Monday, March 5, 2012

Market Research

I'm a big fan of market research. Big fan. Wow, I know I sound like a total geek but it's true. I find it fascinating what kind of data is being collected out there and how it's being used to retarget you for products and promotions. I was even convinced when they first started making you enter your zip code at the gas pump that it was part of some elaborate project to see how far away from your house you buy gas so they could determine the catchment area and open more gas stations, a kin to what Starbuck's does when they open a store on each street corner. Clearly, my imagination got away from me because everyone knows the zip code is tied to your credit card billing information and is actually a security measure. OK, so it appears that everything is not about market research.

But years ago I read an interesting market research article on scotch — more specifically why people don't order scotch when they're out on the town. The result: Men felt it was a stodgy drink their fathers or grandfathers would consume, and the women were of the opinion that it was too strong for them to handle. As a result, the flavored vodka craze commenced because the research showed that vodka was the magic mixer. You could infuse it with almost anything and people would buy it. For obvious reason, bars and restaurants loved it, as well as the distilleries. Another interesting outcome of the market research was that if a signature cocktail with scotch was offered as a special, the sales catapulted. It turns out people don't really know how to drink scotch. But if my cool bartender gives me the thumbs up, I'm likely to try it. The most popular concoction they found during their research was scotch, pineapple juice and grenadine. Honestly after I read that, I went out that night and ordered the same thing. And guess what? It was pretty good. But not good enough to dethrone my beloved bourbon and convert me into a scotch drinker. Not even close.

Anyway, this weekend I enjoyed a lovely (and late) dinner at a new Greek restaurant in town. As my dinner companion and I were leaving, the owner came over to see how we enjoyed the meal and service. We raved (which was genuine) and told him we were headed out for a nightcap. He implored us to stay and have a drink at the bar on the house. And he insisted on serving us his favorite drink, called Glenlivet's Girlfriend. In spite of my past positive market research experience with scotch, I was skeptical. Mainly because I think it tastes like peat moss on wood. But I'm not one to turn down free alcohol, so accepted the gracious offer.

The bartender served up a beautiful yet simple cocktail comprised of Glenlivet and a honey liqueur called Bärenjäger, which is something I've never heard of let alone tried. It was finished off with a lovely lemon twist. It had a really nice warmth to it, almost butterscotchy, even though it was served cold. It was super well balanced, with the smokiness, honey and citrus. It was so good that I drank half of it before I thought about taking a photograph of it! And then I had a second!

Honestly, if you ever feel a sore throat coming on or it's pouring cats and dogs when you're looking for a nightcap, I highly recommend this. But if you just want to participate in some self-directed market research, then by all means investigate!

1 comment:

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