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Baking with Alcohol: The Best Boozy Desserts

Chocolate mousse, garnished with a tangerine wedge and white chocolate shavings and a shot of Belgian traditional tangerine liqueur on a windowsill against the backdrop of a summer garden
Chocolate mousse, garnished with a tangerine wedge and white chocolate shavings and a shot of Belgian traditional tangerine liqueur on a windowsill against the backdrop of a summer garden

It’s a great time of year to experiment with desserts. The end of summer marks a time just before the traditional harvest season and the holidays to start thinking about mixing up some new recipes. Trying new recipes that utilize a touch of your favorite alcohol as a key ingredient is a fun, indulgent way to fill a fall afternoon.  

Not only does cooking or baking with alcohol make the process more fun, but it also adds unique flavors to dishes. In cooking, alcohol ties water and fat together very well, which naturally enhances the flavor of food and beverages. Here are some tips for baking with alcohol, as well as some recipes to explore and enjoy with your friends and family.

Tips for Baking with Alcohol

  1. Consider the flavor profiles of your favorite cocktails. Red wine, brandy, and port all have a sweetness that blends very well with chocolate, sweet cakes, and even gingerbread. Bourbon and rum blend nicely with cake mixes, cookie dough, and pie fillings, adding notes of vanilla or nuts. 
  2. It’s best to slowly add liquor to your cooking or baking, working up to the perfect taste level. To prevent the harsh taste of alcohol, provide some cooling time in between adding liquor.
  3. Alcohol tastes and cooks differently, depending on when you add it. According to a 2003 USDA study, 5 to 85 percent of alcohol will remain in a recipe after cooking. Be careful when adding liquor, add just enough to taste it, but not enough to become overwhelming. 
  4. If you would like a stronger taste of alcohol in your baking, then you can always incorporate it into a glaze or a frosting for an extra burst of flavor.
  5. Because you are cooking is no excuse to skimp on your booze. The quality of alcohol will affect your baked goods once they are finished. Always use alcohol that you enjoy (which is to say, one you would drink on its own) in your baking.

Boozy Dessert Recipes

Here are some delicious boozy dessert recipes to explore and enjoy with your friends and family!

Rum Balls

Rum balls are the perfect snack to make for when you are having a few friends over. The recipe has the perfect mixture of booze and chocolate and tastes similar to Oreos. This no-bake recipe requires about one cup of rum; however, you can add more or less to taste.

Watermelon Margarita Pops

These frozen watermelon margarita pops can be used as popsicles, or even ice cubes in your favorite drink. With a few simple ingredients, you can make yourself a delicious homemade margarita that only takes about 10 minutes to make.

Boozy S’mores Milkshake

This s’mores milkshake will become your new favorite drink, especially since it’s so easy to make. This boozy drink has everything that you love about s’mores, plus so much more. Don’t forget to add your favorite toppings as garnish! Here at The Creative Barrel, our mission is to make sure you have a safe and fun time enjoying your favorite drinks. As the summer winds down and the holidays creep ever closer, it’s time to begin experimenting with new flavors and crowd-pleasing desserts. What’s your go-to end-of-year dessert? 

Whisky Barrels vs Wine Barrels | What’s the Difference?

There are only a few differences between wine and whiskey barrels, but even the smallest change can have an impact on flavor. The flavor of your final product will depend heavily on the type of barrel you choose; therefore, it’s important to know whether to choose wine or whiskey barrels.

The Size of Whiskey and Wine Barrels

The first and most obvious difference between wine and whiskey barrels is the size and volume. Whiskey barrels have a traditional volume of 53 gallons, while a wine barrel’s volume can vary depending on the product. Due to the standard volume, the size of a whiskey barrel rarely differs; however, a wine barrel will vary in size based on volume. Additionally, whiskey barrels are smaller on average–due to the standardization of whiskey barrel sizes.

Material Differences Between Barrels

Whiskey barrels are almost always made of oak. Wine barrels frequently use oak as a material, while other woods are rarely used. The same is not true of wine barrels. Though they frequently use oak, wine makers are more likely to use various types of wood to impart unique flavors to the finished product. Maple, hickory, or walnut can all have drastic effects on the final flavor, which may make certain wines unique.

Toasting and Charring

Perhaps the largest difference between whisky and wine barrels is the level of toasting on the interior of the barrel. Wine barrels are often toasted either at light, medium, or dark levels. Toasting is used to impart wood flavors into a wine. For whiskey barrels, however, the inside of the barrel is often charred for the opposite reason.

When charred, the whiskey barrel builds up a thin layer of charcoal. This charcoal layer acts like a filter, removing impurities from the finished product. Removing these impurities will result in a milder whiskey with a cleaner taste. Now that you know the difference between whiskey and wine barrels, you can make the best decision for your next batch. Don’t forget that a barrel can also make a wonderful decorative piece or display. Creative Barrel supplies beautiful display barrels for every need. Find out more by contacting us.

Point of Purchase Displays | Trends in the Industry

There are plenty of trends today for point of purchase displays, but you’ll need to know which ones are effective. While some trends might be lackluster for your customers, others can have a dramatic impact on sales. For 2022, there are three prominent point of sale display trends you can use to your advantage.

Introduce an Experience

Customers may frequent your stores and see your displays, but they may not be engaging enough to grab their attention. Plenty of customers today suffer from ad-blindness, or the inability to notice advertising. This phenomenon happens because advertising is so prevalent; however, it can be overcome with displays that offer an experience.

Some potential experiences might include offering samples, showing off a potential recipe, or offering information about the product and how it’s made. All of these should be done with an eye-catching display, whether it’s in a grocery aisle, liquor store, or retail location The display will work to draw people’s initial attention, while your experience will keep them engaged and encourage purchases.

Using Digital in Point of Purchase Displays

Another way to draw attention to a point of purchase display is to introduce digital elements. While digital displays can be expensive, you don’t have to commit to a fully-digital experience. One of the largest trends in 2022 is combining digital and physical elements.

Introducing digital elements can include digital point of purchase signage, digital sign-up forms, or informational videos on a screen or tablet. Incorporating digital elements doesn’t have to be expensive, and there are plenty of ways to hook customers without committing to fully-digital solutions.

Making Beautiful Point of Purchase Merchandising

While customers might glance over your point of purchase display in the store, social media provides a place for potentially evergreen content. Images and videos of your display can be viewed by thousands of customers an infinite number of times, rather than being seen only in the store.

Building elaborate, beautiful displays can entice potential customers, especially on social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. Not only will this content be seen by regular customers, but it can also draw new customers to see your display in person.

Overall, there are plenty of trends that can be used to make more engaging point of purchase displays. Creative Barrel provides engaging point of purchase display materials to attract customers and lead to increased sales. For more information, and to find the right display for you, contact us now

Wedding Barrel Displays

Weddings are one of the most special events in our lives. Not only are they an opportunity to express your love for your partner, but they’re also a chance to celebrate that feeling with your other loved ones. It’s no surprise, then, that people put painstaking effort into ensuring their wedding is one to remember.

While a million-dollar budget might seem like the only way to make your special day unforgettable, there are plenty of ways to host a classy wedding without the expensive price tag. Ordinary items, like wooden barrels, can be used as memorable and unique décor that doesn’t blow your budget.

Wedding Barrel Displays

One of the best things about using barrels for your wedding is their versatility. When you order from a professional cooperage, your barrel can be completely customized to fit your wedding theme. Choose a stain that suits your color scheme, and add windows, shelves, or even a customized imprint that displays your and your partner’s initials.

Beyond their customizability, wooden barrels can be used in a variety of ways throughout your wedding venue. They can be turned into an excellent place for guests to leave gifts or used as a place to display couple photos, flowers, or drink options. Push your creativity to the limit by using the barrels in unexpected ways, like a photo op spot or distinctive accent feature to ensure your day is as unique as it is special.

Barrel Table Displays

One common way of incorporating barrel displays into your wedding is by using them as tables. The simplest way is to use them as standing cocktail tables for your guests at the wedding reception. You can also secure a glass or wooden top to a single or multiple barrels. Using a tabletop allows the wooden barrels to showcase their rustic beauty but adds stability to the display. Using a rough-sawn tabletop can be a beautiful way to personalize your wedding’s head table.

Creative Barrel Solutions

When it comes to barrel displays for your wedding or any other event, there is no better solution than Creative Barrel. Our quality barrels and barrel displays are sure to be the highlight of your space. Check out our selection of barrels and customization options on our website.

Generational Alcohol Consumption: Which is Preferred?

Family toasting at a meal.
Family toasting at a meal.

Within all generational groups, reaching the legal drinking age can be an exciting time. This can especially be said for Generation Z, as they are starting to have a dramatic impact on the alcohol and beverage industries. The alcohol preferences of each generation depend almost entirely upon occasions, motivators, and influences when buying these alcoholic beverages. Wine, beer, and spirits all have a part to play, but each generation usually has a preference when it comes to alcoholic beverages.

Generational Alcohol Preferences

There are five generations that are of legal age to drink in the United States: Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation. Marketers, restaurants, and bars break down average alcohol consumption by these five generations.

Silent Generation

The Silent Generation, born from 1928 – 1945, are now around 77 – 94 years of age. According to a survey conducted in 2019, the Silent Generation strongly favors wine, at 59%. 29% of this generation favors liquor and spirits, and 12% favors beer.

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers, born from 1946 – 1964, are now around 58 – 76 years of age. According to the same survey, 42% of Baby Boomers favor wine, like the Silent Generation. However, 39% of this generation favors liquor and spirits, and 20% favors beer.

Generation X

Generation X, born from 1965 – 1980, are now around 42 – 57 years of age. Generation X favors liquor and spirits at 41%. 36% percent of Generation X favors wine, and 23% favors beer.


Millennials, born from 1981 – 1995, are now around 27 – 41 years of age. 43% of Millennials tend to favor liquor and spirits. However, 34% percent of Millennials favor wine, and 23% percent favor beer.

Generation Z

Generation Z, more commonly known as Gen Z, were born from 1996 – 2012, and are now 10 – 26 years of age. Of the Gen Zs who are of legal drinking age, 53% favors liquor and spirits. 27% of Gen Z favors wine, and 20% favors beer.

Generational Alcohol Consumption

Why does generational alcohol consumption matter? When you know the demographics of your customers, you can tailor your marketing efforts to appeal to that group’s tastes. Whether it’s by using discounts or eye-catching point-of-purchase displays, targeting your advertising will help increase sales.

At Creative Barrel, we know how to market alcohol. With customizable POP displays made from beautifully crafted barrels, your marketing will make a splash no matter which generation you’re targeting. Learn more on our website, or contact our team for questions.

Tips for Retail Display Merchandizing on St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s concept with green beer, pot of gold, and shamrocks.
St. Patrick’s concept with green beer, pot of gold, and shamrocks.

Everyone knows St. Patrick’s Day is the green holiday. However, with the National Retail Federation reporting skyrocketing St. Patrick’s Day spending, it may be becoming the green holiday due to the money it generates, rather than traditional cultural color associations.

Consumers are clearly willing to spend money, especially on alcohol, when it comes to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. When setting up marketing displays and merchandizing initiatives, keep these tips in mind to build a successful campaign.

Maintaining Cultural Awareness

Because St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural holiday, care needs to be taken not to misrepresent or demean the Irish culture. Using aspects of Irish culture can be great ways to create a unique customer experience, but it can be a slippery slope between showcasing Irish culture and disrespecting it.

Asking customers to perform an Irish jig, speak in an Irish accent, or recite a limerick to receive a deal or discount might seem to be great ways to incorporate the holiday into your business. However, these challenges also require your staff to know what those things are. If your employees can’t tell the difference between an Irish jig and the Macarena or distinguish an Irish accent from a Jamaican accent, then the incentive doesn’t have anything to do with St. Patrick’s Day. It’s just requiring your customers to do something unorthodox with no clear connection to St. Patrick’s Day.

In this scenario, it would make more sense to include something typically associated with St. Patrick’s Day, rather than specific aspects stereotypically associated with the Irish Culture. This could be something like wearing green or presenting a lucky item, such as a four-leaf clover, rabbits foot, or horse shoe.

St. Patrick’s Day Retail Display Ideas

There are many different ways to respectfully incorporate St. Patrick’s Day into your marketing. Window displays are a wonderful way to reach customers and the public alike, especially if your business experiences heavy street traffic. Having a window display allows your business to appear more festive to customers and clients alike, enticing them to step inside and check out the special you’re running.

Don’t leave your festive spirit in the window, however. Make sure to bring the seasonal designs into your store as well. Having St. Patrick’s Day retail displays are a great way to carry the festive spirit into your store, as well as a wonderful way to highlight specific products or brands.

Gift baskets can be a wonderful way to incorporate the holiday into your business, and they can also help you highlight new or unique products. Build St. Patrick’s Day themed gift baskets around a bottle of Irish whiskey or the like, and place them strategically to utilize secondary placement wisely.

A memorable, effective display starts with a solid base, like Creative Barrel’s premium, custom-built barrels. Contact Creative Barrel to begin building your St. Patrick’s Day retail display today!

Tips for Valentine’s Day Retail Display Merchandizing

Lotto ticket with wood barrel 14 number on pink hearts background.
Lotto ticket with wood barrel 14 number on pink hearts background.

February 14th: either it forces us to accept our single lifestyle or allows us to celebrate the companion we’ve found. It’s also one of the top spending holidays in America, and for merchandizers, this means it’s a great time to invest in an eye-catching Valentine’s Day retail display.

Valentine’s Day offers a great opportunity for alcohol merchandizers, especially, as sparkling wine, rosé, and champagne sales experience a significant spike during the holiday. The best part? When it comes to Valentine’s Day, it’s easy to do a lot with a little. With a few simple tips, you can take your Valentine’s Day display to the next level, helping you capitalize on the spirit of love.

Know Your Market

There are two distinct parties on Valentine’s Day: couples and singles. For most alcohol merchandizers, they’ll be targeting the couples. Knowing the demographics of the people who shop at your store is an easy way to begin tailoring the retail display to that audience.

If your shop caters to a high-end crowd, go with an elegant, sophisticated display. If your patrons are typically younger, the products you feature will likely be different than those targeted toward an older audience. If your customer base is diverse, your advertising should be as well.

Utilize Secondary Placement Wisely

Cross-marketing has been proven time and time again to be a successful marketing strategy, and it’s so, so simple. Holidays, especially Valentine’s Day, are a time for impulse buys. Display a related product near your wine or champagne display to trigger the realization that your consumer needs this secondary product, too. It’s also a good opportunity to partner with a business to bring these secondary products to your store. Easy Valentine’s Day examples: a teddy bear hugging a bottle of wine, boxes of chocolates and chocolate stouts, or champagne and a bouquet of roses.

Use Multiple Unique Displays

Just as it’s easy to do a lot with a little during Valentine’s Day, multiple retail displays can take your sales to the next level. Not only does having more than one display allow you to showcase multiple popular products, but it also allows you to fine-tune your targeting to your different consumer groups.

However you design your marketing plan, having a unique display is essential. It’s no secret Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday, so to stand out among to constant assault of advertisements and sales, make sure your display stands above the rest.

At Creative Barrel, we offer custom-built barrels perfect for creating gorgeous point-of—purchase displays. Whether your ideal Valentine’s Day retail display is charming, rustic, or elegant, our barrels provide the perfect place to start.

The Importance of Visual Merchandising in Liquor Stores

A row of display barrels used for liquor store merchandising.
A row of display barrels used for liquor store merchandising.

Drawing a customer’s attention is easier said than done. A challenge arises for product-makers across the country when trying to convert that first customer through visual merchandising. 

But luckily, there is a wide range of tricks you should use to draw potential customers in and convert them. For the companies we partner with, visual merchandising is becoming one of the primary tools for selling products.

Why Visual Merchandising Matters

With the proper alcohol merchandising, you can draw people into beautiful displays and pique their interest in your product. With stunning displays like the custom potions available from Creative Barrel, you can quickly generate more revenue and keep new customers coming back for more.

Drawing the Eye

Customers need a reason to pick up your product and find out more. They can’t know about your product’s rich history, dedication to flavor, or attention to detail without setting their sights on the bottle. You’ll need a visual cue that draws the eye.

Plenty of our partners hedge their bets on beautiful-looking liquor store merchandising. This merchandising attracts customers to approach the display and fall in love with your product. 

Return on Investment

If you own or operate a business (not just in wines or spirits but in any industry) you’ve undoubtedly heard about ‘return on investment’ or ROI. Everyone sees that the supplies you purchase must justify the cost. So, what kind of ROI can you expect on visual merchandising?

Believe it or not, people still prefer to do their shopping in person. The reasons for this no doubt vary from person to person, but the fact remains. That means that alcohol merchandising is still essential. Would you rather have your merchandise occupying the same shelf space as your competitor, or would you instead like to stand out?

Many modern advertising options require a hefty front-end commitment to begin seeing results. Digital advertising, and even traditional media, are often expensive for smaller businesses and can take weeks or even months to see an impact. Visual merchandising can be effective and inexpensive when done correctly.  

Using Visual Displays to Grow Your Business

There’s no one single way to grow your business. The best option to promote growth is to diversify your efforts. Choose many routes to build an audience and attract customers and don’t neglect liquor store merchandising. Visual merchandising is not only effective at gaining a customer’s attention but is also inexpensive enough for everyone to try. 

Want to get started crafting beautiful displays? Creative Barrel has the perfect solutions for you. Contact us to get started on your next round of visual merchandising.

Barrel Fermentation Vs. Barrel Aging: What’s the Difference?

Wood wine barrels stored in a winery on the fermentation process
Wood wine barrels stored in a winery on the fermentation process

You may have heard the terms ‘barrel aging’ used interchangeably with ‘barrel fermentation,’ but it may surprise you to find that they are incredibly different processes. They both involve the same materials and methods, but their impact on wines and spirits can be astronomically different. Like most things involving alcohol, one small change can ripple out, causing a shift in the flavor profile of your brew.

Aging Vs. Fermentation

We’re going to explore the difference today and explain it in a way that enriches your understanding of both processes.

The Magic of Fermentation

In case you’re not a sommelier or whiskey lover, you might want a refresher on the importance that fermentation plays in making alcohol. During fermentation, yeast is added to the wort to begin fermenting. As time goes on, the yeast eats and breaks down the sugar to produce alcohol and CO2.

The only thing you need to know at this point is that you choose where this fermentation process happens. Some distilleries opt to place the liquid in wooden barrels for the sake of fermentation, but some operations decide to proceed with the process by setting the liquid into steel tanks. This slight difference can make a world of difference in the flavor of the final product.

The Benefits of Barrel Fermentation

Now that we’ve established the difference between these two products, we’d like to discuss some of the nuances of barrel fermentation. Placing the liquid into barrels for fermentation can impart much more flavor and complexity than a steel tank. Most notably, barrel fermentation results in a wine or spirit that boasts notes of toasted vanilla, muted fruit flavors, and a creamy round texture.

When to Choose Barrel Aging

The benefits of barrel aging are even more numerous than fermentation. Barrel aging results in a more profound and complex product, with tasting notes of vanilla, tobacco, and even caramel. When a distillery chooses to age in barrels like ours, they produce a softer and richer drink than what they could achieve otherwise.

Barrels That Enrich

To enjoy the best wine and spirits, you must give them the perfect conditions before, during, and after the brewing process. At the Barrel Mill, we’ve dedicated over a century to our understanding of lumber and craftsmanship. That’s why we stand as one of the most respected cooperages in our industry.

If you’re interested in selecting the finest barrels for your brightest product, contact us today to see how we can enrich your product with unmistakable quality.

Unique and Complicated Liquor Laws from Around the Country

A police officer standing at a bar paying his bill with a bar and liquor bottles in the background.
A police officer standing at a bar paying his bill with a bar and liquor bottles in the background.

As a national retailer for premium point-of-purchase displays, Creative Barrel has had the opportunity to create unique solutions for an array of clients. Even with our years of experience, we are continually adapting to new liquor laws and regulations for customers around the country.

Let’s take a look at some unique liquor laws and regulations around the country:

Sunday Liquor Sales

Over the last few years, many states have lessened their restrictions on alcohol sales on Sundays. Many states still do not sell alcohol on Sunday or close earlier than other days of the week–often referred to as “Blue Laws” which are often based on religious reasons.

Alcohol Takeaway for Restaurants

Since the pandemic, many states, counties, and cities have passed new laws based on the home delivery of alcohol. This was set into motion to promote food delivery efforts to support restaurants that could not open their doors to the public. Many of the laws required customers to purchase food along with their alcohol orders, and not all of them stayed in effect once restaurants were allowed to reopen. 

Banning the Sale of Miniature Bottles

Some states have adopted rules to help combat drunk driving as well as prevent littering. Some Massachusetts towns began banning the bottles as far back as 2018, though the law has yet to pass on a state-wide level. Back in June, New Mexico began phasing out the sale of miniature bottles of alcohol. The new law, which took full effect on July 1st, banned the sale of bottles containing less than 3 ounces of alcohol. 

Strange Liquor Laws Around the Country

While many of these liquor laws are easy to define and understand, there are. A few states that still adapt very strange or out of fashion rules around alcohol:

Utah: If you are craving a drink in a restaurant in Utah, you must order food with your beverage. And if you order beer, the alcohol content is likely 3.2% or below.

Indiana: Have you ever been to a Happy Hour in Indiana? If so, it might have been over 30 years ago, as lowering prices for a portion of the day is illegal in the state.

Colorado: While some states require you to purchase food with your rink, Colorado cannot sell food in their liquor stores. 

Maine: Looking to start the St. Paddy’s Day festivities early? You’re in luck in Maine. Even on Sundays, liquor stores open their doors at 6 AM!

Creative Barrel brings a classic approach to wooden barrel point of purchase displays. Whatever the laws in your state or the impression you would like to make on your customers, we can help you accomplish your goals. Visit our website to learn more.


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