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 73 of 87

Exotic Spirits 74 Beverage Dynamics • March/April 2017 friends," notes Morgan Robbat, vice president of marketing for Anchor Distilling Company. She also cites the popularity of eth- nic cuisines, such as high-end Mexican and Peruvian, in the U.S. as engendering interest. "Enjoying spirits with the respective foods is a key part of it." The lure of the exotic is strong, especially among Millennials. "There is consumer demand for brands with authentic and in- teresting backstories," says David Ozgo, senior vice president for Economic and Strategic Analysis for the Distilled Spirits Council. MEZCAL "Mezcal is hot right now," Bolton says. Hi-Time carries dozens of expressions of mezcal. "A few years ago, Tequila became pop- ular and now customers are looking for artisanal mezcals," notes Finch, who carries four mezcal brands at Zachys. "Mezcal is on an aggressive growth trajectory, in tandem with the rise of craft spirits. People are looking for authenticity, heritage and transparency," says Michael Gardner, managing partner for the Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, which was a pioneer in artisanal mezcal when the company was founded in 1995. The company's portfolio includes a wide range of differ- ent mezcales in signature green bottles. Mezcal is the over-arching category of Mexican spirits (which includes Tequila) fermented and distilled from several varieties of the agave plant. "The biggest difference is, with Tequila the agave piñas, or hearts, are cooked in ovens, whereas mezcal piñas are roasted in stone-lined pits over oak or mes- quite fi res– hence the smoky fi nish," says Lisa Marcus of Riviera Imports. Riviera launched Tres Papalote Mezcal in 2015, which is made from cupreata agaves growing wild in Guerrero. "Mezcal is creating a lot of interest and excitement in the U.S. We are seeing that tip from the bartending community right now to retail and consumers," Robbat says. Anchor's portfolio includes Mezcal Amaras, which was founded in 2010. There are two expressions: espadin and cupreata. The brand has been growing double-digits in the U.S., she says. "We are seeing a lot of new entrants. It's an emerging young category in the U.S." "There are a lot of new companies in the marketplace," Gardner says, "some following the model we pioneered of environmental responsibility, social responsibility and sustain- ability—and others not." Del Maguey's collection of mezcales are made by individual family palenqueros (producers) in small villages. Del Maguey's latest release is a mezcal from the state of Puebla, which just received its Denomination of Origin from the Mezcal Regulatory Council. Sustainability is important to Mezcal Amaras, Robbat says. "There is a commitment to preserving the future of the agave and the people and culture surrounding it. And that resonates with consumers." PISCO "Pisco is another growing category. People are experimenting with it more, mixing classics like Pisco Sours," Bolton says. Hi- Time carries about 20 different bottles of pisco, shelved with other unaged brandies like grappa and eaux de vie. "Pisco has versatility and the ability to appeal to a wide range of demo- graphics," says Mulvihill at Peco's Liquors. "I'm surprised it hasn't begun upticking a little faster." Zachys will stock a bottle or two of pisco in the summertime when sours are a popular quaff, Finch says. But, he adds, it's not a super seller. Pisco is a grape brandy produced in the wine-growing re- gions of Peru and Chile, and there is controversy over where the spirit originated. Peru exports more pisco than Chile, and that country's product is more likely to be spotted on retail shelves and backbars in the U.S. Allowable grape varietals include Quebranta, Muscat, Italia and Torontel. Single-varietal piscos are called Puro, and blends, Acholado. A version called Mosto Verde is made from partially fermented grape must. Peruvian pisco is only distilled in copper pot stills. Chilean pisco may be aged in barrels. Since 2014, the demand for pisco in the U.S. has grown 58%, and Pisco Portón has been the leader in the category since it launched in 2011, with 31% of the U.S. pisco market share, ac- cording to senior brand manager Jennifer Logan. Pisco Portón is available in all major markets in 36 states. The brand's fl agship

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