The final deadline to enter the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition (FLIWC) is fast approaching!
Something that you might not know is that the competition not only judges wine, as cider and distilled entries are also accepted. While the wine entries make up the majority of the competition, the cider and distilled entries are rising every year!
One local, Rochester-based company, ROC House Brands, has been entering its products into the competition for three years. Ricky Tatar, Product Manager of Spirits and Beverages for LiDestri Food and Drink, sheds some light on the different beverages that ROC House Brands creates.
Please explain ROC House Brands…
ROC House Brands is a sub-division of LiDestri Food and Drink. ROC House develops, makes, markets, and sells a variety of alcohol beverage brands including Cask & Crew Whiskey, Recipe 21 Spirits, Pink Lemon Liqueur, mü coffeehouse cocktails, and Tuttobello Limoncello.
Are there any new ROC House Brand products that you are particularly excited about?
Cask & Crew Whiskey is at the top of my list. This brand launched in 2017 and in two years we have already sold over 150,000 bottles. The brand was built around the notion that there are two kinds of people: those who love whiskey and those who love whiskey and don’t know it yet! We infuse our whiskey with natural flavors that blend particularly well with the whiskey. Those flavors are Walnut Toffee, Ginger Spice and Orange Roasted. And for those who are already whiskey fans, our flagship item is our Cask & Crew Rye Whiskey, which is blended with 51% three-year-old Canadian Rye and 49% three-year-old Kentucky Corn. This is a blend that is great on the rocks or can be mixed in your favorite cocktail.
Another brand I am excited about is Recipe 21. Recipe 21 is a complete line of most every type of spirits. The brand consists of Vodka and Flavored Vodkas, Gin, Tequila, Blended Whiskey, Rum, Cinnamon Whiskey, Coconut Rum, Triple Sec, and Peach Schnapps. We are particularly proud of this brand because of the growth and popularity it has seen in the Upstate New York area. The recipe for this is simple—outstanding quality for a very low price. Chances are, if you go into a bar in the Upstate New York area and you order a “well drink” (Vodka Tonic, Rum and Coke, etc.), that bar will likely be using Recipe 21 to make your drink. We love entering Recipe 21 into contests like the FLIWC because it typically does very well, regardless of the fact that it sells for half the price of other brands in the same category.
What, in your opinion, makes the FLIWC a competition worthy of entering your products in?
We are very confident in the quality of our products and aim to enter as many competitions as we can. With that said, many competitions are very expensive. I’ve found that the FLIWC not only has the notoriety of world-class judges selecting the winners of the contests and verifying our quality, but also the price is very reasonable; not to mention knowing that, regardless of if we win or lose, the proceeds from the competition are going toward a remarkable cause in Camp Good Days and Special Times. That’s not something I’ve found anywhere else in a spirits competition.
What about working with spirits excites you?
Working with spirits is a lot of fun. It’s a very competitive industry and has consumers that are constantly changing. It’s exciting to bring new and innovative products to market!
How do you think entering competitions such as the FLIWC helps your products/brand?
Consumers are extremely savvy these days. With the vast selection of products for consumers to buy, most decisions are made after the consumer does some research (even while standing there at the store shelf). By putting our accolades on our signage, website, selling materials, etc., we are able to show the liquor store, the restaurant, or the consumer that this product was tested and passed with flying colors.