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First LiquorZone store opens in Mexico

LicorZone is opening of the first in a planned chain of “new generation” liquor stores in Aguascalientes, Mexico. 

With one store opening this week and another next month at a location near Aguascalientes's bus station, the liquor, beer, and wine outlet announced that it intends to open at least 200 stores all over Mexico, and hundreds more throughout Latin America and Europe. Liquor laws in these regions allow producers to operate outlet stores that sell directly to customers, without the need for a liquor distributor as is required in the US.

LicorZone will be offering consumers a wide range of unbranded liquors, such as whisky, vodka, brandy, and rum, for as low as MN$50, or US$3.33, for a 750ml bottle. Store manager Edith Morales states: "Our liquor stores will provide customers with a first class shopping experience and a vast range of generic liquors produced by us. We keep our prices low by selling directly from our liquor plant to our liquor stores.

"For anyone who wants to learn more about our products -- they are all made in Mexico and there will be an expert available for advice about them. If you would like, you may interact with our products by testing them in-store, by exploring the basics, or by learning new skills from our professional team."

LicorZone is part of an American business conglomerate, which has been present in Mexico since 2011. It has a manufacturing plant located in Aguascalientes and exports worldwide.

The 65,000 square foot plant has a fully automatic bottling line producing 7,000 litre bottles/hr and up to 168,000 bottles daily. The company says it will purchase more bottling equipment when necessary. This year, it is investing in a new canning line, with a speed of 20,000 cans/hr, as well as a complete PET blowing line.

“We will carry 360 bottles of each product category in each store as our standard base inventory. The usual size of our stores is 200 square meters, or 2,500 square feet, and we offer eight liquor categories: whisky, 12 flavous of vodka, brandy, agave spirits, tequila, coffee liqueur, rum, and a few import liquors, such as Scotch, that we bottle ourselves.

“Soon, we will import wines and sell them for very cheap, less than MN$2.50 per 750 ml bottle for a good Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot from France, Spain, Italy, Argentina, or Chile.

“The cash that will be injected into the business by the new LicorZone affiliates will finance our expansion. LicorZone is not a franchise, but rather an association of retailers who have given us a lump sum to become a LicorZone affiliate and use our trademark. We will use the proceeds to decorate their store with the LicorZone ‘look’ and to supply them with their initial inventory. No fees or royalties are required and they can use our brand as long as they buy only from us. We invite anyone to open a LicorZone in their city.

“LicorZone will be unbeatable because of its low production costs and the fact that we work on only a 25% margin. Our retail price for a 750ml bottle of whisky is MN$50.00, or US$3.33, while a 1-litre bottle is MN$75.00, or US$5.00. A 1.75 litre bottle is MN$100.00, or US$6.66. We are 50% to 70% cheaper than our competitors.”

Aguascalientes as a location is excellent in terms of logistics, because it allows the producer to buy corn to produce whisky, sugar cane to produce rum, potatoes to produce vodka, and grapes to produce brandy. “This way we will be able to continue production all year around." she continues. "And Mexico is the best country from which to export our new concept of liquor to the rest of the world -- Mexico enjoys free trade agreements with more than 50 countries around the world, including the US, Canada, the whole EEA, and more.

“We expect to employ 180 people by the end of the 2015, and to have 1,000 employees by 2017. Consumers will love it; we are offering a win-win situation. The consumer is saving, the government is making money on liquor taxes, and we make money because we do not have any intermediaries eating our margins. Remember, our target is price, price, price!” 

9 March 2015 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor