"Upon Further Review…"

After so many, many years chronicling the beverage retailing arena, I still find it hard to think of a theme for my column each issue.

After all these years, I worry that I’ve written about every conceivable aspect of the business, praising, damning and everything in between.

I’ve covered in-store displays. I’ve debated front door or back door. I’ve discussed seasons to sell and reasons to buy.

Here are some phrases you’ve probably seen me write before:

“Creativity, or lack thereof.”

“There can never be too much innovation.”

“My beloved Yankees.”

“Drive business.”

“The consumer seeks new, exciting and different.”

I’ve written the words “functionality,” “efficacy,” and “healthful” till my hands have shaken. Why? Because I believe those three words describe the right direction for marketers and retailers to take. After all, we shouldn’t reflect society; we should take the lead in shaping it.

My track record of prognosticating trends, categories and acquisitions is pretty good, although there are some things I have yet to live down.

To wit: 14 years ago, I pondered why consumers would pay for bottled water when they could get it out of their taps.

More recently, I wrote that the energy drink category doesn’t have legs, and would go the way of Ice and Dry beers.

Oh well, can’t be perfect.

Prodding retailers to action has always been a favorite theme.

I can never state enough that it is imperative to look for innovation: create a new product strategy and give the brands time to grow.

The frequency with which I’ve advised retailers to re-visit their shelf sets far outnumbers the amount of times they should actually do it, of course. But you should still do it a lot.

And how many times have I said the following? “True partnership between retailer and marketer is the key to success.”

“Don’t be greedy.”

“Don’t let the big guys bully you.”

I’ve opined that attendance at industry events is a must, along with reading the magazines, Web sites and newsletters that give the insights that make your job easier.

In other words, I could go on and on about the themes I’ve covered over the years. I still think most of them ring true today.

So consider the theme of this column “Barry in Review.” Judging by the lack of space remaining on the page, it appears that it’s done. That was easy. Anyone got an idea for next month?