Last Christmas, Diageo told the on-trade: “Modern drinkers are going premium. Consumers are becoming better informed and adventurous, expanding their drinks repertoire beyond traditional brands and categories.”
They were right! Sales increases of premium spirits – especially gin and golden rum have left other categories standing! So what’s planned this Christmas? The answer is imported malt and whiskies and liqueurs!
• Drinkers looking for new tastes and experiences
• Under 35’s looking for quality drinks they can make their own
• Drinkers who want something special for a late night occasion
• Cocktail drinkers – with men now accounting for 45% of consumption according to CGA stats
“Growth of the category is being driven by younger consumers -and not just the traditional ABC1’s – who are looking for quality products with provenance and heritage, as well as those who have an interest in cocktail drinking,” said Stephen Watt, sales director for Whyte & Mackay. “The category continues to hold loyalty with the traditional and experienced drinker due to their preference for drinking brands that they trust and understand.”
How to sell
• Train your staff so they know all about your range – and can advise customers knowledgably
• If they try, they’ll buy. So, have a range of tasters on display and get staff to offer customers a taste. This can be done by using tasting straws or 1oz plastic disposable glasses
• Group whisk(e)y by type and country, liqueurs by style
• Have a prominently displayed bar menu for your malts & liqueurs that includes:
• A brief, easily understood taste description. Jura Single Malt whisky’s “Sweet & Smoky” descriptive is a great illustration
• Provenance – where it’s from; how it’s made; any amusing background story attached to it
• Advice on how to drink it – straight; over ice; with which mixers; in what cocktails?
• Hot options – liqueur coffees for example
• Highlight award winners and new products – younger drinkers love to be the first in their peer group to try something – and to then tell their friends face to face, and online.
• run promotions by:
• tasting flights at a special price
• a featured whisk(e)y and liqueur of the month
If serving food, offer the malts & liqueurs menu to diners, either with coffee, or to match (or replace) a dessert. Others at the table will be tempted….
Help your customer decide!
New drinkers to malts and liqueurs both want, and appreciate knowledgeable guidance. You can achieve this by word of mouth, or within your malts and liqueurs menu.
What to stock?
You don’t need to be an expert to develop your malts and liqueurs selection – there’s lots of advice both online or through your wholesaler. However, as a basic guide you should have whisk(e)y and a great selection of malts from Scotland, Ireland, USA and Canada and the Far East. The whisky map opposite will help with your buying decisions.
How to get the best from your whisky experience:
How to serve whisky – by Whyte & Mackay’s Master Blender, Richard Paterson
1. Use a Copita or Glencairn glass.
2. Take your whisky. Swirl it around. Admire the clarity and colour.
3. Stick your nose right into the glass and spend 20 seconds just taking in the aroma.
4. Bring the glass up to the nose a second and third time – you’ll discover different nuances and aromas every time.
5. Then taste. Hold the whisky on top of the tongue, then under the tongue, then in the middle. Spend 20 seconds taking in the texture. The golden rule is simple – Sip. Savour. Revere.”
6. If adding water, it must be at room temperature and add small drops at a time. You’re looking for a point where you’re enjoying the whisky’s taste and dimension without getting rawness or a burning sensation. Some drinkers like to have their whisky over ice. Many of the American flavoured ones, are designed to be enjoyed ‘on the rocks’. However, remember that ice doesn’t do anything for a top quality single malt – it masks and bruises it.