Canadian Magazine Industry News
28 January 2009,     TORONTO
Liquor Canada targets restaurant and bar owners

KMI Publishing and Events has launched its third magazine in just under three years, having mailed about 20,000 copies of Liquor Canada to bar, restaurant and private liquor store owners across the country earlier this month. KMI, a Sydney, Australia-based outfit with several Asian branches, also publishes Canadian Mortgage Professional and Canadian Real Estate out of its Toronto office.

Liquor Canada is heavily service-oriented, offering its readers information and advice on how to improve their businesses. Features in the premiere include a look at how organic food can help attract “a more health-conscious public,” advice on beer presentation and wine list selections, and a case study looking at how Toronto’s Duke of York pub used a trivia league to double its Tuesday sales.

Liquor Canada will be published six times a year.

Christine Otsuka, a recent graduate of the master of journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa, is the magazine’s associate editor, essentially the top editorial job at the publication. (She reports to Simon Parker, vice president of editorial and operations for KMI.)

The perfect-bound, 66-page premiere carries 16 full-page ads and 10 fractionals, and sales manager Trevor Biggs says interest has spiked since the first issue went out. “One marketing manager we spoke to pounded on the table and said, ‘We want [Liquor Canada] to be the bible of the industry.’” Most of the ads in issue one are from liquor brands, with additional buys from Mott’s Clamato, Lea & Perrins, point of sale system providers, ATM providers, and Pub Stumpers, a company that facilitates trivia leagues in pubs. The rate for a one-time, full-page ad is $4,950.

Liquor Canada is entering a relatively crowded sector in Canada’s b-to-b market: CardOnline, a paid directory of media services, currently lists 16 magazines under the “hospitality” banner. Of course, only a handful of the publications listed are distributed nationally and just a fraction of those have the editorial focus as Liquor Canada, but Foodservice and Hospitality, arguably the leading title in the category, has a lot going for it, including longevity (it’s been around since 1968), monthly frequency, success at KRW Awards, higher ad rates ($6,920 for a full page), and a bigger list (about 24,142).

KMI does have a good track record in Canada so far: Canadian Real Estate, for example, was launched last year and is already increasing its frequency from bimonthly to monthly. Trevor Biggs also argues that the effects of the economic downturn may not be as dramatic for the restaurant and bar business as for other industries. “If you’re going to pick a recession-proof industry, liquor is pretty good.”

— M.U.
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