The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2014

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Page 121 of 132

october 2014  /  the tasting panel  /  121 WHAT'S NEW I t's easy to understand why visitors to Premier Beverage Company's Ft. Lauderdale headquarters have a hard time leaving the premises: No bar in town could match the Florida distributor's new Mixology & Training Center. Walking through the massive glass doors feels more like entering a sumptuous lounge you'd find in a five-star desti- nation than a haven for education, creative fellowships and idea sharing. Premier Beverage Company created this luxe laboratory with eye-popping technology for several reasons. "We use it with suppliers when they bring in new items to create and test cocktails, and then we provide these recipes to our sales teams so they can share with their accounts," says Premier Executive Vice President Eric Pfeil. "We also create retail shelf talkers to inform the end consumers how they can use the new product." Premier also cultivates relationships with existing and new accounts in the lab, helping create cocktail and wine lists. The Mixology Lab's lounge atmosphere ups the comfort level and encourages creative brainstorming. Here, people can mix drinks just as they would behind the bar. "They can also learn how to properly make the drinks, or use their own creative genius to come up with new and exciting cocktails on their own," Pfeil says. "Finally, we can use the Mixology & Training Center not only to train our own people how to prepare cocktails, but also to get tips on how to sell these craft cocktails using our spirit brands." Pfeil reports that wine consumption in Florida is also at an all-time high, placing Premier in an optimum posi- tion to support those accounts with brands, training and support they need. With an aggressive program and the Mixology & Training Center at hand, Premier tapped two of the best minds in the beverage business: Master Sommelier Andy McNamara is Director of Fine Wine while Nick Nistico fills the role of Corporate Beverage Program Development Specialist. Premier President Bob Drinon may be the leader of the company, but he still relishes every opportunity to learn more and communi- cate knowledge. "Education is becoming more important in our industry, and not only are Nick and Andy highly decorated, but they are great with people—both of them teach me something every time I am lucky enough to watch them present," says Drinon, high praise indeed from someone with such a vast knowledge of the beverage business. "We are a service-driven company, and from the very top, we speak service and education." Pfeil shares Drinon's optimism for the future of Premier and the wine and spirits business in Florida, where tourism and hospitality are two of the state's top revenue generators. "In having a highly acclaimed mixologist and world-renowned Master Sommelier on board at Premier Beverage, we have an opportunity to use their talents like never before in the Mixology & Training Center," he says. "They want to be the face of Premier in both the cocktail community and among the leaders in the wine arena, and we encourage that as they work throughout Florida and in other parts of the country." The sharing of McNamara and Nistico's experiences opened up new ideas to Premier customers, suppliers and the staff who understand and embrace a passion for spirits FIRING UP THE HOTTEST COCKTAILS AND COOL VINTAGES IN PREMIER BEVERAGE COMPANY'S NEW MIXOLOGY & TRAINING CENTER (Left to right) Premier President Bob Drinon; Vice President of On-Premise Strategy & Development Scott Hersh; Corporate Beverage Program Development Specialist Nick Nistico; and Master Sommelier Andy McNamara.

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