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Suppliers Amp Up Holiday Offerings To Drive Retail Sales

December 9, 2022

Beverage alcohol suppliers have geared up again this year to bring unique products and packaging to consumers during the crucial holiday selling period. For suppliers, it’s a way to create excitement among existing customers and create trial among new ones. “The holiday season is an opportunity to showcase the personality of a brand through a seasonal flavor or with engaging, interactive gift sets,” says Molly Vincent, senior brand manager at Heaven Hill Brands.

Heaven Hill has an extensive range of value-added packs. This year, Carolans Irish Cream is featuring a 750-ml. bottle packaged with rocks glasses and cocktail suggestions for $18. Larceny Bourbon, features a premium gift set with a 750-ml. of Small Batch and a branded tumbler and cocktail recipes for $32. And Elijah Craig Bourbon’s premium holiday offering continues a focus on the Old Fashioned cocktail with a gift set featuring a 750-ml. of Elijah Craig Small Batch and a cocktail kit including Elijah Craig Old Fashioned syrup ($34).

Bigger brands typically get in on the action as well. “Jack Daniel’s glassware kits, albeit in short supply, get lapped up pretty quickly,” notes Adithya Bathena, CEO of Buy-Rite Liquors. “Baileys does a VAP pack with ceramic cups that is a constant during the holidays. They rule the roost amongst the flavored category.”

Combo packs—comprised of spirits or wine—are perhaps even more popular. St. George’s Spirits Gin Combo Pack features a trio of gins (200-ml. each), including Terroir, Botanivore, and Dry Rye gins. Whiskies are noteworthy for this approach, often offering a collection of small-format bottles that showcase a range of products from a single distillery.

Many wine producers have also embraced gift sets, including Hall Wines and Walt Wines. “We’ve been creating winter season gift sets for over a decade,” notes proprietor Kathryn Walt Hall. “They’ve been so popular that we offer them every holiday season.” The gift sets include one, two, three, and six bottle sets from Hall, Walt, and Baca Wineries. A gift containing the 2019 Hall Coeur Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2020 Walt Close Pepe Pinot Noir, and the 2019 Baca Cat’s Cradle Zinfandel retails at $240 this year.

Charles Sonnenberg, owner of three-unit Frugal MacDoogal in Tennessee and South Carolina, has some interest in holiday-centric products, packages, and flavors, but says the market has become over-saturated and cheapened in recent years. VAPs have waned in importance in his stores, and he suggests suppliers need to be discerning about packaging their brands. “Regurgitation of the same thing year after year doesn’t resonate,” he says. Nor does using cheap add-ons to super-premium spirits brands. “There have been a few that are a little more creative, and when those occur people snatch them up,” Sonnenberg says.

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