Hooch Branding and Marketing Trends

Hooch Branding and Marketing Trends

We all know that it takes more than an excellent product to be successful. Heck, if a good product was all it took to make a million bucks, we could have had Grandma make her meatloaf for us instead of building a distillery. Distilleries have to create a feel, a mental and emotional picture in consumers’ heads that pop up whenever they see a label or hear the name. But branding and marketing are a funny thing. Last year's sure-fire trick to drum up the business is next years guaranteed to turn off millennials. Unless you want to start a line of whiskey for Toys-R-Us, it's a good idea to stay on top of marketing and branding trends.

UPS (Not Mail) Order Bourbon

UPS (Not Mail) Order Bourbon

Anybody who thinks prohibition ended in 1933 has never dealt with any liquor laws more complicated than getting carded while buying a bottle. This lingering prohibition usually manifests via how much of the former federal regulatory muscle was ceded to the states, which allowed each one to enact their own rules regarding how alcohol was made and sold.

Celebrity Spirits

Celebrity Spirits

Sometimes it's easy to forget that celebrities are actual people with their own interests and hobbies. After all, we almost always only see them in their role as entertainers. That one-dimensional image is easy to get locked into our heads. So, when we look at a celebrity strike out and do something outside of what they are known for, we instinctively take notice - assuming it's a celebrity we care about and not a Kardashian. These things usually end up being a fashion line, maybe a restaurant or a random side project apart from what they are best known for. Other times, it's something unusual.

Themed Distilleries

Themed Distilleries

Every business must stand out if it wants to be successful. This is in addition to working hard and having a product that people want. One standard way craft distilleries put themselves apart from the competition is through sheer quality. But the thing is, quality stops being a standout feature when every other craft distiller can rightfully claim the same thing. This desire to stand out has given rise to unique blends and infusions, which are great. That said, these are usually single product specific. As amazing as one bottle of uniquely blended or infused spirit may be, it doesn’t help all the other products that aren’t it fly off the shelves.

The Art of Whiskey Tasting

The Art of Whiskey Tasting

The world is so familiar with the concept of wine tasting that it has spawned countless numbers of people who throw out all manner of wine tasting jargon while at parties or a fancy restaurant, even though they have no idea what they are talking about. They are also the type who hide their lack of knowledge behind a contemptible sneer when someone brings up whiskey tasting. Whiskey has every bit the levels of taste, aroma, and character as any wine, and thanks to the hard work and dedication of craft distillers around the world, everyone is starting to find out this remarkable fact for themselves.

Packing Your Spirits

Packing Your Spirits

Craft distilleries are often born from the dreams of one person, or maybe a couple of friends who have an idea for a better or unique brand of spirit. Passionate people will plan out everything from the tasting room to how they will handle every step of the distilling process.

The Benefit of Hitting the Trade Shows

The Benefit of Hitting the Trade Shows

One common question going through the minds of people who have never attended a trade show is if it’s worth it? The flight or long drive, the cost of rooms, food, and often the price just to get in the door at a venue can climb into the thousands of dollars before you know it. And that’s before grabbing souvenirs for the kids or factoring in the cost of being away from the office. After all, won’t every distillery be posting all the cool things they have planned on Twitter and Instagram while live streaming it on Facebook? Probably so, but catching up on a few social media shares the next day is a poor substitute for being there in person.

Must Attend Trade Shows of 2018

Must Attend Trade Shows of 2018

With 2018 winding up to be a big year for craft distillers, its time to start prepping for the conventions. Any distillery who has been doing this for a while knows how important these little get-togethers can be. This is where the best and the worst ideas (i.e., see the mistakes by the competition and avoid them) all come together for everyone to see.

2017 Distilling in Review

2017 Distilling in Review

What will historians say about 2017? Whatever it is, chances are they will need a drink first. Things have gotten so crazy in the world and national politics that when the Pentagon admits that UFO's are real, nobody notices. And with 2018 starting off with kids eating Tide Pods, chances are future historians are going to die from alcohol poisoning before they finish out talking about this decade. It will be up to us to make sure those drinks get made, so let's take a look at some of the big things that hit the craft distillery industry this year good, bad, and in between.

Ways to Capitalize on the New Tax Laws

Ways to Capitalize on the New Tax Laws

As of this writing, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act hasn’t officially received the final vote, and signed into law. It looks more than likely that it will come to be, but as strange a political season that the last two years were, anything can happen. I don’t want to risk jinxing it.

Fun Facts About Your Beverages

Fun Facts About Your Beverages

If there is one thing that interests people about the liquor industry, aside from the craft aspect, it is the odd bits of lore and history that surrounds hard drinks. People may want to know about the origin and history of a particular drink, the reason certain ingredients are necessary – aside from the apparent flavors they bring, or what famous hard drinking politician or entertainer loved one specific label and why.

Winning Over Wine Drinkers

Winning Over Wine Drinkers

It can be easy to let our preconceived notions get the better of us, especially when it comes to who drinks what. It isn’t fair, but it happens, and let’s face it, we all do this. A good part of this is what pop-culture has shown us. When we think of the people who drink whiskey, we see power players Don Draper in a Manhattan high-rise, or Clint Eastwood’s nameless characters dusting themselves off and downing a glass.

5 Whiskey Trends 2017

5 Whiskey Trends 2017

Whenever anything gains popularity with a new crowd or a new generation of consumers that comes along, some level of change always follows it. Music and fashion are the first things that come to mind since we can turn on the radio and see what people are wearing to the dying meccas of local retail. The liquor industry is no different. Millennials are a key element in this change, but not the only thing. Even longtime customers want a change of pace now and then.

The Importance of Packaging

The Importance of Packaging

The most important thing a craft distiller must do is make a great product. It could be whiskey, rum, vodka, or any spirit, but whatever it is, it has to be good. It has to be better than good, really.

Liquor Geek Outs

Liquor Geek Outs

The geeks have inherited the earth, or at least are the driving force in pop-culture these days. It makes sense when you think about it.

Distillery Tour Wishlist: Jim Beam, Clermont, Kentucky

Distillery Tour Wishlist: Jim Beam, Clermont, Kentucky

I was thinking of other distilleries to visit from around the world, trying to imagine all the exotic and far off places that are doing great things in the realm of liquor and spirits. Then I remembered the adage that any place is exotic if you aren't from there. So why not give a Kentucky distillery a try. I am also taking a step away from the non-traditional and craft distilleries to see what one of the big boys are doing. So, let’s take a look at what Jim Beam is up to these days.

The Legal Hoop Jumping of Starting a Distillery

The Legal Hoop Jumping of Starting a Distillery

I keep expecting that one of these days, we are going to see a craft distillery, working its butt off day in and day out, come out and say, "Our secret is our lawyers."

Biggest Bar Trends of 2017

Biggest Bar Trends of 2017

One of the first rules of business is that you have to give the customers what they want. It’s a simple enough concept, but some people seem to have a knack for screwing it up. Maybe it’s because they think they already know everything, or they’re so enamored with what they want to do as a business they can’t see what they need to do. Either way, ignoring trends isn't the wisest move a business can make. Even if it isn't a trend, they can be a part of, adjusting plans to handle the impact it will have on the industry is important.

What Your Distillery Should Watch for in 2017

What Your Distillery Should Watch for in 2017

It's easy to let yourself get too set in a routine, especially if what you've been doing for so long has been working great. The problem is, that sort of thinking can make a person blind to that constant change hanging around in the air. Remember that no matter what you’re doing, or for how long it’s been done, it was once the newest thing or idea that knocked what used to be the new/big thing out of the top spot. Change will happen. How does this affect the craft liquor industry? Well, look at these new trends.

Best Craft Liquor Trade Show Giveaway

Best Craft Liquor Trade Show Giveaway

Trade shows are the time for a craft distillery to stand out and shine, and show the world why their brand of liquor is a cut above the rest. The only problem is that everyone else is also doing that, and chances are their product is also excellent – different, but every bit as good. This is when the cold hard gods of marketing need to be called on. Distilleries have to get their product noticed, or they aren’t going to make it. Chances are, you already have the samples ready to go, but there is still more to do.

Farewell 2016

Farewell 2016

It’s a safe bet that 2016 will go down in history as one of those years everyone will say they want to forget as they talk non-stop about how bad it was to their friends. No doubt there will be endless toasts celebrating its demise this New Years. 2016 had its moments, that’s for sure, but why do we hate it so bad? There have been plenty of worse years, and I’m not talking that far back in history like 1916, 1929-1945, or 1968. 2001 and 2008, 09, and 10 were far more difficult years than 2016. So why the hate? Because we need the catharsis.

The Best Craft Spirits for Holiday Gifts

The Best Craft Spirits for Holiday Gifts

With the demise of Turkey Day, the official start of the holiday season is upon us. It doesn't matter if you call it Christmas, Yule, Hanukah, Kwanza, Festivus, or just another Sunday. It's also time for a little shopping. Some of it will be easy. There are our casual acquaintances and coworkers who we will buy gift baskets full of meat and cheese or sweet soaps, and maybe the kids (our own or nieces and nephews) who will want toys, or gift cards if they're teens. What about your real friends and your closest grown up family members? For them, you should get something that they will enjoy and remember.

4 Things You Should Always do at a Distiller & Spirits Trade Show

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.

Host a Tasting to Showcase Your Craft Beverage

Host a Tasting to Showcase Your Craft Beverage

So you got your distillery up and running, and the first batch of your amazing whisky or bourbon has aged to perfection. Now you have to figure out a way to get the word out and gain your first customers. It’s really easy. Have a tasting. This is a great way to launch your brand and establish who you are in the eyes of your potential customers.

Distillery Warning: Understand the Olympic Marketing Rules Before Mentioning the Brand

Distillery Warning: Understand the Olympic Marketing Rules Before Mentioning the Brand

One of the more useful ways to market on social media is to ride the coattails of something huge. Some of the first big things that come to mind are the Super Bowl, The NBA Championships, or something like The Olympics going on now in Rio. But before you end any tweets about your new batch of golden whisky with #GoFortheGold, you better pay mind to the rules for using any of the Olympics’ brand recognition on social media.

5 Things Craft Distilleries Need to Know about Generation Z

5 Things Craft Distilleries Need to Know about Generation Z

First off, they aren’t Millennials, but they are close. Also keep in mind that half of them aren’t quite legal drinking age yet, so be careful you don’t pull a Phillip Morris by targeting those too young to legally buy your booze. Even by accident.

5 Companies That are Rocking 2016 and What Your Distillery Can Learn From Them

5 Companies That are Rocking 2016 and What Your Distillery Can Learn From Them

Each business and industry, including craft distilleries, has its own litany of things that work or don’t work. However, some ideas can cross over. Some companies are built and run by experts while others are built by geniuses who change everything. Take the time to have a good hard look at what innovators in other industries are doing. They might be doing something that can kick your distillery into high gear.

Market Your Craft Liquor—3 Tips for Marketing to the Back to College Crowd

Market Your Craft Liquor—3 Tips for Marketing to the Back to College Crowd

It’s getting close to back to school time. Many of the people running distilleries might not take notice. After all, the first thoughts that spring to mind are crayons, backpacks, and notebooks for the kids. Hard liquor isn’t on the list there. But there is one group going back to school this fall who might be a good idea to market to. College students.

Favorite Presidential Hard Drinks

Favorite Presidential Hard Drinks

Every job has its own bits of stress that goes along with it, and that goes double for being President of the United States. Even during the years without wars and depressions, there’s always the other headaches that come from running the country. Past or present it doesn’t matter. It’s no surprise that most of our presidents liked a drink or three to deal with the long days, or to start one off. Most of them stuck to beers, wine, or various kinds of liquor. Not that there’s anything wrong with those choices, but a few of our past leaders liked drinks that were a little more exotic or exciting.

5 Habits of Successful Distillery Owners

5 Habits of Successful Distillery Owners

It takes more than big dreams and good recipes to run a successful distillery. Just because it’s a passion doesn’t mean that it isn’t a business that needs all the usual attention a business requires. It takes a lot to make a distillery successful. Going in willy-nilly and hoping things spontaneously work out is a sure way to failure. Some industry veterans will give any budding distillery owner tons of advice - some good, some more of an entertaining anecdote. It’s a great way to learn. If you don’t get a chance to talk to one of these gurus, here are five things to keep in mind if you want your distillery to be a success.

4 Marketing Ideas for Spirits in Summer

4 Marketing Ideas for Spirits in Summer

It’s always smart to capitalize on the seasons when you are in need of a good marketing campaign. As the summer months begin to wind down, there’s still a bit of time to capitalize on what the season has to offer. Here are 4 ideas to help you utilize what the summer has to offer your marketing plan.

Social Media and Your Distillery

Social Media and Your Distillery

There is no question that having a strong social media presence is vital for any business today, and that goes for distilleries. However, managing social media is more complicated than creating a Facebook page and forgetting about it or hammering out a tweet every couple of months. It’s a real job.