Cheers January/February 2013

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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BEST CHAIN SPIRITS PROGRAM CELEBRITY CRUISES It's hard enough to create a distinctive spirits program in a chain of grand hotels. But when those "hotels" are enormous seafaring ships, it brings a new level of complexity to the bar. Yet Celebrity Cruises is thriving with its spirits program. The cruise line's wow-factor molecular mixology has resulted in an eye-popping 25% increase in monthly sales of cocktails across its fleet of 10 ships. Sales jumped from an average of 15,000 to an average of 20,000 cocktails sold each month. "We've always tried to do new, cutting-edge restaurants that would rival any land-based restaurants," says Tony Tahmosh, beverage operations manager for Celebrity Cruises. Celebrity's spirits program includes more than 100 different specialty cocktails and over 350 unique spirit selections. Celebrity uses outside resources, such as beverage agency MarkeTeam and The Liquid Chef Junior Merino to keep its program fresh. Merino created Celebrity's Molecular Bar, and he travels the ships to train staff and test out the drinks. "On average, we sell over 4,800 cocktails a month at the Molecular Bar on the four Solstice-class ships," says Tahmosh, noting that the wildly popular bar seats just eight people. Celebrity's Renew signature cocktail program embraces spa, wellness, and "skinny cocktail" trends. And a region-specific signature cocktail program highlights cruise locales with five to six cocktails that best represent the local culture of each The Pair of Roses, above, from Celebrity Cruise's Renew signature cocktail program, and the liquid nitrogen-enhanced Dragonfly, right, from the Molecular Bar. destination city. "We want people to feel transcended with every cocktail; to drink like a local and truly feel engulfed in the culture, wherever the ship may be," says Chanelle Duarte, corporate sommelier and beverage programming manager. Celebrity also partners with spirits and beer brands to initiate sales with seasonal promotions, including Patron tequila for Cinco de Mayo, AB Inbev brewery for Oktoberfest and Hendrick's gin for the holidays. Since the inception of these fleetwide seasonal promotions, Celebrity has seen an incremental increase in gross revenue of 11% year over year. —Kara Newman BEST CHAIN DRINK PROGRAM OMNI HOTELS & RESORTS The "Art of Water" drinks program from Omni Hotels & Resorts features regionally inspired cocktails, bottled water with a cause and sweet frozen treats. "We've teamed up with great talent to offer our guests the ultimate summer pool experience," says David Morgan, vice president of food and beverage for the Irving, TX-based hotel chain. Omni operates 50 properties in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Kim Haasarud of beverage consultancy Liquid Architecture developed five local-inspired libations for each of four regions— Northeast, Southeast, Texas and West Coast. The Chipotle Margarita on the Texas menu, for instance, blends Sauza tequila with fresh lime and a chipotle pepper sour, while the Southeast menu's Peach Pick mixes Belvedere Lemon Tea vodka, Hennessy Cognac, peach liqueur, lemon, and tea. The drinks are designed to be batched, with the liquor and mixers added at the end, to allow for fast service during busy times and also to make it easier for substitute bartenders to step in. Detailed recipes and instructions for all cocktails are readily available behind the bars. To keep pool guests hydrated, Omni offers Keeper Springs bottled water, and donated about $5,000 last summer to Waterkeeper Alliance, a global environmental movement focusing on water issues. Poolside guests can also snack on hand-made, natural ice-cream bars from Coolhaus. Menus from Omni's refreshing Art of Water program. The Art of Water was rolled out with launch parties at all participating hotels, a poolside party at the Omni Royal Orleans during the Tales of the Cocktail show, and cocktail recipes posted on the "Culinary Stirrings" section of The program received more than 32 million media impressions, and Omni's sales of specialty drinks have increased 25% since promotion began. Morgan says the selection of sangrias has been most popular in all markets, including the Watermelon Lime Sangria on the Texas menu, with Little Black Dress moscato, watermelon liqueur, lime and watermelon balls. Omni sold more than 1,500 sangrias during the first month of the promotion. —Kelly Magyarics JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 | 17

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