Evolving Drinks Brands

Evolving Drinks Brands

Evolving Drinks Brands banner

I recently read and shared an article in Forbes by Patrick Hanlon called, “Why Brands Must Evolve” that is so spot on that it has led to a number of interesting conversations in the past week with some of my clients and partners who own brands in beer, wine and spirits. As one who spends a lot of time thinking about new brands, as well as igniting established brands in new ways, Patrick’s thoughts really resonated with me. I don’t think there is a better industry than beverage to illustrate his points about what is going on with brands. Brand proliferation is happening across the board making “breaking through the clutter” ever more difficult. At the same time, the reason this is happening if fundamentally that there is demand for new brands. As I wrote in “RE: Is Craft Beer In A Bubble”, there is a big and growing market for new brands in beer, but also in wine and spirits. Not everyone will succeed and in fact many new brands will fail. To the big brand manager, the fundamental challenge has also never been so big – how do you keep a loyal following when your following gets gigantic. I think about an Iconic brand like Patron Tequila. I was a distributor for Patron as it passed between different sales companies and was a very difficult sell. Five years from the time it launched, Patron was doing about 55,000 cases. Now that is a nice little brand, but nothing would have screamed, “This brand is on fire!” Then, it did catch on fire and became the very symbol of luxury. Check out Patron case sales for the first 10 years:

Patron sales first 10 years

Patron is an amazing brand and continues to outsell all of the other super premium tequilas (and frankly all other spirits brands at $40/750ml bottle and higher). They have a huge and loyal following. However, as brand manager for Patron today, the things one has to do to market the brand are quite different than in the early years. How does one keep the “cool” factor going when you are the largest brand in your category. There are dozens of new entrants who are going after their market and have the advantage of being smaller (think Avion, Casamigos, Don Julio) and bringing a new “cool” factor to the market. Clearly there are many that succeed at this but being true to your brand and your audience while changing things up can be quite difficult. Absolut Vodka was THE luxury brand of the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was the “it” brand among the “it” crowd.

Andy Warhol Absolut IMG_6541

Pernod Ricard paid over $8 billion to acquire the brand a few years back. How does Pernod now manage a giant brand that was formerly the top luxury vodka in a market with such massive proliferation of brands that the high-end vodka category has experienced. I’m told there are 800 vodkas in the Beverage Media New York book. Pernod recently announced a new bottle. Absolut is one of those brands that defined itself by its bottle.   Changing the bottle is a big move even in subtle ways. Adding the big A is a pretty big move. Large companies don’t usually make big moves, but staying relevant in a crowded market sometimes requires big moves.    Pepsico made an even bigger move a few years back with their Gatorade brand. I thought at the time, it was fairly risky, but it appears to have paid off (does anyone know details?).

gatorade new gatorade old label

Patrick’s article certainly cites a number of great examples of big brands that have managed to evolve over time and keep or even build on their past successes. “…the challenge for brands has evolved from creating awareness to creating meaning.” How do you keep creating meaning at scale like Nike, Apple and Disney have successfully done.  They each connect to their consumers and continually create meaning.

The wine market has evolved so dramatically, that I have to look up many of the brands on the grocery shelf today and I have been involved in selling $100s of millions of wine over the years. Why? New brand proliferation to attract the millennial consumers.

barefoot wine logo Meiomi wine

Take a look at the top 10 domestic “Hot Brands” put out by Marvin Shanken’s Impact Databank:

  1. Barefoot
  2. Black Box
  3. Bota Box
  4. Liberty Creek
  5. Boggle
  6. Apothic
  7. 14 hands
  8. Barefoot Refresh
  9. Gnarly Head
  10. Meiomi

Four of these are Gallo Brands, but none say Gallo. All have interesting, contemporary labels. To succeed in this hyper-competitive market, every brand must have a number of things. Great branding is vital, without it your brand is lost and has no chance. Great liquid that fits the taste of your target market is key, without it they won’t buy a second time. Distribution is essential, a brand cannot become relevant if consumers can’t find it. But how does a brand build a real following of consumers who care? That is, how do we create meaning? That is the question every new brand team needs to answer.

 

To quote Patrick again: “We want the added value of believing in something. The added value of belonging to something: being a part of something that hard-wires us to a larger community of “people like me””

 

Seth Godin in his fantastic book “Tribes” articulates this concept well.

“Seth Godin argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change. He urges us to do so.” Brands have to figure out how to reach their tribes and how to engage with them. Notice, I did not say create their tribes. This is an important distinction. I believe tribes are discovered not created. Brands who overtly try to create one typically struggle. If a following is not organic, today’s savvy consumers sense it.   I think brands can make themselves relevant and worthy of a following and then as that following begins to show signs of life can play a role in fostering and accelerating it.

 

I’d love to hear your stories of brands you think are doing this right.

 

Cheers,

 

Smoke

 

WineTwits to Lead #Wine Tweetup at #WITS2014 the 10th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposium

WineTwits to Lead #Wine Tweetup at #WITS2014 the 10th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposium

Excited for #WITS2014 and BITS in 18 days… This wine tasting tweetup has become a highlight of the social aspects of WITS… here is winemaker Alison Crowe at one..

 

 

 

I hope to see as many of you at this year’s event as can join.  Reach out to me if you have any questions.

Smoke

WITS cover impage

WineTwits to Lead #Wine Tweetup at #WITS2014 the 10th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposium

Tweetup wineries include: Franciscan Estate Winery, Garnet Vineyards, Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, Kendall-Jackson Winery, Wente Vineyards.

(NAPA, Calif.) – The 10th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) has partnered with Taste140 to again host a worldwide virtual wine tasting event June 30 – July 1, 2014 at the WITS event, which this year also includes a new concurrent Beer Industry Technology Symposium (BITS).

While it is anticipated that conference attendees will naturally be active across various Social Media platforms using the #WITS2014 hashtag over the course of the two-day conference, organized and focused online wine tastings have also been scheduled with participating wineries including: Franciscan Estate Winery (Franciscan Estate 2011 Magnificat Napa Valley), Garnet Vineyards (Garnet 2012 Monterey Pinot Noir), Jamieson Ranch Vineyards (Jamieson Ranch 2011 “Double Lariat” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon), Kendall-Jackson Winery (Kendall-Jackson 2011 Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon), Renwood Winery (Renwood 2011 Premier Old Vine Zinfandel) and Wente Vineyards (Wente 2012 Morning Fog Chardonnay).

In advance of the #WITS2014 WineTwits Tweetup, Taste140 is shipping wines from each participating winery to online wine influencers and bloggers who have committed to live participation. The wines will also be available for tasting at the event, so that event attendees can contribute to the conversation and post their tasting notes, experience and feedback.

“Having attended WITS since its inception in 2005, I’ve gained valuable insights directly from wine industry thought leaders while forging immeasurable relationships which have continued to grow over the years,” said Stephen Gilberg, Taste140 and WineTwits founder. “Similarly, beverage brands that properly leverage social media are able to build long-lasting relationships with influential consumers. The #WITS2014 Wine Tweetup will likely be one of the most wide-reaching virtual tastings to date.”

“We are pleased to partner with these fantastic wineries and with WineTwits to bring some of the #WITS2014 experience beyond the conference in Napa and to bloggers and consumers around the country. This online event demonstrates the power of a connected wine community and has become a fun highlight of the event each year,” said J. Smoke Wallin, WITS founder and co-chair.

The 2014 Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS), which will run concurrent with the first Beer Industry Technology Symposium, will cover a wide range of wine and craft beer industry topics such as mobile e-commerce, data breach and security, breakthrough marketing, supply chain innovation, leading edge hospitality systems, new on-premise kegs and product tracking. Panels of leading restaurant and grocery operators will also provide valuable insight as they discuss their first-hand experience with wine and beer consumers.

Registration is now open at www.wineindustrytechnologysymposium.com.

 

wits logo

About WITS: The Wine Industry Technology Symposium® (WITS) is the focal point for thought leadership in the strategic and tactical use of technology in the global wine industry. WITS was created in 2005 by a group of wine industry and technology professionals to advance innovation and to address the unique information technology and services needs of the wine industry. The 10th annual WITS is June 30 & July 1 in Napa, CA. This year, the newly formed Beer Industry Technology Symposium (BITS) will be held in conjunction with WITS. To learn more, join WITS on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

About DrinkTwits, LLC (Taste140/WineTwits): Founded in 2008, DrinkTwits is a social media firm comprised of interactive food and beverage-related social media channels. Its flagship entity, @WineTwits is a Twitter-powered community with 100,000 followers dedicated to wine consumers, retailers, vineyards and experts. In 2009, through its network of leading social influencers, the firm pioneered the practice of online virtual tasting via its Taste 140â„¢ social tasting platform, which allows brands to virtually pack their tasting room with hundreds of people and have their recommendations instantly reach thousands worldwide. For more information, visit www.Taste140.com or www.twitter.com/winetwits.

For more information about the Wine Industry Technology Symposium, contact Kathy Archer of the Wine Industry Symposium Group at 707-261-8719 or kathy@winesymposium.com. For sponsorship and registration, contact Waunice Orchid of the Wine Industry Symposium Group at 707-261-8716 or waunice@winesymposium.com.

 

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SOBE Wine & Food Festival 2012

SOBE Wine & Food Festival 2012

Well, we had an amazing week in South Beach Miami for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival by Food Network.  This event has grown to a must attend gathering for anyone who loves wine, food and SOBE.  SOBEWFF was held February 23-26, 2012.  This year Paddington Brands became a major Silver sponsor with our Tequila 3 Amigos, Agoston Wines and we had the pleasure of pre-introducing the new Miami Cocktail Company owned by friends of mine Ross and Simon.  (Here is the sponsor page)

 

 

 

The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE is a national, star-studded, four-day destination event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities. Hosted by Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida and Florida International University(FIU), the festival benefits FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center. To date, the Festival has raised more than $14 million for the School.

 

Our corner display in the Grand Tasting tent looked fantastic and was one of the highlights of the whole event.  We poured Tequila 3 Amigos Blanco, Reposado, Anjeo and Organic Blanco as well as our 3 Amigos Pineapple Serrano Pepper Margaritas which we have dubbed “Fire & Ice”.  Agoston wines both Tempernillo Cabernet and Granacha Syrah.  Miami Cocktails pre-introduced themselves with two of their flavors to fawning crowds.  We saw so many friends and met so many new people it is hard to capture here.

 

 

 

 

 

One of many cool things we participated in was Michael’s Genunie Food & Drink “Farm to Table” brunch sponsored by Whole Foods. This was an amazing organic brunch by Michael Schwartz of MGFD a James Beard Award winning chef and friend.  3 Amigos Tequila was the beverage of choice and we again served our 3 Amigos Pineapple Serrano Pepper Margaritas.  MGFD mixologist Ryan created what is now one of our favorite drinks with 3 Amigos

 

Cocktail Recipes:

 

“Fire & Ice”  3 Amigos Pineapple Serrano Pepper Margarita

Cut 1 Hawaiian “Gold” Pineapple into chunks (No Core) and blend with 1/2 Cup of Agave Nectar and 2 fresh Serrano Chiles (with the seeds and membranes removed) together in a blender.  Once the “Base” has a puree consistency and is flowing smoothly turn off the blender and place in a container.

  • 1.5 Ounces                 3 Amigos Blanco Tequila
  • 4 Ounces                     Margarita Mix
  • 1 TBSP                        Piña-Serrano Puree
  • 1 Scoop                       Ice

If you would like a little more sweetness you can add Superfine Bar Sugar to the rim of the glass.

 

 

 

 

 

The Caballero  by Ryan @MGFD

  • 2 oz Organic 3 Amigos Blanco Tequila
  • 1 Barspoon Roasted Poblano Agave
  • 1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 2 oz Red Bell Pepper Juice
  • Garnish w/ Cilantro & Bell Pepper slice

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Our partnership with POM Wonderful and Iron Chef Marc Forgione was a huge hit at the show.  Marc created the “POM Thyme 3 Amigos Margarita” … voted by many as best of show at the event.  Marc appeared for Food Network at the POM Wonderful stand prominently pouring 3 Amigos Tequila.  Here are a few shots.. and a copy of the recipe:

POM Wonderful- 3 Amigos Tequila -1003_miami_recipe_card

 

I know we will be back!  I hope you will join us next year!   And let me know if you try our recipes… they will be a hit with your guests!

 

 

New York Wine industry booming

I just saw this report which points out what many of us have known for some time, that NY has a thriving wine industry. I thought it worth highlighting as we have a handful of NY based wine companies (some producers, some importers) joining our many other fantastic wines from CA and around the world at Wine 2.0 New York Nov 18.

Wine 2.0 New York - Invite

Wine 2.0 New York - Invite

Here is a partial list:
Bouke’
Dr Frank’s Vinifera
Fox Run Vineyards
Hudson Valley Wine Country
Hudson Chatham Winery
Milbrook Vineyards and Winery
Palaia Vineyard
Whitecliff Vineyard and Winery
Pasternak International
Palm Bay Imports

New York Wine industry booming

Source: Rocnow

Tom Tobin

November 7, 2009

Sour economy aside, New York’s wine industry – centered in the Finger Lakes – continues to sweeten.

New wineries are sprouting around the state, investments are growing and visits by tourists and wine lovers have increased by 21 percent since 2003, despite the recession, record gasoline prices in 2008 and rising prices again this year.

A survey by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found that the state wine industry not only has weathered the recession but has exploded in size, to 240 wineries.

More wineries have opened around the state since 2000 than in the previous 170 years, the survey said. And the expansion is unabated.

“In the seven months since the surveys were mailed in March, 33 new wineries have been licensed, bringing the state total to 273,” said Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, which commissioned the government survey.

The Finger Lakes region, with 104 wineries, has the largest share. Long Island, the Hudson Valley and the Lake Erie region are considered the other centers of the industry.

But, Trezise said, “What’s most remarkable is that the strongest growth has been outside of the traditional wine regions. The Thousand Islands, the Champlain region and even New York City now have wineries.”

A separate study of the wine industry’s economic impact may be released this winter. The last such study said the industry had a $3.4 billion impact in 2004.

Wine 2.0 Expo San Francisco at Crushpad – UPDATED!!

Join us for Wine 2.0 Expo San Francisco at Crushpad. We’ll again be hosting over 1,000 attendees, dozens of the coolest wineries and Wine 2.0 tech companies at one fantastic event.

Hosted by: Crushpad

Sponsored by: Robert Oatley Vineyards, Hahn Estates, Cameron Hughes Wine, and Web 2.0 Expo

Music Experience Sponsored by: Rhapsody and Sonos

Charity Partner: Napa Valley Symphony

What: Wine 2.0 Expo San Francisco

When: Thursday April 2nd from 7 pm to 10 pm

Where: Crushpad, 2573 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

Cost: Pre-paid – $45 per ticket or 2 tickets for $70/Day of Event tickets $60 per ticket.

More info: www.winetwo.com

Wine 2.0 Expo San Francisco 2009 attending wineries include:

122° West Winery, Acacia Vineyard, Alexander Valley Wine Growers, Aver Family Vineyards, Bedarra Vineyards, Berryessa Gap Vineyards, Big Fish Wines, Bink Wines, Bohemian Vineyard, Brooks Wines, Cameron Hughes Winery, Cannonball Wine Co., Cooper-Garrud Estate Vineyards, Courtesan Wines, Coral Mustang, Cycles Gladiator, , Cornerstone Cellars, Delgadillo Cellars, Dono dal Cielo Vineyard, Due Vigne di Famiglia, Elkhorn Peak Cellars, Eric Kent Wine Cellars, Foggy Bridge Winery, Grant Street Vineyards, Gundlach Bundschu Winery, Hahn Family Wines, Halleck Vineyard, Handley Cellars, Highflyer Wines, Inman Family Wines, Jason-Stephens Winery, Jazz Cellars, Kaz Vineyard & Winery, Lancaster Estate, Lionheart Wines, Lineage Imports, Marston Family Vineyard, Michael-David Winery, Michaud Vineyard, Midsummer Cellars, Mollydooker Wines, Muscardini Cellars, O’Brien Estate, Oriel Wines, Priest Ranch Wines, Provenance Vineyards, Robert Oatley Vineyards, Rosa d’Oro Vineyards, Round Pond Estate, Seawind Wines, Segue Cellars, Sterling Vineyards, St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery, Taste Vino, Terra Savia Organic Wines, Think Tank Wine Company, Titus Vineyards, Tolosa Winery, Twisted Oak Winery, Vermonte, Waits-Mast Family Cellars, Wilson Daniels, Winemakers of Fulton Lane, Wines of Substance, Y Rousseau Wines, and many more leading brands.

Wine 2.0 Expo San Francisco 2009 presenting companies include:

Artisan Media, AmericanWinery.com, Bottlenotes.com, Bibola.com, DrinkThisTV.com, Ning.com, Nirvino, Plumbline Studios, Quintessentially Wine, Vator.tv, Vin/65, Vinquire.com, Vinturi, Mighty Quiz, RadCru.com, Rhapsody, Sonos, Winelog.net and many more.

Wine 2.0 Bloggers Lounge and Media Partners

Sponsored by Flip Video, The Tasting Panel Magazine, Mutineer Magazine, VinVillage.com, KRON4, and TwitterTasteLive

Attending Wine Bloggers include:

Brix Chicks, Caveman Wines, Hiptastesmaven, Shana Ray, Vinterviews, Young Winos,


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Wine 2.0 Industry Sponsors and Partners

Classic Malts of Scotland, Crushpad, Diageo, Hinman & Carmichael, Napa Valley Symphony, Pinot Days, RedEye Texas Style Bloody Mary, Smirnoff, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Quintessentially and Eventbrite

No refunds once tickets have been purchased.  All tickets can be claimed at event check-in.

All questions can be directed to Cornelius@winetwo.com

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