If you were among the 37,740 attendees at the Nightclub & Bar Show in Las Vegas in March, chances are you left with the following impressions. If you didn’t have a chance to be among the throngs—an 11 percent bump over last year, according to Nightclub & Bar Media Group—here’s what you missed.
1. Millennials like sweet things, particularly breakfast foods.
Much has been made of the millennial consumer and their gravitation toward sweeter-tasting beverages. Spirits marketers look to be courting that market with the launch of dessert and breakfast-themed products. Among the additions to McCormick Distilling’s (Weston, Mo.) eco-friendly 360 vodka line is a glazed donut flavor.
Glazed donuts also found their way into another product line, the recently launched Mama Walker’s liqueurs from Pernod Ricard. The brand takes the breakfast theme a bit further with, in addition to a Glazed Donut offering, Blueberry Pancake and Maple Bacon. “This is for consumers who like sweeter drinks, probably the 21-29 year olds,” says Juli Falkoff, brand director for Mama Walker’s. “Breakfast isn’t just for breakfast anymore.”
Turns out, breakfast was the unexpected allure for Rumchata, a brand that combines rum with horchata. “We started selling it into bars and young adults who had eaten Cinnamon Toast Crunch as kids said this stuff tastes like Cinnamon Toast Crunch,” recalls Thomas Maas, master blender of Rumchata, produced by Agave Loco Brands of Pewaukee, Wis. “I’m talking 25 year olds who weren’t eating cereal anymore. People started to sell it with little pieces of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in a shot glass.”
2. There’s no such thing as bad press.
Who knew having a brand banned in Idaho would turn out to be a good thing? That’s what happened last summer when Ogden’s Own Distillery launched Five Wives vodka last year. The state of Idaho felt the label, which features a quintet of young pioneer women—the eponymous wives—smacked a bit too much of polygamy, something that is rooted in the state’s history, as well as Ogden’s Own’s home state of Utah. “Thanks, Idaho,” laughs distiller Tim Smith. “I sent those guys a fruit basket for all the publicity.” Idaho has sinced reversed its decision. The seven-year-old distillery also markets its flagship product, the multi-award-winning herbal bitter spirit, Underground.
3. Dispensing caps aren’t just for vitamins and minerals.
Gizmo Beverage’s Tea of a Kind makes a fresh-brewed RTD tea when the consumer twists the cap—the Gizmo—and dispenses the tea concentrate into the bottle of water. And now, about five years after Tea of a Kind’s creation, the company is planning to branch out into alcohol with RTD cocktails. “Just imagine if I twisted the cap and added some tequila below—and fresh agave nectar, fresh lime juice and coarse sea salt wash down to the tequila below and I have a fresh margarita,” says Gizmo senior VP of sales and marketing Brad Foster. “We’ll have nine flavors of ready to drink cocktails and they’ll be the first-ever all-natural cocktails. For us, Tea of a Kind is just the beginning.”