The Monthly Mash: December 2019 Part II

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Quenching Your Thirst for Knowledge

Upcoming Webinar: NEW DATE – Jan. 23
Spirits Category Trends:
What’s Happening Now & What to Look Out for in 2020 and Beyond
Presented by:
As we begin a new year and a new decade, Danny Brager, senior vice president of Nielsen Beverage Alcohol Practice, and Matthew Crompton, client solutions director of Nielsen CGA, will provide a deep dive into the key market trends driving all of the major spirits categories. Brager and Crompton will present the latest Nielsen CGA market intelligence, providing the facts and figures your business needs as you begin 2020. This is the must-attend webinar to help you bid farewell to the 2010s and plan for the years ahead.

About Your Presenters

Danny Brager is the Senior Vice President of Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol Practice Area in the United States, supporting relationships with Nielsen’s many Beer, Wine and Spirits clients, as well as with key industry groups and the media. In this role, Danny and his team supports the differentiated needs of Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol clients, and provides business information, analysis and insights, focusing on the U.S. retail environment and consumer/shopper – who they are, what they buy, and why. Danny has more than fifteen years of experience specific to the Beverage Alcohol industry, and for the past 30 plus years has held a variety of marketing and sales positions with Nielsen in both Canada and the United States. Danny is a frequent speaker at many client and industry events on the subject of Beverage Alcohol retail and consumer trends. Danny holds an Honors Bachelor of Business Administration from York University in Toronto, Canada. After residing in Western Canada for most of his early years, and then moving in Toronto, he then relocated to Southern California in the mid-1990s, where he still lives.
Matthew Crompton is the Client Solutions Director for Nielsen CGA and is responsible for the implementation of Nielsen CGA’s on premise services in the US. Since joining CGA Strategy in January 2010, Matthew has risen through the CGA ranks becoming an expert in all things on premise. Matthew has managed and provided consultancy for some of the largest Bev Al manufacturers across Europe including Diageo, Anheuser Busch and William Grant & Sons. In January 2014, Matthew became part of the joint venture between CGA and Nielsen which has helped bring the first ever truly robust on premise measurement service to the US. Matthew comes to the US, having also helped launch services in other territories such as France and Germany. Matthew now heads up the US On Premise Solutions team, providing first-class insight into an often perceived dark market. Matthew is originally from the north of England and has embraced American life at every opportunity since relocating to Chicago in August 2015.

When: Thursday, January 23rd, 2020, 12pm-1pm EST

Where: Online Webinar

Who: Danny Brager, Senior Vice President, Nielsen Beverage Alcohol Practice and Matthew Crompton, Client Solutions Director, Nielsen CGA

Cost: $39 for members, $59 for non-members

Explore Our Educational Archives

ACSA offers a vast array of educational programs, from monthly webinars to annual conventions. If you missed a webinar, we invite you to browse our archives and discover the tools you need to succeed.

Regional Focus: Western Pennsylvania

History remembers Western Pennsylvania is the birthplace of the Whiskey Rebellion, a protest against a federal tax imposed on distilled spirits. Between 1791 and 1794 it was seen as a revenue generator for the still-young country, but many distillers and farmers saw it as an unfair penalty and resisted the government hands in their pockets.

For Jim Hough, the co-founder of Mingo Creek Craft Distillers (purveyors of Liberty Pole Spirits), the history of the rebellion is front and center to what he produces.

“Our distillery is located 50 yards from the home of David Bradford,” says Hough, invoking the lawyer who was an attorney, suspected rebel and had a warrant for his arrest. He was later pardoned by President John Adams and his home is a National Historic Landmark. “We’re at ground zero of great American whiskey history.”

Visitors to the Houghs’ distillery in Washington about 30 miles to the south of Pittsburgh are treated to the history and importance of whiskey in the area and shed light as to why there was a rebellion in the first place.

“We talk about how in the barter economy of the frontier whiskey was used as currency (since there was no real currency here), about how it was safer to drink than the water, how it preserved crops (crops go bad or get eaten by pests, whiskey once distilled lasts forever), how it was considered medicinal, and how it helped keep you warm in the cold winters and cool in the summer! It was really an integral part of life here in the 1790s.”

To that end, the Houghs serve true Pennsylvania rye, which is traditionally corn free. It’s made with bloody butcher corn, an heirloom variety “not so much for the historical but because we thought it made the best whiskey,” he says.

As the number of distilleries continues to grow in the area, there is a reverence most have for history but also excitement when talking about the present and the future. This is especially true in Pittsburgh, where there is a concentration of distilleries, all following their own path and all seemingly happy to be working together.

Nearly every distiller interviewed for this story invoked the name of other businesses with a touch of admiration.

“We are all friends and colleagues and we all have vastly different philosophies and everyone has their own niche,” says Blake Ragghianti the co-owner, COO, and head distiller of Kingfly Spirits. “Someone visiting here won’t get bored tasting around over multiple days.”

Sponsor Spotlight

Q&A with…

Heinz Heidenreich

Supercap Sales Director U.S. Division

Supercap has been designing and manufacturing closures since 1999, with the mission of placing its client’s requirements center-stage and to design closures to match the vision of its clients. We recently caught up with Heinz Heidenreich, Supercap sales director U.S. division, to talk about the future of closures.

What type of key trends do you see for caps and closures in 2020 and beyond?

Heinz Heidenreich: More customization and upgrading of corks, caps and bottles for further differentiation in a crowded market space. The store shelves are full and crowed with different brands, and the package is the most crucial aspect for sales and promotion of the distilleries’ brands. Distilleries recognize that specifically higher end whiskies are going up in retail price, therefore they are spending more on corks to give the consumer the touch and feel they are looking for with luxury goods. The Scotch market is a model for how high the price per bottle can go [and] people buy on emotions.

Decoration of their logo on top or side of the corks for further imaging: More and more corks are now produced with decoration instead of just stock corks with a flat and less interesting top. The top of the closure gets touched approximately 30 times before the bottle is empty—the consumer will get an impression of the closure, which transcends to the overall feel of the package & image of the company. Laser etching is very popular, followed by ink printing.

More differentiation between brown and clear spirits with the closure. Brown spirits tend to be closed with wood [and] clear spirits tend to be closed with aluminum.

More and more customers choose high quality closures instead of low cost ones, that can break while uncorking. When talking about plastic top closures, the preference goes to co-injected closures, 100% unbreakable under normal usage conditions.

Metal coins inserted into the wooden top—this is part of the luxury movement for bourbon and single malt in the retail range of $45 to $150 per bottle.

Overall in craft spirits, what do you see as the key trends in 2020 and beyond?

Wine has written the book for destination, appellation, branding and flavor description—the evolution over 2,000 years helped to make wine an integral part of society. Spirits is still fairly new, but seems to start on this pathway. Spirits is following the wine trend. For example, single malt is now being produced by more than 100 distilleries in the U.S. These distilleries are describing in detail where the grains are produced, [by] which field, farm or farmer, and under what conditions—cold, hot climate, rainfall, etc. Soil conditions are also described but much further testing and research needs to be done by industry groups and distilleries to find out what really makes a difference in order not to be just another marketing scheme. [Also], distilleries are trying to figure out (similar to Scotch), how beneficial new oak really is versus used oak. The motto is, let the grain shine, and the oak influence should not overpower the true essence of the distilled spirit from the wheat, barley, etc. [Finally], most key states now have very organized state distillery guilds in order to help sales and legal matters—the U.S. in many states has a very strong prohibitionist mindset and government officials are hard to change.

What type of advice do you give to new craft distilleries who are looking for a supplier of caps and closures?

  • Get organized: Get your cork, glass and capsule orders in earlier. Factories on a global level are very busy.
  • Focus on branding: We understand distilleries really care about distilling the spirits in their stills, blending and making a great whiskey, gin, etc. The flavor and quality of a distillate remains in the mind of consumers especially thanks to the packaging look, that allows the product to be successful.
  • Use more time for the development of closures, bottles and labels: Сompanies such as Supercap have an internal department that can assist the customers also on this matter, developing personalized technical drawings and helping to find the most suitable closure for their product, creating a safe and functional packaging that stands out for its unique details.
  • Work with a design or marketing agency: The money will be well spent.
  • Understand your consumer: Whom do you want to sell to?
  • Don’t buy stock products: You will look no different from your neighbor’s bottle on the shelf.
  • Visit stores: Go to many different liquor stores and see / compare how your bottle compares to the competition —be as objective as you can when you observe.
  • Trade shows: Go to as many trade shows as possible.
  • Magazines: Purchase every available magazine—see what is happening out there.
  • Get great with social media.
  • Website: Have pictures of your staff and describe their roles—make it personal and friendly.
  • Get outside your distillery and meet with bartenders and all the best bars in the biggest cities: When you hear a consumer sit at the bar and ask the bartender, “Can I have that whiskey with the horse on top?” then that question should be a light going off in your head (Blanton’s Bourbon) about how consumers identify and remember certain brands.

Are there any new products coming from Supercap in 2020 that excite you?

2019 was a great year for Supercap as we celebrated 20 years of activity. We invited our customers and partners from all over the world to show them our factory and what’s behind the production of our closures, which are a fundamental part of the packaging.

ln 2020, as it was already done in 2019, we aim to increase our ECO projects, presenting new eco-sustainable products. This will allow our customers to use closures for spirits made with Supercap Eco®, the first T-Cap Zero Carbon Footprint, made with an innovative material composed of green polymers. Supercap Eco® allows a significant reduction of the CO2 emissions in the environment over the entire life cycle of the product.

Imbiber’s Bookshelf

We showcase notable books of interest to the craft spirits community.

Cocktails Made Simple: Easy & Delicious Recipes for the Home Bartender

Authors: Brian Weber and Amin Benny

Publisher: Rockridge Press

For anyone looking for an exciting way to entertain, “Cocktails Made Simple” reveals how to craft 40 iconic cocktails in the comforts of your own home. From finding the right glass to a flaming peel finish, the book offers tips on how to build a functional home bar using cost-effective tips on the essential tools to mix with―and familiar alternatives to make the most of what you have on hand. The book includes:

  • Old-fashioned origins―Dive into the art of crafting cocktails with terms to know and tools of the trade.
  • That’s the spirit―Stock your home bar and enhance everyday ingredients using simple techniques.
  • Aperitif to digestif―Sip your way through recipes for 40 traditional cocktails categorized by spirit, as well as a brief history of each drink and tasty twists.
How to Cocktail: Recipes and Techniques for Building the Best Drinks

Publisher: America’s Test Kitchen

The first-ever cocktail book from America’s Test Kitchen brings the group’s objective, kitchen-tested and -perfected approach to the craft of making cocktails. You always want your cocktail to be something special—whether you’re in the mood for a simple Negroni, a properly muddled Caipirinha, or a big batch of Margaritas or Bloody Marys with friends. After rigorous recipe testing, America’s Test Kitchen reveals not only the ideal ingredient proportions and best mixing technique for each drink, but also how to make homemade tonic for your Gin and Tonic, and homemade sweet vermouth and cocktail cherries for your Manhattan.

Poll: Kids in Distilleries

Where legal, should children be allowed in distillery tasting rooms?


November Poll Results

In our November update, we asked which type of spirits were on your holiday wish list.
Click here to see the results in the latest issue of Craft Spirits magazine.

Welcome Newest Voting, Affiliate and Candidate Members!

ACSA extends a warm welcome to a few of our newest members:
Find out more about becoming a member here.
Did You Know?
  • The TTB has issued 3,214 DSPs! Find the full list here.
Jan. 1: National Bloody Mary Day
Jan. 11: National Hot Toddy Day
Jan. 17: National Hot Buttered Rum Day
Jan. 25: National Irish Coffee Day
Jan. 31: Brandy Alexander Day

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