StateWays Nov/Dec 2015

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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BONUS PACKAGE The holiday stars are value-added packs (VAPs), those classy gift sets of a bottle and logoed glasses, mixing kits, flasks or other paraphernalia, along with limited-release brandies in fancy bottles in wooden boxes, metal tins or other ornate cases. The festive packaging stands out on shelves, in stacks and on floor displays, and calls out to customers at the checkout counter. For harried holiday shoppers, VAPs are an easy gift decision. No wonder then that many brandy producers have one or more entrants. Holiday packs from Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. include the Butchertown Bloody "Meatpack," which includes a bottle of brandy along with a pint glass to make a brandy Bloody Mary. "We also have a 'Hitchhiker' program, where a 50ml bottle will sidecar with a 750ml bottle," says owner Joe Heron. American Craft Brandy will come with a small bottle of Absinthe Banche and the absinthe will include a craft brandy 'hitchhiker.' Cop- per & Kings is supporting the VAPs with display racks and sampling in key stores. Also, the distiller just launched an American Apple Brandy aged in Bourbon barrels and sherry casks at 100 proof. For the holidays, the company will also launch a reserve cask Butcher- town Brandy at 124 proof. Martell Cognac has released a VSOP gift set packaged with two snifters for the October-December period. But it's not holiday specific, says Brian K. Smith, senior brand manager, Cognac at Pernod Ricard. Also launching now to run through next June is The Vanguard Series, a partnership with legendary band The Roots. Taking place in key cities nationally, the six-part series includes live concerts, DJ shows, culinary events and, of course, samplings of Martell Cognac. "Gift packages are a way to get extra visibility during the very busy holiday period," notes Voin. Camus offers gift sets that include two glasses for its VS, VSOP and XO Cognacs. Each year the designs are different; this year they jibe with a new advertising campaign, called the Perfect Cognac Moment. The ads are fashion illustrations of party scenes at the Camus chateau in Cognac. Sup- port for the gift sets includes in-store posters, case cards and ceiling hangers. The three facings when stacked together in the store create a complete image of the chateau in Cognac. For its part, Hennessy has many items created especially for the year-end, unveiling new offerings for its X.O, V.S.O.P Privilège, and V.S expressions, according to executive vice president Rodney William. The Hennessy X.O gift box features elegant metallic printing and embossing on the box and a unique black label on the bottle. The Hennessy V.S comes in a gold and black gift box with a festive quilted pattern. "We will be offering gift sets this holiday season that include our Courvoisier VSOP cognac along with luxurious glassware, and recipe suggestions," says Shah at Beam Suntory. "A new marketing campaign brings to life collaborations between French and American artists, celebrating their stories and the immense passion that goes into their crafts," he adds. Details on the campaign were not available at press time. Although Christian Brothers Brandy doesn't offer any VAPs or other holiday promotions, its seasonal Chris- tian Brothers Holiday Nog is a big seller this time of the year, says Josh Hafer, communications manager at Heaven Hill Distilleries. "The brandy-based dairy nog is one of the best-selling nogs in the business," he adds. Heaven Hill also celebrates the season with Evan Wil- liams Eggnog and recently introduced an Admiral Nel- son Eggnog. The company supports stackings with case cards and counter displays by the register. "It is a great grab-and-go item," Hafer says. "With a price point of $7.99-$8.99, you add to your buy without defl ating the wallet too dramatically." "Besides the gift sets and snifters, we sell all different variations of brandy this time of year," notes Herlofsky, citing Christian Brothers Holiday Nog and E&J Cask & Cream Original Temptation Brandy Liqueur. Not quite Scrooged Not every producer is sold on selling the holidays, how- ever. Some are opting out of the gift pack race and look- ing to make brandy less of a special-occasion buy and more of an everyday quaff. Pierre Ferrand Cognac, for example, is not plan- ning any holiday promotions or issuing any gift packs. Indeed, the brand is de-emphasizing that year-end bump. "We are trying to reduce high fourth quarter sea- sonality as much as possible," explains Guillaume Lamy, vice president-Americas for Maison Ferrand. "Our Co- gnac volume sales used to be 60% during that time, now it's closer to 40%." Christian Brothers Brandy, too, has opted out of the fray. "For domestic brandies, those are year-round con- sumers," says Hafer. "We don't see much of an uptick in sales because of the holidays." "Brandy is not as seasonal as people think,"opines Heron at Copper & Kings. Sales are spread out fairly evenly across the year, he says. "We do not focus on 37 StateWays ■ ■ November/December 2015

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