(reprinted with permission from Beverage Media)
COCKTAILIAN BARTENDERS, MIXOLOGISTS, BAR CHEFS
Call Them What You Will They Are Impacting the General Market
By Dale DeGroff
Serious mixologists across the country are taking a culinary approach to cocktail preparation and it is having a big impact on niche markets. As a result there are many new interesting products available. I thought I would start off the new year by sharing with readers some of these specialty hard to find items that have become an integral part of the gourmet bar. Cocktailian bartenders around the world are communicating effectively these days through internet chatrooms on Drinkboy and other popular websites. The exchange of information is as fluid as the drink in their hands. An influential bartender in Bangkok can learn about a new product available in the States and before long a new market is opened for the supplier. Here are some great new products that hit the shelves…or virtual shelves in 2006 that are likely to become regular staples at upscale bars:
Bitters products continue to expand with new flavors. Our friends at Fee Brothers in Rochester New York have recently come out with a Lemon Bitters. This is a winner from a company that only recently realized how big the market potential is for their products.
Spirits expert and author Gary Regan, (www.ardentspirits.com) partnered with the Sazerac company to produce his unique homemade orange bitters brand: Regans’ Orange Bitters #6, a totally different taste profile than the one from Fee Brothers. Both are excellent and bartenders now have another flavor to add to their palette. As the mixologist movement goes main-stream the bitters category will continue to grow.
There is also a growing demand for the old standard Peychaud’s Bitters, a product that most bartenders never heard of a few short years ago. Unfortunately suppliers tend to lag behind the market with many of these products and so interested bartenders need to work hard to source them. I would like to see the niche products out in front of the market promoting and aggressively opening new distribution lines.
On the spirits side, products from south of the border continue to be a growth market with new brands of Cachaça, Pisco, and premium tequila entering the market in growing numbers. I see rye whiskey and new wave gins as growth markets not to mention many of the products that either have disappeared from the United States market or had only a niche following. Niche marketing represents a real business opportunity for any entrepreneur with vision. Take a cue from the long tail market on the internet and leave the Absolute and Grey Goose to the big guys; instead assemble a portfolio of small brands that all have their niche market.
Products like John Taylor’s Velvet Falernum, now imported by Spirit of Hartford are getting only limited distribution. Amer Picon which cocktail geeks around the country are pining for has disappeared from the US market. Italy is teeming with Amari and Aperatvi brands only a fraction of which ever make it to our shores. One of the premier lines of cordials in the world, Cartron is all but unavailable in the United States with the exception of their Cassis.
I see a great opportunity for a small import company to focus on these niche products that cater to the emerging cocktailian bar sector. I get jealous when I travel and see the easy access that bartenders in Germany and the UK have to exotic products from around the world. The import and resale laws are almost non-existent so even liquor stores import directly products they have a market for locally. We need to support the work that DISCUS is doing to make it easier to bring these niche products into the country. I applaud companies like Preiss Imports and Shaw Ross who are bringing interesting products into the US market. Thanks to Preiss Imports we have Curacao from the Island of Curacao for the first time in …well maybe for the first time! Shaw Ross has made a strong stand for the growing popularity of pisco bringing in Capel (chile), Alto del Carmen (Chile), and BarSol (Peru).
Below are some suppliers of products that are worth a look at as you plan changes for the new year or open a new property and need cutting edge ideas.
Beverage Media in the states where it is available, Control States all have effective websites with complete lists of spirits available in the state
Shaw Ross Imports
Fee Brothers line of bitters
453 Portland Avenue
Rochester, New York 14605
Gary Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6 and Peychaud’s Bitters go to:
http://www.buffalotrace.com click on gift shop and then on food to order bitters products.
DaCosta & Co.
320 Haddon Avenue
Westmont, NJ 08108
The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley,
GREAT ICE MACHINES
814 453 6761
Original Moscow Mule copper mugs:
Co-rect Products wholesale restaurant and bar supplies
Bar Equipment World
2413 Forsyth Road
800 821 9153
GLASSWARE custom and commercial
641 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY 10022
212 688 7441
Great websites for all sorts of bar needs