Port house Sandeman has launched a series of simple signature cocktail serves for the on-trade as part of a drive to attract a new, younger generation of drinkers to the port category. Speaking exclusively to Imbibe, seventh generation chairman George Sandeman said: 'Port has an old-fashioned image because we've never updated the image. But how do we make port fit into people's lifestyles now?'
'Of course we're aware of our history and heritage,' he continued, 'but we're also looking to the future and we're very tied into new ways to drink port.'
Suggested serves include the Sandeman Sparkler (made with Founders Reserve ruby port and champagne), Sandeman Splash (white port and tonic) and Sandeman on the Rocks, using Founders Reserve ruby with ice, an orange slice and fresh mint.
'Port stands up very well to being on ice and orange brings out the fruit flavours of red ports,' noted Sandeman, explaining that the rocks serve is an easy way to increase profits. 'You can charge more for a mixed drink and this one is simple to prepare. Ultimately we need to convince bars and restaurants that this is a way they can sell port and make money from it,' he added.
'The port category can't survive just selling at the top end; we can't be in just one area. We need to give consumers more options of how to enjoy it, so that we can say to people: "When you buy a bottle of port you don't have to wait for Christmas – you can drink it at other times."'
Sandeman worked with bartenders in the UK and the US – including cocktail consultant and Imbibe Educator of the Year 2016 nominee Ben Reed – to develop the new serves, taking part in Tales of the Cocktail last year. The brand plans to work with existing restaurant accounts as well as hosting masterclasses to introduce the new serves to bartenders. It has also created a free app with details all of the cocktail recipes.
For more information on Sandeman email brand manager Rupert Lovie at Sogrape UK.