Great Taste + Great Price: A Recipe for Change in the Spirits World
By Ricky Tatar, Product Manager at LiDestri Food & Drink
I should have seen it coming. Introduce a line of spirits that taste as good as others, twice the price, and watch it disappear. Introduced five years ago, without a flashy advertising campaign, hip concert promotions or special offers, Recipe 21’s line of affordable spirits is now selling more than 100,000 cases a year in just five states—and it’s not slowing down.
So how did we get here? First, a little history. The line launched with a four-times distilled vodka, then white and gold rums, then a gin and blended whiskey. Eventually we added tequila, triple sec, peach schnapps and flavored vodkas. We knew that in order to become an essential bar item, we needed to sell a complete line of spirits.
I loved every one of the products, but when you’re responsible for selling them, you’re not always the best one to judge. So, you rely on the word of your distributor, retailers and most importantly—your customers. And they all kept telling me, and I didn’t have to ask for their opinion, Recipe 21 spirits tasted great, as good or better than similar more expensive products.
One of the best compliments came from Chris Spillman, bar manager at MacGregor’s Grill & Tap Room right here in Rochester, New York. He put Recipe 21 in the well of all five MacGregor’s restaurants. “Recipe 21 is a bartender’s brand,” said Spillman. “It’s a complete line of affordable spirits that taste great. And that comes straight from my customers, who regularly tell me it’s as good as, or better than much more expensive brands.”
Once they taste Recipe 21 at a bar or restaurant, they look for it at their favorite liquor store. So says Jeff Dodsworth, Vice President of Lake Beverage Distributing who has been selling Recipe 21 to bars, restaurants and retailers since its launch. A major contributor to Recipe 21’s success, Jeff liked it at first because bar managers want to place one order from one wholesaler to fill their well. And that product has to be good and affordable.
Jeff said he really fell in love with Recipe 21 when he realized he couldn’t keep it in stock. According to Jeff, over the last 18 months, sales have gone from 10 cases per day, to 100 cases per day. Wow!
When sales were up 45 percent in 2016, we became keenly aware of who was buying Recipe 21, and this piece of news didn’t surprise us. Perhaps the name of the product is a give-away, or the photos on our website. That’s right: Millennials. Arguably some of the savviest consumers around. We’ve learned young adults know real value when they see it — or, as in this case, taste it. If they like a product at a bar, they find it at a retailer and they bring it home. And from the feedback we’re getting, they’re bringing home Recipe 21.
But what if you’re in a state that doesn’t sell Recipe 21? Well, that’s the mission at hand. It’s time for this brand to move westward. Check back for updates and even more interesting info about Recipe 21. Believe it or not, what you read here, is just the beginning.