4 Things You Should Always do at a Distiller & Spirits Trade Show
Liquor trade shows are a great way to showcase your distillery’s goods. Whether you are a regional player or have dreams of taking your booze national, there isn’t a much better way to get the attention of industry movers and shakers than hitting a few trade shows. The trick is, getting a big wig’s attention is easier said than done.
A better way to put things is that a distiller really needs to earn a person’s attention. “Getting it,” sounds like it’s something there for the taking, like picking up fast food. The people who run distributorships or manage and decide what goes behind the bar at a restaurant chain have an army’s worth of people all telling them the same thing. “My brand is the best. Use it.” So when it comes to setting up at a trade show, find some ways to make it count.
1. Scout the Show
One benefit of running a distillery is that you have to play the long game. Owners will have a general idea which tradeshow to hit a full year or two before they will have the booze ready to sell. Take that time to attend all relevant trade shows and get a feel for the venue, see what other distillers are doing, and maybe get some new ideas.
2. Make Your Booth Stand Out
This can be hard to do. One temptation is to go all out, hire professional display builders, and create an elaborate custom display that showcases your brand. That can be a great route to go, and an expensive one. Many distilleries are shoestring operations, and can’t do this.
Basically, do what you can with what you have. While you may not be able to hire the fancy guys big time distillers use, there are a few graphic artists or marketing gurus who will work on a limited budget to give you at least a little bit of an edge. Providing you don’t just go it alone.
3. Gifts and Handouts
Don’t rely on a stack of business cards alone. Get a crate full of shot glasses, coffee mugs, t-shirts, or even novelty handouts like pens with a LED light and stylus built in. Lots of old timers love using a stylus instead of their fingers for their smart phones. Little things like this are a great way to help keep your brand in the minds of customers and big buyers.
Remember, these people are getting slammed with information all day long. They may genuinely love your product, and are interested potentially carrying it, but the deluge of information can knock it right out of their minds. Who knows? A couple of weeks or months after the show, they might be looking for a pen, find yours, and say, “I almost forgot about these guys. I need to give them a call.”
4. Most of All. Be Friendly
Maya Angelou once said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” So when meeting a long line of people, all asking you the same questions all day long, keep it friendly. No matter how tired you might be. These are the people who can make or break your company.
One caveat though, you have to keep your friendliness natural and not cross the line into blatantly kissing people’s butt. Many people see being phony as far worse than being rude. A rude jerk who makes great liquor might be able to pull off the gruff but awesome distiller angle. Phony people however, become forgotten and ignored.