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When Arkansas shifts from convenience to experience

Have you seen your wine sales go up over the last 7 years?

The long term trend in alcohol consumption by type of beverage is pointing to a shift from beer to wine. Beer category is still dominating the industry with close to 50% of total consumption.

Even though, the total industry sales are consistent with their growth trend, the structure of sales is changing. Wine consumption is taking a larger part of the picture. We believe this to be a fundamental shift in the way consumers are shopping and in the way retail liquor stores are operating.

Wine being two to three times better margined than beer, it makes a lot of sense for liquor stores to slowly shift their business models towards wine. Leading stores in Arkansas are already making that shift and are experiencing strong growth.

Two megastores that recently opened in the last 12 months set a new tone in the industry: LEGACY Wine & Spirits and SODIE’s Wine & Spirits. Both store owners are experiencing similar industry momentum:

“Customers routinely spend upwards of 15 minutes or more talking with our staff at our tasting bar concerning the various beers we offer at the growler station or about the wines in our Enomatic dispensing system.” says Scott Clark, owner of Sodie’s Wine & Spirits in Fort Smith.

Exhibit 1.0 - Sodie's Wine & Spirits store in Fort Smith Arkansas

The new generation of stores are no longer called liquor stores, but wine and spirits stores offering more than double the number of wine SKUs and an above average trained staff capable of providing advice on tasting and food pairing.

Exhibit 2.0 - LEGACY Wine & Spirits, in Little Rock Arkansas

This new positioning is not only attracting neighborhood wine snobs, but all populations enjoying wine as a culinary experience rather than a party vehicle: “We see people driving 35 minutes to enjoy something more than just a competitive price point“ mentions John Akins and David Bevans, owners of LEGACY Wine & Spirits.

Megastores are not the only successful model for wine and spirits stores. However, in order to compete, stores need to become more sophisticated in the way they track and analyze their data, train their staff and their cash management invested in inventory, as these elements will be their pillars of success.

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