Cheers March 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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FIRST SIP ® H Calories count March 2013 Vol. 24 No. 2 Executive Vice President, Group Publisher Charles Forman Tel (845) 426-6072 ere's something to chew on: Restaurant chains that serve more lower-calorie foods and beverages outperform those that don't, according to a study released last month by the Hudson Institute. The report, titled Lower-Calorie Foods: It's Just Good Business, analyzed 21 of the largest restaurant chains, including Applebee's, Olive Garden, Chili's, and Outback Steakhouse. Tracked over a five-year period, the operators that increased lower-calorie servings had better sales growth, greater increases in customer traffic and stronger gains in total food and beverage servings than chains whose servings of lowercalorie options declined. Considering that few chain restaurants are known for their figure-friendly fare, it's intriguing that low-cal foods and beverages have been the growth engine for the restaurants that offer them, at least among the eateries studied. The takeaway for restaurants is that lighter eating is more than a seasonal practice—as in people looking to work off holiday weight gain or get fit for swimsuit season—or just a fad. Consumers are slowly starting to change the way they eat, at home and when dining out, and at the very least they want options—more low-calorie entrees, smaller portions, tapas-like offerings, and so on. The same goes for beverages, as our feature "Skinny Sipping" on page 46 points out. Hotel chain Columbia Sussex says that skinny cocktails have increased its specialty drink sales by 15%. And The Melting Pot's low-calorie cocktail promotion was such a hit last summer that the fondue chain has added two of the most-popular skinny drinks to the core beverage menu. So low-cal offerings are becoming part of the main menu—food and drink—and they present a huge opportunity to operators. Restaurants that recognize and address the shift will entice more customers and continue to grow their businesses. Speaking of growth, our cover story reveals our exclusive lists of the fastest-growing wine and spirit brands in the U.S. Given the greater competition in brands and offerings today, increasing and maintaining growth rates is no small accomplishment. This issue also includes the next installment of our series on California wines on page 22, and a look at trends in imported beer (page 49). And our B2B column on page 54 addresses the common cocktail conundrum of shaking vs. stirring. (Yes, we blame James Bond for causing the confusion.) Editor Melissa Dowling Tel (203) 855-8499 ext. 223 Managing Editor Jeremy Nedelka Tel (203) 855-8499 ext. 213 Art Director Kathleen Sage Production Director Mary Jo Tomei Tel (760) 318-7000 ext. 220 Editor-at-Large Liza B. Zimmerman Contributing Editors Tony Abou-Ganim Richard Brandes David T. Denney John Fischer Kelly Magyarics Thomas Henry Strenk Vice President of Sales, Associate Publisher Anthony Bongiovanni Tel (248) 253-0108 Senior Regional Sales Managers Mark Marcon Tel (248) 761-6231 Debbie Rittenberg Tel (215) 860-0306 List Rental & Reprints Cheryl Naughton Tel (678) 292-6054 Cheers® is published by Specialty Information Media Editorial offices at 17 High Street, 2nd Floor Norwalk, CT 06851 Cheers (ISSN 1051-564X—USP Number 007-239) is published nine times per year (January/February, March, April, May, June, July/August, September, October, November/December) by Specialty Information Media, 17 High Street, Norwalk, CT 06851. Periodical Rate Postage paid at Norwalk, CT and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Cheers, P.O. Box 2123, Skokie, IL 60076-7823 SUBSCRIPTIONS: One-year subscription rates: USA $35.00; Canada $50.00; air mail to other countries $75.00. Melissa Dowling Editor 4 | MARCH 2013 ANDREA TOPALIAN Cheers! All subscriptions payable in U.S. dollars. Payment must accompany order. To subscribe write: Cheers, P.O. Box 2123, Skokie, IL 60076-7823, or call the Cheers customer service line at 847-763-9565, Fax 847-763-9569, M-F 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST. Subscription customer service e-mail: Copyright 2013 by Specialty Information Media, 17 High Street, Norwalk, CT 06851. Reproduction without the express written consent of the publisher is prohibited. Specialty Information Media, publishes Cheers, Beverage Dynamics, StateWays, Wine & Spirits Industry Marketing, Handbook Advance, Liquor Handbook, Wine Handbook, Beer Handbook and Fact Book.

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