The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2011

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Page 48 of 124

COVER STORY continues Frankel. “It generated tremendous response on bulletin boards and in emails. Everyone wanted to know what was in the Skinnygirl Margarita.” Frankel knew that she had stumbled onto a potential hit in her recipe for a lightly sweetened, lower calorie pre-mixed Margarita. Two years later, she’s proven herself right. t PALM BAY IS LEGITIMIZING THE LOW-CAL CATEGORY  A natural food chef and the author of two bestselling food books—Naturally Thin and The Skinnygirl Dish—Frankel has long been an advocate of healthy eating and specializes in developing healthy versions of conventional high-calorie dishes. When it came to cocktails, though, Frankel had been a bit frustrated. “I wanted a drink that The New Spirits As of March 21, 2011, Skinnygirl Cocktails became part of the Beam Global Spirits & Wines portfolio. 48 / the tasting panel / april 201 1 he epiphany came shortly after Bethenny Frankel mixed herself a cocktail on the reality show Real Housewives of New York and said, “You know what this is? It’s a Skinnygirl Margarita! The minute I said that on Bravo, it was earth-moving,” Thin-du by Tim Teichgraeber and Rachel Burkons I could order every night. I’d try to order something that was low in calories and it would end up being raspberry vodka on the rocks with a lime, and I’d be miserable. I’d wind up drinking 700-calorie Margaritas afterward because I wasn’t satisfied.” As a solution, she created Skinnygirl Margarita. Frankel compares her straightfor- ward recipe of blue agave silver tequila, lime juice and agave nectar to the Margaritas she had enjoyed on vacation in Mexico—only less sweet. The subtle natural sweetness of agave nectar meshes perfectly with its distilled counterpart and is considerably lower on the glycemic index than corn syrup, sucrose or fructose. Phenomenal Growth Marc Taub, President of Palm Bay International, a significant player in the wine import business, was in the process of building a strong portfolio of spirits, including Aperol, one of the fastest-growing spirits brands in the world. He, along with his father David, Chairman and CEO, decided to hire Alain Barbet, a Pernod-Ricard veteran, to expand that portfolio and lead a dedicated spirits operation. Then, in early 2010, Marc discov- ered Skinnygirl Margarita and saw it as a potential winning addition to that portfolio. “Bethenny and her public profile were getting bigger and bigger by the month. We tasted the product and thought the concept was really interesting. We knew that Palm Bay’s distribution strength and wholesaler relationships could take the brand to a whole other level. We decided to take it on,” says Barbet. Skinnygirl had sold a few thousand cases in its first six months before coming to Palm Bay. With Palm Bay’s powerful national sales force behind it and production kinks worked out, sales growth has been nothing short of phenomenal. In the past year, the brand has rocketed to being the fastest growing ready-to-serve on the market. “At this point we have depleted over 120,000 cases in ten months, despite supply challenges. I’ve been in the business for about 12 years now, and this is one of the most successful launches ever,” says Barbet.

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