Thursday, July 31, 2008

Junipero Gin: Ask for It

For years, my clear liquor of choice has been gin so it's been pleasant to see the spicy nectar going through a bit of a renaissance when it comes to more handcrafted products. As with any semi-artisinal product, distribution is always the key. So, imagine my surprise last year when I discovered Crossroads is equally bullish on hand-crafted, small batch gin and distributes my beloved Junipero.

For the uninitiated, Junipero is a spicy gin but still dry without the heat of T-10 and without the slight harshness of Sapphire, much more elegant and smooth than Boodles, and miles above the sweet, tasteless uncertainty of Hendrick's. It is possibly one of the best martini gins I've ever had, born from the distillers at Anchor in San Francisco (also known for Anchor Steam beer and Genevieve gin).

But here's the problem. While Junipero is easily found at bars in other cities, and on liquor store shelves here, few Indianapolis establishments have yet to add it to their list. When I asked one steakhouse bartender when they'd have it, he replied "When one more person than just *you* is asking for it."

So, what can we do? We can all ask for it. I propose we gin drinkers engage in a bit of viral marketing. First, go buy some Junipero and try it. (I found mine at Kahn's.) Going off the assumption that you like it (and I think you will), the next time you order gin in a bar, ask for Junipero. They'll say "We don't have it," or if they're good, they'll give you a list of the gins they do have, or if they're, say, Bugg's Temple, they'll look at you like you have two heads, and say "What is *that*?"

Servers, bartenders, managers, you have to help. Take your requests to your GMs and bar managers. Say "we have a customer who keeps asking for this gin, Junipero" or better, "I had three people ask for this tonight. Why don't we carry it?"

The liquor business often works on promos (to get the product in) and advertising (to create demand), something that smaller companies can't do. Their products have to succeed on merit. And this is one product that should succeed. So, let's help give it a little push. Gin drinkers, unite!

And, by the way? A very few local bars already carry it, so look for it at Noah Grant’s, Oceanaire, Ruth’s Chris, St Elmo, Stone Creek Inn, Melting Pot in Indy, and FARM, Malibu, and Truffles in Bloomington.


Country Mouse City Mouse Indy said...

I would LOVE to help you out with this, but Stephen doesn't let me drink gin. At one recent event, when he asked me what I wanted to drink I said "Gin and tonic, please" to which he replied "No. Not yet." sigh

Kirsten said...

After many years of whiskey love and a lot of reposado tequila, I've just discovered that I like gin. Vodka has never done the trick for me - or rather it has done tricks to me, so I'm excited about gin.

And I'm even more excited about your tasting notes and enthusiasm for Junipero. I'll be picking some up at Kahn's very, very soon.

Anonymous said...

I recently had some at StoneCreek in Zionsville and it was delicious..nice crisp and full. Any other liquor stores where I can find it?

braingirl said...

Most all the liquor stores should carry it -- 21st Amendment, etc. They can order it as well. The Crossroads folks say retail stores have supported it well.

BK said...

Local retailers that carry Junipero (some of the chains won't have it at all locations.) 21st Amndmnt, Brandywine, Classic Spirits, Crown, Kahn's, Payless, United, Vine & Table. Also Big Red in Blmngtn and CapnCork in Ft Wayne.

Victor said...

I had the pleasure of tasting Junipero for the first time at a hosted meal at Forbes Mill in Los Gatos, Ca. The event special speaker was none other than, Fritz Maytag, owner an inventor of Anchor and Junipero. Junipero opened my eyes and my tastebuds to gin, prior I was an ocassional drinker of gin. Thanks to Mr. Fritz I know have a nice collection of Gin.