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Inside

2 INDUSTRY INSIGHT
BIN
By Alan Forester, CPA, Attorney
36 COMPANY PROFILE
THE D'AQUINO ITALIAN
20 IMPORTING COMPANY
4 INDUSTRY REPORT Now that’s Italian…and still going
UNCERTAIN TIMES strong after three decades
The economy might not be at its
peak, but mixed signals shouldn't 38 COMPANY PROFILE
deter retailers and restaurateurs SNOW QUEEN VODKA
this holiday season TAKES A NEW COURT
A new regime at Marsalle Imports
12 NEW PRODUCTS & PROMOTIONS is taking shape to help grow the
Snow Queen brand
14 CATEGORY FOCUS
AFTER DINNER BOOST 40 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE '08
Increasing sales of Grappa add
value to both restaurants and 54 BRAND PROFILE
retail outlets BLUE ICE VODKA IS OUT,
AND IN A BIG WAY!
20 COVER FEATURE Blue Ice reveals itself to be a
PEGGY JOHNSON: revolutionary American player
THE ICE WOMAN COMETH in today’s “vodka wars”
While SÏKU Glacier Ice Vodka
4 bridges the gap between pristine 58 INDUSTRY REPORT
ancient ice and modern spirit POST-PROHIBITION
innovation, its founder strives to 75 years later, the beverage
bridge the industry gender gap alcohol industry continues
to evolve
34 INDUSTRY EVENT
THE ART OF FOOD & WINE

36 40

14 58
INDUSTRY INSIGHT BIN
Beverage Industry News
BY ALAN FORESTER, CPA, ATTORNEY VOLUME 94, ISSUE NUMBER 29
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PEGGY JOHNSON:
THE ICE WOMAN COMETH

WHILE SÏKU GLACIER ICE VODKA

BRIDGES THE GAP BETWEEN

PRISTINE ANCIENT ICE AND

MODERN SPIRIT INNOVATION,

ITS FOUNDER STRIVES TO BRIDGE

THE INDUSTRY GENDER GAP

Written by Elyse Glickman


T
There are a lot of ultra premium vodkas out there, com-
plete with jazzy promotions, excellent distribution systems
for on and off-premise accounts and trend-setting packag-
ing. However, how many of them can actually claim they are
“cool as ice?” Sïku Glacier Ice Vodka can, as Greenland glacier
ice is an integral ingredient and distinctive aspect of the produc-
tion process. The fact that the ice is shipped to Denmark, the
distillation process is completed in Holland while its business is in
Canada doesn’t hurt, either.

Even with this uniquely international way to put her business partner, Guido Frank of Germany,
a world class vodka into a bottle and onto a whom she found to be a kindred spirit for
shelf, it can be said one of the coolest things unearthing a new spirits venture.
about Sïku is the fact that its CEO, Peggy “In order to succeed in a venture like Sïku.
Johnson—a veteran player in the packaged ice one must have an entrepreneurial spirit, the
and bottled water industry with an international ability to never lose site of your objectives, the
reach—is a woman executive in a still male- ability to take rejection, a good business plan
dominated field. Though hard work and a and an incredible work ethic,” affirms Johnson.
unique concept helped Johnson reach the pinna- “(Frank) and I felt that the consumer would
cle of spirits industry success in a relatively short accept a new method of creating an ultra pre-
period of time, she remains soft-spoken and mium vodka, using our proprietary ice-blending
modest about her accomplishments, and prefers process where we craft Sïku directly from ice.
to maintain a clear focus on a vodka and even- As a result, Sïku is the only vodka in the world
tual product extensions that are markedly differ- that becomes liquid at -25 degrees Celsius
ent from other superb competitors. without ever becoming water.”
Johnson also emphasizes that when sourc-
ing the key ingredient, they do not isolate the
JOHNSON’S LIQUID ASSETS pure water of Greenland for the vodka.
Johnson traces her success back to being one Instead, they only use glacier ice from the
of the founders of a packaged, ice and bottled Qalerallit Sermia Glacier in Greenland, with
water family business along with her brother ice that is up to 60,000 years old. To further
Robert and other family members. In addition freeze this exclusivity permanently, parent com-
to developing an international Rolodex of con- pany Premium Glacier signed an exclusive
tacts (some who would figure into the early suc- agreement for worldwide rights to market prod-
cess of Sïku Vodka), she wore many other hats ucts made from the ice and water of
in her earliest corporate venture, including Greenland's glacier ice cap. As Greenland's
numerous corporate activities such as business ice cap represents 9% of the world's freshwater
planning, capital raising, acquisitions and IPO resources, it is one of the few sources of fresh-
planning. The constant stream of networking water not contaminated by industrial or agricul-
and meet-and-greets ultimately led Johnson to tural pollutants.
“As you might expect, financing was
the biggest hurdle, but that is always prob-
lematic with a start up regardless of gen-
der,” she states. “In the midst of the proj-
ect I experienced a massive cerebral
aneurysm, which brought additional diffi-
culties of its own. However, we survived,
and we have attracted quality people to
the Sïku venture like Peter Boosalis of
BrandOptix in Minneapolis. Whenever we
relay the story behind the plans for Sïku,
most people are instantly captivated and
interested in becoming involved in our
Peggy Johnson, CEO, Premium Glacier Îce Inc. Photo Courtesy of Tom Donahue. vision of creating an international brand
surrounding the mystique of Greenland’s
glacier ice. We have assembled a very
good team of outside industry profession-
“In order to succeed in a venture like Sïku. one must have als and are continuing to bring people on
an entrepreneurial spirit, the ability to never lose site of your board as our markets expand. We feel
very fortunate to be able to attract the cal-
objectives, the ability to take rejection, a good business plan iber of people that we have.”
In her eyes, Sïku is a true David Vs.
and an incredible work ethic...” Goliath success story—a young company
— Peggy Johnson, positioning themselves fearlessly against
CEO, Premium Glacier Ice Inc. major giants. While Johnson says it has
tested her team’s ingenuity and sharpened
their creativity, the collective commitment
The pivotal agreement that makes Sïku could freeze their assets and solidify shines through in marketing and promo-
Glacier Ice Vodka possible is between Sïku’s existence, a lot of work had to be tions, which includes gaining distribution
Premium Glacier Inc. and Greenland Ice done to generate interest in their vodka, and visibility through high profile events.
Cap Productions, the only company grant- especially given the current crowded “Gaining distribution always takes
ed the concession by the Greenlandic state of the category. However, Johnson longer than you initially anticipate,”
government to harvest ice from the insists her challenges were based more Johnson muses. “We have to win over dis-
Qalerallit Sermia Glacier. The 20-year on financing and personal health issues tributors in each market one by one so it
renewable agreement represents the first than on any gender biases. Her goal takes time and patience. The first com-
time that ice and water from this naturally was not to prove herself, but prove that ment from newcomers is usually, ‘not
pure, unpolluted glacier will become Sïku Glacier Ice Vodka could live up to another premium vodka!’ However, once
available to the world's consumers. all of the mountain-high expectations for they have the opportunity to taste Sïku and
“This agreement will open up the pris- ultra premium vodka and endure once on hear about Sïku’s incredible heritage and
tine ice and water of Greenland's ice cap the market. its origin, distributors are willing to listen.”
to consumers and companies who want
the best,” said Johnson at the time of the
Photo courtesy of GreenlandTourism.com.

signing. “Independent tests have verified


the glacial ice and water is of an unparal-
leled quality and natural purity when com-
pared to any water on the market today.”

COLD, HARD CASH


WELL SPENT
Before Johnson, Frank and their team

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A WORLD CLASS EFFORT FOR
A WORLD CLASS PRODUCT
While the process of getting the is crafted in small batches. The bottle,
Greenlandic Government to rewrite legisla- meanwhile, was designed in the US by
tion to allow for the export of glacier ice Peter Boosalis of Minneapolis, who has
out of Greenland was a complex and extensive involvement in the alcohol indus-
epic process (as ice is considered a natu- try. The bottle’s virgin glass is blown in
ral resource of Greenland), this is only part France by a major industry glass producer,
of Sïku Glacier Ice Vodka’s story and mys- Saverglass, and decorated in Germany by
tique. The rest of the process, from the Deco Glas.
shipping of the ice to the distillation and However, the journey the product
ice blending to the bottling and packag- makes, from ice to spirit, is just as impor-
ing, ultimately renders Sïku Glacier Ice tant to vodka connoisseurs and discerning
“We will not destroy the Vodka “a true spirit of the world.” distributors. Under the watchful eye of a
Once the required quantity of the pre- master distiller at the Distillery, the ice is

glaciers as we harvest our cious ice is sourced, blocks of ice weigh-


ing several tons are transported by boat to
combined with a five-times distilled ultra-
premium grain alcohol using a proprietary
the factory in Narsaq, Greenland. This trip ice-blending process whereby the ice turns
ice directly in front of our can take two hours and is dependent to vodka without ever becoming water.

glacier, the Qalerllit


Sermia glacier, as it
calves... we’re not only
working to produce the
purest and best vodka
available, but also do it
responsibly.”
upon the difficult weather conditions that The ice and alcohol become liquid at –25
often plague Greenland. Upon arriving at degrees Celsius and a naturally occurring
— Peggy Johnson, the plant, the glacier ice is processed and vodka is born. The tanks containing the
CEO, Premium Glacier Inc. packed into 44 pound bags, palletized, new born spirit are then allowed to rest for
shrink-wrapped and placed in cold stor- 24 hours. During this rest period, the
age ready for shipment by reefer units. 40% ABV ultra-premium Sïku develops its
When aboard Royal Arctic Shipping Lines, ultra-premium character, so smooth that it
it begins its one-week voyage across the can be enjoyed neat.
Atlantic Ocean to Aalborg, Denmark. It takes another five days for Sïku
Upon arrival on the European conti- Glacier Ice Vodka to reach the appropri-
nent, the ice is unloaded and trucked to a ate bottling temperature. Upon the bottles
cold storage facility in The Netherlands, passing through the automated filling line,
which is approximately five kilometers from Sïku is packed into cases of six, palletized
the Toorank Distillery in Didem, where the and warehoused at the distillery ready for
ingredients are assembled and the vodka shipment.

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FIRE AND ICE In the second stage of bottle decoration,
The creation of the bottles is also a great the neck is printed in the four-color process
part of the Sïku story, especially as many at the same time that the distinctive plat-
on- and off-premise professionals know that inum outline is applied around the Sïku
what goes on and around the bottle can logo. Due to the very tight registration
effectively sell what’s inside the bottle, required for this step, an optical system
especially when dealing with trend-con- adjusts the positioning of the bottle while
scious consumers. Between the bottles the machines have to work at a very low
being produced in France and decorated speed to ensure precision results. The
in Germany, the Sïku bottle comes togeth- bottle is fired again, for another two or
er through a multi-stage process. There is more hours at approximately 1148
the first printing of the four color process degrees F. Once the bottles have cooled,
for the body of the bottles (blue, green, the image-making presentation is complet-
white, grey), followed by the bottles being ed with the application of the translucent
fired for approximately two hours at tem- ice-green coating to the bottom. The final
peratures reaching up to 1148 degrees F. firing of the bottles lasts for 30 minutes, at
The bottles cool for three to four hours, and approximately 446 degrees F. Finally
during the cooling process, the screens for after multiple firings the Siku bottle is ready
the second printing are prepared. to be filled with its icy world class vodka.

SEEN IN ALL OF THE


COOLEST PLACES
With so much effort poured into the cre-
ation of Sïku, it is no surprise that Johnson and
her team have been aggressive and yet selec-
tive into how they have gained exposure and
garnered a buzz for the emerging brand.
“We have been working with, and have been
associated with such well-known and well
respected organizations as The Taste Of The
NFL and National Geographic,” she says.
“These early associations gave us and the
brand credibility, and for that reason, we will
continue looking for promotional opportunities
with the right people and groups. Furthermore,
we have achieved considerable brand-building
through participation in special events and
trade shows in which the Sïku brand has been
prominently presented.”
Because Sïku is, literally, ice, Johnson
points out that all account launches and spe-
cial event displays are accompanied by an
ice sculpture. Naturally, at exclusive VIP and
celebrity-driven public events like The Taste of
NFL, more than 2,800 consumers enjoyed
their first tastes and cocktails with Sïku
Glacier Ice Vodka from an elaborate ice bar
as well. Co-sponsoring other events including

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Photo Courtesy of Tom Donahue.


magazine launches, art shows, fashion
shows and festivals have driven interest
and sales.
Sïku recently received rave reviews
from attendees when the vodka was show-
cased during the TFWA World Exposition,
the global forum for the duty free and trav-
el retail industry held in Cannes, France
October 27 to 31. Attendees were invited
to experience Sïku after it was poured
through an elaborate ice luge and served
in glasses filled with pieces of real
Greenlandic glacier ice from the same gla-
cier that Sïku originates from. People could
be seen “listening” to their drinks as they
could hear the sizzle of the compressed Team Siku celebrates in Cannes during Tax Free World Association 2008. Photo courtesy of www.visuel-photo.
oxygen escaping from the ancient ice. This
was certainly not an everyday ordinary
launches in restaurants and lounges in the end grocery chains, including Gelson's,
occurrence in Cannes! Interest in Sïku
various markets that we open. We uti- BevMo, Ralphs and Luckys. Thanks to
Glacier Ice Vodka in Europe, Latin
lize ice and ice carvings to enhance the our distribution and marketing efforts.
America and Asia as in North America
story surrounding our vodka.” Sïku Glacier Ice Vodka can now be
continues to grow.
As it turns out, the story, along with the found in over 1300 stores throughout the
Just as she politely downplays recogni-
proprietary ice blending process and the Golden State.”
tion of being a successful woman in a
ensuing quality has resulted in a number of Siku Glacier Ice Vodka is catching on
male-dominated business, she also insists
honors and awards, including the Santé with Hollywood decision-makers and trend-
Sïku Glacier Ice Vodka is not a gender-
Gold Star Award (2005, 2006, 2007 setters, especially as it has found a home
specific spirit.
and 2008) and medals at the 2006 at Nic's of Beverly Hills, one of LA's pre-
“Sïku is meant to be enjoyed by all
International Review of Spirits and the mier martini bars. The trendy restaurant
who appreciate quality,” she insists. “Sïku
2007 San Francisco World Spirits and bar features Sïku in its famed “VOD-
is made from glacier ice and ice is an
Competition. It also was included in the BOX,” a walk in, drink in vodka freezer
important part of our key branding mes-
Steinway & Sons Owners’ Magazine spir- room showcasing the best and most
sage. We showcase Sïku by using large
its round up, where it topped the “Best of expensive and award-winning vodkas from
ice carvings at all the events we are
the Best Selection” with a score of 9/10. around the world. In Northern California,
involved in, from major trade shows to
Steinway critics praised Siku for its meanwhile, Sïku has also become a
“Balanced nose with light citrus, pleasing favorite at the Four Diamond-rated
cream and a lingering finish.” SeaScape Beach Resort, where diners at
the resort's award-winning Sanderlings and
Palapas restaurants have come to expect
A COLD WAVE the very finest.
HITS CALIFORNIA Sïku has also enjoyed high-profile
And the critics are not the only ones exposure through its being the featured
who express that the spirit made from ice vodka at the kick-off to the Mercedes Benz
goes far beyond nice. Over the past Los Angeles Fashion Week in LA and the
three months, according to Andrew Pfeffer, official vodka sponsor of the Daytime
Sïku’s Sr. VP Western Division Manager, Emmy Awards, and at parties and events
the brand’s precipitous growth in where only the coolest, most innovative
California has been, “a tremendously excit- products will do; that says a lot, so early
ing time for Sïku Glacier Ice Vodka. in the game.
Moving at a pace that is anything but gla- “We have participated in numerous
cial, Sïku has grown from virtually nothing, tastings and events in the L.A. area benefit-
to a vodka with distribution in several high ing everything from the fashion industry to
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COOL HOSPITALITY:
SÏKU SIGNATURE DRINK RECIPES
Sïku’s now famously balanced nose
with light citrus, pleasing cream and
a lingering finish makes it an ideal
foundation for a variety of cocktails,
from the simplest glasses to
gourmet mixology creations.

BLUE SÏKU (AKA) BLUE ICE


11/2 oz Sïku Glacier Ice Vodka
11/2 oz fresh Lemonade
11/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Dekuyper Blue Island — just
enough to give it the glacier blue color
(Blue Curacao may be substituted
if necessary)

Add ingredients into a shaker half filled with


ice. Shake well and serve in a sugar rimmed
martini glass.

ICE CRUSHER
2 oz Sïku Glacier Ice Vodka SWS sponsored Vodka and Caviar event held at the Sardine Factory in the Monterey/Carmel area.
Pictured L-R: Annie Sayous, Central Coast Promos and Andrew Pfeffer, Sïku's Sr. VP Western Division Mgr.
Splash over ice in a brandy snifter
the Sustainability and Rebuilding of New the consumer knows what they’re drinking,
ICETINI Orleans to the opening of the new Eli and the servers understand what makes
2 oz Sïku Glacier Ice Vodka Broad Theater in Santa Monica and the Sïku Glacier Ice Vodka so unique,” com-
Splash of Ice Wine or Eiswein (Germany)
backing of local and national artists,” ments Pfeffer. “Everyone from the 21 year
or a sweet dessert wine
points out Pfeffer. “We also were a main old who wants to be hip, to the more sea-
Pour into a shaker half filled with ice. Shake
well, strain into a chilled martini glass.
sponsor of the Skylar Neil Annual Golf soned veteran who has interests ranging
Garnish with cocktail pick of frozen Tournament benefiting The Skylar Neil from Art to Fashion and Charity. The
sugar-coated grapes.
Fund. We have participated in distributor word gets around quickly and people start
backed events, such as the SWS Spirits to realize the flavor and superiority of
Show, as well as being one of the official Sïku. When we do an event, especially
supplier sponsors of the recently held Art one that features ice carvings, it creates
of Food and Wine in Palm Desert an amazing buzz and a good deal of sur-
November 6-9. In Northern California, prise. I think the events we are doing are
meanwhile, we exposed Sïku to all the key to us gaining exposure to the con-
major buyers in the Monterey/Carmel sumer. In addition, we have shown
area at the SWS sponsored Vodka and tremendous flexibility with our distributor
Caviar Event. We always become the and their salespeople. We will work
main attraction due to the creativity of Ice closely with on-premise accounts, such as
Sculptures, which signify and represent the Seascape Resort, a 5 Star Resort in Aptos
concept of ‘Sïku is Ice.’” that likes Sïku. Seascape Resort believes in
Additionally, Pfeffer notes that the com- the brand and will feature Sïku Glacier Ice
pany is currently running dry demos at all Vodka on drink lists and on the back bar
the Grand Openings of the new BevMo using our Siku lighted bottle glorifier.”
stores throughout California. In November, In terms of day-to-day exposure,
Sïku started running demos and will be Pfeffer says it is also important to keep the
featured in all the Gelson's Stores in reps focused on the key Vodka accounts
Southern California. to make sure Sïku is a player in addition
“We evaluate each and every event to keeping the POS hanging on the shelf
individually, and do our best to insure that and on the bottle. He also adds that it

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helps allowing the consumer to taste Sïku
without making a huge investment. The
distributor and the team also have key
roles in the brand building success.
“Shawn Hackbarth in Northern
California and Sarah Johnson Shopay in
Southern California are working tirelessly
to gain distribution and get retail support,”
Pfeffer stresses. “This happens by having
one on one relationships with buyers and
the Southern Wine & Spirits California
sales team and management. We are
keeping ourselves flexible with our distribu-

Photo courtesy of GreenlandTourism.com.


tor and the retailer or chain by putting
together aggressive programs. In addition
we are also being flexible to the needs of
the chains. We want to be partners with
them, as well as our retail, on and off sale
accounts and our distributor. This way, the
customer knows they are number one. If
they can make good margin on Sïku, then
why try another Vodka?”
Even with such focused efforts, howev- we are offering a way for the consumer to that it is important to protect the grand
er, the biggest challenges the company be unique and be the ‘first on the block.’” past of the Greenland glaciers, not only
faces is getting consumers and retailers to for the future of the brand, but the future
change brands. While many retailers do ON THE HORIZON for the entire world.
not want to shell out cash for brands they’re Thanks to Premium Glacier, Inc.’s exclusive “We are donating to research global
not familiar with, the secret of Sïku is in contract for glacier ice and water from the warming and glacier dynamics in
“breaking the ice” with the clients; being Qalerallit Sermia Glacier the Sïku product Greenland,” she adds. “We de not
personable, having relationships with key line will feature Sïku Glacier Ice Vodka, a destroy the environment as we harvest our
accounts and standing behind the brand. truly unique 40% ABV Ultra Premium glacier ice directly in front of the
“We also face the challenge of the Vodka, produced in the Netherlands as Qalerallit Sermia Glacier, as it calves
distributor having so many Vodka brands, well as other product lines that are being (detaches from the glacier) into the ocean.
the salesperson has a lot on their plate,” developed. Johnson also mentions the A portion of the proceeds from the sale of
Pfeffer says. “We try and combat this by company recently introduced additional Sïku Glacier Ice Vodka will be contributed
being professional, working as a partner, sizes of the vodka into the European mar- toward research in the area of glacial
developing the right combos, and running ket and will be introducing these addition- dynamics in Greenland. Greenland’s gla-
aggressive incentives to get their attention. al sizes to the North American market in ciers deliver large quantities of freshwater
When the distributor believes in the brand, the near future. to the oceans, so the implications of cli-
and the salesperson presents Sïku Glacier All told, however, flavored vodkas are mate change are serious. Therefore, we’re
Ice Vodka, we rarely get a ‘no.’ The quali- not going to be a part of the mix, for obvi- not only working to produce the purest
ty of the vodka, the beautiful package ous reasons. “Flavors may be an impor- and best vodka available, but also to do
combined with Sïku’s smooth taste and tant segment of the premium vodka cate- it responsibly.”
incredible heritage make it a compelling gory but we are more interested in focus- Siku Glacier Ice Vodka ice blended
story. Consequently, chains have been ing on Sïku’s pristine glacier ice heritage,” from Greenland’s glacier ice and distilled
supportive, as we’ve gained new distribu- Johnson insists. “We are aiming to attract 5 times is perhaps the smoothest tasting
tion at Gelson's, Lucky’s, Save Mart, the vodka enthusiast who appreciates the vodka in the world. For more information,
BevMo, Ralphs, and we will soon be in finest quality. Period.” visit Sïku Glacier Ice Vodka by emailing
Jon’s Markets. The price is competitive with Even with progress moving far faster info@Sïkuvodka.com or checking out the
the other Ultra-Premium Vodka brands, and than a glacier’s pace, Johnson recognizes company web site, www.Sïkuvodka.com.
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INDUSTRY EVENT

THE ART OF 1
FOOD & WINE

T
he third annual Art of Food & Wine
Palm Desert took place Nov. 6 through
Nov. 9 on the grounds of the Desert
Springs JW Marriott Resort & Spa. The four-day
festival featured wonderful wines and spirits from
around the world, delicious foods prepared by
local restaurants as well as lifestyle and cultural
seminars on wine education and classic cocktails.
The impressive list of presenters included wine
2
and spirits experts Philip di Belardino, VP of
Wines, Banfi Vintners, David Nepove, Director
of Mixology, Southern Wine & Spirits, and David
Strada, Sommelier (US representative of the New
Zealand Winegrowers). The Art of Food & Wine's
main event, Grand Tastings, showcased 40 winer-
ies and over 100 wine and spirit labels. For more
information, please visit artoffoodandwine.com.

3 4

5 6

Pictured L-R: 1. Vince Martin and Frederick Brand, District Mgr. of Dailys
2. Stefanie Bonner, Carolans Irish Cream spokesmodel 3. Diageo Chateau & Estate
Wines 4. Ross Simon, Arizona Brand Ambassador, and his wife, Christiana,
spokesmodel, and Marcelo Loureiro, So Cal Market Mgr., Sagatiba Cachaça 5. Sarah
Shopay, So Cal Regional Mgr., Shawn Hackbarth, No Cal Regional Mgr., and
Andrew Pfeffer, Sr. VP Western Division Mgr., Sïku Glacier Ice Vodka 6. Melissa
Price, District Mgr., Skyy Spirits, along with Skyy brand team.

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COMPANY PROFILE

D'AQUINO
ITALIAN IMPORTING CO
Still Going Strong After Three Decades

W
hen many beverage industry companies hit a milestone
anniversary, the talk is often focused on the new things they
plan to do to keep up with the competition. However for
The D'Aquino Italian Importing Company of Duarte, CA, the ultimate focus
is on doing more of the same things that made them a solid, off-premise
Gaetano D’Aquino with daughter, Sonia
focused wine purveyor—but on an even bigger level.

Says company founder and patriarch Gaetano (daughter and Vice President of Sales and key issues. In fact, they are so committed to
D’Aquino, “We have worked hard to develop Marketing), the steadfastly family owned- keeping their image consistent, they prepare
lasting relationships where (people at our and-operated company provides fine Italian all of the presentations by themselves.
accounts) trust and believe in what we’re wines mostly under their own labels to such “We’ve never altered our goals, our pas-
doing, based on our values of honesty, consis- major retail forces as Costco, Sam’s Club, sion for wine or our love for those we work
tency and loyalty. We loved the ongoing WalMart, CostPlus, Trader Joe’s, Safeway and with in our industry,” he elaborates. “This
opportunity to introduce American wine Albertson’s. And while their influence has extends not just through me, but my daugh-
drinkers with our retailers to the Italian cul- grown from their Southern California hub ters Patricia and Sonia, and son-in-law
ture through our wines, and worked closely into to the rest of the U.S., they moved into Fabrizio Renna. Every day presents a big
with our client stores to bring these experi- the Mexico market in 1996, and into Canada opportunity to introduce new wines to the
ences to the people via our family brand.” not long after that. At press time, their busi- consumer and, really, something for every-
Fabrizio Renna, the company’s VP of ness in the U.K. and China was also on the body.”
operations, emphasizes that the production in rise. However, D’Aquino-Renna expresses While Piedmont, Veneto and Tuscany are
2008 for most regions in Italy was a bountiful that the strength of the family business and its main production regions for D’Aquino’s
one thanks to favorable weather conditions enduring success lies at its very core. wines, father and daughter note that they
and excellent fruit. The Pinot Grigio and Adds the senior D’Aquino, “We have have exciting new wines coming out of Sicily,
Chianti continue to be the largest sellers for strived to maintain and stabilize our consumer Puglia, Lazio, Verona and other regions. This
D’Aquino in the U.S. market. “We carry prices, but still provide those consumers with is partially in response to the steadily increas-
Chianti DOCG’s (the top tier of wines), the great wines as well as provide our accounts ing demand for Italian wines in the U.S. mar-
Traditional Chianti Flask-straw bottle, with products that satisfy that demand. ket. D’Aquino-Renna also points out that 7%
Chianti Riserva and Chianti Classico Though we sell over two million cases per of total Italian wines exported is purchased by
Riserva,” he says. “We've also been getting year today, during the production and distri- North America. There has been a 33%
great response to newer varietals from bution of our products from our sources in increase in volume of all production of Italian
Southern Italy, including Nero D'Avola from Piemonte, Veneto and Tuscany and other wines in the last decade, and Italy remains the
Sicily, Aglianico from Puglia, Vermentino regions, we have all eyes and ears open to pro- top importer of wine to the US.
from Sardegna, Castelli Romani from Lazio tect our consumers and only bring the highest “We’re celebrating our 30th anniversary
and Asti Spumante DOCG-- Italian quality products to market.” this year, and while we are committed to
Champagne, regarded as the ‘bubbles of He also says that because they do not keeping our clients happy with our quality
dreams.’ For many years, Americans have have outside people in the field, they are wines in the immediate and distant future, it
been celebrating with our Gaetano D’Aquino “proudly accountable” for everything they put is important to my father to thank our cus-
Asti Spumante, as we are on the occasion of out from the actual bottles of wine to the tomers for their continuing support over the
our 30th Anniversary.” services they provide for their accounts in years and reflect on the history and the prod-
According to Patricia D'Aquino-Renna terms of shipping, storing, displays and other ucts that have made us strong,” she says.
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SNOW QUEEN VODKA
TAKES A NEW COURT
A new regime at Marsalle Imports is taking shape
to help grow the Snow Queen brand more effectively.

S
now Queen vodka, as you have seen in our inside the bottles. And to achieve this, there is a new
pages, was one of the great spirits success stories ad campaign in the works for 2009 as well as a slew of
of 2008. The first “dynasty” of rulers used high innovative point-of-sales materials in the works for
profile personality and high profile tactics to crown both the on- and off-premise accounts.
Snow Queen one of the year’s products-to-watch. In terms of the POS materials, we are coming out
However as things progressed, Marsalle Imports, which with a new three to four case rack for the retail stores, as
shared the responsibility of bringing the ultra-premium well as napkin caddies, condiment trays and highlighted
vodka into U.S. markets, decided it was time to make back-of-the-bar display pieces. We are also very excited
some management changes that would ensure the con- about a new pouring device that we are designing that
tinued success of Snow Queen which involved some will light up the whole bottle. We will continue to spend
significant streamlining. money and do events, but we’re going to be more selec-
As can be expected with a major change in corpo- tive about what events we do. We are also going to show
rate policy, there have been rumors floating around the same kind of discretion in terms of how and where
“...under our about the fact that the “Queen” had left the building, we spend the money budgeted to advance the brand.
Through all of these strategies, we want to make it clear
management we so to speak. However, Marsalle Imports’ President
Jimmy Todd is adamant in assuring clients and distrib- to our clients that Snow Queen is not going away.”
In addition to the new strategies the hand-picked
plan to move the utors that the company’s recent businesses decisions
members of the Snow Queen team will be carrying out
will instead protect and propel Snow Queen’s growth.
brand further “We will continue to be strong in the on-premise in 2009, Todd is also quite excited about Snow Queen’s
newly minted organic certification, which is in the
market, as our brand was initially built in the on-prem-
forward on a ise segment throughout the country,” says Todd. “In process of being incorporated into the labeling on the
2009, we are gearing up to make similar in-roads in the bottles, and a Double Gold Medal win at the San
retail level with off-premise/retail segment as well. While we plan to Francisco Spirits Competition, recognized as one of the
maintain the success with the on premise accounts that best vodkas in the world.
both independent the previous management for Snow Queen had estab- “Everything for Snow Queen is done first class,
lished, under our management we plan to move the and nothing will change on that score,” Todd affirms.
stores and brand further forward on a retail level with both inde- “If it is not first class, it won’t be done. I would also like
pendent stores and national chains as well.” to let our customers know that they can count on a
national chains Another key issue Todd wishes to address is that Snow Queen rep coming through their door soon. In
with the changeover, the objective was to shift the the coming year, we’re going to work harder to not only
as well..” focus mainly to the brand itself rather than the person- maintain what was built, but improve on the message
alities of the people acting on behalf of Snow Queen. that was put out there in terms of selecting wholesalers,
He stresses that under the new, more streamlined group implementing the sales and marketing strategies for
– Jimmy Todd overseeing the brand’s growth the emphasis will be pri- each market. Snow Queen will be on all the
President, Marsalle Imports marily on the brand and the quality of the product shelves…that’s our goal.” 

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POUR OF THE MONTH

Finest
CALL POUR OF THE MONTH

Southern California
Valentines Liquor Sherman Callahan, Beverage Buyer Valentines Liquor

Valentines Liquor is one of the most popular liquor retail stores Store owner Armen Chemsian stocks a wide variety of
in Arcadia, California and has been providing their cus- hard to find Spirits, Wines and Beer and takes pride in also
tomers with some of the finest wine, spirits and beverages for carrying a wide selection of Finest Call Mixers. "Without a
the past 25 years. Located near the world famous Santa doubt, Finest Call Mixers offer the best quality and value of
Anita Horse track, Valentines liquor is a popular stop for visi- any mixer products in the marketplace and our customers are
tors and locals looking for unique spirits and beverages to very happy with the taste and selection of the flavors avail-
quench their thirst. able. We stock everything from Sweet & Sour to Mango and
Mojito and always recommend that our customers give the
other flavors a try.
With consumers cutting back on eating and drinking out,
we've noticed a big trend with our customers buying their
beverages and enjoying them at home. Our customers still
want to enjoy great tasting drinks as they often do at restau-
rants and bars but, are looking at doing it at a more reason-
able cost. I often give our clients tips on creating and making
specialty drinks at home and just as important as it is to use
fine spirits and ingredients, It's equally as important to have a
mix that compliments and enhances the cocktails. With Finest
Call Mixes, our customers can create anything available on-
premise and do it better at a fraction of the cost!"
"We are proud that we have been able to serve our cus-
tomers for the past 25 years and appreciate all of their con-
tinued support. Our goal is to provide our customers with a
great selection of fine wines, spirits and beverages at com-
petitive prices and provide the best customer service to them."

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Northern California
Postino Restaurant
Postino is located in a historic brick and slate-roofed Carr
Jones designed former Post Office in the hillside town of
Lafayette. Postino’s brick walls, slate tiled floors, fireplaces
and intimate dining rooms evoke images and feelings of Italy
and the Mediterranean. The dramatic ambience at Postino is
captivating and enchanting.
Inspired by the traditions of Italy with an American inclina-
tion, Postino delivers a seasonal menu using the finest local
and imported ingredients making it the perfect place for a
family dinner or sophisticated private event. They also have 5 Bar Mgr. Mark La Franchi shows off the Finest Call products
different rooms within the restaurant that can be tailored for
private events accommodating from parties of 8, up to groups
of 55.
Some of the dinner favorites at Postino include the starter
of Postino Formaggio; Claudel Brie, Laura Chenel, Carr
Valley Menage and Gorgonzola Dolce. Next move on to the
Capellini; Angel hair pasta with butter poached Lobster, white

corn, cherry tomato, chives and chervil. For main courses try
the Anatra; pan roasted duck breast over wild rice risotto with
fresh cherry duck glace, or the Brasato of Short Ribs in rose-
mary balsamic barbeque sauce over sweet corn polenta, or
perhaps the Sicilian style Swordfish with smokehouse
almonds, golden raisins and rosemary brown butter over gar-
lic whipped potatoes.
At the Bar Postino’s mixes of choice are Finest Call which
feature a complete line of superior products from Sweet &
Sour, Grenadine, Coconut, Pomegranate and Prickly
PearSyrups, two Bloody Mary mixes, the Raspberry, Mango
and Strawberry Purees to the premium Cosmopolitan Martini,
Sour Apple Martini and Mojito mix.
As bar manager Mark La Franchi says, “Our customers
appreciate quality in the food and at the bar. That’s why we
use Finest Call products. They are the best in the business”
Postino Restaurant is located at 3565 Mount. Diablo Blvd,
Lafayette, CA 94549
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