Talk About The Passion
I am very appreciative and gracious when I receive positive feedback from vendors, Whisk(e)y List members, and in-store customers alike. Usually everyone has the same compliment for me, which is that they enjoy or admire my passion and enthusiasm for booze and for the products I am selling. Now I'm not writing this to toot my own horn or to talk about myself, but it does set the stage for how the spirits business works and how I want it to work from now on at K&L. Passion! You need to like what you sell in order to do your work effectively. If I didn't drink all the time, there's no way I would give a crap about any of this stuff. It's my hobby as much as it is all of yours and we can sniff out any posers among us. As I've written about in the past: I do not get paid to do this blog, the emails, the late night responses to customers at home, or the tastings we do at Martin's West. I do them because I like being involved. I've been having a particularly tough time with some small producers lately who really want to get their products into our store. I really want to help everyone sell their booze, but unfortunately there are just too many people who are doing this for the money and not out of love. If you can convince me that you love vodka, and you've studied the history of it, and you drink it neat after dinner, and how all the different grains affect the texture and flavor, and how your family has been making it for generations, then I'll probably bring it in just out of admiration. This is never the case, however. Most of the producers I am talking with are looking for a marketing plan - selling to young people, selling to clubs, selling to rich people, selling to hip hop artists, etc. I'm over it. It doesn't work at K&L because the people bringing them to me don't care about vodka, they care about money and how they can build the next Grey Goose. The same goes for tequila. I've got amazing products like the Los Osuna tequilas that taste authentic, have a long history of passion for the stuff, and Jesus Padilla brings me the delivery and talks about the spirit with me every time. He loves it and he's so excited that other people share his passion. That type of love is contageous and it makes people want to share in it. Then I've got other tequilas that cross my path where I can tell that all the new oak and sweet vanilla that have been loaded into the flavor are meant for one thing: how fast can we get our bottles into Costco and make a quick fortune. That's great if you're an entrepreneur and everyone has a right to make some money, but don't ask me later why no one is buying your product. It's not about marketing and target groups here. It's about relationships, respect for the trade, quality booze, and passion for good drinks. I'm realizing more and more that I need to stop every once and awhile and really promote the producers that are making quality liquor and who take the time to check in with me and our customers. St George (Hangar One), Los Osuna, Kuchan & Old World Spirits, North Shore Distillery, Clear Creek Distillery, A.D. Rattray Single Malt Whiskies, Willett Bourbon, Dos Manos Tequila, Four Roses and more. These are all people who would be making booze even if it didn't pay the bills. I hope that the enthusiasm they have for making booze, carries over to my selling of it, and to your drinking of it.