A Key Measure
Seeing positive signs in the economy
percolating down to beverage alcohol.
According to Guestmetrics, alcohol dol-
lar sales were up 1.8% for the four weeks
ending April 21
, a solid uptick from the
-0.3% slide during the first quarter. But
what particularly caught my eye was a re-
port from Restaurant Sciences indicating
that wine prices in restaurants have been
on the rise.
Here is why I pay particular attention
to these measures. At the height of the
economy in early 2008, I visited with our
friends at Le Bernardin, who had some
thoughts about how we could make our
listings even more helpful. In the course
of discussing wine pricing, I was surprised
to hear about the frequency at which din-
ers were casually ordering wines in the
hundreds of dollars, and more. Granted,
Le Bernardin attracts high-end clientele,
but the trend was at an exceptional level
that reflected confidence in the economic
climate at the time.
Now, in trying to filter through a vari-
ety of economic indicators, we are seeing
reports of a shift back up in wines prices.
Hopefully, a positive sign you will be able
to take advantage of.
If there is any real indicator of the health
of the wine and spirits industry, it’s the
number of outsiders who want to enter.
This was my major take-away from
April’s WSWA 70th Annual Convention
in Orlando. The innovation on display was
astounding—there were over 300 suppliers
looking for distribution—and an entire
session of the U.S. Alcohol Beverage Fo-
rum devoted to educating participants on
how to enter our market. According to
incoming WSWA president Doug Hertz
(see page 64) this was the best-attended
convention in recent memory and mem-
bership is the highest it’s been in close to a
decade. Many beer wholesalers are apply-
ing for licenses to distribute wine and spir-
its, and a growing number of major wine
suppliers are getting into the spirits game
(Trinchero Family Estates, Gallo, Palm
Bay, among others).
Our industry is also a resilient one, and
no one illustrates this more profoundly
than Richard Leventhal, honored with
WSWA’s Lifetime Leadership Award.
Under Leventhal’s inspired direction, NJ-
based Fedway Associates overcame incred-
ible obstacles in the wake of Superstorm
Sandy last fall. Cheers to you, Richard.
The weather’s finally warm and it’s time
for rum cocktails. In “Spice is Nice” (pg.
20), Jack Robertiello takes a look at how
the sub-category of spiced rum has ex-
panded in the past few years with differ-
ent proofs and flavors to reach and retain
more rum fans.
It’s remarkable to me how inventive
our industry continues to be with new
trends all the time. In “Beer’s New Calling:
Cocktails” on pg. 42, explore how bartend-
ers across the country are reaching for the
tap handles for new creative cocktail inspi-
ration. Also be sure and ‘unzip’ and check
out Absolut Tune on pg. 51.
The 2013 NYC Wine & Food Fest
has released its lineup of events and it’s
going to be another amazing experience
. We are proud to part-
ner with the event for Trade Day, and it’s
amazing how much is raised each year
for the Food Bank for New York City
and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hun-
gry campaign. Giving is always good, like
the new Sparkletini flavor, Acaí, with $1
from every case purchased going to the
PHOTOGRAPH BY THOMAS MANGIERI
JASON A. GLASSER
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
WILLIAM G. SLONE
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