Jason A. Glasser
Chief executive officer