“Keep it fresh.” I hear that often from restaurateurs, bar operators and beverage brand marketers. To compete today, every dining and drinking experience must have an element of the “new,” and beverage brands are constantly updating product formulations, packaging and advertising to stimulate consumer interest.
We in the magazine business are no different; we’re always looking at Cheers for ways to “keep it fresh,” not to mention relevant and useful. You may already have noticed some changes in the magazine during 2008. Our Drinks department has moved, and now it is thematic; in the April issue we offer tequila cocktails, complementing our “Serious Tequila” story. A new department, “Back2Basics,” now graces the last page of the magazine, providing quick instruction on a basic best practice of bar operation. We welcome your input on the value of both these changes.
Another change is the way we’re approaching profiles. In the past, we’ve presented an article about a restaurant or bar—a chain or an independent—highlighting what they do well, how they do it, and how well it is working. There’s much to be learned from examining businesses in this way. During my travels, however, readers often have told me they’d also like to learn how various operators in a market are responding to trends. Perhaps it ties into the emerging “think local, drink local” mentality.
So, starting in the April issue, we’ve launched a new series called Market Profile; for April we’ve done Philadelphia. The piece looks at the drinks scene in a given market: Who are the players, what are their challenges and opportunities, what are the consumer and economic trends and, finally, what are the spirits, wine and beer traditions and trends.
Why Philadelphia? We opted to look at drink markets with a lower profile than New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles to see how the trends begun in those major markets are (or are not) migrating, and also to see what’s percolating in these smaller markets that others might learn from or tap into as they seek to “keep it fresh” in their own businesses. In the Philadelphia Market Profile, you’ll meet some of the top operators, along with innovative newcomers. Again, we welcome your feedback.
Also in the April issue, as part of our Cheers Beverage Conference coverage, we pay tribute to chain operators, supplier companies and up-and-coming mixologists who definitely are keeping it fresh.