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What Bartenders Look For While Buying Spirits

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12/11/2020 Target the final funnel in the supply chain, the one who is responsible for the bar inventory

While stocking their bar inventories, the bartenders look for some specific characteristics in the spirits brands that they wish to stock up their bar shelves with. Knowing what the bartenders desire in their inventory portfolio is a definite hack to growing your on-premise spirits distribution.

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Customer satisfaction at their bars is their ultimate priority, and a perfect spirit/cocktail portfolio leads to exactly that. The establishment owners will market the products that are sure to generate more footfall for them. And as a spirits supplier, your goal is to be part of the product portfolio that the on-premise markets for you.

The bartenders are the true influencers – their passions and tastes provide direction for the consumer, especially via their guidance with wine, beer or spirit recommendations. The creation of new drinks is often driven by bartender tastes and perceptions of current trends.

You won’t see any bartender compromising on the following factors while stocking and will be reluctant to try purchasing something that they feel won’t be enjoyed by their customers at the bar. These are the topmost priorities of any experienced bar manager or on-premise buyer in their purchasing options:


How well the spirit mixes with food, as well as chasers. Does it go well with food or not? A spirit that mixes well, is something that customers definitely love. How well the spirit goes down with the accompanying food and chasers is a good indicator of how the spirit goes with the heart of your consumer.

Balance and Versatility

BSA Judges blind tasting the spirits entrants

Balance of the spirit refers to the flavour and aroma. A well-rounded, full-flavored, and balanced spirit is a much more desirable stocking option for the back-bar. A spirit in which all dimensions make a harmonious whole for the customer to be fully satisfied by. The more versatile a spirit is, the higher the probability of it being ordered with various options on the menu.


For a consumer to enjoy their drink, taste, arguably, might be the most important factor. A good tasting spirit or liqueur is almost always reordered. Some spirits can be put as bland, but a lot of them have a distinctive flavor to them that characterizes the brand and leaves the consumer craving for more.


BSA Judge blind tasting the spirits entrants

Mouthfeel is the physical sensation a food or drink creates in the mouth, including the tongue and the roof of the mouth. The term is best-known for its use in wine and spirits tasting, but it also applies to other beverages, such as coffee, tea and beer, and is central to food rheology (the science of food textures). Consider the mouthfeel to be the personality of your spirits brand. This will be the determining factor of customer satisfaction.


The sensory impact of the spirit after it has been swallowed (or spat). Spirits can be said to have a long or short finish. A long finish is almost always a good sign, unless ofcourse the flavor is not to the taster's appeal. If the consumer is spending on the spirits, they would want to relish the flavors of your brand and leave for home with the pleasant aftertaste that your brand gave them.


Spirits bottles kept on a table with glasses

The packaging is essentially the face of any spirits brand. Their creative design, back-bar appeal, and functionality (including shape, size, weight, and ease of pouring) are what appeal to the bartender. Ultimately, they want their bar shelf to look not just good, they want it to look great. They want it to look unique.


The objective is to understand how a particular spirit is priced vis-à-vis its peers. In today’s competitive marketplace, relative value is a very important consideration.

Bartender Spirits Awards gathers the top on-premise buyers, bar managers, and bartenders who have a direct influence on the US on-premise market.

Grow Your On-Premise Brand Presence In The US Market by put your spirits in front of them and get rated by Mixability, Balance & Versatility, Price, Packaging, and Taste, Mouthfeel, & Finish. 

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Deadline For Submission Is Approaching Fast

Leading spirits brands from around the world now have an opportunity to grow their business and gain the attention of top on-premise buyers, Bar managers, bartenders, and influencers within the U.S. on-premise industry. Time to submit your spirits in the 2022 Bartender Spirits Awards.