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Interview, Part 1: Twin Liquors’ David Jabour

August 5, 2021

Widely believed to be the second-largest independent package store chain in Texas, Austin-based Twin Liquors experienced a double-digit rate of sales growth in 2020, according to David Jabour, who is co-owner along with sister Margaret. Now with some 100 stores around the state, Twin Liquors relies heavily on distilled spirits—which account for 80% of company sales—followed by wine at 15% and beer at 5%. SND contributing editor Terri Allan spoke to Jabour about year-to-date trends and challenges.

SND: With 2021 now more than halfway over, how are you faring in keeping up with last year’s growth?

Jabour: With the opening of on-premise markets, particularly in the second quarter, trends have become more pronounced as compared to a year ago. Sales retreated a bit in the second quarter, but not to the degree that we had expected. While we’ve seen varying trends in different markets, consumers still appear to be enjoying the cocktail culture at home that was so evident last year, and as a result, some of those positive developments are continuing for us so far in 2021. Compared to the first half of 2019, our sales year-to-date are way up.

SND: What are the most significant trends you’re seeing in the spirits category?

Jabour: While there are challenges with the supply chain, Tequila continues to be very electric. Overall whisk(e)y remains strong, even though tariff relief on imports has not yet translated to shelf prices. Canned cocktails, such as Austin’s Ranch Rider, Austin Cocktails, Gallo’s High Noon, and the Crown Royal RTDs are all performing well. We’re experiencing supply disruptions across all categories, not just spirits, and I expect that to continue through at least the calendar year. So many facets are contributing to the supply issues—including transportation, production, labor, packaging and disruption in projection and replenishment models.

SND: What are you seeing in the wine category, and what are the key drivers?

Jabour: Our stores enjoy a well-defined wine culture, and the category performs well for us. Rosé continues to be strong in the hot Texas market, and fortunately the prices of French rosé haven’t taken significant increases, playing into their growth.

SND: How is the beer category performing for you?

Jabour: Imported beer has been performing very well, but of course we have had supply-chain disruptions that have been significant. If you’re without a key product for a lengthy period of time, it affects the growth of brands and is difficult to make up.

SND: Beyond supply issues, what are the other current challenges you face?

Jabour: Like others, we haven’t been immune to the labor shortages, which are multi-dimensional. While we’ve historically enjoyed an exceptional rate of retention, we do face labor pressures today.

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