Somrus tells it straight up but a columnist ends up on the rocks

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“You are the company you keep” runs the old adage, applied both to friendship and status.

It’s a highly appropriate mantra for The House of Somrus, the fast-growing cream liqueur founded by this Blog’s sponsor. Somrus – Hindi for nectar of the gods – was founded in the US in 2014 by Pankaj K. (P.K.) Garg and his wife Swati, the result of them perfecting a cream liqueur featuring a medley of favourite Indian ingredients in their home kitchen (read my interview here).

In the ensuing years. Somrus’s reputational stocks have risen just as fast as its in-store stocks have depleted. It’s a remarkable success story, increasingly underpinned by the brand’s growing travel retail distribution courtesy of Barry Geoghegan’s Duty Free Global.

And indeed Somrus is keeping good company based on P.K’s latest LinkedIn post which shows The House of Somrus displays with Avolta (formerly Dufry) at Fraport TAV Antalya Airpoat Fraport TAV Antalya Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport, the brand presented alongside household names in the drinks sector.

“Always been a fan of Turkish Delights,” writes P.K, a man with a sweet tooth as my original interview with him from 2021 reveals. “How about some in a liquid form now?”

Don’t put it past one of the drinks industry’s most innovative companies to come up with exactly that. But for now, a trio of outstanding Indian delights will do nicely.

Something else that will do nicely is the brilliant reaction of 1911 Smoke House owner Maurice Hallett to a tweet by New York Times columnist David Brooks, which raged about the price of a meal at Newark Liberty International Airport.

“This meal just cost me $78 at Newark Airport. This is why Americans think the economy is terrible,” wrote the irate critic on X (formerly Twitter) above a photo of a burger, fries and three sachets of ketchup (I know, I know, a journalist should never reveal his sauces).

But as you can see, there was another item of expenditure in the photo. As in a very large shot of amber-coloured liquid which most certainly was not ginger ale, served on the rocks. Exactly where Mr Brooks’ reputation now lies.

The restaurateur quickly shot back that 80% of the critic’s tab came from multiple shots of whiskey. And, delighted by social media reaction to the incident, it quickly launched the ‘D Brooks Special’ of a burger, fries and a double shot of whiskey for US$17.78 – the original price of the food order.

The original tweet — which attracted more than 36 million views in ensuing days — spurred a frenzy of hilarious memes on social media.

In the wake of the Dufry/Autogrill deal and the birth of Avolta, we’ve written a lot about the ‘convergence’ of retail and food & beverage. I don’t know what brand Mr Brooks was imbibing but I reckon there is a hell of a cross-category promotional opportunity awaiting Avolata at Newark Liberty International Terminal B.

Instead of buy one, get one free, this could be travel retail’s first ‘buy one, get a burger & chips free’ offer. Thanks to the hapless Mr Brooks, the foodie floodgates may be about to open. In fact, don’t be surprised if (P.K.) Garg is already working on a similar offer at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport with Mumbai Duty Free and Travel Food Services. Somrus Mango and rasmalai anyone?