Niche market beers wine and spirits continue to be accepted by the local and military segment.

The demand is moving Ken Cruz vice president for Seven Seas Distributors LLC to continue searching for new and great tasting products "In January I went to the Fancy Food Show"in San Francisco to find products that would compliment our existing portfolio and in March I went Las Vegas to the Nightclub and Bar Show to meet with current and prospective suppliers and to look for new and unique products to offer our region."

According to Cruz the Guam market is open to trying new products "The market… Guam and the region has really been great to us. People here I think are now more willing to try something new. If they lived in the mainland they want something they enjoyed there and if they are in the military they want something from home. They are happy to say that even if they are isolated on Guam they can have a small taste of home. Our products are "nostalgia in a bottle."

Cruz said while there are many people looking to try something different there are those in the local and military segment that are already familiar with the brands his company carries "Our core market is the outlet that caters to the predominantly military or local customer because they are already quite familiar with our brands and they frequent these venues more regularly than tourists who basically are here for a short time." However he said the tourist market isn’t ruled out. "Of course we won’t exclude the tourist market "" especially with the growing numbers we’ve been experiencing. They come to “America in Asia”” to experience America. Our products are some of the best that America has to offer. Another core sector is the export to the outer islands and the Northern Mariana Islands."

Most of the U.S.-based companies that Seven Seas has a relationship with see the potential for growth in Guam the region and Asia. Cruz said “”We have a really good relationship with our suppliers. I think that they see the opportunity in Guam. We are the furthest point West. They understand our location "" our proximity to Asia … and for most this is their first time at providing their product outside of the continental U.S." He said his first attempt at finding the right sources was somewhat difficult. "Initially I called hundreds of suppliers but only two or three responded. That’s an exaggeration actually it’s more like 15 to 25 responded or even wanted to do business here. I had to tell most of them that Guam is part of the U.S. but I think the companies that I am dealing with now see the opportunity in Guam and the region."

Cruz has more than 15 years of food and beverage experience in both the on-premise and wholesale sectors. He said it took him several years before he started the business of providing niche or specialty spirits. "I was the head dishwasher for some of the island’s hottest outlets: the original CASA Etcetera Bully’s Bar and Grill the Chameleon dance club and the Chameleon Lounge. We were lucky. We had a great team at these venues. Over the years I just saw the opportunities of providing people with unique and quality and specialty spirits. This is nearly eight years in the making. I didn’t just start this business overnight. I had to do my research.”” He said "I would bring back some really interesting products from the states and test them out with our customers. I even kept notes over the years of some of the items that customers would request which unfortunately were not offered here on island."

Cruz gives credit to his partners in Seven Seas for having the same vision for starting up the business “”Robert Toelkes and Amellia Toelkes are my partners. Robert is president and Amellia is vice president and treasurer in the company.”” Cruz jokingly refers to himself as the salesman delivery boy and purchasing manager but he said the business is growing enough to hire more staff. "We’ve had to include the assistance of two more to help with the deliveries so I could focus more on the sales and marketing side of things."

Seven Seas has several key on-premise accounts to include Sam Choy’s the Marianas Trench House of Brutus Old HagÅtña Grill Mac and Marti’s Bully’s and Marty’s. Cost-U-Less Circle K 76 and Vino are Seven Seas’ off-premise accounts.

Seven Seas provide premium beers such as Anchor Steam Rolling Rock New Belgium Fat Tire Black Butte Porter and Tiger Beer. The company also carries wines such as Ferrari-Carano Folie a Deux Eola Hills Hedges and Woodward Canyon. Specialty spirits include Hangar One Vodka Scorpion Mezcal Junipero Gin and Old Portero Rye Whiskeys.

"We want to give people products of exceptional quality and exceptional value. It’s about creating an experience “” Cruz said. MBJ