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Twin Liquors’ David Jabour On Expansion Plans And The Craft Spirits Boom

July 5, 2017

Twin Liquors opened its 80th Texas store earlier this year, and co-owner and president David Jabour tells SND that more expansion is on the way. Twin is one of a few retail behemoths in Texas that are continuing to branch out in the crowded and highly competitive market.

“We have several stores in progress right now—half a dozen or so that will open in the next few months,” says Jabour, who owns the chain with his sister Margaret.

The Jabours are third-generation owners of Twin Liquors, which their grandparents launched in Austin in 1937. The first two generations operated just a single store. It wasn’t until 1993 that the siblings decided to expand, adding a second store in Austin. Further expansion ramped up slowly until the 2000s. “Most of the growth occurred over the past 10 or 15 years,” David says. Twin now has estimated revenues of above $500 million.

That growth has included pushing outward from their Austin base, moving north to the Waco area and into the western Texas hill country. Twin Liquors also expanded south to San Antonio and then looked southeast into Houston. The 80th store, which opened in February, is the third Twin Liquors store in the Houston area.

Among the key issues facing retailers like Twin is the rapid-fire proliferation of new products, especially in the craft spirits space. “To really make it nationally, you have to get it right locally first,” Jabour says of craft spirits brand-building. “All too often brands get overzealous, going into multiple states before they’ve figured out the DNA of the brand.”

The combination of a differentiated product, a willingness to build markets locally and an understanding of how a craft product fits into the crowded market are the recipe for success, Jabour adds, citing Tito’s as a prime example of how the process should work. “Tito did his field intelligence right there in the store, bonding with consumers, being his own brand ambassador and his own research and development department all in one,” says Jabour.

The final ingredient, he observes, is respect for the three-tier system. “Often, an innovative producer might not really understand the value that the wholesale distribution network provides. The three-tier system fosters good communication, and it’s a natural incubator for craft brands. Without it, craft brands would never have an opportunity,” Jabour says.

As the Jabours help nurture the craft spirits boom’s most promising brands, they’re also intent on extending the legacy of their own family business. Margaret has two sons who work at the company. David Jabour has three children, all currently teenagers, but he clearly has expectations as well. “The fourth generation is maturing in the business,” he says. —Shane English

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