Thomas Lowndes, the specialist supplier of spirits and liqueurs, is urging restaurant and pub chains to increase the use of branded alcohol in their food offerings.
The company has made its portfolio of well-known wine and spirit brands available for the first time to menu developers and food suppliers in the sector.
According to the drinks distributor, the use of named alcoholic brands, instead of generic culinary alcohol, in savoury sauces and desserts can add value, increase profit margins and exploit customer trends. "A Courvoisier VS Cognac dessert sauce is likely to appeal more than an ordinary brandy sauce," said a spokesman. "Operators should take advantage of that."
Lowndes, a wholly-owned subsidiary of drinks manufacturing giant Allied Domecq, is best known for brands such as Cockburn's Special Reserve Port, Malibu Caribbean white rum and the liqueurs Drambuie, Tia Maria and Grand Marnier, as well as Courvoisier VS Cognac.
Lowndes general manager John Meyer said that there is a huge opportunity for catering operators to exploit the appeal of these and other brands because customers are prepared to pay extra for what they see as established quality products.
The company is already working with a number of food manufacturers to develop menu items for customers, including savoury cream sauces for meat dishes, soups, marinades, alcohol-flavoured ice-creams, and a range of desserts with full alcohol flavours or layers of alcohol.
Head of new developments Sharon Riddick said that the advantages of cooking with alcohol are well known. "Alcohol is a preservative," she said, "so it extends the shelf life of products. It tenderises meat, thickens sauces, complements existing flavours and can provide a seasonal variation."
Seminars being held by the drinks supplier explain the advantages of using alcohol in food - and branded alcohol, in particular.
The company is offering to help customers develop dishes and provide advice on trademark usage, licensing agreements and the approval process.
Contact Thomas Lowndes, Horsham, West Sussex
Tel: 01403 27007