Take Bayway World of Liquor in Elizabeth, NJ, not exactly a
hotbed of Mexican culture nor an area known for passionate agave
lovers. But in the past few years the local customer base started
showing more and more interest in tequilas and not just the top five
best sellers—they wanted to sample emerging brands that had caught
the zeitgeist, like Avión, featured prominently in the HBO series
, or the widely distributed newcomer Familia Camarena,
busting onto the market behind the distribution power of brand
owner Gallo. Buying tequila at a rapidly growing rate, they nudged
the store toward more and more brands, according to spirit buyer Pat
McCarthy, who continued to add shelf space and increase tequila
SKUs. The category at Bayway World of Liquor is now three to four
popular brands.
It’s a nice problem to have both for suppliers and retailers, but
it’s not just anecdotal—the facts are in the numbers. Tequila vol-
ume continued to increase last year, and while its pace wasn’t as
strong as some other categories (total increase of 2.9% according to
the annual report from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United
States), the category did exceptionally well at the high-end premi-
um ($18-$30 SRP) and super-premium ($30+) levels—up 7% and
9.1% respectively.
hen it comes to selling tequila these days,
retailers and restaurateurs have little trouble
getting product to move off the shelves and
from the back bar. But the question is: which
products? If anything, finding room for all the brands
they’d like to sell is about the only “problem” end-
sellers have.
Agave offerings explode, but do category distinctions matter?
by jack robertiello
tequila tequila
Tequila’s popularity has led to the introduction of
dozens of new labels and expressions in recent
years, many of which feature evocative upscale
packaging. One common vital element at the high
end of the category is the use of 100% blue agave.
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