ROCHESTER, N.Y., Dec. 6, 2017 — An east coast favorite since the introduction of its four-times distilled vodka in 2012, Rochester, NY-based Recipe 21's line of value-priced spirits is now selling more than 100,000 cases a year in just seven markets. Thanks to a dramatic 45 percent sales increase since 2016, the brand is now seeking distributors in new markets across the country.
Produced by LiDestri Spirits, the Recipe 21 line now includes: Premium Vodka; Orange, Grape and Cherry vodkas; London Dry Gin; Silver Tequila; Blended Whiskey; White Rum; Triple Sec and Peach Schnapps. LiDestri plans to expand the Recipe 21 brand portfolio with new and trending flavors and product categories.
“Value, quality and variety add up to success, judging from the reception we've received to Recipe 21,” said Ricky Tatar, LiDestri Food and Drink Product Manager. “Since introducing Recipe 21 five years ago, we've had buy-in across the board—from quality- and value-seeking consumers to bar managers stocking their well with something of higher quality.
Tatar believes Recipe 21's success can be attributed to its simple but effective business plan: offer a portfolio of products offering exceptional quality and great taste that meets the needs of its customers. No bells and whistles or fabricated brand story; just a really good product at a fair price.
Jeff Dodsworth, Vice President of Lake Beverage Distributing who has been selling Recipe 21 to bars, restaurants and retailers since it came to market, has watched and significantly contributed to Recipe 21's fast-track growth trajectory. “Bar managers want to place one order from one wholesaler to fill their well,” said Dodsworth. “And Recipe 21 is the high-quality brand we offer to fill that need at a reasonable price.”
Chris Spillman, bar manager at MacGregor's Grill & Tap Room in Rochester, New York, and a Dodsworth customer, backs up his claim. “I call Recipe 21 a bartender's best friend. With just one order I get a deep line of affordable spirits that taste great,” said Spillman. “And that comes straight from my customers, who regularly tell me it's as good or better than more expensive brands.”
Praise is nice, but success comes down to customer acceptance and sales. And from the start, growth of the Recipe 21 line was steady. “But over the last 18 months, as more and more consumers tasted the product, sales have skyrocketed,” says Dodsworth. “In fact, our sales have gone from 10 cases per day, to 100 cases per day, and I don't see it slowing down.”
Aimed at millennials and the bartenders who serve them, Recipe 21's contemporary packaging, smart positioning, wide flavor range and premium-level quality has made it a go-to brand for arguably some of the savviest consumers in the market. Today's average 21-something won't give a second thought to brand advertising if doesn't come with social proof.
“When young consumers discover affordable spirits that taste good—in the well or displayed on the bar—word gets around,” said Spillman. “We've seen that mediocre well spirits just won't cut it for this crowd. When it comes to their drink of choice, our young adult customers expect, or rather demand, quality and affordability.”
Tatar believes it all comes down to a quality-to-price ratio: And how do you measure quality? You taste it. When you order a well drink from the bar and it's a palate pleaser, you know you're on the right track. Young adults aren't fooled by flair; they know real value when they see it — or, as in this case, taste it. If they like it at the bar, they find it at a retailer and they bring it home.
Another key to Recipe 21's success is the unconventional strategy used to select its distributors. “We're marketing a growing line of products all under the Recipe 21 name, not just a line of vodkas or a whiskey with multiple flavors, so we wanted a distributor that knew how to sell a brand family,” said Tatar. “In this case, a beer and wine distributor.”
Tatar said engaging Lake Beverage Distributing, known for distributing a wide range of domestic and foreign beer brands, might have seemed unusual, but they understood the brand right from the start. Other key distributors responsible for Recipe 21's success include: Try-It Distributing (Greater Buffalo/Niagara Falls area), Spirit & Sanzone (Central New York/Syracuse area), Saratoga Eagle Sales & Service (Albany/Saratoga Springs area), Oak Beverage (Metro NY) and Eagle Beverage (Central NY/Oswego Area). LiDestri is currently seeking new distributors with the same capabilities of its current partners—selling a growing line of Recipe 21 spirits to a mostly “prove it to me” millennial crowd.
Recipe 21 is now sold in seven markets: New York, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Florida.
About LiDestri Spirits:
LiDestri Spirits is a division of LiDestri Food & Drink based in Rochester, New York. The company provides a variety of services including contract manufacturing for high-proof spirits, liqueurs, wine-based products, cream liqueurs, wines and other custom or specialty liquor-based products. Proprietary spirits brands in addition to Recipe 21 include mü coffeehouse cocktails, Pink Lemon Liqueur, LiDestri's Sangria, Tuttobello Liqueurs and Cask & Crew Rye Whiskey Blend.
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