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Interview, Part 2: John Barrett, CCO, Pernod Ricard USA

August 11, 2022

In the second part of our interview, Pernod Ricard USA chief commercial officer John Barrett discusses the categories driving on-premise growth this summer, as well as how the company plans to continue supporting the bar and restaurant channel moving forward. SND: Which categories in spirits are showing the best trends on-premise recently?

Barrett: We’ve seen an explosion in the popularity of premium agave-based spirits like Tequila and mezcal, and it shows no signs of slowing down. We’re seeing signature cocktails like Ranch Water and variations of the Margarita remain a staple order for consumers as they return on-premise. Pernod Ricard is meeting this demand particularly with Del Maguey, which has been ranked the top mezcal brand. Consumers have also embraced flavored whiskey, which is especially exciting given our newly released Jameson Orange. For traditional whiskey drinkers, it’s a new take on the spirit, but for ‘whiskey curious’ consumers, it’s a fun way to explore a new category. Bartenders have been having a lot of fun with this new product, and subsequently consumers are enjoying Jameson Orange with new interesting cocktail creations like Jameson Orange Margaritas, Old Fashioned cocktails, or Jameson Orange & Sprite.

SND: What are you seeing on the wine side?

Barrett: The explosive growth of Champagne took many by surprise during the pandemic given its traditional role in supporting celebratory occasions. Consumer demand for elevating convivial engagements post-pandemic continues to be at an all-time high, and with Champagne being synonymous with celebrations we anticipate this trend will continue. To address the opportunity, we’re leveraging our sparkling and Champagne portfolio, which spans from Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque and GH Mumm to Mumm Napa and Campo Viejo Cava.

SND: How is the on-premise experience shaping up for consumers as they return? What are the biggest changes you’re seeing in the on-premise environment compared with pre-pandemic?

Barrett: With so much time at home over the last two years, many imbibers have fine-tuned their mixology skills, which has certainly contributed to evolving palates and appetites for more complex flavors and experiences. There is also greater appreciation for the knowledge of bartenders and hospitality staff who consumers recognize have experienced labor shortages but are true experts in their field and integral to the on-premise experience. The pandemic has taught us how resilient the bartending community is. Our role is to provide support to on-premise operators to drive traffic and improve the experience for everyone with cocktail ideas and occasion-based programming. As the next few years unfold, consumers will discover a new balance of both the on-and off-premise, and Pernod Ricard will be there for their moments of conviviality in both environments as well as continuing to bring consumers new innovations and support bar owners in the process.

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