New York Groove – YouTube

Life is confusing and with the information overload we experience, it gets even more confusing. When it comes to the liquor world, we are not immune to outside forces! Nothing demonstrates this more than the debate over direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipping. The debate over DTC spirits shipping is alive and well and with it we have contrasting views and contrasting data.

On one hand, there is the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America’s (WSWA) study, which states that 72% of mothers are concerned about DTC spirits shipping and on the other hand is the SOVOS study, which states that 80% of consumers want to purchase craft spirits via DTC shipping.

With the same topic polled by different organizations and with the results being a radical polar opposite, one must ask, who is right and who is wrong?

Obviously, I opined on the efficacy of WSWA’s poll results in a previous blog post, just to summarize, I found WSWA’s poll unconvincing. So, I won’t belabor the point and will move on to the SOVOS study, which presents a radically different result.

The SOVOS study “revealed 8 in 10 regular craft spirits drinkers want the ability to purchase craft spirits via DTC shipping to their home.” In other words, the consumers in this group are a specific subsect as opposed to the general population. So, the study seems limited to a specific group, as opposed to the general population.

But even if the surveyed group is limited, the SOVOS report clearly demonstrates an important point, that if DTC shipping occurred, economic opportunities would expand for craft distillers.

According to the study, 74% of craft spirits consumers want to try products that are not available to them in their local market. And 73% of craft spirits consumers indicated that they are likely to purchase craft spirits via DTC. Additionally, 47% of these consumers indicated that “they would spend more than $100 a month on craft spirits via DTC shipping.”

What the results demonstrate is consumers demand products, and are ready to spend money on these products. Unfortunately, demand of consumers, can’t be matched by distillery supply, because the state laws deny access between consumer and distillery. With state law denying access to out-of-state consumers, small distilleries lose access to expanded sales and growth.

The real lesson in the SOVOS study is not the 80% number. The real lesson in this study is consumers demand access to other markets and state laws deny them this access. The other lesson is that small craft distilleries lose the potential of enhanced sales and growth of their brands. A captive audience exists to spend money on their products, but cannot purchase them.

They say the devil is in the details, the headlines in WSWA and SOVOS studies are flashy and draw your attention. But the real story resides in the details, WSWA’s details tell the story they want to tell. The SOVOS details tell the story that needs to be told.