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News & Press: Industry Advice & Tips

Top Picks for Discerning Customers

Wednesday, September 30, 2015  
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src="" alt="Belmont's Gary Gardner (middle) Samples 2104 BWS Trade Show Fare" width="300" height="209" /> Tempting new alcohol products? Creamy RumChata with root beer on ice. Snappy chilled Delish Sauvignon Blanc. Dogfish Head Namaste ale with coriander, peppercorn, lemongrass and whole oranges (peel and flesh). These are just some of the old, new and revived alcohol products from the 2014 Beer, Wine & Spirits Trade Show. This is just a small sample of the many tempting items on display for the experts — Indiana Association of Beverage Retailer package store owners — who are in the business of buying and selling alcohol for discerning customers. Our experts are also picking the simpler fare for consumers who simply want a great varietal bottle of red wine that will please a dinner table of 10 for Thanksgiving — not too sweet, not too dry. Gary Gardner, of Belmont Beverage Stores of Indiana, is one of the hundreds of shoppers tasting the wares of wholesalers, distributors and makers of these beverages for those 21 and older. His top three new alcohol product picks of the night: Blue Chair Bay Premium Rum, Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch Whisky and Dogfish Head Namaste. As Gardner was making the rounds, he noticed many of the top sellers already stocked in Belmont stores such as the popular creams and Dr. McGillicuddy’s Fireball Whisky. “Flavors have come into brown goods,” Gardner noted, “and they’re selling well.” One top-shelf note for the trade show is the close relationship that package stores have with suppliers — especially as the season is close to the holidays when people are expanding their pantries for great varieties and samples to offer their guests and families. Any new alcohol product for a food pairing for the holidays gets a closer look. The Guinness Blonde American Lager, for example, is just three weeks on the market and the first time a Guinness, according to the sales rep, has “left the gates of Dublin in 125 years.” It’s important to know what customers want — and to stock what customers want to sample. Gardner’s crew from Belmont is doing just that for its 35 Indiana package stores, from stocking the BuzzBallz for the football season to the Dead Bolt reds for those fragrant turkey dinners coming to the table soon. If Belmont can find it here, you can bet it will be delivered and on the shelf well before the holiday season begins. Drink Better Blue

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