Change is underway. Can you feel it? It’s in more than just the cold-then-warm-then-cold-again days. It’s in more than just the blossoms budding on trees as hail briefly falls on a sunny afternoon. Mother Nature’s dichotomy is likely reflective of what your own business is facing at this time.
So, even if you haven’t yet recognized it, or figured out how to harness it, know that it is a good time to make a move. Spring always feels like the right time to change things up.
There are other times of year we’re inclined to simply contemplate change; we make a lot of fuss over Groundhog Day on February 2nd and whether or not that furry fellow sees his shadow. This hullabaloo is swiftly followed up by proclaiming spring has sprung come March 19th, 20th, or 21st – depending on when the vernal equinox falls any given year. In between all of this celebration falls Black History Month and Women’s History Month, providing us opportunities to reflect and learn about accomplishments often overlooked. But now it’s April.
So, what are we going to do next that is actionable?
Stop overlooking and start embracing. Just see what happens, and how your business can grow, when you put those predictions, and plans into place.
If you’re looking for a roadmap look no further than the third annual beverage alcohol forecast program The Next Big Sip that’s produced by members of Les Dames d’Escoffier NY. This year’s theme, The Silver Lining In The Beverage World, highlighted the promise of days ahead for those in the wine, beer and spirits sector of the hospitality industry.
Moderator, and spirits journalist/author Amy Zavatto opened with her feeling that, “the Last two years have been really hard and really crazy in the world at large and in the beverage industry. But there are lasting positive effects coming out of this. We are seeing a lot of interesting trends and pivotal industry shifting moments we’re heartened to see happening and happy to be participating in.”
Those shifting moments Zavatto referred to covers everything from evolving consumer trends to education, hiring, and leveling the playing field.
In conversation with Zavatto, spirits author and editor Kara Newman of Wine Enthusiast notes a return to bar and restaurants that’s slightly different than before in terms of what consumers desire. She says, “I think there’s a lot of confusion about what people want. People are of two minds – some being a bit more cautious and want things to be just right. They are taking into account the value of investing in the considerable expense of going out. On the other hand, everyone’s sort of dived back in. Especially younger people who don’t have risk factors. They want to reclaim the time that is lost. We’ve just spent two years at home perfecting martinis. It’s no longer enough to have the martini. We can make it at home. People want a fabulous experience.”
Lydia Richards, panel member and founder of Vinoconcierge concurs. Richards sees similar desires amongst wine drinkers, noting that they’ve learned a lot of information about wine while stuck at home and sought out this information from fresh sources. She says, “People were trying to find new ways to entertain themselves at home. They all wanted to learn something about wine from someone who looks like them – maybe someone younger than what you’d normally think of when you think sommelier.”
All this attention to youth portends great things for the beverage alcohol industry. Millennials are driving a commitment to transparency, education, and balance. Philana Bouvier, President of Demeine Estates recognizes the power this generation has to drive sales and shape marketing tactics and she’s embracing it all and suggests you do too as she remarks on the uptick in champagne and sparkling wine sales even in the midst of a pandemic, “This experience taught us people want to live in the moment. Wineries are now thinking about lifelong and lasting experiences for consumers. The luxury wine business is better than ever. The millennial generation has made us think cleaner. Your message has to be on point, and you have to be able to back it up; it is important to be honest and open and diverse.”
That diversity is appealing to millennials as well as all consumers. Tapping into it – authentically and honestly – is a boon for business. But, until recently, a broad sense of diversity is something that’s been missing from the beverage industry.
Slowly that is shifting. Companies like Constellation are committing to supporting initiatives for female and minority owned businesses, WSWA (Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America) continue their long-term commitment to nurturing and supporting women leaders in their sector of the industry and this all mirrors LDNY’s original mission of mentorship and scholarship that began 45 years ago when founder Carol Brock launched the organization to make a place for women in the hospitality industry because they weren’t welcome to be part of the business conversation.
While a Pew Research study shows that in 22 of the 250 metropolitan markets in the United States women 30 and under are making as much as, or more than, their male counterparts, on average, women in full-time jobs are still making only 82% of what men earn.
It’s been proven over and over again that a diverse workforce makes for a more profitable business because all perspectives are considered and reflected, making a product feel more welcoming. Embracing that fact is why Rhythm Brewing Brewmaster and Founder, Alisa Bowens-Mercado, is behind Change In The Air Festival. Her brewery was saw the importance of partnering with New England Brewing Co. and The Connecticut Brewers guild, along with Sacred Heart University, all of which created the CT Brewers Guild African American Brewing Scholarship – making education in the brewing sciences more accessible to Black and Brown brewers. The festival, which also provides safe, inclusive spaces for all Craft beer enthusiasts. raised almost $10,000 in scholarship funds for aspiring Black and Brown brewers. This endeavor may not have been possible years ago when mindsets were different, and people didn’t see their place existing in certain spaces.
Now that these doors are opening consumers are willing to pay to walk through them. Gladly so. Bowens-Mercado concludes with a thought about rising prices that are reflective of everything from taxation to complicated logistical and supply-chain issues and rising wages and sees none of these as deterrents for good products that reflect likeminded values of the producer and the consumer, “I think in general people are not settling for less anymore. We have one life to live. People are very specific now about what they are buying now. They will invest. They’re investing in our visions. In companies. In communities. They say, ‘We’d rather spend extra into something we know you spent hard work into.’ If you’re purchasing wine, spirits or beer…you are going to strategically and consciously start purchasing now.”
How are you poised to capture that consumer desire for information, education, commitment to society? And, if you’re not, are you ready to change?
SIPS TO SAVOR:
Passover begins April 15th with a festive meal known as a seder. Throughout the seder the story of Jews’ escape from Egypt and freedom from bondage is told while each attendee consumes four cups of wine. That’s a lot of kosher wine being sold in advance of Passover; thankfully, almost every wine growing region on the globe contributes to supplying this need. Gabriel Geller, Director of Public Relations for Royal Wine Corp., the largest manufacturer, importer and exporter of kosher wine shares, “The selection of kosher wines from around the world is constantly expanding, with new wines this pre-Passover season alone from New Zealand, South Africa, Israel, and France. The quality is on a constant rise, and so is the number of grape varieties kosher wines are made of. Israel, nicknamed the start-up nation, has even managed to get its wine industry on the world map with innovative wineries such as Nana Estate, located in the Negev desert. Nana has pioneered revolutionary viticultural practices to grow quality grapevines in an arid desert climate. It has become a source of inspiration to wineries worldwide and the agricultural industry as everyone is now looking for solutions to address the growing challenges posed by global climate change.”
From Marlborough New Zealand here is a sauvignon blanc with notes of mango, white hibiscus, red grapefruit and hints of fruity, sweet and astringent notes. It is just one of the many wines to look for this holiday season, and beyond if you’re seeking a kosher wine for any occasion.
In other new to the kosher market news… Curamia tequila has just hit our shelves.
Transparent with silver hues, and a nose that delivers donut peach, tangerine, mango, grated lime zest, and floral notes of orange blossom and sun ripped earth, this well-balanced sipper offers up sweet warm notes of fresh agave, pineapple, and pear that will transport you.
Fill your glass to find yourself back in Mexico, home of Chef Dafna Mizrahi who is the brain – and palate – behind the brand. In an effort to imbue your tequila experience with a fresh approach, and one that’s long been a tradition with the women in her family, Mizrahi notes her commitment to balance; for her business which is women owned and led, and for the liquid itself. She says, “For me it was about balance and the ritual of enjoying such a spirit with loved ones. When you bring a chef’s palate you can remove the preconceived notions about the spirit and enjoy tequila with a nice piece of fish or a nice piece of steak – this is sipping tequila that is smooth enough to pair.”