Cheers Nov-Dec 2014

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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Page 38 of 63 35 November / December 2014 • ten bucks to try three different whiskeys." The Malt House also holds themed, guided tastings on Thursdays once a month, featuring six ½-oz. pours for a fi xed price accompanied by tasting notes. Whiskies are mostly Scotch, with a few Irish, a couple of Canadian and three Japanese malts, as well as a French whisky fi nished in Cognac barrels. Pours range from $5 to $30; the latter for Johnnie Walker Blue Label. To further focus on whiskey, Rogers also pulled out whiskey offerings from the beverage menu; the separate listing gives him room to add a description of each whiskey. "So the menu acts as a silent salesperson," he says. As an educational and promotional event, The Malt House held a ticketed event that contrasted a 41-year-old The Macallan with the distillery's standard 12-year. "We packed the bar for that, and it was instructive to taste the two whiskies side by side," says Rogers, who plans a similar event during the holiday season. At Local, there's been a learning curve for both the bar's staff and its customers. "Since we opened December 2012, it has been an evolving process, picking up on the trends, fi guring out how to utilize various whiskeys in cocktails," Riefel says. The learning process has been bolstered with staff tastings and promotions led by brand reps and distillers. A couple of whiskey dinners are planned for the fall, and Riefel is setting up whiskey fl ights exploring regions such as Speyside and Islay, with descriptors and specialized tasting glasses. "We are also upping the ante on cocktails to showcase more imports," he says, such as a Moscow Mule variation made with the top-shelf Laphroaig Quarter Cask. To alleviate the higher price points on Scotch, bartenders will use the pricier whiskeys as a rinse or use an atomizer to add a hint of smokiness to the nose. Local promotes its cocktails and rarities through social media, as well as with a chalkboard of specials, peppered with a "whiskey quote of the day." The educational effort has been worth it, says Riefel. "Our collection defi nitely brings in customers. There isn't another place like ours in the area." Local's selection of international whiskeys "provides us with a point of differentiation," he adds. For its part, Reserve 101 is in the process of revamping its Whiskey Society, a rewards program aimed at fostering trial of its collection among regulars. The restaurant also reworked the layout of its beverage list. The 12-page extensive list has been paired down to an easier-to- comprehend, fi ve-page menu, which breaks down by regions, highlights rarities and specialties. Reserve 101 also now includes an educational "Whiskey 101" section on the list. "If people want to know more about whiskey, they are going to fi nd our bar," concludes Raymond. Thomas Henry Strenk is a Brooklyn-based writer who writes about all things drinkable. BORDER CROSSING MELTING POT PROMO CELEBRATES WHISKEY WOMEN To capitalize on the popularity of its whiskey cocktails, casual-dining chain The Melting Pot in September launched a promotion featuring "Cocktails that Celebrate Women and the Revival of Whiskey." The limited-time offer spotlights fi ve whiskey-based cocktails and a customizable whiskey fl ight, says Paul Brown, beverage manager for parent company Front Burner Brands. The cocktails he designed for The Melting Pot's fall promotion span a range of styles, from the Buck Be a Lady, which mixes Jameson Irish whiskey with muddled strawberries and ginger beer, to the Preservation League, with a base of Monkey Shoulder Scotch, Cointreau, apricot preserves and fresh citrus. Drink prices vary by location. The Melting Pot created a menu wrap for the promotion that features the cocktails on one side and tasting notes for the fl ight on the other. The chain also promoted the offer with posters and check presenters as well as social media. The producers of each of the fi ve whiskeys used in the specialty cocktails have recorded videos to educate guests. "They tell a great story, and educate but are still entertaining," says Brown. A concurrent Ladies Night event series includes whiskey-infused fondues, a cheese and two chocolate desserts, all designed to pair with the cocktails. "We suggest to guests that they drink the spirit used in the fondue or select one of the fl ights associated with the chocolate fondues," says Brown. Early results for the fall promotion, which was scheduled to run through Nov. 22, were positive: Sales were up 31%-40% over the previous year. "Woman and Whiskey resonated with our demographic, and really drove traffi c to those locations," says Brown. —THS 85% PHOTO BY A-WRANGLER of Melting Pot guests are women, who are leading the growth of whiskey.

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