Adding A Craft Spirit to Your Bar or Store

This is another one of our thought process pieces we wrote in response to ongoing problems and issues with craft spirits’ entry into the retail market.

This list is designed to help facilitate the decision-making process as to whether or not to carry a particular craft spirit in your establishment.

It is also designed to give producers, distillers, and marketeers of craft spirits some guidance on what to think about in terms of making and supporting your spirits in the market and how you can make them more attractive to buyers (wholesale and retail) by thinking about these points ( and letting your customers know how you follow them).

This is not an exhaustive list, but I will try to identify some best practices and practical considerations.

Quality: Does it taste good? Does it taste better than more commercial products?

Price: Is it priced so you can still make a decent profit? ( see the app pourcost here).
One yardstick for this decision is most people will pay about 20% above the standard market price for local, organic, farm-to-table, etc., etc., and the percentage declines above that. The product may be higher-end, but there is a limit, especially for an unknown brand.

What Makes The Spirit Distinctive: Local?, Organic?, Environmentally friendly?, Craft?
For an exhaustive list of such things, see our previous article, ” A Modest Proposal on How To Define Craft Distilling Through Information

Label and Bottling – Is it attractive, interesting, and/or easy to spot? Can it attract consumers’ attention and curiosity? Does it look like an attractive and premium product, or at least not made in an alley somewhere?

Handling– Does the bottle handle well? Can it be fitted with a standard speed pour? Is it easy to open?

Delivery – is it easy to get or be delivered? Do they answer the phone and take orders? Can you be reasonably sure that if you need more product, they can get it to you in a timely manner? Do they have a local distributor or self distribute in a business-like and timely manner?

Information – Are the labels clear and informative, interesting stories/history, and ingredients? Does it give you some good reasons why you should buy it or why your customers should drink it?

Support -Do they support the brand or do tastings? Do they supply sample bottles or samples so you can pour for staff or customers to familiarize them? Can you reach someone to ask questions? Can the person trying to sell it to you communicate what you and your consumers may want to know about the brand and what makes it special/preferred over others? Particularly name brands?
Does the brand have hangtags or cheat sheets listing cocktails you can make or ways to serve?
Do they hold cocktail competitions ( a great way for brands to get new recipe ideas and PR – especially among bartenders in exchange for prizes).

Web/Social Media-Do they have an easy-to-remember and at least slightly informative website or social media presence where people can learn more or interact about the brand? Do they advertise or have a social presence?

If they have a Public Relations company representing them, is the company competent and responsive?
Do they do a good job of representing the brand and handling all of the above questions?