The Advisor Magazine: Issue #16 –

The power struggle continues and things heat up in the retail tier of the liquor license industry. With being approx. 6 months away from the Senate vote on the 21st Century Alcohol Reform bill, many storylines are surfacing.

In Issue #16 of The Advisor we discuss what comes after 20 years in the liquor license industry, which pre-mixed liquor is taking over, the end of revitalization and more.

In this issue, we take a hard look at what’s to come for all stakeholders involved in off premise and on premise alcohol bills.

 

More Towns Banning Nips & Miniatures In Liquor Stores

Quincy may be the latest Massachusetts town to ban the sale of nips, according to a March 31 Patriot Ledger report. Mayor Thomas Koch has expressed interest in asking the city’s licensing board to ban the sale of nips (alcoholic beverages in containers 100 milliliters or less) to control littering and waterway pollution, as well as address other problems, such as trash-lined streets, debris in storm drains and contaminating ocean water.

Koch also believes that nips make it more difficult for restaurants and other establishments to control underage drinking. Koch has reportedly given this decision time, as the pandemic has already hit many businesses hard.

Quincy would follow five other Massachusetts towns that have already banned nips: Chelsea, Mashpee, Falmouth, Wareham (to go into effect 5/11/22) and Newton (to go into effect 6/30/22).

Also interesting to note is that a Rhode Island legislator has proposed a law that would ban nips statewide.

The question is: Will some businesses be able to make up the revenue if nips and miniature bottles are removed?

 

For more articles on the liquor industry – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 15.

 

 

The Advisor Magazine: Issue #15 –

Controversy rising in both the off-premise and on-premise liquor industry is creating a ripple across the state.

In Issue #15 of The Advisor we discuss Sommeliers pushing the boundaries, north end Boston outdoor dining fines for restaurants, cocktails-to-go extended, again, banning of nips and miniatures in more towns, and more!

In this issue, we take a hard look at what’s to come for all stakeholders involved.
Click Here To Read The Advisor – Issue #15.

 

Wine Sales Struggle With Millennial Interest Lagging

The next time you uncork a bottle of your favorite cabernet or sauvignon blanc, ask yourself if seeing the nutritional information listed on the back changes the experience for you? Would the experience be less enjoyable because you were concentrating more on the sugar content and calories per serving than the hints of cherry in your pinot noir, or the smooth taste of your chardonnay? How important are a winery’s social and environmental convictions to you, and would knowing them affect your consumer behavior?

Current data indicates that millennials, who have a large impact on the alcohol industry, prefer having the nutritional, social, and environmental information presented to them, and they aren’t getting it from the wine industry. Wine sales and interest are both lagging the increasingly popular seltzer and ready-to-drink cocktails, and it appears that the culprits behind this shift are millennials.

A recent New York Times article reveals concern over the current state of the wine industry, and according to the article, millennials are not drinking enough wine. Baby boomers and their tendency to opt for wine has led to a healthy wine market in the past; however, as these boomers reach retirement age, they have less influence on the market because they aren’t spending as much. Millennials, on the other hand, do have much more influence on the market and have an agenda as a health-conscious, socially aware, environmentally concerned generation.

Rob McMillan, an executive vice president of Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, California, and a long-time analyst of the American wine market, states that “Sales of American wine could plummet by 20% in the next decade,” and this decrease could be because the wine market has not addressed millennial concerns yet.

“It [the wine industry] has failed to recognize the changing demographics that millennials represent,” according to the article. McMillan suggests that in an effort to adapt to what millennials want, winemakers could list ingredients and nutritional information, for example, or make their social and environmental values clear.

Millennials are a generation of hard seltzer and premade cocktail fans, less often opting for the glass of wine than for their can of choice. They are not only making a stance on noting that their calories count, but they also want to know how and where these calories were made – – and wine producers haven’t offered that information yet. They also haven’t made professing their social and environmental views a priority, which apparently has not settled well with this extremely health-conscious, socially and environmentally aware generation.

Another factor contributing to the decline in wine sales amongst millennials is that wine tends to be a more expensive beverage option, whereas hard seltzers, RTD cocktails, and craft beers are less expensive, and millennials are generally more financially burdened than their parents. Millennials are entering a world where everything costs more, including their education and homes, and they will cut costs where they can.

As more “organic”, “sugar-free”, and “low and no alcohol” wines appear on the shelves, it does cause consumers to take pause and consider why these options are suddenly appearing. The future of the wine industry is yet to be determined: Will shelves will soon be lined with “healthier” wine varietals, with declarations of environmental responsibilities and social commitments plastered on their bottles? Do wine lovers want that? Does the wine-loving generation have enough of a market pull to maintain wine’s classic image?

The verdict is out, and upcoming trends and sales will tell. 

 

For more articles on the liquor industry – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 14.

 

 

The Advisor Magazine: Issue #14 –

As we move into restaurant and outdoor dining season, trends are starting to shift.

In Issue #14 of The Advisor we discuss wine sales struggling, travel and tourism set to impact the industry, MassPack heats up its push for independent operators, whiskey continues growth and more!

This issue we will also celebrate being in the industry for 20 years thanks to the support from many!

Click Here To Read The Advisor – Issue #14.

 

DTC Wine Shipments Hit $4 Billion in US

Although pre-pandemic activity has begun to reemerge as consumers return to restaurants, bars, and wineries for their favorite glass of wine, DTC (Direct-to-Consumer) wine shipments in 2021 surpassed $4 billion for the first time in the U.S. What does this surge mean for wine sales in the on and off-premise markets?

The reason for this advance could be that although wine shipments jumped 28% in 2021, the year-on-year increase in volume was small, and the jump in shipments could be due to the surge in price per bottle – which increased a record 11.8%. However, consumers still spent their money on higher priced wines via DTC channels.

 

Andrew Adams, Wine Analytics and report editor at Wines Vines Analytics, commented, “Increases in price per bottle shipped helped balance out the decreases in volume that some regions experienced, creating an overall increase in value for the West Coast”. (Napa enjoyed an almost $400 million increase in value of DTC shipments in 2021!)

Another reason for the staggering increase could be that although eating and drinking establishments are reopening, many consumers enjoyed the convenience of DTC purchases that they discovered during the pandemic. Although the need for such a service has lessened with restaurants, bars, and wineries reopening their doors as some restrictions lifted, the service had such a positive impact that it seems to have continuous power.

 

According to beverage alcohol consultant Danny Brager, “as COVID-19’s impact on travel and tourism lessens, there is every reason to believe DTC shipments based on winery visitation and new club memberships will be strong in 2022.” Perhaps consumers will enjoy the best of both worlds.

Combining consumers’ enjoyment of DTC convenience with the enthusiasm of returning to restaurants for their favorite glass of wine must leave liquor store owners wondering, how can we position ourselves to remain relevant and indispensable in today’s market?

 

For more articles on the liquor industry – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 13.

 

 

The Advisor Magazine: Issue #13 –

Once again the rules of the game change and owners and stakeholders are left trying to figure out where to go from here.

In Issue #13 of The Advisor we discuss:

 

This issue will take a look at what’s to come.
Click Here To Read The Advisor – Issue #13.

 

MassPack Continues To Fight Against Bill Expansion

A recent Massachusetts Package Stores Association (“MassPack”) newsletter and message to MPSA Members from Executive Director Robert Mellion provided some great insight into the work that his association did in 2021 and continues to do in 2022 regarding the many circulating bills that could impact alcohol beverage retail as we know it. According to the newsletter, more than 190 bills were introduced during this legislative session that would impact alcoholic beverage retail – 100 of which would directly overtake local retail by replacing them with out-of-state choices for consumers.

Some of the 2021 highlights from MassPack include:

· Cumberland Farms was derailed from filing another ballot question initiative which would allow unlimited food store licenses to sell beer and wine.

· MassPack prevented industry disruptors from using Covid to further modify alcohol beverage regulations, advance online lottery, and allow for direct shipping of distilled spirits.

· MassPack testified at more than 25 hearings on over 180 bills; a third of the bills filed this session expand off-premise licenses or repeal state and municipal quotas.

· MassPack testified against bills by out-of-state chain stores, supermarkets, and big box retailers that dismantled local licensing and state quota systems.

· MassPack is the only alcohol industry participant to testify against five bills increasing excise tax on alcohol.

· Only MassPack challenged six bills that either ban or place a deposit on miniature bottles and testified against “Nip Bans” at more than 20 municipal hearings across Massachusetts.

· Adding alcohol shipments to the U.S. Postal Reform bill was a top priority.

And as the new year begins, MassPack is already testifying against remaining bills that seek to expand licenses, such as:

· An Act that would further regulate certain licenses for the sale of alcoholic beverages, which is very troublesome because this bill increases the number of allowed all-alcohol retail licenses from 9 to 18.

· An Act concerning the sale of wines and malt beverages by food stores would allow marketplace control of the cheap to moderate alcohol beverages marketplace.

Although the number of bills to monitor and consider is considerable, MassPack asks that we “weigh how [these bills] impact the ABCC’s ability to regulate, consequences to the marketplace and whether these bills undercut public health and safety.”

 

For more articles on the liquor industry – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 12.

 

 

Pandemic Exhaustion For Liquor Store & Restaurant Owners

It is hard to wrap our heads around the fact that we will soon be heading into year three of the pandemic. It has been nothing short of a rollercoaster: from normalcy feeling at arm’s length away with cases decreasing, to cases rapidly increasing and feeling as though we are right back to square one.

Many Boston restaurants are still operating with the hope that there is an end in sight, and the turbulence is exhausting. With the new vaccine requirement instated for indoor dining in Boston, the endless struggle to ensure safety for customers and employees is now increasingly more worrisome to restaurant owners.

These restaurant owners fear it will affect their already weakened customer base and ultimately, their bottom line.

The WBUR reported, “But while many restaurants are on board with keeping staff and patrons safe, they also told WBUR the mandate puts even more stress on an already-exhausted industry.”

The instability in the industry has many owners wondering, “is it worth it to even be in the industry anymore?” The fear of the unknown has been at an all-time high for the past few years, and to some, it’s an intolerable burden.

If you are feeling hopeless and burnt out, give us a call. We have been in the industry for over two decades and are here to help you navigate your next move and to make your exit as seamless and beneficial to you as possible.

 

For more articles on the liquor industry – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 12.

 

 

What Alcohol Is In Store For 2022?

The key to success in 2022 is going to be preparation and awareness. Support of small businesses was a hot topic during the pandemic where people wanted to help businesses stay afloat, but realistically sometimes it’s more convenient to make a purchase from the big guy.

CEO of LLA, Dan Newcomb, discussed in Advisor Issue #10, the trend in 2021 of consolidation is going to continue with the future ballot question, “the bigger stores are going to get bigger, and the small guys are going to be few and far between. There’ll be less smaller liquor stores in Massachusetts in 2023 than there was in 2021”.

Across alcohol retail sales in Massachusetts, a future ballot question proposes the number of liquor licenses to increase from 9 to 18, and it’s going to provoke commotion. With a forecast of consolidation in mind, it’s crucial that existing owners are attentive to what’s going on in the industry.

If you were presented with the opportunity to execute a quick sale today, would you be ready? You’re going to want to be prepared to maximize your return on investment and we can help you create this plan.

It’s no surprise to many that the supply chain issues have had a major impact on the alcoholic beverage industry. We advise liquor stores to formulate a plan to ensure consumer demand is met, by always having their best-selling products in stock. The key takeaway here is that your best-selling products are highly likely to stay favorable, so stock up now in order to meet consumer demand.

 

In the age of conscious consumption, sustainability and being environmentally cautious is not going to disappear anytime soon. Consumer demand for more transparent products has significantly increased in the past few years. Selling and marketing organic alcohol is a simple way to introduce sustainable products into your business plan.

Upcycler’s Lab reported, “Organic Alcohol is produced in a way that promotes the sustainability of our planet. Companies producing organic alcohol aim to minimize their impact on the environment by using alternative energy sources, reducing waste, and recycling”.

Preparation and awareness are the keys to success for operators in 2022.

 

For more articles on the liquor industry – check out The Advisor Magazine – Issue 11.

 

 

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