Impact Seminar Snapshot: Michael Binstein On “The Whisk(e)y Renaissance in America”March 30, 2012
In 2002, Chicago-based retailer Binny’s Beverage Depot went all-in on the whisk(e)y business, building an inventory of specialty whisk(e)y now valued at about $6 million, which exceeds its position in Bordeaux futures. At the Impact Marketing Seminar, Binny’s owner Michael Binstein discussed the loyalty and knowledge of the retailer’s whisk(e)y consumers and the category’s recent surge in popularity.
A key part of Binny’s strategy in the segment is its Whiskey Hotline, which is manned by a dedicated staff of full-time professionals to assist whisk(e)y enthusiasts and set Binny’s apart from competitors. “Our Whiskey Hotline is an Old World tool, which is very labor intensive, to meet the challenges of a New World market,” Binstein said, adding that the retailer has developed a dialogue with 45,000 customers through the Hotline.
According to Binstein, the Binny’s whisk(e)y customer is mostly male, college-educated, mid-20s to 30s and likely to have entered the category through craft beers (in the case of males) or the mixology movement (more common with females). “One question I’ve ask myself is, if there were no whisk(e)y movement, what would these customers be drinking? What would they be shopping for? And there’s really no question. The answer is craft beer,” he said. “Whereas wine consumers are more distant relatives, whisk(e)y consumers, like their counterparts in craft beer, embrace the maverick culture, the new releases and batches, and the fraternal lifestyle of sharing their passion with kindred spirits.”Subscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.