Congratulations. You’ve worked hard to create your own brand of spirits and you’re ready for the world to beat down your door. If only it were that easy. To get people to buy your product, you need to follow a strong spirits marketing strategy. Don’t worry, this doesn’t require a master’s degree in marketing, but it does take some effort and creativity.
It’s good to have a sense of the fundamentals that make your market. Yes, you know everything about your product, but do you know the range of liquors that you might be competing against? The six base liquors that most people consume are: brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey. You’ll want to learn about each even if you’re not producing that particular spirit, just to know the market you’ll be working in and how to do proper marketing.
Maybe you’re just getting started or maybe you want a brand new start for your business. Either way, what do you need to do to launch a spirit brand? Set some foundations for your spirits marketing strategy.
Do your research
A good spirits marketing strategy involves intensive competitor research. Learn from the mistakes of others so that you don’t make them yourself. Ask other distillers – even if they’re producing dissimilar products to yours – about what they wish they could have done differently. Learn from the successes as well, but recognize that lightning doesn’t always strike twice.
Define your niche
There’s a lot of competition out there. What are you doing that sets you apart from other brands? Are you using exotic ingredients? Does your distilling process break new ground? Is the story of how you came to make your spirit a great one? Your experience is unique, but it can be easy to make it seem like everyone else’s. Make sure your story doesn’t get lost.
Develop a distribution strategy
To get your foot in the door, you might consider self-distributing first. This will show any larger distributor that you have an audience. It also means you don’t have to sit and wait to be noticed by the bigger names.
Spirits Marketing 101
You have your foundations set and you’re ready to go. It’s time to engage in some serious spirits marketing. So how do you market your brand?
Invest in local events
There’s nothing wrong with capitalizing on existing events to market yourself. Look for local trade exhibitions, sporting events, festivals, or anything where people who fit your demographic gather to enjoy themselves. Bring lots of stickers, shirts, anything that gets your brand’s name out there. Should you choose to participate in a tastings event, or even if you host your own, you can even use sophisticated software to manage the data you collect.
Use social media
Spirits consumers are active online. 91% of them are active on Facebook and 87% on Instagram. Search through social media for any mentions of your brand (a Google Alert can be handy here). Reach out to people and establish that contact. Answer any questions they may have. And if you find a connection with an influencer, offer them some quid pro quo for mentions of your product.
Build an email list
Not everything lives on social media. Good old fashioned email can be a great way to connect with customers directly.
Outsource what you are not good at, or find a distillery software to help
If this seems like a lot of effort going into spirits marketing that would keep you from your passion of making great liquor, there’s nothing wrong with getting professionals in to cover what you need. That could mean an accountant, or someone actively selling to distributors, or an outside marketing platform for business intelligence, sales strategy, and reporting. What’s important is that the work for your spirits marketing gets done, whether you handle it yourself or not.
Spirits marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little research on the fundamentals, a willingness to put the time in, and a bit of imagination, you can make your spirits business blossom.
What are the six fundamental spirits?
They are: brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey.
Do spirits consumers use social media?
Yes, very much so. One report found that 91% are active on Facebook and 87% are active on Instagram.