Be it wine, spirits or beer — or all of the above — consumers are craving their libations and are seeking the right tools for making and serving their preferred cocktails at home. This trend has opened up a unique opportunity for independent gourmet retailers to not only offer bar tools and wine accessories to customers, but also to inspire them to take their cocktail game to the next level.
Rebekah and Mark Stelling, owners of Bekah Kate’s Kitchen, Kids and Home, an independent housewares store located in Baraboo, WI, have been doing just that. The duo has been slowly introducing new goods to the store’s barware assortment, as well as educational classes, all of which have helped boost sales.
GOURMET INSIDER® recently caught up with Rebekah Stelling and asked her about some of her best practices for creating and maintaining a successful barware program:
Gourmet Insider: Consumers seem to embracing this new cocktail culture, particularly when it comes to entertaining at home. What are some of the must-haves your customers are asking for?
RS: My customers took a five year break or so, but cocktail culture is definitely back in fashion. We are still working on our perfect assortment, but all things ice cube have definitely been at the top of the best sellers. Of course the Moscow mule mug had a good run and continues to trickle on. We have seen a small surge in martini as well. We also sell bitters and some local craft spirits as we have a liquor license.
GI: How do you merchandise your barware and wine accessories?
RS: We have our cocktail goods with our wine and wine glasses. We do have them themed a bit depending on the season. For example, we pair summer cocktails and margarita and other mixes mixes with their corresponding glassware and accessories. We don’t sell many kits, but drinking games have been popular.
GI: What are some of your top barware/wine accessory sellers and what price points do you best for you?
RS: Our barware comes from a variety of vendors. Oxo for the functional basics at a good price and then we add in goods from Tag and True Brands for a little more stylish and moderate pricing. For slightly higher priced and more unique options, we stock Sparq and Fortessa. We also throw in some goods Fred & Friends and Kikkerland for fun. Wisconsin-themed drink items have been popular. We have cocktail mixes from Stonewall Kitchen and Hot Ruby.
GI: Do you offer cocktail making/wine tasting class and how have they helped you sell product to customers?
RS: Yes, we offer Wine 101 and 201 and have had a very popular wine cocktail class that we had to repeat because there was so much demand. As we move forward, we are planning on more classes.