http://www.marriott.comBest Chain Hotel Beverage Program
At the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country, part of the Marriott International hotel chain, the drink heritage means lots of tequila, as well as locally-produced wines and beers. Three “pillars” guide the hotel’s beverage programs.
First is offering the right mix of core products, known collectively as The JW Marriott Platinum Collection. The Marriott International Beverage Team and the Beverage Council meet yearly to update the collection, based on past depletions, input from regional clusters, supplier suggestions and profile of hotel guests.
Then there’s the initiative to supplement those core items with locally sourced beer, wine and spirits. “In general, we encourage our hotels, no matter where they’re located, to dig into indigenous and locally produced products, whether that’s meat, produce, beer, wine or spirits,” says Dan Hoffman, director of equipment and beverage specifications for Marriott International. The resort sold more than 800 cases of Texas wine in 2011.
Finally, the JW Wine Ambassador Program, instituted in 2011, aims to improve overall staff knowledge of wine. “Ambassadors” attend monthly meetings hosted by a Project Lead to taste and take notes on selected wines and varietals. The Project Lead then reports their group’s evaluations to all other JW Marriott locations.
SIZZLING SIGNATURE RESTAURANTS
The JW Marriott’s bars and restaurants are proof of its dedication to beverage program. For example, Cibolo Moon celebrates tequila and was the first restaurant in Texas to become “T” certified by the Tequila Regulatory Council of Mexico. Cibolo offers more than 100 tequilas (including many Texas-made brands), as well as infusions formulated by the resident tequila master.
High Velocity, a bar dedicated to sports, is all about beer–primarily Texas beer. The double-sided bar features 24 taps of Platinum Collection brands and local brews. There is a focus on great bar food to complement the state’s beers, along with regularly scheduled Texas Beer dinners.
The Crooked Branch is about handcrafted classic cocktails and wines from classic American wineries, spiced with local Texas wines. And contemporary steak house 18 Oaks has a heavy wine focus, particularly on big reds and Texas wines.
With such an ambitious assemblage of programs within a single resort, the proof is in the results: The resort saw a 19.5% increase in beverage sales year-over-year, as well as an 8.7% decrease in beverage cost.
Even during challenging times, Hoffman says, “those establishments that continue to set their standards extremely high and maintain them will always perform better than those who try to cut corners.”
Marriott International Inc.
Based: Bethesda, MD
Number of units: More than 3,700 locations
Annual sales: $12 billion