Recognising its position in a region that demands high-end spirits, Porters Liquor Lansvale has expanded its horizons by playing into the premiums.

“When customers come to you, and you can give the customer what they want, eventually they will forget about others in the market,” says Giuseppe Minissale, Director of Porters Liquor Lansvale.

It’s exactly this attitude that has earned Porters Liquor Lansvale its reputation as a premium liquor retailer with a unique range of spirits, adapting to the niches of the community in which its store is situated.

“We’re not scared to have a crack. We think you’ve got to do something different and you’ve got to be different. Without being demeaning, anybody can be a liquor retailer, but for us it’s about trialing something completely different,” says Minissale.

Tuning into customer tastes

In the Western Sydney suburb of Lansvale, Minissale quickly realised he had an eclectic customer base, with Cognac being a big player in the region. Deliberately targeting Cognac to customers, the store began converting customers to high end spirits.

“Cognac, in-store, is now representing probably 30 per cent of our business. Hennessy, Martell and Rémy would be our top three products, followed by unique top shelf brands.”

Having established itself as a premium liquor retailer, Porters Lansvale has since expanded its services digitally to develop Porters Lux, a luxury beverages online retailer.

In-store, Porters Lansvale was facing the challenges of limited shelf space and ineffective visual merchandising, and in 2022 the store was given a complete refresh, to allow for the expansion and diversification of its range.

“From there, we had developed this expertise in Cognac, which naturally grew out into whiskies. As consumer tastes started changing, things like Macallan, Johnnie Walker and Chivas became really important to our store,” says Minissale.

“Customers were saying ‘you have nice Cognac, but do you have any nice whisky?’, and they were looking for expensive whisky. We went all out and began to buy unique and rare bottles.

“What we’ve found is that our customers aspire to buy high quality product that they can’t find anywhere else. Now, we’ve expanded again from our whiskies and we’re carrying 1,200 SKUs just in spirits. Tequila we have found is now in huge growth and you’ll see things in Porters Lansvale that you won’t see anywhere else.”

Top trends

While tequila is gaining momentum in-store, Minissale expects several spirits to continue on an upward trajectory in the year to come.

“Everybody’s calling gin down, and while I agree, I think there’s still going to be some interest in gin. Rum, we are seeing a little bit of interest, especially high-end rum and specialties.

“Interestingly, we are seeing a change in buying habits for liqueurs, and that’s because people are making more cocktails at home. We get asked for a lot of oddball liqueur products. Another interesting trend to come from this is the purchasing of miniatures and half bottles of all varieties, and I think that comes from the mentality that for a cocktail I only need this much.”

This article originally appeared in the 2024 Industry Leaders Forum issue of National Liquor News.

Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....

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