How Profits of Wine and Spirits are Affected in a Tough Economy

A recent article on American Express’ website, Restaurant Briefing, discusses the troublesome wine and spirits industry in a down economy.  Typically sales of wine and spirits are down in a weakened economy.  And according to Restaurants & Institutions’ 2010 New American Diner Study, almost 70% of respondents surveyed said they don’t order or they order less alcoholic beverages when dining out.  This is up from 58% in 2009.

Many restaurateurs have gotten creative and started interacting with customers, offering new and interesting special wines and spirits, and providing good values for high-end products.

Personal Service

Many restaurants and hotels have deepened their personal service programs.  At the Fifth Floor in San Francisco guests are able to interact with bartenders who work from a cocktail cart. “We have a small bar and a large lounge area,” explains Jacques Bezuidenhout, a mixologist. “The cart has been a great way to extend the bartender experience to guests in the lounge and to generate additional revenue.”

Keep it Interesting

Other establishments have fine-tuned their wine and spirit menu by creating a list of handpicked options.  Some deepen the niche and inform their guests about the type of wine or spirit, country of origin, and distillation process.  Guests are interested and intrigued by the history and background of each beverage choice. Many times, they will trade up and order a more expensive choice.

In addition, establishments are having success selling boutique wines sourced from artisan vineyards in California and Italy.  It’s all about sharing the stories behind the wines.

Special Private Packages

The article highlights Craigie on Main in Cambridge, MA, which offers a “Cocktail Whim” for $20. This gives the guest a flight of four, two-ounce cocktails after the kitchen closes from 10pm – 1am.  Chef/owner, Tony Maws, says “It’s a great way to let bartenders experiment and for customers to try some drinks they might not normally try.”  He says they sell several of these a night, and they’ve created a lot of buzz about the promotion.

One Response to “How Profits of Wine and Spirits are Affected in a Tough Economy”

  1. A.Smikle Says:

    Saw your article on wines and spirits love the coverage. excellent writing more of this.

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