Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics May/June 2015

Beverage Dynamics is the largest national business magazine devoted exclusively to the needs of off-premise beverage alcohol retailers, from single liquor stores to big box chains, through coverage of the latest trends in wine, beer and spirits.

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42 Beverage Dynamics • May/June 2015 A PREMIUM SPIRIT Patrón first readjusted their marketing in 2000 to highlight the spirit as high quality and sophisticated. "We're seeing an increased interest in more complex styles of tequilas," says Greg Cohen VP, corporate communications, Patrón Spirits. "We've recently introduced our Roca Patrón tequilas, which are produced entirely from the ancient tahona process." Many other brands are now proceeding similarly. With a lineage that traces back to distiller Don Cenobio Sauza, who coined the term "tequila" in 1873, Hornitos prides itself on high standards. "As the category grows, we see consumers trading up to premium products, including 100% agave and tequilas with distinct aging, as well as looking for unique flavors," says Gary Ross, senior brand director of tequila at Beam Suntory. "We're capitalizing on these trends through innovations that appeal to tequila drinkers and those new to the spirit." However, Hornitos also remains loyal to tequila's past. "Hornitos Tequila continues to be especially popular during shot occasions," Ross explains. "This led to last year's launch of Hornitos Lime Shot, elevating the 'salt + tequila + lime' ritual, as well as the recent debut of Hornitos Spiced Honey." Catering towards the luxury tequila connoisseur, 1800's newest offering is a "perfectly aged, highly limited edition" extra añejo tequila, according to the company. 1800 Colección ($2,700) is available in limited batches and filled in a "one-of-a-kind" pewter decanter designed by artist Gary Baseman. Reserva is another brand looking to appeal to drinkers with refined tastes. Part of the Jose Cuervo family, this brand is releasing a three-year old extra-anejo tequila Reserva de la Familia ($150), matured in French and American oak barrels, and packaged in a wooden box adorned with the work of a Mexican artist. The portfolio of brands Tequila Herradura and el Jimador ranges from premium to super-premium. "There is a niche for tequila aficionados looking for something different, a new tequila experience," says Liz Edwards, sr. brand manager, Tequila Herradura. "These trends have been positive to the tequila category as a whole and play nicely with our tequila portfolio. Tequila Herradura recently launched Colección de la Casa, a series of small batch tequilas for tequila aficionados." A LESSON IN TEQUILA Tequila is a versatile spirit, Cohen says, capable of replacing vodka or other white spirits in any cocktail. The key is to teach this to consumers. "Education has always played an impor tant role in our sales and marketing effor ts," Cohen says. "For example, our Patrón Aficionados program is an initiative designed to educate local bar tenders and trade about the category, and our brands, and have some fun creating interesting and innovative cocktails." As more brands position their tequilas in the premium market, achieving distinction will be a challenge. "There are more and more 100% agave tequilas out there, but there is still a gap in quality, and understanding the nitty-gritty of tequila," says Nikhil Bahadur, Co-founder and COO of the small-batch tequila brand Blue Nectar. "Educating consumers and the trade has been crucial in order to highlight how we are different." Holding tastings remains a reliable method to reach through to custom- ers and industry professionals. "Tastings are key to get lips to liquid and dispel tequila myths," adds Bahadur. "The Paloma is one of my favorite cocktails and it is an easy introduction to a tequila conversation and neat sampling. We are constantly holding staff trainings to teach retailers, waitstaff and bartenders about agave spirits. Brand knowledge is not enough. You have to have a broader base of tequila knowledge." — Kyle Swartz BD The tequila category is rapidly changing. Not long ago, customers perceived of the spirit as a shot drink, or something to be consumed primarily in Margaritas or at parties. But tastes are shifting. Tequila has benefi tted from rising consumer interest in premium products. Brands have shifted focus accordingly, and are educating drinkers and industry professionals on tequila quality and innovation. CATEGORY COMPETITION Heats Up

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