The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2012

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Page 71 of 132

Phillips Peppermint Schnapps, the first schnapps produced in America, leads a line-up of Phillips retro products designed to cap- ture the Mad Men demographic. Capturing the Demographic Some of Phillips "Heritage" re-releases will include Gin-Ka, first introduced in 1971 it to inspire gin drinkers to try vodka. With the product hitting shelves anew in its original 70s "flower-power" bottle, Phillips notes the company is now hoping to re-introduce vodka to gin fans. Later this fall, the equally iconic Phillips Sno Shoe Grog, a mix of brandy and peppermint schnapps released in 1963, will be launched for the holiday season. Though Phillips acknowledges that historic cocktails from past generations such as Jerry Thomas's era in the 19th century and pre- Prohibition have fueled the mixology movement, Phillips Distilling Company is counting on the mid-20th century's pop cultural appeal deriving from shows such as Mad Men to capture that demo- graphic's attention. "We have a habit of looking through our archives, and con- sistently recognizing that some of our most inspirational 'new' ideas come from those done in the past," Phillips affirms. "We feel younger customers can relate better to American brands and cocktails of the mid-century than those of pre-Prohibition or mid-19th century. This gives us an opportunity to focus on our own iconic brands, beginning with Phillips Peppermint Schnapps, the first schnapps produced in America. " Zagging While Others Zig Gin-Ka, a gin-vodka blend which first appeared in 1971, is being re-released as Phillips Distilling Company draws on its archive of fun, retro spirits. Phillips Distilling Company was also the first to create flavored vod- kas, in the 1950s. Phillips traces the success of contemporary success of the company's UV Vodka back to 1955, when the firm launched flavored and colored vodkas in mint, grape, orange, cherry and lemon. Phillips emphasizes that sometimes a firm has to swim against the current of trends to be noticed. "The most important operational lesson I have learned is that we need to remain dedicated to innovations," he says. "When other companies are zigging, we need to be zagging—and constantly pushing the enve- lope. UV Vodka is a perfect example of this; the Cake flavor has been the most successful product introduction in our 100 year history, followed by the recently released Chocolate Cake. Our next new product launch Phillips Sno Shoe Grog, a blend of brandy and pep- permint schnapps, will re-appear this holiday season. july 2012 / the tasting panel / 71 CREDIT: PHOTO: BECCA DILLEY PHOTOGRAPHY

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