The WorldClass Diageo Reserve program — an initiative that affords growth opportunities for participating professionals and establishments — has heightened Puerto Rico’s appreciation for the art of fine cocktails, Méndez & Co. executives said recently.
Since its launch in 2009, the program has positioned Puerto Rico as a cocktail destination in the region, where consumers have also responded favorably to the Diageo portfolio of brands and the luxury liquor category, said Enrique Anduze, marketing director of Méndez & Co.’s liquor division.
“For Méndez, the program has represented an additional $9 million in liquor sales revenue, and has given us an opportunity to develop programs around affordable luxury brands, which have a higher price and production quality,” he said. “For our participating customers [bars and restaurants] this program gives them an opportunity to make more money because the ticket value of orders is higher than what is usually consumed.”
As of June 2014, a total of 54 establishments participated in the WorldClass program through their commercial relationship with Méndez & Co. This year, Méndez had 66 bars and restaurants take part in a seminar focusing on the latest cocktail trends, the executive said.
For participating bartenders, the competition has meant access to tools and techniques to create high-end cocktails and stand out in the art of mixology, which “is an important part of the gastronomic experience,” Anduze said.
Local bartenders have stood out in the annual competition, taking fourth place internationally once and winning the top spot in the Latin American match-ups several times. Successful bartenders have moved on to work outside Puerto Rico, gaining experience in markets such as Miami and New York that they have brought back to the island, he said.