When it comes to tipping one's hat to the retreating year and tipping a glass to the new one, the denizens of Texarkana have been signaling their tastes as they have stocked spirits through the holiday season. Owners and managers of the local libation outlets have taken note of Texarkana tastes and offered a few insights.
Stormi Cooper, manager of the Rock House, said that tastes seem to flow with the time of the season. One example, as the weather goes from warm to cool, purchased spirits tend to change from the clear variety to darker, browner distillations.
"Around Christmas, our customers tended to buy creamy, sweet liqueurs as well as higher-end whiskeys," she said. "As we close in on the New Year, we start moving more wines and champagnes.
Cooper also noted spirits took a turn for the sweeter.
"Crown salted caramel and peach seem to be especially the draw this year," she said.
The Party Factory has been moving champagne and Moscato and Cabernet Sauvignon as the New Year draws nigh. And, like the Rock House, stronger spirits are moving briskly.
"Whiskey is very popular with our customers—bourbons, Canadian whiskeys. They also are picking up flavored whiskey, especially Crown Royal's vanilla and apple," said Alan Avard, general manager.
He also mentioned that Crown Royal is trying to buy back the famous bags in which their whiskey is sold.
"Crown Royal offers a small bounty for the bags and they turn them into care packages for troops overseas," he said.
He also said beer is moving well in his store. Budweiser seems to be the big brand his customers favor and they are also interested in craft beers.
"They are especially interested in Yuengling, America's oldest brewery, based out of Pottsville, Penn.," he said. "They are a small, family-owned brewing operation and have been slowly expanding. They just started selling in Arkansas this year."
Vincent's Fine Wine and Liquors notes a healthy flow of both spirits and wines as the end of the year approaches.
"We have lots of high-end bourbons, vodkas, scotch—a little of everything moving off our shelves," manager Jim Welch said.
Welch also notes the wines moving, especially high-end varieties around Christmas.
"We also see craft beer moving," he said. "Lots of it and increasing as the New Year comes on."
The customers of Chubby Cheeks are also buying wine and craft beer. And Lane Rogers, owner, noted a particular trend in his store around the holidays.
"Our customers want to try new things," he said. "Their tastes seem to take a turn for the adventurous around this time of year."
Over at Pancho's Brewing Lab, even though it is not a liquor store, owner Francisco "Pancho" Lozano does offer a small range of craft brews. His place is about beer aficionado and craft brewing, so he likes to have a small stock for customers to try. But of late, it is all about the honey, or more to the point, mead.
"We have lots of beekeepers in the area and lots of them are trying out mead brewing," he said. Also of late, a younger clientele has come in for mead kits.
"I don't know what it is, but it seems younger folks are getting into the mead-brewing hobby."