September 19th, 2012

The Big Promotional Value of Liquor Mini-Bottles

Bloomberg Businessweek

A nine-month investigation into the theft of more than 100,000 mini-bottles of liquor and other duty-free items, dubbed Operation Last Call, culminated in last week’s arrest of 18 workers at John F. Kennedy International Airport, including LSG Sky Chefs truck drivers and security guards. The mini-bottles, according to a statement from Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, sell on the black market for anywhere from 55 cents for a bottle of Baileys to $1.25 for a bottle of Courvoisier.

The 50-milliliter bottles are popularly sold in airplanes and hotel minibars, where confined spaces require smaller vessels. They’re also sold in liquor stores. But the true purpose of mini-bottles is “trial,” says Jay Harkins, chief executive officer of Blackheath Beverage Group, a Stamford (Conn.) sales and marketing company for wine and spirit brands. “You can chalk it up to marketing.”

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