AUSTRALIAN COMEBACK A NEW ERA DAWNS AS WINE IMPORTERS REPOSITION THEIR U.S. OFFERINGS ALSO
CHILE: MOMENTUM THROUGH INNOVATION Terroir, Diversity and Novelty Energize the Wine Industry
MODERN MEZCAL Tequila’s Crazy Agave Kin
CRAFT BEERS Go Mega in America
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20 AUSTrAlIA grOWS UP A more mature Australian wine industry finds sustainable growth.
34 MeZCAl STePS UP Tequila’s agave kin emerges as a quality ingredient.
4 PUBlISHer'S MeSSAge 6 SUPerINTeNdeNT OF OHIO lIQUOr CONTrOl rePOrT 7 MeSSAge FrOM THe OlBA eXeCUTIve dIreCTOr 8 legAl ISSUeS 11 lAST CAll
13 eveNTS & BeNeFITS 17 THeBArBlOgger.COM
26 BACK TO THe BOTTlINg lINe The venerable New englandbased M.S. Walker seizes opportunity on a grander scale. 30 CHIle: MOMeNTUM THrOUgH INNOvATION diversity, quality and novelty keep the Chilean wine industry moving forward.
40 CrAFT BeerS gO “MegA” Food tie-ins and thirst for new styles drive record sales. 48 THe BlOSSOMINg OF BeAUJOlAIS Aﬀordable prices and a great 2009 vintage create demand for top crus.
51 SHOPPINg NeTWOrK 54 WHOleSAle PrICe lIST 65 vIOlATIONS
OCTOBer 2012 OHIO BeverAge MONTHly 3
Publisher's Message By PHIlIP A. CrAIg
inventory controls on page 11. Molly McKee recaps another successful Buckeye Bar expo and thanks all participants on page 13.
Philip A. Craig, Publisher
elcome back to The Ohio Beverage Monthly! We start off this month with Bruce Stevenson’s column on page 6. Bruce tells us about a new top selling flavored spirit. On page 8, dave raber tells us about an opinion issued by the Ohio Attorney general regarding the results of a local option election. In my column this month I write about another successful summer and that bar owners now have alot more to offer their customers. Be sure to read the details on page 7. Chuck deibel, author of the last Call column, writes this month about sales and
BAr OWNerS HAve AlOT MOre TO OFFer THeIr CUSTOMerS Our Bar Blogger, Barry Chandler, explains why you shouldn't train your bar or restaurant staff to use the same old speaking scripts on page 18. This month we are proud to announce that the 1st Annual Northeast Ohio Bar expo will be held on April 22, 2013 at Windows On The river in Cleveland, Ohio. Stay tuned to The Ohio Beverage Monthly for details! As always, thank you for reading this month's issue, and remember that simply reading Ohio Beverage Monthly keeps you ahead of your competition!
Ohio Beverage Monthly volume 3, No 10 (ISSN 1065-9846) www.ohiobeveragemonthly.com
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Dr. Steven Austin Stovall The Stovall Group Wilmington, Ohio 937-218-3023 firstname.lastname@example.org
4 OHIO BeverAge MONTHly OCTOBer 2012
end of 2013, ALL training is $699 per hour with no additional cost if you are in Ohio.
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Scenes From The
2012 Buckeye Bar Expo
NeW FlAvOred SPIrITS Moonshine Takes The Checkered Flag By BrUCe d. STeveNSON, SUPerINTeNdeNT OHIO dIvISION OF lIQUOr CONTrOl
Bruce d. Stevenson,, Superintendent
lavored spirits have been among the hottest selling items in Ohio for several years. Manufacturers are very creative and continue to outdo themselves with great new flavors, flavor combinations and distinctive products. The many different flavors to choose from include fruits, confections, vegetables, bubblegum, honey, and just about anything else you can imagine. In Ohio, we list a wide variety of quality flavored items to suite any taste in many different categories and brands. Paying close attention to industry trends allows us to offer our customers the newest, hottest items. Unfortunately, with so many flavored items out there and a limited amount of shelf space, we can’t possibly accept every one. So, I’m always on the lookout for unique items that could be the next big thing. last year, I met with a guy named Joe Flock who was pitching something different that stood out from the other
6 OHIO BeverAge MONTHly OCTOBer 2012
flavored items. He represents Piedmont distillers out of North Carolina and had a product called “Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon” (named for auto racing legend and famous moonshine runner Junior Johnson). It’s moonshine that comes in original and several different fruit flavors packaged in what looks like an old fashioned mason jar. Joe, as he insisted I call him, told a very convincing story about how successful the product was in North Carolina and that it was one of that state’s hottest new items. I thought this was an exciting idea and certainly different from other flavored items, but was a bit skeptical about whether it would appeal to Ohioans.
I’M AlWAyS ON THe lOOKOUT FOr UNIQUe ITeMS THAT COUld Be THe NeXT BIg THINg We decided to give it a try, but only listed one flavor, apple pie, just to see if it there would be any interest from our customers. Joe, who was very polite and easy going, said that was fine and he’d be back with his other flavors soon enough. Before too long, it became clear that the Joe’s confidence was well deserved as sales of Midnight Moon Apple Pie took off! At first it we placed it in only about 50 liquor agencies primarily in the rural areas of the state, but as demand grew, that
number soon increased that to more than 300 stores statewide. A few months later, we listed Midnight Moon Strawberry, and it too started selling like crazy. By the end of the year, we had sold 1,792 cases of Apple Pie and 605 cases of Strawberry. The total number of cases of Midnight Moon, including original, sold in 2011 was 2,944 cases. This year, we added Blueberry and plan to add cherry. These have become some of our hottest selling items and have proven to be that next big thing. Sales of all flavors continue to grow, and reached more than 4,000 cases in just the first half of 2012. What I find most interesting in that Ohio is now the number two state in total case sales of the Midnight Moon products behind only its home state of North Carolina. We’re proud to be part of this wonderful success story and to provide a truly unique family of products to our customers. This is but one example of how we strive to serve the Ohio spirits consuming public by being on the cutting edge of new trends and offering a large and diverse selection of great products. We continue to list new items all the time. Please see our webpage for the latest new products listed each month. Customers can also use our search feature to find which local liquor agency carries Midnight Moon and any of our other listed products.
A SUCCESSFUL SUMMER!
Bar Owners Have Lots To Offer
Phil Craig, Executive Director
ummer is coming to an end. For our business that is often good news. The customers begin to move from picnics, beaches and theme parks back into our establishments. Now, with Keno and Charitable Tickets, we have more to offer them than good beverages.
BY PHILIP A. CRAIG
However, the summer wasnâ€™t all that bad. For example, we see that beer has had some growth in sales, wine is doing well and spirits are doing very well. Wholesale spirits were up 10.29% in August compared to last year. Things have been good for the year as well, with wholesale spirits are up over 7% for the year. This is all good news that on-premise hospitality has needed for some time. If August is that good we are all anticipating a solid fourth quarter of sales across the board. So take a look in the Ohio Beverage Monthly and take some of those super spirits recipies for new drinks and
get ready to entice your new and old customers with a brand new cocktail.
Now, with Keno and Charitable Tickets, we have more to offer them than good beverages While youâ€™re at it, make sure you get your application in for Charitable Bingo Tickets It will take some time for those to be processed so start now so you can have a great end of the year. We are defending your right to party. . .responsibly. So have fun, make some money and be responsible.
Northeast Ohio Bar Expo! April 22, 2013
Windows On The River Cleveland, Ohio OCTOBER 2012 Ohio Beverage monthly 7
OHIO Ag OFFerS OPINION results To local Option election By dAve rABer
hio Attorney general Michael deWine issued an opinion on August 29, 2012, in response to a request from Franklin County prosecutor ron O’Brien regarding “the result of a local option election *** to authorize the sale of [alcoholic beverages] at a community entertainment district (Ced) has on the results of previously held
dave raber, OlBA legal Co-Counsel
local option elections.” The Opinion began with a history of alcohol regulation in Ohio since Article Xv, §9 of the Ohio Constitution was adopted in 1918 prohibiting the sale and manufacture of intoxicating liquor as a beverage in Ohio. After repeal in 1933, the Ohio general Assembly regained the authority to regulate the sale and manufacture of beer and intoxicating liquor. As part of the regulatory scheme, the general Assembly granted the local electorate the privilege to conduct local option elections to determine whether in a particular area the sale of beer and/or intoxicating liquor is to be permitted. The Attorney general’s Opinion concerned a Ced in Upper Arlington, a suburb of Columbus. A Ced is defined, in part, as “a bounded area that includes or will include a combination of entertainment, retail, educational, sporting, social, cultural, or arts establishments ***.” In this Ced there are existing retail establishments that have liquor permits, but there are other parts of the Ced that
remain “dry” for the sale of alcoholic beverages. Therefore, Upper Arlington decided to put an issue on the ballot asking whether the sale of alcoholic beverages within the Ced shall be permitted. This vote would determine the wet/dry status of the entire Ced and would be voted on by the electors of the municipal corporation. However, the question was then raised, and after the question had been approved for the ballot, whether a “no” vote on the Ced question affects the result of a majority “yes” vote in a site-specific location option previously held. The Opinion rejected the suggestion “that the general Assembly did not intend for a majority vote of ‘no’ on a local option election *** to affect the majority vote of ‘yes’ in a site specific election previously held. Instead, relying on legislative intent, the Attorney general opined: “if a majority of the electors of a municipal corporation voting on the question *** vote ‘no,’ no sales of beer or intoxicating liquor shall be made at or within the Ced during the period the election is in effect ***.” (emphasis in original.) Thus, once a local option election is held, the results of that election control the sale of beer and intoxicating liquor within the entire territory of the Ced. The Opinion also stated the same analysis holds true for a precinct-wide local option election. The dilemma is whether to proceed with the precinctwide election for the entire Ced knowing that a majority vote of “no” will prohibit the sale of alcohol within the entire Ced thus “drying” retail permit holders that have been selling alcohol in the area for many years before their establishments were included within the newly created Ced. It must be noted that Opinions from the Attorney general are not binding on the courts, but are considered persuasive authority.
8 OHIO BeverAge MONTHly OCTOBer 2012
Created by Jonathan Pogash, The Cocktail Guru 2 oz. Ron Abuelo Añejo Rum 1 oz. chilled espresso 3 drops liquid smoke ¼ oz. simple syrup Spray of Lucid Absinthe
Try Our FALL . Recipes !
Shake first four ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass rimmed with smoked chili powder. Spray some Lucid Absinthe on top. Garnish with a flamed orange peel.
SKINNYGIRL CITRUS TWIST 2 oz. Skinnygirl Tangerine Vodka 1½ oz. lime soda water ½ lime ½ lemon Squirt of fresh grapefruit
PEAR OF ROSES
Created by H. Joseph Ehrmann 1½ oz. Square One Botanical 1 oz. unfiltered pear juice ½ oz. lavender syrup ½ oz. Meyer lemon juice 3 sprigs rosemary Muddle rosemary briefly in shaker. Add all other ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
Pour over ice or serve like a martini.
AGAVE MARIA 1 part Agave Loco Pepper Cured Tequila 4 parts Bloody Mary Mix Combine ingredients and pour over ice. Garnish with pickle and/or jalapeño.
created by Kyle Ford Photo credit JennyAdams Freelance 1 oz. Cointreau 1 oz. fresh lemon juice 1 barspoon pumpkin butter 4–5 oz. pumpkin ale Add Cointreau, lemon juice and pumpkin butter to a mixing glass with ice. Shake and fine-strain over ice into a highball glass. Top with beer and garnish with fresh grated nutmeg & orange twist.
APPLE SPICED MARTINI
*APPLE SPICED SIMPLE SYRUP
2 oz. SKYY Vodka ½ oz. lime juice ½ oz. apple spiced simple syrup* 2 dashes angostura bitters Ice Slices of apple for garnish
1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 tsp. ground allspice 1tsp. ground nutmeg 1 c. granulated sugar 1 slice of red apple, ¼” thick ½ c. water
Put all ingredients in shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain through Hawthorn shaker into chilled couple glasses and garnish with apple slices.
Place all ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil. Cool and store in an airtight container in refrigerator. Makes approximately 10 oz. syrup (20 servings).
Photo Credit Campari America
OCTOBer 2012 OHIO BeverAge MONTHly 9
Success Inside the Box DFV’s Bota Box Leads the Booming Genre By w. r. tISh
side from screwtops, no other category has more profoundly changed the U.S. wine landscape in recent memory than 3L bag-in-box wines. As surely and steadily as table wine consumption has risen, 3L boxes have grown even faster. Shops of all sizes and orientations continue to make room for these squarebut-hip packages, and leading the way is DFV Wines’ Bota Box. The factors driving box wine’s success are well established: economical scale compared to 750mls, superior convenience for home use, freshness extended over weeks not days, and a gentler environmental impact. But what has continued to set Bota Box apart is the quality inside the smart packaging. Senior Portfolio Manager Mark Koppen, who also oversees DFV’s Twisted and Domino brands (both in bottle), explains that the Bota Box advantage derives from the family-owned firm’s 85-plus years as a grower and supplier of wine for other California labels. Bota Box was born in Lodi—the Indelicato family’s “home territory”—using quality juice that previously had gone to external clients. And as Delicato morphed into DFV and grew its bag-in-box line, they were able to keep moving more wine to Bota Box. Vintage-dated and anchored by varietals, Bota Box was instrumental in easing America’s bag-in-box stigma. As Koppen sees it, Bota Box led people to distinguish between two tiers of box wine—one cheaper and generic, the
other premium. “Obviously the price point has helped people differentiate between these tiers, but once they taste a premium brand like Bota,” says Koppen, “the comparison then becomes between Bota and other wines they may have had in a bottle.”
Extending & Improving Introduced back in 2003, Bota Box is arguably the senior statesman of the $18and-up 3L category—and has drawn plenty of imitators, from California and beyond. But Bota Box has maintained its leadership by not standing pat. Evolving in synch with American tastes, the line has grown to include 10 types. Pinot Grigio is the best seller, followed by Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Other varietal wines include Merlot, Shiraz, Old Vine Zinfandel, Malbec and Riesling; plus the newest additions, wildly popular Moscato and a jammy blend called RedVolution. The package itself has also evolved. The proprietary FlexTap’s drip resistance and ability to lock out air have become key selling points. A handle was added to the box in 2010, making it even more portable and easier to tip
Bota is now available in a handy, portable size.
forward when pouring. The current box also reinforces the brand’s green messaging. The more natural look is not only 100% recyclable, but also the box is made of 100% post-consumer recycled paper, bonded with corn starch instead of glue, and all inks used are VOCfree. Adding even more eco-friendly resonance, DFV’s ongoing partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation has replanted over 100,000 trees across the country.
Meet the New Bota Most recently—and clearly a testament to the strength of the brand name— Bota Box has spun off a completely new, yet complementary, 500ml package. The Bota mini, so to speak, essentially turns the box concept inside-out, offering a new twist on the themes of convenience, value and sustainability. Besides appealing to an active, modern lifestyle, the go-anywhere package has fantastic price appeal. As Koppen puts it, “It’s a five dollar bill, and the perfect size.” The 500ml line launched in 2011 with four varietals—Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot—and already DFV has extended the line to include Old Vine Zin and Moscato. Sales of the 500ml Tetra Paks are expected to hit 250,000 sixliter cases in 2012. It appears that Bota Box has not only earned its tagline— “the original environmentally friendly premium 3.0L wine box”—but also has proven that good things come in small packages, too. n
10 OHIO BeverAge MONTHly OCTOBer 2012
9/11/12 12:43:50 PM
Why Count your Inventory? Why Count your Money? What a question! By CHUCK deIBel
hy would you count your drawer at the end of every day or shift? In about 20 years of consulting directly to bars and restaurants I have actually come across this happening twice. One of the bars went out of business. The other started counting their money after they got cash registers. And just what are you doing when you count your money? It seems simple enough. But let’s look at it. The Z tape or the Cash in drawer report (If you have a POS system) tells you how much cash you had in sales for the day, both in cash and credit cards and how much cash you should have in your drawer, after you subtract out any paid outs. It’s basically telling you how much cash you have theoretically. Then you count the cash to make sure that’s what is really there. Then you compare your actual count to the Z tape. you are comparing your actual cash to the theoretical amount of cash you should have. The amount of the difference, is the amount missing. you do this to make sure the correct change was given and that no one is taking cash out of the drawer. Almost every bar I know does this and I think we all would agree it needs to be done. And just because the drawer balances out each day, doesn’t mean you stop doing it. It gets done day in and day out, every week and every month and every year. How does counting your cash compare to counting your inventory? It’s the compliment. you count the money to make sure what was rung up was put in the drawer. And you should be counting your inventory to make sure that what inventory was used was rung up. Whether your money is in the form of money or in the form of inventory, it’s all money. At the Buckeye Bar expo I was on a panel of different industry experts and we asked the 25 bar owners in attendance how many of them counted their drawer? everyone did it. Then we asked them “How many counted their inventory”? And about 75% of them did. And then we asked them “How many would know how
much product was missing? How many would know if they were missing a couple of shots of whiskey or pints of draft beer”? (Kind of like counting their drawer) Only four answered they would know that. So only 4 owners out of 25 actually knew how much inventory they would have missing for any given day or week. Only 4 owners compared the usage of the inventory to the sales tape or menu item report to see if the actual amount of inventory used matched up with the theoretical amount of inventory that should have been used. The other 21 had no idea. They only counted their inventory to figure out how much to order. The sales report not only tells you how much cash you should have, but also how much inventory you should have used.
THe SAleS rePOrT NOT ONly TellS yOU HOW MUCH CASH yOU SHOUld HAve, BUT AlSO HOW MUCH INveNTOry yOU SHOUld HAve USed Counting the inventory and comparing the quantity of how much of it is used to the sales tape is the compliment to counting the cash on hand and comparing it to the sales tape. Not doing this comparison for both items will surely put a bar operator in the position to be missing thousands of dollars. I have found this percentage of people (4 out of 25 – 85%) that don’t actually do this comparison to hold true consistently. Most people either don’t do it; or they are too trusting, and some don’t want to work that hard – However, they will count the cash drawer, so I guess they aren’t that trusting. I think that most people don’t understand how to do it correctly. Most people simply look at and compare their actual sales dollars and costs from one month or week to the prior month or week. So they are
comparing current actual results to past actual results, not actual results to theoretical results. doing this would be like comparing the actual cash on hand for one Monday to the actual cash count for the prior Monday; instead of comparing the actual cash count to the Z tape. That makes no sense when you look at it that way, and yet, that’s what most operators do. And when people start comparing the inventory used to what’s been sold, they find out they are missing on average 20%. People are losing thousands of dollars each and every week. No matter what they were doing before. I found out later those four people that did know how much inventory was missing used a software program to do that analysis. And all of them were missing less than 3% of their inventory. each of them said they had never been so profitable before they started doing this. Feel free to write me at deibel@ bevinco.com with questions. See you next month!
800-891-1012 or go to www.bevinco.com
OCTOBer 2012 OHIO BeverAge MONTHly 11
THEFIND WHIskEy For BoTH sIDEs of the Aisle
BE IN OW! THE KN
this year’s election will soon be history, but the politics go on… still trumpeting the political spirit are Filibuster Bourbon and Rye. each starts with a “bi-partisan” blend: the bourbon combines whiskies from 2002 ’04 and ’08; and the rye gets a dash of bourbon. then, using a “Dual Cask” process, the blends are sequestered for a few months in french oak wine barriques, which presumably lets them come to agreement. Bottled at 90 proof. Currently in NY, NJ, PA, Ct, il, DC, MD and De. sRP: $42-$46 filibusterbourbon.com
THE IcE MaN (cIDEr) CoMeth Angry Orchard—the cider sibling of samuel Adams beer—has introduced the Cider house Collection, using heirloom apples from both the italian Alps and Normandy, france. The Iceman, inspired by the ice ciders of Québec, is sweet but not cloying, with caramel, toffee and vanilla notes. The Strawman, modeled after english farmouse ciders, is more wine-like, with a refreshing apple character and lingering notes of wood. each is oak-aged, in 750ml cork-finished bottles, with 10% ABv and sRP $15 Available in MA, Ct, Ri, vt, MN, oR, wA and CA. angryorchard.com
CoURvoisieR Goes For THE GolD NEW ruM ‘TrEaT’ foR hAlloweeN
Joining the ranks of creepy-ish spirits (à la Crystal head vodka, Kah tequila), lA-based itsko imports has introduced Pumpkin Face Rum, just in time for halloween. the Dominican rum comes in three versions—white (sRP $30), Reserve ($40) and Aged 23 Years ($60). the jack-o-lantern packaging by Flowdesign features pewter medallions in each topper, and the reserve and aged rums are coated with organic coloring. Now in CA, tX, Mi, GA, Co, tN, il, Nv, wi, MN. pumpkinfacerum.com flow-design.com
After shaking up the category with its Rosé, Beam has launched Courvoisier Gold—blended with white-hot Moscato—another lighter (36 proof) spirit designed to attract more drinkers to Cognac. the Moscato pear, peach and floral aromatics and flavors; a touch of honey and smooth texture provide a round, accessible character. serve it chilled, on the rocks or mixed in cocktails. sRP: $25 beamglobal.com
slusHEs GET the GRowN-UP tReAtMeNt high season for frozen drinks may be winding down, but New Yorkers have reason to consider them year-round. Kelvin Slush Co., a food truck that has been serving up all-natural slushes made with signature fruit purées and mix-ins like fresh basil and chopped mint, is now reinventing the frozen cocktail via on-premise partnerships. At williamsburg’s Café de la esquina, Kelvin’s virgin “Citrus Pomegranate” gets customized with tequila or vodka. other spots featuring Kelvin slush frozen drinks include Berry Park, thompson les hotel, Coffeeshop and Gansevoort Park hotel Rooftop. the Kelvin team has worked with mixologist eben Klemm on recipes, and encourages unique recipe development with each partner. kelvinslush.com Strawberry Fields Cocktail at Berry Park
12 OHIO BeverAge MONTHly OCTOBer 2012
ANOTHer SUCCeSSFUl eXPO!
Thank you To All Who Participated In The 2012 Buckeye Bar expo
Molly McKee, OlBA Management Team
he 11th Annual Buckeye Bar expo on September 17 was a great success! Over 1,000 permit holders and their employees attended the expo at the Bluestone in Columbus. Thanks to our sponsors: Comp Management and lorillard. Thanks, as well, to all the other vendors who participated, which included: A. Hardy USA ltd., Bacardi USA, Bevinco Bar Services, Boston Beer Company, Brown Forman, Buckeye vodka, Camelot Cellars, Capital Brands/ Crav vodka/ Florida Caribbean, Chicosun Pridemotions & Productions, Comp Management Inc., Comp Management Health Systems, Constellation Brands, Columbus distributing Beverages ltd., Crider Solutions, Crystal Spirits llC/ Buckeye vodka, digital dining / POS Innovation, Figgs liquid Innovations, garner Insurance Services, Hood river, luxco, Major Peters (Beverage Specialties), North American Spirits and Wine Brokers, Ohio licensed Beverage Association, Ohio lottery Commission, Ohio
Tavern News, Pernod ricard, Proximo Spirits, Pull Tabs, remagen Inc., remy Martin, rossi-Thornburg Hospitality Insurance, Sazerac/Firefly, Southern Wine and Spirits of Ohio, St. Claire vodka, Street Hop Advertising, The Craig group Inc., The Other Paper, thebarblogger. com, Tito’s, William grant and www.courtesychargers.com. Attendees were treated to a Party on The Patio featuring luxury Brown, The Juice, Mr. Miyagi and Blu Kuda, all courtesy of Comp Management.
THe 11TH ANNUAl BUCKeye BAr eXPO ON SePTeMBer 17 WAS A greAT SUCCeSS! There were several very successful seminars at the Buckeye Bar expo, as well. State TAM Coordinator Max Sorensen conducted a Techniques of Alcohol Management Course. gary Jones of the Ohio division of liquor Control and dave raber of the law Offices of lumpe and raber provided the “do’s and don’ts of liquor law.” robert Smith of Nightclub Security Consultants taught how to turn even the most unfriendly of bouncers into the most gracious of hosts with his “Turn your Bouncer into A Host” seminar. Barry Chandler, of thebarblogger.com, and a panel of other experts were discussing
new emerging trends within the bar and restaurant industry. dr. Steven Stovall held an interesting seminar regarding how to increase sales from behind the bar and beyond. Finally, dr. Angela Mitchell provided us with a seminar on new marketing techniques and promotions for today’s customer. We received many positive comments from the vendors who participated in these events. Thanks to all of the permit holders and their employees who attended the expo. As announced at this year’s expo, we’re headed to Cleveland in the spring for the first ever “Northeast Ohio Bar expo” on April 22, 2013 at Windows on the river; stay tuned for further details!
Attendees Enjoyed The Party On The Patio At The Buckeye Bar Expo On September 17, 2012
OCTOBer 2012 OHIO BeverAge MONTHly 13
High-Octane Pushback Responding to wines that clock in at 30 proof, the movement to dial back alcohol is gaining steam By Jeff Siegel
arris Polakoff has been selling wine to some of Dallas’s most affluent consumers for more than 25 years, and he has never seen anything quite like this. His store’s sales of Spanish and Italian white wines are up 25% over the last year, and—even more amazingly— sales of rosé are up 100%. Not coincidentally, almost all these wines are lower in alcohol than the ones he usually sells. “I don’t know quite why it’s happening, but I do know my customers want to drink lighter,” says Polakoff, who owns Pogo’s, which specializes in fine wines and craft liquors and whose customers are the typical target demographic for high-end cult wines with big scores and even bigger alcohol. “It has ramped up this summer, but it has been going on for at least a year. Their palates are changing, and I’ve had to change the way I buy wine.” In this, Polakoff’s experience is apparently part of a larger, more industry-wide trend. Consumers, who didn’t seem to notice as the alcohol level in wines kept creeping up over the past decade (or care if they did notice), are finally paying attention. There’s increasing evidence that they’re tired of 15% Chardonnays and 16% Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots, and
14 OHIO BeverAge MONTHly OCTOBer 2012
are switching to lighter, less alcoholic wines. If this is the case, retailers and restaurateurs who stocked shelves and wrote wine lists to accommodate high-alcohol wines are going to have to take another look at what they’re doing and how they do it.
“I don’t know that there’s a short answer for this, and I don’t know that everyone immediately needs to drop 15% wines, especially if they’re still selling,” says Dave McIntyre, wine columnist for The Washington Post. “But this is the time to look at what you’re selling, and be honest with yourself— are you selling it because your customers want it or because you think you should sell it?” The lower-alcohol movement has its roots in the decade-old push against wine scores. Critics like Dan Berger pointed to a flawed vicious cycle of winemakers producing higher-alcohol wines to get a better score and not because it made better wine. On top of that, Berger and others ar-
Younger drinkers aren’t as interested in HigH-alcoHol wines or tHeir ratings as are older wine drinkers. tHeY’re more willing to experiment, wHetHer it’s witH local wine or unusual grapes.
gued that higher-octane wines were less food-friendly. The movement gained popularity when sommeliers like Rajat Paar, winemakers like Jasmine Hirsch and retailers like Darrell Corti joined. Last year, the first two formed In Pursuit of Balance; a group whose goal was to promote discussion about balance in California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, while Corti went one step further. A couple of years ago, he stopped buying wine for his upscale Sacramento grocery, Corti Brothers, that was more than 14.5% alcohol. “Tasting wine that’s higher than 14.5% alcohol is one thing, but enjoying a bottle is something else,” says Corti. “It’s just not enjoyable. The alcohol is too high. It used to be that high alcohol was a sign of an exceptional vintage. Now, all the wines we drink are supposed to be that kind of wine?”
younger Skews lower Another factor, says chef Jensen Cummings of Denver’s Row 14 Bistro & Wine Bar, is a shift in wine-drinking demographics. The younger customers who frequent his restaurant aren’t as interested in high-alcohol wines or their ratings as older wine drinkers who grew up on scores. They’re more willing to experiment, he says, whether it’s with local wine or unusual grapes. And, he says, lower-alcohol wines pair better with his seasonal and regional menu, which focuses on fresher, more local products. McIntyre believes that the stage is now set for lower alcohol to become consciously trendy. “A number of winemakers, many who never went to the Dark Side of high alcohol but waited for that trend to pass, have been
How HigH is HigH? What defines a high-alcohol wine? Usually, any white wine higher than 14% and any red higher than 14.5%. What wines are high alcohol? Old World wines are usually generally less alcohol than New World wines; exceptions include Italy’s Super Tuscans and Amarones, and Garnachas from Spain. Red and white Burgundies are low alcohol; Bordeauxs rarely push the 14.5% level. A variety of New World wines are notable for their high alcohol: Australia’s Shiraz, California Zinfandel, and Napa and Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. New World Pinot Noir (as well as some Chardonnay, oddly enough) can fall into either group, as some California winemakers like to see how much alcohol they can fit into what have traditionally been low-alcohol varietals. A good rule of thumb: the higher the price, the more likely the wine is to be high-octane. Rieslings and most sweet table wines, because of the winemaking process, are almost always low alcohol. And boxed and grocery store wines are usually about 13.5% alcohol regardless of varietal and appellation.
vocal in setting themselves apart,” he says. “And now you see winemakers who still make 15% wines preaching the low-alcohol gospel.” This is some-
thing Polakoff has noticed, too, even among the most traditional of big-red California producers. So what should on- and off-premise operators do to adapt? Consider these suggestions: • Look hard at who your customers are. If you’re running a steakhouse or do a booming retail business in Napa colleccult wines to six-figure income collec tors, there’s less reason to assume your customers want lower alcohol. For alal most everyone else, though, there’s a good chance your customers are like Polakoff’s—“they want lighter, racier wines.” • Pricing matters. High-alcohol wines, especially those with big scores, are among the most expensive. The rere cession, says Cummings, taught concon sumers that there are plenty of less expensive, quality wines available. He has a feeling that these cheaper labels, which are often lower in alcoalco hol, changed the way many drinkers approach wine. • Don’t be afraid to experiment. You don’t have to do something quite as drastic as Darrell Corti did, but there are still many options. Adjust your wine list or inventory to the seasons, he suggests, focusing on lighter wines in the summer and heavier wines when the weather is cooler. Cummings, whose restaurant has an extensive bythe-glass program, has learned he can sell almost anything if it’s priced right. “If it’s $5 or $6 a glass, they’re more than happy to try it,” he says. “And then they get another glass if they like it.” An $11, three-glass rosé flight, new this past spring, sold exceptionally well. n
OCTOBer 2012 OHIO BeverAge MONTHly 15
ArOUNdOHIO WITH rNdC
Absolut Labor day display at agency 404 Legacy Village Giant Eagle with Paul Walker
Agency #740 Giant Eagle Columbus with Terri Topping and Absolut Summer display
Open Mike at Gatsby's sponsored by Tito's with from left AJ Angelo (Open Mic Night Host), Nicola Rowe (bartender), Martha Bowers (model) and Nick Dittoe (bartender)
16 OHIO BeverAge MONTHly OCTOBer 2012
Absolut summer display at agency 744 Giant Eagle Gahanna with Edie Galan from Giant Eagle
Fireball Promo at The Copper Penny in Buckeye Lake with Brittany Nelson (Fireball Brand Manager) and Lindsay Groom
Tammy Tsiamis , Manager of Agency 937 Giant Eagle Cleveland with Absolut summer display.
STOP WITH THe SeT PIeCeS Train your Staﬀ diﬀerently
ow often have you taken the first bite of your meal only to be asked mid chew “how
By BArry CHANdler
“As a restaurant our goal is to ensure every single guest leaves dying to tell their friends about how amazing their experience was. We strive to provide the highest levels of hospitality to ensure the guest feels completely satisfied. We will do this through the provision of world class menu items served by friendly, happy, competent staff”
to naturally come to the fore. I’ve always been a proponent of hiring for attitude, not skill, because the former can’t be taught nor should it be attempted. Think about how your hiring process can affect how service is delivered. It’s easy to see when a server has Can I Get You Anything Else?
INSTeAd OF TellINg STAFF WHAT TO SAy, eXPlAIN TO THeM WHAT everything is?”. What about as you leave. “Have a nice day, we miss you already…” or my personal favorite “I’m dave and I’ll be taking care of you”. really dave? If our dining journey together starts with this, I’m pretty sure you won’t be taking care of me, you’ll be regurgitating set pieces like those above mistaking them for service. There’s a big difference. How about instead of telling staff what to say, explain to them what you’re trying to achieve:
yOU’re TryINg TO ACHIeve By all means train staff to a required service level but at some point you have to step back and let personalities come to the fore. As a waiter I was trained to a five star level but was never told what to say to a guest or to introduce myself. There are service standards that can’t be compromised and there are personalities that you don’t want to beat into someone, you just want them
used the same lines over and over again. It prevents them from having to think about what their doing. “you told me to ask them how everything was with their meal”. “yes, but I was hoping you’d wait until after they received their meal…”. Just a thought.
OCTOBer 2012 OHIO BeverAge MONTHly 17
Beverage Media has built integration to the following POS systems to varying degrees. The codes with each vendor correspond with the integration points noted below: AIM AtlAntIc systeMs, Inc. (AsI - spIrIts 2000) cAM cOMMerce cAsH regIster express (pc - AMerIcA) cAsH regIster plus cAtApult cOMcAsH cOMputer perfect cOunterpOInt creAtIve InfOrMAtIOn systeM
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lBOs lstAr MAgstAr MercHAnt sOftWAre -liquorpOs MIcrOBIZ MIcrOsOft retAIl MAnAgeMent systeM (rMs) MpOWer pervAsIve pOs AnyWHere pOs-IM QuIcKBOOKs rcs tIger pOs WIne sOft
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learn about selling Wine online See how a store uses the BMG eCommerce system to maintain and promote products on a website. For more information visit: 18 OHIO BeverAge MONTHly OCTOBer 2012 www.bevsites.com
September 2012 Metro NY.indd 66
focus on search results by ian griffith
n ongoing theme of this column is the discussion of design choices that will set your website apart. While the potential of the product page is to convert interest into a sale, the search results page seeks to turn a browser into a shopper. Retailers rarely expect referring websites to deliver a customer to a product page and have them proceed directly through the checkout. You want your visitor to look around, to see what else you carry, to raise your average order size, and customers want to spread the shipping cost across more bottles. The concern, however, is that they can’t find something that you have in stock.
search box Among the problems facing a shopper looking for wine is that they don’t remember the name, or can’t spell it. Ideally your visitor should be able to type an approximation into the search box and be given the correct result. Fuzzy search using a phonetic algorithm is a useful strategy for returning results that don’t exactly match the search term.
faceted search This term refers to an adaptive navigation based on your customer’s selection that allows for deeper browsing through your inventory using various filters. For wines, spirits and beer it is most common to start the selections with either Category or Country of Origin. An interesting exception is being employed by Wine.com on their “wine finder,” which leads with Ratings at the top of the list, then Category, followed by Style. The Wine.com example illustrates a hazard from offering detailed options, as the left navigation column can extend well past the standard 25 results offered per page.
GarysWine.com and WineLibrary.com both offer a neat solution by packaging long lists of regions into fixed-height boxes that allow for sliding up and down the options. However, while the sites with sliders only allow the user to make a single selection, Wine.com presents checkboxes so multiple selections can be mixed in the results.
breadcrumbs This inauspicious reference from Hansel and Gretel shows shoppers their path to the current set-up results. While Breadcrumbs are a secondary navigation feature that can highlight the categorization of a store’s inventory, they also act as an excellent tool, helping search engines understand the context of a page.
page sorting The results themselves are usually preceded at the top of the page with sort options that allow for a reorganization of the results to make more desirable items prominent. Sorts by Price, Name, Rating and Vintage are common. The results themselves follow with a thumbnail of the label and prominent pricing. An interesting trend to notice is the dropping to descriptive text in favor of wine classification. A compelling search results page relies on the rich classification of your inventory to function well. Have fun deciding whether to combine your Sake styles with wine varieties or to create a separate classification field. If this information doesn’t already exist in your POS system you should consider partnering with a vendor who can match your inventory to their own classifications. n
Photograph courtesy of ????????????
To comment on this column or to learn more about how Beverage Media can help with a website for your store, visit BevSites.com, or contact Ian Griffith at 617864-1677. Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/bevsites.
8/28/12 1:21:49 PM
1 YEAR AS A PUBLIC COMPANY. 218 YEARS OF HERITAGE. 3,200 THANK YOUS. This fall, we are officially opening our doors to our new Jim Beam American Stillhouse visitors’ experience at the home of Jim Beam in Clermont, Kentucky. At Beam, you always “Come as a Friend, and Leave as Family.” We invite you into our home ... and the 3,200 people of Beam worldwide thank all of our valued partners for their support as we celebrate our one-year anniversary of going public and our 218 years of family heritage.
©2012 BEAM INC., DEERFIELD, IL USA.
Pictured here: some of the vines that supply grapes for Yellow Tail. Now that the ranks of “critter labels” have thinned—thanks largely to the sagging U.S. dollar—Yellow Tail has come to be viewed as a value wine, independent of its origin.
Australia grows up A more mature Australian wine industry finds sustainable growth BY KRISTEN BIELER
Chuck Hayward’s Australian wine sales have remained steady— robust, even—over the last half-decade. At California’s Jug Shop and then at JJ Buckley Fine Wines (where he is now the wine educator and Australian buyer), he reports, “We never saw a decline in sales because we had a diverse selection, we knew the category and we never stopped promoting Australian wines.”
Hayward’s experience could not be more different from the vast majority of American retailers. Australian wine sales have been clobbered coast to coast, hit harder than almost any other country’s wines. “The past few years have been extremely rough across all price categories,” says Lara Zahaba, director of marketing and communications for Epicurean Wines, an importer of boutique Australian wines. “The $10 to $15 segment has really struggled and hardly anything over $30 would move at all—it has been incredibly difficult for us and our suppliers.” Australia was already facing the perfect storm, she describes: “oversupply, which created the race to the bottom and spawned countless critter labels, the 2008 global financial crisis—and then the market turned against us, ascribing a one-dimensional character to all Australian wines.”
Left: Barrels at Eden Road in Canberra; right: Michael Fragos, chief winemaker at Chapel Hill in McLaren Vale.
VICTIM OF ITS OWN SUCCESS “It’s a fact that the wines sent to our shores were dominated by large corporations jumping on a bandwagon to crank out mass-produced, inexpensive wines with catchy labels,” says Jim Chanteloup, Australian wine buyer for K&L Wine Merchants, the California-based retail and online wine seller. “Then came the battle cry ‘those wines all taste the same,’ and you know what…they did! But those wines were not an accurate vision of the real wines of Australia.” It wasn’t just low-end wines that doomed the category. According to Nick Spencer, winemaker at Eden Road Wines, it was also the “high-octane Australian wines that received high scores from influential wine critics” which led to stratospheric prices and the predominance of “the blockbuster style which Australia very quickly became associated with at the premium end.” The significant drought which plagued vineyards from 2004 through 2009 exacerbated this style, leading to even bigger, higheralcohol wines. Palates were maturing, however, and Australian importers weren’t focusing on many grown-up (read: balanced, cool-climate) options, believes Jean Reilly, MW, consulting wine buyer for New York’s Morrell & Company: “Australian wines were the introduction to wine for a whole generation of consumers just getting into wine. But tastes evolve and that generation started eschewing Aussie wine, similar to the backlash against Chardonnay.”
SUCCESS WAS A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD “Some of the Australian wines and marketing behind them that brought the cat-
egory’s rapid success are also the reason Australia has suffered in recent years,” says Renae Hirsch, winemaker for Henry’s Drive in Padthaway. “Those fruity, overripe and approachable wines originally held a lot of appeal, but they didn’t have the substance to be long stayers in the marketplace.” In other words, people got tired of jammy Shiraz and moved on.
THE NEXT CHAPTER Today, the dark cloud hovering over Australian wine appears to be lifting and a growing number of retailers are reporting renewed Hayward-like enthusiasm for the category. Australia’s bottled U.S. imports halted decline in 2011, posting 18% growth in the $20 to $30 category. Sales were up 33% in the $16 to $20 range in the first quarter of 2012. The press has come around, too—articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal and The Wine Advocate indicating a positive outlook for Aussie wines (a welcome shift, says Hayward, since Aussie wines had become the “punching bag” of critics).
With a new crop of boutique brands entering the market, back-stocked inventory finally sold off, and sales of premium wines growing much faster than cheaper wines, it seems the country’s wine industry is hitting its sustainable stride. “We see Australia entering its third stage of development,” says Angela Slade, regional director, North America for Wine Australia. “When these wines entered the market, they over-delivered for the price and they excited people. Stage two was the introduction of many wines with icon pricing; intense reds sought after for high scores and cult status.” In the aftermath of the recession and trade backfire which eroded the category, Slade now sees the beginning of stage three: a settling down in the market and growth from a smaller, more permanent base. “Regionally-labeled wines are showing the greatest lift and this is the area we are working to develop,” she says. “We are taking a back-to-basics approach that involves education and handselling. It’s time to roll up our sleeves.”
A HEALTHY CULLING OUT
THE GROWTH STATS Australian wines exports to the U.S. for the 12 months to June 2012: Australian exports to the U.S. White wine exports Chardonnay Cabernet Sauvignon Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
6% 18% 14% 9% 36% 19%
Ï Ï Ï Ï Ï Ï
Source: US IRI Sales Data
If there is any silver lining to the U.S. dollar tanking—at times going lower than the Australian dollar—it’s that many Aussie wines that may have been hurting the category’s image simply disappeared. “It became nearly impossible to make wine for $4.99, which helped drive the critter category out of existence,” says Zahaba. Oversupply—a glut that also fueled the creation of many cheap brands—has at last been worked through the system. Australian wine production has fallen from a high of 1.42 billion liters in 2005 to 1.07 billion liters in 2011. “The oversupply slowed us down for several years,
Chapel Hill, seen here from above, specializes in Grenache and Shiraz, but from a decidedly more terroir-based approach.
Yellow Tail—made by Casella Wines—is planning to release a new, higher-priced wine in the near future.
With a new crop of boutique brands, back-stocked inventory finally sold off, and sales of premium wines growing faster than cheaper wines, it seems the country’s wine industry is hitting its sustainable stride. but it was a great learning experience,” says Slade. “Today, importers are bringing to market scaled-down, well-vetted portfolios of stylish wines.” While there will always be room in the market for valuepriced, easy-drinking wines, the trade organization is putting its emphasis on the middle tier—“the $15 to $24 range, the core of the industry,” Slade says. Only strong, terroir-driven brands could withstand the glut evaporation and the exchange rate-squeeze, says George Galey, president of American Estates Wines, an importer of Australian wines since 1986 which just added the Grenache- and Shiraz-specialist Chapel Hill Winery from McLaren Vale in anticipation of the Aussie wine comeback. “What happened wasn’t necessarily that the Australian category collapsed, but that the Australian exporter market collapsed,” he says. (Grateful Palate going out of business in 2010 was among the most highprofile.) “We are talking about brands invented by marketing companies, not family vineyards—brands so fanciful they were ludicrous—and they have a limited lifespan,” says Galey. “If you take out Yellow Tail, there wasn’t a whole lot in the under $10 segment that was functional.” “What we found at Morrell is that the $10-and-under Australian market is a complete commodity market—it’s entirely
about price and there is no brand loyalty,” says Reilly. “Well-known producers with stellar reputations have a following that never really left. We’ve always done extremely well with names like d’Arenberg, Henschke, Leeuwin and Peter Lehmann.” Interestingly, even Yellow Tail— which has outperformed the category every year and still accounts for 65% of Australian imports volume—is making accommodations. Brand owner Casella Wines has announced plans to launch a
$10 wine in 2013, $3-$4 above Yellow Tail’s price point. “The strong Aussie dollar has tightened margins for us and our partner and so far we have absorbed those costs together,” says Tom Steffanci, president of Yellow Tail’s U.S. importer, Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, adding that price increases on the base brand could happen in the future. Steffanci chalks up the category decline partly to a loss of “some of that discovery element” as well as the emergence of new categories that have captured consumer attention—Moscato and sweet reds among them (Yellow Tail has nicely cashed in on these two trends with the launch of Yellow Tail Moscato and Sweet Red Roo which are off to strong starts). While wine drinkers are aware that Yellow Tail is from Australia, it’s viewed primarily as “a great value—a wine that is consistent and can be relied on, independent of its country of origin.” But consumers haven’t abandoned Australia, he believes, “they have just broadened their consideration set.”
RE-ENGAGING THE TRADE, VIA COOL-CLIMATE WINES
Nick Spencer, winemaker at Eden Road Wines
The path forward is in many ways a return to what many Australian producers have been doing for decades (after all, Australia has a 200-year-old winemaking history). “Premium, regionally-labeled wines have been in existence for years and we are starting to tell their story,” says Slade. Between the blockbuster, un-foodfriendly style of many wines and the fact that volume-focused Aussie winemakers largely ignored restaurants, the category never developed the on-premise channel, Epicurean’s Zahaba believes. Many importers are working to change that
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