Luis Ayala, Editor of "Got Rum?" magazine, Rum Consultant and Founder of The Rum University.
Luis with SnifterLuis Ayala, Rum Consultant
Nowadays it is almost impossible to pick up a newspaper or tune in to a news channel without being bombarded with discussions about recessions, impending economic collapses or other signs of financial demise. Many industries have suffered as a result of increasing unemployment and the reduction of communal disposable income associated with it.
As a whole, the beverage industry has faced its share of the challenges, with beer and wine taking the biggest hits. Distilled spirits, however, especially those priced at the premium level and above, have been affected the least.
I have always believed that sipping spirits are the safest bet in the beverage industry. Beer and wine are seldom consumed in cocktails; as such they offer limited flexibility to consumers. High quality spirits, on the other hand, offer a seemingly infinite level of flexibility: enjoy them on the rocks, straight in a snifter, as the primary or secondary ingredient in a wide range of cocktails, as a flavor-extracting agent in percolations and infusions, even as an elegant aperitif or digestif!
Consumers who pay above average prices for a distilled spirit, especially in a tough economy, will not develop brand loyalty (i.e. repeat business) if their expectations for quality in and out of the bottle are not met convincingly. Our hyper-connected society makes it veryeasy to instantly share our opinions, good or bad, with all our friends and relatives with the push of a few buttons. It saddens me to run across new distilled products -from small and large companies alike- that fall short in one or more areas. It is as if the companies were taking their consumers for granted.
It is in these tough economic times that brand owners who consistently deliver value will forge the character and behaviors they will need to remain focused as the economies of their countries inch their way back toward normalcy.
Cheers until then!
Luis Ayala, Editor and Publisher