Beverage Industry

Bottle Service

August 1, 2006
Bottle Service

Whether a VIP or just wanting to feel like one, clubgoers in Chicago, like many other cities, are willing to shell out hundreds, even thousands of dollars for their own bottle of alcohol, then sit and be served at their own private table. Chicago clubs took a hit this summer when the Illinois Liquor Control Commission cited several establishments for selling an entire bottle of distilled spirits to a table or group of patrons. This so-called “bottle service” is prohibited under Illinois law. Illinois liquor control officials say bottle service does not allow staff to properly supervise clients’ alcohol consumption, which can lead to over consumption.
On the flip side, establishments providing bottle service defend this method of serving because they say one server pours the drinks and can more closely monitor drinking than they can when customers are ordering from different bartenders. With bottle service normally beginning at more than $200, the whole point is being seen, an attorney representing several of the cited clubs told the Chicago Tribune.
At a club I recently visited in downtown Chicago, bottle service consists of reserved premier seating, set with perfect glassware, next to chilled premium water and ice; all ready for the patrons to make their selection from a menu, with the least expensive bottle, Captain Morgan, starting at $190. Any spirit a group could purchase would be nearly 10 times its normal retail price, but that fee is not for the spirit alone; it’s for the prime real estate in a chic club in a fashionable downtown. As I’ve said in other columns, proper product presentation is as much a consumer motivator as the product itself. Consumers of any bottle priced to that extreme should enjoy every sip, and I would guess that clubs who want this VIP clientele want their customers to resonate class and wouldn’t foster unruly patorns.
The bottom line is that it’s a bar owner’s responsibility to make sure people are not over served through whatever service. Club owners cited for bottle service will have an opportunity to present their argument at the end of the month.
Cocktail party
Courvoisier cognac served as the exclusive sponsor and host of the official BET Awards After Party held at Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel. Celebrities, including business mogul Russell Simmons, comedian Chris Rock and the night’s DJ Biz Markie, enjoyed cocktails such as the Courvoisitini. The company also bestowed a special gift of L’Esprit de Courvoisier, the world’s most expensive cognac, to BET Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Debra Lee.
Cheers to the opera
New Yorkers gathered to sip and shop to benefit the New York City Opera and its Thrift Shop at the Divas Shop for Opera event. Fashionable guests enjoyed cocktails featuring Square One Organic Vodka, the world’s only organic vodka made from 100 percent organic rye.
Beer and a movie
The upcoming film, “Beerfest,” cast Binding Brauerei’s Radeberger German pilsner as one of its stars. The feature from director Jay Chandrasekhar (“Dukes of Hazzard”) and Broken Lizard (“Super Troopers”) tells the story of American brothers who travel to Germany during Oktoberfest and find out about an underground beer drinking competition. The film chose Radeberger as its beer of choice for the scenes.
Get grilling
Coors Light and Weber Grills are encouraging consumers to get grilling with Outdoor Grilling Guidebooks. Initially distributed during the height of summer grilling, the companies will launch the Silver Playbook in time for football season this fall. The Silver Playbook will include recipes, pre-game tips and special offers on Coors Light products.
Clearly an MVP
Clearly Canadian Beverage Corp. has signed native Canadian and Phoenix Sun player Steve Nash to a product endorsement deal. The two-time NBA MVP will assist the company in re-establishing its core brand of sparkling flavored water, launch new product lines and serve on the company’s advisory board.
Nuevo Juan Valdez
Following a two-year search, a new Juan Valdez has been named. Carlos Castañeda, a 39-year-old rural grower of Colombian coffee, was found through a search by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia. The new iconic representative of Colombian coffee and his donkey, Conchita, will tour Colombia before traveling to the United States.