livingup to largePotential
From Nuanced to Bold, Liqueurs
are the Most Versatile Assets on
the Backbar: Are You Cashing In?
By Jenny Adams
The numbers don’t lie. Total sales of liqueur and cordials declined in 2010, according to the Distilled Spirits Council
of the United States (DISCUS). Value-brand sales
totaled 7. 4 million 9-liter cases in 2010, a 2.8%
drop from 2009. Things weren’t any sunnier in
the super-premium slot, in which 8 million 9-liter
cases were sold, a 13% decrease from 2009.
Does this mean you should yank the Jägermeister off the shelf? Say “no thanks” to Grand
Marnier? Not in the least. Liqueurs and cordials
have a very high rate of success in the hands
of the right bartenders. Like most good things,
liqueurs have been hurt by a slow economy,
but the numbers from DISCUS are total sales,
meaning retail sales for at-home consumption
are included. It’s fairly safe to say that when
consumers are mixing at home, only a handful
of liqueurs figure into that equation.
When imbibing in a bar, club or restaurant,
patrons seek a top-notch flavor experience. A
savvy bartender with the right arsenal of quality,
flavorful liqueurs will inspire and inform his
drink offerings, which attract guests and keep
them on their barstools. It’s now more important than ever to evaluate where, how and why
liqueurs work in your operation.
The Status Quo
While there has been a lot of hype about esoter-
ic liqueurs lately, rest easy: This is one category
that works well with others. For the majority
of venues, the liqueur and cordial selection
stocked behind the bar is most operational in
cocktails already on a menu and, later in the
evening, highly versatile in the form of creative
shooters. Cordials and liqueurs comprise about
10% of the total U.S. spirits market, and leading
brands include Jägermeister, DeKuyper, Bailey’s
Irish Cream, Southern Comfort and Kahlua.
While it’s crucial to stock these known entities,
smart operators are scrutinizing their liqueur
choices more carefully than in the past, seeking
styles and flavors that work best for them.
14 Nightclub & Bar Magazine |OCTOBER 2011