Specialty Food Magazine

Summer 2019

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Please describe Cheese Bar. The cheese selection generally ranges between 200 and 250 with the focus on small produc- ers around the world. We have 50 to 60 wines, also mostly small producers. These are food friendly, higher acid, very approachable and affordable wines. We have about 60 different beers in bottles from pilsners to barrel-aged stouts, with lots of sour beers and IPAs because we're in the Pacific Northwest. And we have about a dozen ciders from semisweet to super funky. Wine is about 50 percent of the beverage sales, beer about 35 percent, and cider about 15 percent, but cider is gaining ground steadily. How do you exploit that synergy between cheese sales and alcoholic beverage sales? One of the first questions that we ask customers is if they're going to be having the cheese with a beverage. You're going to get them better cheeses that way, and it gives you an opportunity to include a beverage in the sale. Our average rings have gone up considerably as we've gotten better at getting people to buy into the entire package. The first year, it was close to $17; now it's almost $45. Now some of our customers have trained themselves to get a glass of wine or beer while they're shopping. They're calmer and they're tasting while they're buying. This is a very taste- driven place. Are alcoholic beverage sales a key contributor to your profitability? The business would not be alive if it were not for alcohol. The margins are good. It's so much less perishable than cheese. It's just such a good add on. I would say our busi - ness is about 30 percent cheese, 30 percent alcohol, 30 percent prepared food, and 10 percent miscellaneous. PHOTOS: DAVID L. REAMER Authors Steve Jones and Adam Lindsley 60 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com cheese focus

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