Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics - March/April 2017

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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Page 72 of 87 March/April 2017 • Beverage Dynamics 73 O ne of the defi ning aspects of the drinks industry these days is a thirst for the new and the novel. Especially on-premise, bartenders are fi nding ev- er-more creative ways to combine spirits and mod- ifi ers into new taste sensations for curious consumers, as well as scouring the globe for new spirits to experiment with and add to their toolkit. Those on-premise explorations often lead con- sumers to replicate those intriguing cocktails at home, driving them to retail stores searching for bottles of hard-to-fi nd spirits. "Most of the time customers have had a cocktail out at a bar, and then they come in looking for the spirit so they can recreate it at home," says Tim Finch, spirits buyer at Zachys Wine & Liquor in Scarsdale, N.Y. Which spirits are emerging in the U.S. market? Industry ob- servers and retailers nominate players in six categories as cur- rent contenders to be the next big thing in on- and off-premise: mezcal, pisco, cachaça, poitin, shochu/soju and baijiu. Savvy retailers are already stocking their shelves just in case. "I want customers to come into the store and discover some- thing they haven't tried before. I can't do that if I don't have the product to sell," says Edward Mulvihill, managing partner and director of sales and marketing at Peco's Liquors in Wilm- ington, DE. The small retail store stocks at least one SKU in of each emerging categories. "Not all of those spirits categories are fl ying off the shelf, but for the customers who are looking for them, they are happy to fi nd them here," he adds. "Mostly we are seeing the younger consumers, aged 21 to 40, looking for these and other new spirits categories," says Ryan Bolton, spirits specialist at Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, Calif. The family-owned, 60-year-old business keeps up with the trends and stocks multiple SKUs of all six categories. "A lot of the interest is fueled by the craft cocktail community," he says, noting that the emerging categories that do best have an indigenous signature cocktail, citing the Pisco Sour and cacha- ça's Caipirinha. Many of the emerging categories seem to have piggybacked onto a related category. Tequila and Mezcal are an obvious example. "Mezcal seems to feed off Tequila," concurs Bolton. Retailers take advantage of these synergies when shelving, dis- playing mezcal next to Tequila, cachaça by rum, and poitin in the Irish whiskey section. "Most of the time, these items are a cross-sell," Mulvihill says. "An Irish whiskey guy is looking at the shelves, and we ask, have you tried poitin?" Cross-cultural fertilization can be another factor in the pop- ularization of some spirits. "Consumers are traveling and getting excited about these spirits, and bring them back to share with BY THOMAS HENRY STRENK Emerging spirits are poised to take center stage in the U.S. Wings Waiting in the Wings Wings

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