Allocated Schmalloacted

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Allocated wines or beers in the fine wine business are like having aces in your poker hand. You want them but they’re not always dealt to you.

So what does ALLOCATED mean? By SWAM’s definition, it means setting aside desirable and limited items to qualified businesses or individuals. For example, a ‘mailing list allocation’ usually implies to individual consumers. Wine clubs normally offer an allocation of their exclusive wines to their best customers. Being on an ‘elite’ mailing list for some is a status symbol but it comes with a hefty price tag.  Mark was once on the Harlan Estate mailing list. He skipped his allocation one year because the wine had become unaffordable. Then the following year he did not receive an allocation notice. Go figure.

Then there’s something called ‘restaurant allocation.’  Most of these wines are not exactly limited nor highly sought after, but are priced specifically for ‘wine-by-the-glass’ promotions.  Some restaurants dislike when us rascally retailers carry wines on their list because patrons will soon discover the price difference. To protect the restaurant’s margin, there are wines allocated specifically to them.  That’s fair.

Getting an allocation from a distributor is simply a reflection of support for the brand.  That usually suggests buying into the more undesirable or overexposed stuff in their portfolio.  Cherry picking from the retailer is frowned upon by the distributor. Don’t worry…I’m not bitter because I don’t get an allocation for Sam Adams Utopia or DRC.  It is what it is.

Poker is not my profession but it is a game of patience and strategy which are key to winning without the aces.

Category : Blog Posted on May 16, 2011

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