November 2, 2015 § Leave a comment
In Episode 2 it is all about Halloween- what wines & beers pair with classic Halloween fare (from the Candy/Chip Bowl), a Halloween Punch, some great conversation with our Craft Beer and Cocktail Correspondents, and, of course, the week’s Best Buy.
Click here to listen to Episode 2: Halloween
Wine Pairings For Classic Halloween Treats
Skittles – Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio depending on how sweet, spicy and crisp you like your wines.
Sweeter/Spicy wine = Gewurztraminer (Recommendations Under $20: Tinhorn Creek, Cono Sur Bicicleta)
Crisp/Full Flavoured = Sauvignon Blanc (Recommendations U$20: Lurton Les Fumees Blanches, Oyster Bay, Casa del Bosque Reserva)
Fresh, Fruit Forward = Pinot Grigio (Recommendations U$20: Mezzacorona, Prospect Winery, Ca’ Montebello [private stores only])
M&M’s/Snickers Bars– Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Grenache/Garnacha depending on how soft, juicy, spicy or silky you like your wine.
Juicy/Spicy = Tempranillo (Recommendations U$20: Masia F [private stores only], Lopez de Haro Crianza [private stores only], Torres Coronas}
Silky = Sangiovese (Recommendations U$20: Giacondi, Gabbiano Chianti, Antinori Santa Cristina)
Soft/Juicy = Grenache/Garnacha (Recommendations U$20: Borsao, Le Paradou [private stores only] Rosemount Grenache Shiraz)
Reeses Peanut Butter Cups – Sherry, Tawny Port depending on whether you favour the nutty side or chocolate side of the Peanut Butter Cup.
Nutty Side – Amontillado Sherry (Recommendations U$20: Emu Amontillado, Alvear Medium Dry)
Chocolate Side – Tawny Port (Recommendations U$30: Penfolds Club Tawny Port [private stores only], Warres Optima)
Candy Corn and Rockets – Prosecco, Chardonnay or Moscato depending on whether or not you prefer sparkling wines, fruity or sweeter lighter alcohol wines.
Sparkling Wines – Prosecco (Recommendations U$20: Nua [private stores only], La Marca, Villa Teresa)
Fruit Driven & Dry – Chardonnay (Recommendations U$20: Grove Ridge [private stores only], Wente Morning Fog, De Martino Limari)
Sweeter & Fruity: – Moscato (Recommendations U$20: The Tapas Collection, Ca’ Montebello [private stores only], Ogio]
Doritos – Barbera, Gamay Noir or Bonarda depending on how heavy, grapey, juicy, floral or spicy you like your wines.
Grapey/Juicy/Medium Bodied – Barbera (Recommendations U$20: Ca’Montebello [private stores only], Ricossa Barbera D’Asti, Briccotondo Barbera D’Alba)
Juicy/Floral/Light Bodied – Gamay Noir (Recommendations U$25: Desert Hills [private stores only], Duboeuf Beaujolais)
Grapey/Spicy/Medium Bodied – Bonarda (Recommendations U$20: Argento Bonarda [private stores only], Tilia Bonarda [private stores only]
Popcorn – Chardonnay or Viognier depending on how fruit forward and unctuous you like it.
Fruit Forward/Creamy/Rich – Chardonnay (Recommendations U$20: Grove Ridge [private stores only], Wente Morning Fog, Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay)
Cheetos/Cheesies – Sauvignon Blanc (Recommendations U$20: Seven Terraces, Oyster Bay, Les Fumees Blanche)
Classic Potato Chips – Sparkling Wine is the best choice and there are lots of great choices depending on your budget.
Over $40 – Veuve Cliquot, Tattinger, Bellavista Franciacorta
$20-$40 – Blue Mountain Brut, Mumm’s Napa Prestige, Paul Zinck Cremant D’Alsace
Under $20 – Jean Louis Blancs de Blancs [private stores only], Cristalino Cava, Hungaria Cuvee Brut
BBQ Potato Chips – Pinot Noir, I guess the good news is that Under $20 there are only a coveted few to recommend.
Under $20 – Simple Life Pinot Noir, Casa Viva Pinot Noir [private stores only], Unduragga Sibaris Pinot Noir
Skittles – Pale Ale
M&M’s/Snickers Bars- Porter or Brown Ale
Reeses Peanut Butter Cups – Chocolate Stout
Candy Corn – Witbier or Weizen
Rockets – Sour Beers
Doritos – Witbier or Weizen
Popcorn – ESB
Cheetos/Cheesies – IPA or Stout
Classic Potato Chips – Belgian Dubbel
BBQ Potato Chips – Porter
Pumpkin Beer Recommendations – Jami Wood, Craft Beer Correspondent
Lighter Bodied Beer – Nelson Organic Pumpkin Ale
Medium Bodied Beer – Central City Red Racer Pumpkin Ale
Full Bodied Beer – Howe Sound ‘Pumpkineater’ Imperial Pumpkin Ale (available in most liquor stores)
Halloween Punch – Shawn Soole, Cocktail Correspondent
Cocktail Recipe for Fernet Branca – Toronto (What is Fernet Branca?)
Dash of angostura bitters
Shawn’s book Cocktail Culture can be found at Munro’s, Bolen’s and through this link to Amazon.ca
This week’s Best Buy: Simple Life Pinot Noir
November 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
This weeks announced changes to the liquor industry in B.C. will go into effect on April 1, 2015, but already their impact is being felt.
Social & traditional media has been jammed with calculations, prophecies and conjecture and, full disclosure, I have been apart of it to. However, after a Facebook conversation this morning I took a step back to get a broader perspective.
We have to remember that none of these changes will change the size and value of the market. If anything all they will do is divide the ‘pie’ into more pieces and shift value around.
It is no secret that BC Liquor Stores have been losing share to private stores each year for the last 10 years. Creating a level pricing field is likely the only way that this trend could be reversed using legitimate means. I expect that BC Liquor Stores will start to act like a large grocery concern and leverage their position to either mitigate costs or corner the market on certain products. This could mean disaster for many of BC’s private liquor stores who rely on price and product agility combined with well oiled marketing machines, but it won’t mean any more money into government coffers.
The other big announcement leads to further splintering of the market. Allowing liquor in grocery stores, no matter how it is done, will not lead to any greater revenues for the province or any increased sales for suppliers. It just means that there are more places for consumers to buy booze.
I truly hope that the quality of liquor retailing in BC will improve and I hope that these changes will instill a spirit of continued improvement, however these changes will not change the fact that we pay the highest prices in the country, and it is certain, that they will only mean the pie is divided in more ways.
I would love to hear your comments and feedback so please engage.
I will also be writing a piece specific to Wholesale Pricing so look for that.
May Quality Be Ever In Your Glass
September 28, 2013 § Leave a comment
The only real competitive edge that private liquor retailers have in BC is their product selection. The absolute risky-est position to be in is having a photo-copy of a government store in terms of selection. As a private liquor retailer I have found that the only way for me to best maintain my market share, or to make it grow, is by walking the fine line between listed and spec products.
By having about 40% (and growing) of the products on our shelf that are only available at our stores or in other private retailers, allows me to 1) clearly distinguishes me from government stores, 2) have more control of my margins while maintaining price confidence with the customer, 3) Allows me to focus on customer service in the form of product knowledge, 4) means I can truly say we are professionals.
Why do you choose the lawyer, doctor, dentist, accountant, personal trainer, hair stylist, plumber, etc. that you do? Part of the answer comes in your belief that they are qualified professionals that have spent hundreds of hours being an expert at solving problems that you have in their area of expertise. Chances are you have found them by referral or by meeting them. They conveyed an air of professionalism and confidence that you have come to trust and that trust has always been vindicated. For us in private liquor retail it is no different. What kind of confidence will your customer have in you if your selection says ‘I don’t know anything about this beer/wine/spirit and I don’t care, I just want you to buy it. All I know is that someone told me it sold well”? You need to be their ‘doctor’ of wine, beer and spirits. Your selection should say “in your case I would I’m going to prescribe this wine over that one. That one will work for you to but I think that for today this is the best choice.”
Customer loyalty comes from developing personal relationships and sharing your customers day to day successes and failures, feelings of confidence and defeat, feeling great or suffering from a cold. By saying “I know just the perfect comfort food wine for you, you can’t find it everywhere, but I loved its depth of flavour and boldness of body” you are telling your customer that you care about them. The old saying “I don’t care what you know until I know that you care” is so true when comes to developing lifetime customers in our business. Your selection is your customers silent witness to how much you care about them.
There are hundreds if not thousands of items available right now that offer 40% and 50% margins, are priced for the average joe and blow the doors off the leading brands in terms of quality. It takes work and dedication to find them, but the work and time pays off 10 fold.
Someone I admire once told me to focus on the critical few and forget the trivial many. When your selection says you care, you can then spend most of your time focussed on customer service. This means staff education, product knowledge and engagement, developing better hiring practices, improving the flow of the store, keeping the store clean and having truthful and informative signs on products throughout the store. This is one of the ‘critical few’ and is perhaps the one that delivers the most tangible and intangible positive results in your business.
Start to pare down the ‘me too’ items and replace them with ‘I love this and will stand behind it’ items and your business will be far more secure and fun to operate… no matter what happens with the Liquor Review.
September 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
Dear Importers, Agents an Sales Reps;
Save your money!!!!
Most new product pitches that come across my desk are heavily leveraged against the tasting of the product. In BC this is ridiculously costly and doesn’t get nearly as many sales is it should and can.
Smart buyers understand that the taste of the product solves a couple problems, however these problems can only be solved if the business needs of the deal are met first. Tasting/Sampling only serves to provide staff education for those on the floor and to convince me, the buyer, that the product will sell more than once to a customer.
First things first is how does this product solve my business problems? Does this fill a hole in a price and margin segment? How seamless is distribution? Is it a year round proposition, seasonal or one time buy? Does it represent a category I’m lacking in? Do you have the codes necessary for our POS system to accept it?
Lastly what benefits does the consumer realize from this product/proposition. This is almost never answered and it is far more key to the success of the product than the taste.
Most pitches are laden with a long list of features. I call these meetings show up and throw up meetings. The presentation leaves it to me to assume what the benefits to me and the consumer are and this is where the presentation gets tripped up. It is better for the sales rep to answer objections to stated benefits than to argue the validity of a feature of the product.
Sampling should be treated like the subjects to buying a house. It is a condition of sale, but one of the last conditions that need to be met. Furthermore once met, the deal should be closed. So save your money and use sampling tactically.
The Dork UnCorked
June 4, 2012 § Leave a comment
I started reading Jason Ripley’s study as the feasibility of privatization in BC. A couple of stats jumped out at me. The first was the number of transactions. He estimates about 38m transactions per year. The second was the value of health care costs that are not covered by current LDB income and are a direct result of irresponsible liquor consumption. I’m not clear, I will have to re-read the section, how he was able to state that $60m were not covered by the current net income of the LDB, regardless I might have an answer.
In the study he notes the positive effect that minimum pricing, if at the correct level, has on irresponsible consumption. He also notes on a number of occasions that problem consumption is attributed most at the low end of the price scale. Specifically the highest alcohol for the lowest price.
Here is the solution. The caveat is that it will require government to directly feed the income from this proposal to cover excess health care costs. Something, that up until now, they have been reluctant to do.
$60m divided by 38m is $1.58/ transaction. Apply this to every separate transaction and have the funds go directly to health care. This would be a flat charge that is applied to every transaction no matter the value.
I wonder if a study can ever be done on the unintended positive effects of moderate consumption.
February 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
Did any of you see the Super Bowl on Sunday. I did and as good as the game was I was constantly thinking beer, pizza, chips, the list goes on. I abstained but it reminded me of the post I did about a week ago.
It is remarkable how powerful the mental associations are when it comes to specific events. If you close your eyes and think of the Super Bowl what images come up? I can see the Budweiser Clydesdales, I picture a pizza being delivered and bowls of chips and munchies. As I was sitting there with my glass of water I was almost feeling guilty about not really being a part of the Super Bowl experience. These images have become instinct. How long and how often does an image have to be seen to be so deeply implanted in the brain that you feel guilt for the doing the ‘right’ thing?
Monday morning came remarkably early as Chloe came to bed at 3am and proceeded to recount her day to us until she finally fell asleep at 4am. By the time my eyes closed, it seemed, my alarm was going off to get up and work out. This work out was really good and I am now looking forward to Wednesday morning when I can do it again. Scratch that, I am looking forward to the point where I am working out almost everyday. Will I feel tired of be on the road to an endorphin addiction?
For those of you tracking this all by the numbers, today marks 14 days. At the beginning I weighed 195 and today I now weigh 184. I can now do 55 push ups in one session with a max of 25 in one set. I have ticked off 119 items of my task list, whereas on a normal week I would hit 65 or 70.
Thanks for reading this and I will see you tomorrow.
February 4, 2011 § 1 Comment
Fresh off of Day 8, all I could see in front of me was clear sky for the days ahead.
Day 9 had a tough start as I am a lot more out of shape than I thought I was. Ange had put a functional fitness or interval fitness routine together for me that we set up in the basement. By set up I mean put the medicine ball, physio, and Bosu ball in the main room of the basement.
There routine included 3 ‘warm up’ stations and 10 work out stations. Each station is a pair of exercises. One follows the other every 30 seconds for 2 minutes and then you have a 20 reprieve until the next station. It really doesn’t take much space other than in my lungs, which rapidly found out are a couple of sorry floppy things that don’t seem to hold enough oxygen when I need it most.
I got through most of the first part of the work out fine and then the stamina attained by sitting on my ass for 6 months kicked in and guided the way for me. By the time I hit station 7 & 8 I was gasping for air and experiencing a little nausea. I skipped stations and 9 & 10 and told myself that if I keep plugging away it will get better and better until it is a breeze.
After my stellar performance in the basement I carried on with my day. It was a pretty typical day that was filled with various meetings and telephone calls; really nothing of note. However after 5 o’clock I was in for a treat. Our eldest daughter and I were going to have a Daddy-Daughter night at the Salmon Kings game. I really relish these times as I know that they won’t last forever (she’s nine) and I love hearing the innocence in her voice as she tells about her day, her frustrations with Grade 4 math, and her random thoughts about the greater world. I understand that boys should never ever be naked. Imagine my jolt when she came out with this statement after 5 minutes of silence and as the Salmon Kings scored their 3rd goal of the game.
I composed myself and tried to settle all the horrible thoughts in my head and asked “Uhh what do you mean?” She looked up at me and said “I saw a statue of a sort-of-naked girl and thought girls have more to share than boys and nobody really wants to at look boys – there really isn’t anything to see.” Relief abounded in my heart and I held a chuckle under my breath and said “do you think they have chocolate bars here?”
I had been so good up to now but going to the game was my downfall. We arrived at the arena at about 6:20 and proceeded immediately to the concession as there was no line up and neither of us had much for dinner. Grace got a Hot Dog, lathered with mustard and some ketchup and the scent of it made my mouth water. I hesitated for a few moments but I eventually caved and got myself one to.
After chomping down on the dog and just before the game got started I suggested we get some popcorn. Now the wheels are coming off. We shared a big tub of salty, fake butter popcorn and it was good.
Over the night I had a hot dog, popcorn, a bottle of water, and a chocolate bar and what was strange is I didn’t once feel the need to get a beer. I saw lots of people around enjoying a brew, I could even smell it, but it never even crossed my mind to go all the way and add the beer to a litany of dietary transgressions.
As Day 10 dawned I felt like I had at least 10 beer the night before. My eyes were red and I was desperate for my morning espresso. I truly felt like a hangover with the key exception that it had passed by 9 am whereas most of my hangovers are not knock down, but I am dragging all day the next day.
As I write this I am looking at the stack of work I have to do before tomorrow, so I am going to sign off here and rejoin tomorrow for Day 11. Cheers