Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics Jan-Feb 2016

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.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 48 of 71 January/February 2016• Beverage Dynamics 49 bumps in other categories. "Scotch prices are skyrocketing," says Broc Smith, owner of Sarasota Liquor Locker in Sarasota, Fla. "Sometimes when I replace a bottle on the shelf, the price I pay is as much as what the last bottle sold for. That's tough on retailers." "Demand for Scotch has gone up," observes George Ryals, manager at All Star Wine & Spirits in Latham, N.Y., "but so have the prices. Is that 14-year-old that used to cost $40, worth $60," he asks rhetorically. "The liquid hasn't changed." "In our market, we have seen drastic price increases amongst the single malts," says Robertie at Hazel's Beverage World. "When customers see their favorite brands jump ten dollars overnight, they are less inclined to purchase, and often turn to something else." Proponents argue that malts are a rare product with limited availability. "Producers can't just turn on a tap to get an aged single malt," points out Nash at William Grant. "As global de- mand has increased, we've seen upward pressure on pricing." Some retailers are more sanguine. "We have seen price in- creases in single malts, but they are commensurate with the increasing demand," says David Jabour, president of Twin Li- quors, an Austin-based, third-generation retailer. "Consumers recognize value, and they are willing to pay the price." AGE DISCRIMINATION One of the biggest topics of conversation about Scotch re- volves around minimum age statements. Common sense says a 15-year-old whisky, generally speaking, is richer and better (and more expensive) than a 12-year-old, for example. Others contend that you can't judge a whisky solely by its age. Per- haps. But it does mean that more information is needed by consumers to explain what's in the bottle. "For years, the category was structured around the age statement. It's still the case, but we are seeing more distillers launching non-age statement expressions," observes Balay at Moët Hennessy USA. Those non-age statement products are a way to bring new fl avors and aromas to consumers, he says. "A few years ago, non-age statement was a dirty term," Morgan says. "Now, blending teams are able to use the full spectrum of fl avors available regardless of age." He points out that Diageo owns more than 8 million barrels of whiskey in Scotland to work with. Some brands, like Glenrothes, use vintage dates to dif- ferentiate various expressions. Last September, the Anchor Distilling brand launched its Reserve Collection: Vintage Re- serve, Sherry Reserve and Bourbon Reserve—each a blend of 10 vintages. Retailers are justifi ably concerned about the subject. "In Scotch, producers are getting away from age designations, using fancy names for special bottling, which is a way to avoid having to say just how old the liquid is," says Smith at Sarasota Liquor Locker. He reasons, "When producers are running out of old whisky stocks, they have to be creative." "A lot of these special bottlings are mostly marketing," says Ryals at All Star, which means product knowledge is key. Some customers used whisky age statements to gauge quality, and now need more information. "It's important that we as retailers are educated about the products and communicate that to customers." All Star posts descriptive shelf talkers on every product. Sales staff regularly tastes new products. "Infor- mation is a powerful tool," Ryals says. "Ninety percent of our customers come in the door looking for us to educate them." MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE Scotch whisky is an involved and complicated topic - hence the need for education and brand messaging to retailers, bar- tenders and consumers. Glenmorangie is continuing its "Unnecessarily Well Made" campaign, which depicts the extraordinary lengths needed to create the whisky. For retailers, Moët Hennessy USA offers large and small footprint displays, as well as a wide range of VAPs. "With single malt, 40% to 50% of purchases are for gift- ing," Balay says. The VAPs encourage customers to trade up: a 750ml of Glenmorangie Original is packed with two mini-bot- tles of the 12-Year-Old, so customers can taste the difference. For further education, customers can buy the Taster Pack with four 100ml sample bottles. Balay also says that, as the demographics of the Scotch drinker change, communication has to change too. "The aver- age malt drinker is probably 44, but the growth is coming from those in their late twenties and early thirties. That will impact the type of messaging to consumers and type of media, mov-

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Beverage Dynamics - Beverage Dynamics Jan-Feb 2016