Browsing Tag




August 2, 2010

What’s Actually Selling Out There On The Streets And In The Stores
By John Henry

I hope we can all raise a toast that the worst is behind us. The last year and a half has served the whole wine and spirits industry a Suffering Cocktail with an ROI twist.

Value to coast ratio is now king. Look no further than Svedka, up over forty percent the past two years. Consistency is the queen. And craft beer has played the merry court jester, all the way to the king’s bank. Any upscale brand smart enough to stay the course during this turbulent storm in the spirits business, and even invest more in brand loyalty and support without slashing, dashing or trashing prices, will emerge a new monarch at the point of purchase when the cocktail sun shines again. Think Jameson’s, not the Grey Goose. But what of the emerging brands? The proof is off-premise where today’s real brands are being built, not on the bottle service list at places like 1OAK.

Since I visit about twenty liquor stores a week, and touch about fifty retail outlets, tri-state, I figured it is time to assess who is breaking through in the market sales headwinds we all face daily.

There are three brands I see with particular traction and buzz. My tests are such, across the board: How close is a brand to the store cash register? Which brands have the displays and POS closest to the door? Does this brand a hit a sweet spot price point? And, who has the floor stacks and pricing amongst the top selling brands?

The brands best passing muster are Nuvo, Skinny Girl Margarita and ChocoVine. Not exactly the stuff of Rob Cooper St. Germain shooting star legend or of the ultra boutique Haus Alpenz portfolio buzz. But Continue Reading…



July 21, 2010

CKTL JAM NYC Is The Center Of New Drink Development
By Francine Cohen

These past few months have been jam packed with spirited events – everything from Japanese bartending techniques, to the blow out MCC, Latin inspired drinks served up at the Gourmet Latino Festival, The Bar and Wine Show, and finally, the crowning jewel of the season’s liquid events calendar – CKTL JAM.

John Henry, PipeLine Partner put this event together at Astor Center ( with the intention off offering the tri-state area’s bartenders a no-holds-barred place in which to experiment and learn from their fellow bartenders, all while having a whole lot of fun. For brands it’s an organic and laid back opportunity to get their product into the hands of bartenders who could serve as unofficial ambassadors as they are pouring the things they like for their customers. Henry says, “I want this ‘spring into summer’ cktl jam event to stand out as a fun pre-summer and pre-Tales reunion bash. It’s a place to come out and play with fellow bartenders.”

Bartenders were hosted at Astor Center for this event co-founded by PipeLine Brands which has quickly become a bi-annual showcase of the best artisanal brands. Playing behind the bar gets puts new and favorite brands into the hands of most creative mixologists, giving them a chance to explore Continue Reading…



April 27, 2010

In Vino Veritas. Or Is It Veritas?
By John Henry

Photo by Jennifer Mitchell/Courtesy of Beam Global

The Word on the street rules. But the CHO elements (and I mean Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen of molecular alcohol) can definitely pit one’s word against another’s. We are in a business fueled by gossip and hearsay. From the outside, the modern corporate cubicle workplace looking in, it would seem that spirits business is a freewheeling one where people, drink, chat and maybe even wind up in strange sheets at the end of the night.

There is some truth to that. As there are in the divorces, whiskey widows, lipstick on the glass and strange flower expenses on the American Express bill. But a greater truth we seek. Just like the old Roman adage, in vino veritas. At least according to that imbiber. Let’s zero in a bit on the “word on the street.”

Rumors run rampant in this business. Especially amongst folks not often found out on the street. For instance, how about these gems: St Germain was offered $111 million by Heaven Hill and turned it down. Seeks 240 mil…William Grant has bought Tuthilltown…Pegu Club doesn’t serve Continue Reading…



March 20, 2010

>Pipeline Brands shares tips for success in this time of fragile recovery

By John Badalati, John Henry, Jim Pickett, Brad Welz and Rich Odell

Photo courtesy of PipeLine


The days of just cranking out bottles behind the bar or on a bottle list and calling that brand-building are gone forever.

Metro New York’s role as an indicator for national and international liquor sales means you’d be wise to keep an eye on what’s going on here if you want to successfully build your brand.  The tri-state region has taken quite a hit in the last year and liquor sales, while still flowing, are tight as the financial markets directly impact consumer spending with so many financial houses here in the area fueling our economy.  Fortunately, we’re seeing a rise in spending from a portion of consumers who are eager to come out of this bleak economic time and indulge in some affordable non-essential items once again.

The following is a compilation of key information from our hands-on experiences in the marketplace Continue Reading…



March 11, 2010

NY State Liquor Store Owners and Supporters Rally in Albany Against Grocery Store Wine Sales

By John Henry

If you believe that wine belongs in liquor stores, and not stacked between the produce and the cracker aisles, then Albany was the place to be in NY on February 24th when over 800 store owners and industry amassed at The Egg Center for Performing Arts ( and lobbied state representatives against the pending bill to allow wine sales in New York supermarkets.  It was inspiring to see all store owners united on deck and making the rounds in small groups to lobby their respective local representatives. It’s all about their votes, after all. 

Upstate supermarket powerhouse Wegman’s appeared to be the only party on site in favor of the bill.   Some hissing ensued. Continue Reading…