Confessions of a retailer… Astor Wines & Spirits
Nima Ansari, spirits buyer for Astor Wines & Spirits in New York, applauds the levels of creativity coming from a new generation of drinks producers.
Whenever I’m evaluating a new product, I think it is important to initially try to block other things out and review it as much as possible entirely on its own merits. But having said that, ultimately no spirit
exists in a vacuum and after an initial review, factors such as whether it can play a part in our current portfolio and the necessity to provide the best possible selection at any given moment to our customers and the public play a huge role.
Added value is something I talk about a lot, and more often than not, timing is critical. What may not work today may be perfect tomorrow. Some things need to be acted on immediately, others need to fit into a longer term strategy. It is vital to be able to consider these things when being presented with new products.
It is inspiring to encounter producers who are preoccupied by and motivated every day to make products they are genuinely passionate about. These are people who see their day-to-day as more of a vocation than a job. Amazing things happen when folks like that are creating things, and it is very easy to get behind them.
Our bestselling product at the moment is single malt Scotch whisky. Consumers’ palates have definitely begun to broaden, and there has been a shift towards more seasonal selections. It is a win- win since there are so many more great things to choose from these days across categories.
We have a very engaged dialogue with our clients. Many are long-time loyal customers, and we have got to know them personally over the years. We have an expert dedicated sales staff that is accessible and works diligently to educate our customers and tailor their selections based on their evolving needs. Astor has been doing this for a long time, and people look to us for a comprehensive and qualitative experience all around.
The most challenging aspect of my job is time management. The most exciting part is the people I meet from all over the world and all walks of life every day, both customers and professionals at every level of the industry. We get to be a part of people’s lives in a very personal way, and I will always cherish and be grateful for the relationships that I’ve been able to build over the years.
More than anything, I am thrilled about the level of creativity and energy in spirits across the globe right now. We are witnessing a whole new generation of people coming into the industry that will define the future of it.
Spirits are being taken more seriously than they ever have been, and the more people learn about them the greater the
appetite for them will grow.
We don’t sit around and think about how to be one step ahead of anyone. I think a key to our success is that we stay focused on our business and our customers and believe that all the hard work we put in will ultimately pay off.