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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BRANDY / COGNAC special occasions. We focus on the consumption oppor- tunities from seasonal mixology–like highballs in sum- mer, Corpse Reviver for Halloween or Jack Rose for fall." "We do not do any specifi c holiday promotions on a national level, but maintain a consistent brand presence throughout the year," says Vicky Arcos, brand director at Paul Masson. "Paul Masson Grande Amber Brandy has maintained a consistent presence in the domestic brandy segment and has been very consistent in sales throughout the year as the number-two brandy, with a 21% share of the domestic brandy category. So while the fourth quar- ter is important, our sales are not reliant upon holidays." Encourage the Splurge Consumers are primed to spend during the holidays; the trick is to get them to open their wallets in the store. For retailers, that means start early, taking advantage of VAPs and other tools from producers and distributors, refreshing shelves and displays and creating a festive at- mosphere in the store. Take advantage of sampling to gain trial and, most importantly, educate and motivate staff to hand-sell. "Right now we are fi guring out what's going to be on the fl oor and how to dress it up to look attractive and festive," Kreston says. He is also deciding about his pric- ing strategies and printing up shelf talkers rather than relying on hand-written signage. Early on in the season, Kreston's will run a few one-day sales for customers who are already in the mindset to buy for the holidays. "They can drink their purchases right away or save them for the holidays; wine and spirits never go bad," he notes. LEADING BRANDS OF BRANDY & COGNAC, 2013-2014 (9-LITER CASES) '13/'14 BRAND ORIGIN SUPPLIER 2013 2014 % CHG E & J USA E & J Gallo Winery 3,150 3,135 -0.5% Hennessy France Moet Hennessy USA 2,390 2,575 7.7% Paul Masson Brandy USA Constellation Brands 1,345 1,560 16.0% Christian Brothers USA Heaven Hill Brands 1,135 1,156 1.9% Remy Martin France Remy Cointreau USA 621 626 0.8% Courvoisier France Beam Suntory 412 440 6.8% Korbel USA F. Korbel & Bros. 325 298 -8.3% Coronet Brandy USA Heaven Hill Brands 88 88 0.0% Salignac France Beam Suntory 104 87 -16.3% St. Remy France Remy Cointreau USA 87 80 -8.0% TOTAL LEADING BRANDS 9,657 10,045 4.0% OTHERS 1,038 1,025 -1.3% TOTAL BRANDY & COGNAC 10,695 11,070 3.5% Source: Liquor Handbook 2015. For more information, visit Beyond the fl oor displays, a number of brands offer installations (where legal) to help retailers spruce up for the holidays. For example, each year E&J Brandy offers a holiday-focused display piece, Thoukis says. This year it is a fi replace that "fl ickers" when customers walk by. When it comes to gift packs, be sure to offer a range of price points to fi t every pocketbook. Not just the fancy bottle of XO, but VSOP and VS, as well. Special services can be a bonus too. Kreston offers free gift wrapping. And Hennessy has extended its engraving program nationally, allowing customers to personalize their Cognac gifts. "Hand-selling is key," says Herlofsky at Liquor Boy. Most customers are not used to spending $75-$100 for a bottle of Cognac. "They want to know that they are getting their money's worth and feel comfortable with their purchase," he explains. It is also a situation for up- selling—if the salesperson can clearly explain the differ- ence between, say, Cognac blends from Grande Cham- pagne versus Borderies. "The staff has to be knowledgeable and stores have to make an investment in education," insists Herlofsky. "You need to make that personal connection, which often times is what keeps customers coming back." THOMAS HENRY STRENK is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer with over 20 years experience covering the beverage and restaurant industries. In his small apartment-turned-alchemist-den, he homebrews beer kombucha, and concocts his own bitters and infusions. StateWays ■ ■ November/December 2015 38

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