Libations to keep you warm through the winter!

Libations to keep you warm through the winter!

Just for Fun, Wine & Liquor

Around the time of the first snowfall, do you notice that certain drinks take on a new appeal? Just as kids associate cold weather with hot chocolate, adults associate certain drinks with a feeling of warmth. Think about how a glass of red wine or Scotch warms the stomach and spreads out to your fingertips. It’s pretty great, isn’t it? We like to call these drinks winter warmers. Across almost all categories of adult beverage there’s a shift in preferences when the thermometer takes a dive. Here are a few winter warmers:

Beer

Food and Beer with dark backgroundWith winter starting here on Colorado’s Front Range, “the Napa Valley of Beer,” pilsners and hefeweizens are giving way to heavier ales like porters and winter warmers.

“Every year Odell Brewing comes out with Isolation Ale, which does really well over the winter,” says Joe Musa, owner of Campus West Liquors. “New Belgium comes out with Accumulation, which is another heartier beer that they bring out for the season.”

We thought Joe would be a good person to go to for tips and insights on how people keep warm this time of year. We were right. There’s a significant reshuffling of inventory with every change of the season. Here in Colorado, we’re lucky to have four beer seasons (poor California). We’re also keen to talk about our favorite cold weather beverages, and you notice it in our taprooms.

For instance, stouts and porters come into higher demand when the ugly sweaters come out. Many, such as Goose Island’s Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout (not for the faint of heart) are only produced seasonally.

Wine

“Wine preferences also shift from white to red”, Joe states. That’s because cold drinks that hit the spot after a day in the sun hold less appeal if you just changed spent a day skiing in a snowstorm. Cabernets and other red wines are best drunk a few degrees below room temperature, while white wines express themselves best when they’re chilled.

Woman drinking tea outside
“Pinot noirs go well with Thanksgiving dinner, in general,” Joe advises. “If you’re going to go with a red, that’s what I recommend. If you’re going to go with white, I like to recommend a Riesling or a Gewürztraminer, which are a little on the sweeter side. Gewürztraminer—they call it a spiced wine—has more of a pear taste to it so it goes well with stuffing, turkey, cranberry and so forth.”

 

Joe recommends any Gewürztraminer made by Chateau Ste. Michelle, a Washington-based winery. One Riesling he recommends is Kung Fu Girl, also out of Washington State.

Spirits and wine variants

Eggnogs made with brandy or bourbon go down well during the holidays. A couple best sellers include Winter Jack, a blend of Jack Daniels Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey and apple cider liqueur, and Evan Williams Egg Nog. But while holiday guests enjoy tradition, they may also appreciate it if you break convention.

Warm cocktail drink on wood table
“Mead is a honey wine that does pretty well around the holidays. It’s a little heavier than other wines.” Campus West carries honey wine from Palisade-based Meadery of the Rockies made with 100% pure, raw orange blossom honey, as well as Camelot Mead by Oliver Winery.  Honey wines are often chock full of fruits such as blackberry, cherry, raspberry and apricot.

Mulled wines are served warm and mixed with mulling spices such as cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and sugar. German-style Glühweins (“mulled wines”) can be found bottled, or you can make them at home.  Mulled wine is generally made by heating a cheap red wine and mulling spices. The smell will give your house a nice holiday aroma and the drink will warm your belly. There are a lot of recipes online or you can try whatever spices tickle your fancy.

Liqueurs

Anything that goes well with coffee or hot chocolate will be a welcome addition to your cupboard this time of year, Joe says. Amaretto, Bailey’s, Frangelico, Peppermint Schnapps clear the shelves a lot faster when snow is flying.

“Bailey’s is a classic winter-time liqueur, many of our customers have been picking up a bottle during the holidays for the past 40 years.”

Naturally, we were interested in hearing about some of Joe’s personal favorites. He keeps things pretty varied, he says, because I suppose it’s the natural thing to do if you own a liquor store.

Having said that, “Every now and then on a snowy night with a fire going, a bottle of port with some walnuts and cheese really hits the spot. It’s comforting.”

Single malt Scotch can also take the chill out of the air like few things can. “McCallen 18-year old is my favorite. … I used to drink it more when it was $85 a bottle.” Prices have recently skyrocketed due to limited quantities and high demand.

If I had been thinking, I may have asked Joe to sell me a bottle of 18-year McCallan for $85, “For old time’s sake.” I don’t know if it would have worked, but dark ales and the occasional single malt will be helping to keep me warm this winter.

What’s your go-to cold weather libation?

 

Want to read more by RCS? Check out Why Your Liquor POS Gets Better With Age.

Why Your Liquor POS Gets Better With Age

Why Your Liquor POS Gets Better With Age

Wine & Liquor

Congratulations! You have just finished shopping for the best point of sale system (POS) for your liquor store. You’ve done your due diligence and have made sure that you are purchasing a system that meets all of your business’ needs. You’ve spent hours researching the perfect provider to implement your system, consulted with them about how to best use it and provide ongoing support.

So now what? Well, the good news is that you have just made one of the best business decisions since you decided to build your website. But the work is just starting, one of the hardest parts of the whole process is getting your new system set up, building your inventory and making sure that all of the settings are properly configured. You also need to make sure that your staff is trained to use the system, new labels are printed, hardware is installed and more! All of this also needs to happen while you continue to run your business.

shaking hands

This is where having the right partner comes into play. A great partner will walk you through all of the steps, and make sure that the transition to  your new system goes off without a hitch. A poor partner will try to hurry you through the sale of the system, without ensuring that it is a good fit for you. They will then ship you the system and wish you the best of luck.

Once you go live, it’s time to dive in and learn about all of the power that your new system provides. As you and your new liquor POS system get to spend more time together you will both become more proficient. Your inventory will be more accurate, promotions will go off without a hitch, and you’ll start to unleash the real power that a liquor POS system provides.

Many people are under the assumption that a point of sale system is just a way to cash out customers at the register. Once you realize that a liquor POS system can do much, much more you will be able to use it in almost every part of your day to day operations. A point of sale system is like the brain of your business, it stores and analyzes information about your sales, inventory, staff, and customers. By tracking trends, it can assist you in making better purchasing decisions to ensure you never run out of product when you most need it.

Just like a human brain, the decisions and recommendations from your liquor POS system rely on accurate and complete data. Accurate data starts when you and your team are first creating SKUs in your system, and continues as inventory is purchased, received, and sold. RCS regularly encounters businesses that chose a less expensive liquor POS system, but were never provided the proper training on how to set it up and properly use it. This causes a wide range of issues and can even negatively impact your whole business. A great example of this is when you spend weeks preparing for a large promotion at your store. After weeks of promoting it, creating signage and creating customer buzz. All to have it create poor customer experiences when items don’t ring out correctly at checkout. This feature should be easy to set up in most POS systems, but if you and your employees are not properly trained it can be a headache which can lead to frustrated customers and employees.

Red WineMuch like a nice bottle of red wine, your system will start to age- and in both cases, age is a good thing! An aging point of sale system is full of actionable data including detailed sales history, inventory information and customer sales history. This information is the lifeblood of your business, it allows you to see, and act on, purchasing trends, customer demographics and buying habits  and then use that information to ensure you have just the right amount of inventory to handle the next holiday rush.

POS systems come in many shapes and sizes and knowing the right one to fit your business is a decision that could change the way that you do business moving forward. Much like you are an expert on running your business, RCS is an expert at the selection, customization and deployment of point of sale systems. We can help you select the right system to fit your needs and make sure that you are trained how to get the most out of all of your retail technology.  

Founded in 1987, Retail Control Systems specializes in retail and restaurant management software and hardware solutions. RCS has built a reputation for finding specialized business management solutions that help businesses gain complete control over their operations and finances. From inventory control to daily sales management, RCS has the experience and expertise across the full-range of retail and restaurant industries to meet the unique needs of any business. RCS has been providing superior customer service, exceptional quality, and innovation to the retail and restaurant community for nearly 30 years.

Read about a current RCS customer, Curtis Liquors, and how they use their liquor POS!

Ariel’s Adventures – Curtis Liquors

Ariel’s Adventures – Curtis Liquors

Just for Fun, Wine & Liquor

By Ariel Leggett

I love visiting RCS customers for many reasons. Mostly, I love that each trip is an adventure, an opportunity to get face-to-face, belly-to-belly, to learn more about the people and businesses we serve, to discover wants and needs, joys and frustrations. Each visit is an opportunity to strengthen relationships, to share knowledge and to help. Since I stayed back from our Red Sox Team Store trip (read more about that here), I decided to embark on an adventure of my own, to Curtis Liquors!

This month, I paid a long overdue visit to Rick Curtis, President and Founder of Curtis Liquors. As I pulled up to the parking lot of the Weymouth, MA store, I was greeted by a gigantic welcome sign. I entered the store with my RCS bag over my shoulder– one look from the friendly Curtis Liquors team and they knew I was here to see Rick. We looked all over and finally found him up front, connecting with vendors and ensuring the store was in order for the day ahead. We immediately beamed big toothy grins at one another, shook hands and landed in a great big hug.

About Curtis Liquors:

Curtis Liquors was founded in 1976 and has, in its more than 40 years, grown to two locations on the South Shore of Massachusetts. Operating under Rick Curtis’s philosophy of the winning trilogy (selection, service, price), both stores consistently wow customers with their variety and value of wine, spirits, beer and cigars. With his passion for building and nurturing relationships, Rick has been constructing his empire for decades. In fact, he was among the first to take a gamble on Jim Koch’s craft beer in the 1980’s. Maybe you have heard of Sam Adams?

Back to the visit:

I knew from my phone conversations with Rick there was something very special about him – his demeanor is kind, warm, attentive and passionate. As we found a seat in the training room and delved into discussion, it was very clear he listens to understand, not to respond. The way in which he communicates with his team (not his staff or employees – a very important distinction) speaks volumes to the depth and quality of their relationships. You can see it also in the dedication his team has to carrying out his vision. Don Barrows (Weymouth Store Manager) was originally hired at 18 years old and has since been with Curtis Liquors for over 30 years! I also had the pleasure of meeting Kelly Raymond – sharp and hard working (not to mention her gorgeous head of red, curly hair), she often single-handedly saves the day when it comes to e-commerce snafus.

So what’s next for Curtis Liquors? Rick and the gang will be joining us next month at the Julio’s Liquor Store Workshop (you can find out more info here).This summer, Kelly will be exploring new integrated e-commerce solutions. The whole organization will be one step closer to achieving PCI compliance once 2 Factor Authentication is fully implemented. Of course, and this goes without saying, they will all continue to create an awesome experience in store and online for their customers!

Use Social Media to Engage Customers and Drive Traffic to Your Store

Use Social Media to Engage Customers and Drive Traffic to Your Store

Wine & Liquor

Darlene McQueen, Retail Control Systems

Jack Frost cocktail drink in martini glass

Last year around the holidays, I drove all over town trying to find Blue Curacao. Finally, at my fourth liquor store, I successfully purchased the last bottle on the shelf. As I was checking out the owner asked, “Why is Blue Curacao so popular right now?” I pulled out my cell phone and showed him a mouthwatering picture of a drink circulating on social media called “Jack Frost”. The main ingredient in this viral drink was Blue Curacao.

How can your liquor store capitalize on a viral drink? Begin by creating a campaign strategy to engage current customers, which will help sell product and extend your reach. We want to help, so we’ve outlined some tips & tricks.

Start a “Drink of the Month” campaign

  • First, create a drink.
    • Involve employees by encouraging them to create or share recipes.
    • Give the drink a catchy name like “Jack Frost”.
  • Publish a Facebook-worthy photo or a video that will catch the eye of your followers.
    • Include the recipe and use that opportunity to promote certain brands you carry like CIROC instead of just Vodka.
    • Be sure to include your store’s logo on the photo/video.
  • Make it fun for all!
    • Encourage customers to rate the drink, or share photos of themselves enjoying the cocktail on your social media channels.

Get Ready to Sell

  • Create in-store displays that make it easy to find all the ingredients.
  • Use your inventory management solution to ensure you have and maintain ample stock of your “Drink of the Month” ingredients.
  • Create “Drink of the Month” sales kits and use your point of sale solution to assemble and sell these kits easily.
  • Use your point of sale solution to automatically create special pricing on the ingredients in the “Drink of the Month”.

Get Results

  • Pull sales reports to determine the success of your campaign.
  • Use an integrated email marketing solution, like NCR’s Customer Connect, to target customers who have purchased kits and send emails encouraging them to rate their experience online.

Commit

Before you begin this campaign make sure you are committed, the last thing you want is to promote a “Drink of the Month” campaign and have it fizzle after a couple weeks.

Having a Point of Sale System, like NCR Counterpoint, that can help you easily and quickly create these campaigns to drive customers to your store is important to the success of your business. Retail Control Systems (RCS) values ourselves as trusted advisors and helps to provide you with a POS that will not only fit your store needs, but will also allow you to sell more.