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

 

The Fall Season Shapes Up! Thoughts on online and offline Wine market…

The Fall Season Shapes Up! Thoughts on online and offline Wine market…

My friend Liza has a nice piece in Winebusiness.com today on the Fall selling season.  Reports from Nielsen, Bill Cascio at Glazer’s, Wilford Wong at Beverages and more! all point toward improvement over last year, though value driving business.

Yesterday, another Wine 2.0 friend, John Corcoran’s blog “Think Wine Marketing” had a well done piece on the state of marketing wine online with his interview of Paul Mabray. “A conversation about marketing wine online with Paul Mabray of VinTank” This interview captures nicely a bit of the history of the past decade of attempts at doing business online in the wine industry. It made me go back an search an old Information Week story (2000) on my then start-up eSkye.com.  (ok, picture is almost 10 years old I know)

info week

Smoke Wallin in Information Week, April 2000

Smoke Wallin in Information Week, April 2000

Alcohol Goes Online Overcoming Regulatory Maze
Web site simplifies ordering for industry that hasn’t changed much since Prohibition”

There has been nearly half a billion dollars ($500 million) in venture funding that has gone into various efforts in the the online wine space. In rereading this piece, it is amazing how much and how little has actually changed. Technology has leaped forward, enabling much greater communication and commerce capabilities for all. The regulatory and industry structure has bent, but not fundamentally changed. It will be very interesting to watch the impact of Web 2.0 technologies and social media on the way in which the industry operates going forward. Clearly, there is a constant march of producers and consumers to get closer together. Sometimes this is about discovery and information. Sometimes this is about commerce. Consumers feeling more connected to brand and having conversations with wineries and more importantly with their people (who make the brands what they are) is only accelerating. This has real world implications. Wine 2.0 is in the online connectivity business, but that drives our live events.   To wit, we are seeing a surge in interest in our Wine 2.0 New York event from both wineries and other companies involved in marketing to consumers.  It will be interesting to see the consumer and trade turnout.

I’m looking forward to attending Web 2.0 Expo as well.  It is great to get out of the wine business and look at what is cutting edge in terms of technology and latest developments.web2expo

Separately, Mashable’s blog just posted details on Web 2.0 Expo and our event Wine 2.0 Expo New York.

mashable
Mashable’s Weekly Conference and Event Guide

Mashable (blog) – Tamar Weinberg – ‎18 hours ago‎
November 18, 2009, New York City: Wine 2.0 Expo New York is the place for all Web 2.0 Expo attendees to connect with hundreds of wine and technology lovers …

Here is an excerpt from Liza’s story…

November 10, 2009
The Fall Season Shapes Up
Outlook Seems Upbeat as the Market Heads into the Final Stretch
by Liza B. Zimmerman

WineBusiness.com

WineBusiness.com

Feedback from retailers, restaurateurs and wholesalers has grown increasingly positive as we move into the last part of the fourth quarter. Many seem to believe that this year is finally turning out to be more dynamic than last. According to data from a Nielsen presentation earlier this month wine was the No. 5-ranked category of the top 15 of the major 125 segments that Nielsen tracks with a 5.1 percent volume growth in the period ending September 5, 2009 over the previous year.

“Our volumes are up in total wines, about three to four percent in all states,” said Bill Cascio, the San Francisco Bay Area-based vice president and director of winery relations for the Dallas-based Glazer’s Family of Companies, which is active in 12 states. “It is shaping up to be a little bit better than last year,” he concluded.
Wilfred Wong, cellar master for the 100-store, Concord-California based Beverages and more!, said that this year is drastically different from the previous. “Last year this time business really dropped off,” concurred Brahm Callahan, wine director at Post 390, a gastropub that is part of the three-restaurant Himmel Hospitality Group which opened in Boston early this month [ed: Oct]. Callahan has a long track record in the Boston restaurant business. “We are starting to see people want to spend more money but they want to see perceived value.” Post 390’s 5,000-bottle list, priced $25 to $600, features two thirds of its selections in the $20 to $80 price range…

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.

Smoke Wallin, Wine 2.0 Chairman Interview with Carla De Luca on new film: ‘AMERICAS WINE: THE LEGACY OF PROHIBITION’

Smoke Wallin, Wine 2.0 Chairman Interview with Carla De Luca on new film: ‘AMERICAS WINE: THE LEGACY OF PROHIBITION’

Wine 2.0J. Smoke Wallin, Chairman of Wine 2.0, had the opportunity to interview filmmaker Carla De Luca Worfolk, Director, EP/Producer, and Writer of an amazing new wine film. Carla is an Emmy award-winning television and documentary producer. Her new DOCUMENTRY FILM ‘AMERICA’S WINE: THE LEGACY OF PROHIBITION’ is an amazing look at the history of the wine industry in America. I had the opportunity recently to ask Carla some questions about her experience making the film. Let us know your thoughts.

Carla De Luca Worfolk - Filmmaker Smoke in Vineyard

Smoke: Carla, what inspired you to make “America’s Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition”?

Carla: I had the opportunity to film the private luncheon celebrating the 70th Anniversary of Prohibition’s Repeal where a number of the venerable winemakers were honored. As several were in their 80s and 90s, I began thinking about their contributions and personal histories, and felt strongly that their story should be recorded before the passing of this generation. I also believed we should cover major policy issues which affect all consumers, such as direct shipping laws, health research, and the globalization of wine.

Smoke: Can you tell us a little about your experience growing up in and around the wine industry?

Carla: My father became President and CEO of the Wine Institute when I was about nine years old, which seemed very natural to me. Being part of a large Italian-American family, my parents and grandparents often had wine with their meals. The best part has always been meeting the people. I have very fond memories of visiting wine makers and their families, playing in the vineyards and sharing meals all through the years.

Smoke: What was your biggest surprise while putting this project together?

Carla: The biggest surprise was learning about how the boom in home winemaking in the early 20s created such an incredible demand for fresh grapes. I also marveled at all of the ingenious ways winemakers stayed in the business during Prohibition and recovered after Repeal. On a deeper level, these aspects really underlined for me the incredible optimism and determination of the wine makers and also immigrants who overcame great obstacles during that era, including Constitutional barriers.

Smoke: Besides our interview, who was your favorite interview and why?

Carla: Besides our interview, that’s truly a tough question. We interviewed remarkable people and had great experiences across the board. Because it was such a unique experience, our meeting with Brother Timothy has stayed especially vivid for me. He invited us to spend the day with him at his residence on Mont La Salle above Napa Valley. At age 93, he had difficulty walking, but he graciously hosted us all day, answering our questions and sharing other reflections with such brilliance and clarity. Over lunch we talked about everything from Prohibition to the Internet. He was an amazing individual.

Smoke: It seems you had all tiers cooperate in the making the film, who did you want to get involved by would not and why?

Carla: Actually, nearly everyone we asked for an interview accepted. A couple of people declined, mainly due to logistical reasons. We did hope to have a few critics of the wine industry, but in the end we felt very pleased that we had such credible credentialed people, and a number from outside the wine community, like Kevin Starr, Leon Panetta, Marion Nestle and Phil Lee, who gave us balanced comments.

Smoke: The cast of characters who did interviews was amazing. A number of these industry titans are no longer with us. Can you comment on the timing of putting the film together as it relates to this?

Carla:
We really felt like time was of the essence, knowing that a number of the people we wanted to capture on camera were at an advanced age. Several had not been interviewed in their later years and some had never been interviewed on camera. Recognizing this was one of the driving forces of the documentary, impacting our research and how we managed our schedule. We are extremely fortunate we were able to record them when we did.

Smoke: What can you tell the Wine 2.0 members “behind the scenes”? Any cool stories?

Carla: There were a lot of memorable moments, from 95 year old Dan Turrentine serving us his favorite drink besides wine, Dr. Pepper, to Tom Shelton surprising us after the interview with a complimentary tasting of some of Joseph Phelps’s finest wines. We also were very lucky after a camera failure which obliterated most of Kevin Starr’s first interview. We caught the problem just as we were packing up to leave. He graciously cleared the rest of his afternoon schedule to redo the interview. He was equally, if not more brilliant, the second time.

Smoke: I’m sure you had tough choices to make in putting the final cut together. What did not make the film?

Carla: It truly wasn’t easy to make choices and it took several months. In the end, we couldn’t include everyone we interviewed in the final film, but all of the interviews will become part of the Bancroft Library’s California Wine Industry collection. Also, believe it or not, we actually collected more than 3,000 still images, but only used 300 images in the final cut.

Smoke: What’s next for the film? Festivals? TV?

Carla: We just had a great premiere evening at the Napa Sonoma Wine Country Film Festival at the end of September. We’ve also received terrific awards – the Gold Kahuna Award, which is the top prize in the Documentary Competition at the Honolulu International Film Festival, and the Silver Ace Award for Outstanding Filmmaking from the Las Vegas Film Festival. Currently we’re focussed on outlining an edited-for-television version for national broadcast, and I’m glad to say there is strong interest. We’ll be keeping everyone updated on this and future screenings through the Bancroft Library’s website.

Barrel room shot from FilmAbout Carla De Luca Worfolk, Director, EP/Producer, and Writer
Carla De Luca Worfolk, an Emmy award-winning television and documentary producer, has enjoyed an extensive career across media, gravitating towards highly creative assignments with an emphasis on education, public service and policy. Throughout her career, the San Francisco Bay Area native has worked as an independent producer, magazine editor, writer, public relations executive, and paralegal. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Santa Clara University, and a Master of Journalism degree from the University of California at Berkeley. During her years as a CNN producer in Atlanta, Worfolk supervised content for the highly-rated CNN Saturday/Sunday Morning program, a live, two-hour magazine show, and was also on the Emmy-winning team that covered the Olympic Park Bombing in 1996. America’s Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition is her first independent film.

Smoke Wallin, Wine 2.0 Chairman Interview with Carla De Luca on new film: ‘AMERICAS WINE: THE LEGACY OF PROHIBITION’

Wine 2.0 Announces New York Premiere Of Documentary Film ‘America’s Wine: The Legacy Of Prohibition’ At Wine 2.0 New York Nov 18

New Film Takes Unprecedented Historic View of America’s Wine Industry – ‘America’s Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition’ Includes Interviews Which Chronicle The Rebuilding Of The Wine Industry And The Emergence Of A New American Wine Culture.Wine 2.0

NEW YORK, NY, November 06, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ — Wine 2.0, the innovator in social networking and events in the wine industry, announces the Premiere and New York release of the documentary film America’s Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition at Wine 2.0 New York, November 18th at Webster Hall.

The new documentary film, commissioned by UC Berkeley’s world renowned Bancroft Library, is an in-depth look at wine in America. It covers everything from the “Noble Experiment” of Prohibition, which decimated the vibrant wine community, to the rise of the “Phoenix” generation of wine pioneers including Robert Mondavi and Ernest Gallo to the more recent battles over direct shipping of wines to consumers. No wine lover should miss this historic film.

‘America’s Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition’ will be showcased in a Reserve and Trade Event prior to the over 1,000 wine and tech lovers and media at Wine 2.0 New York and supported on Wine 2.0’s social network www.winetwo.net with a public fan page.

Commenting on the New York Premiere, Bancroft Director Dr. Charles Faulhaber stated, “The Bancroft Library has been documenting the history of California and the American West for almost 150 years, always using state-of-the-art technology. In the 19th century it was the steam-powered printing press. In the 21st century we now use digital media for the same purpose. “America’s Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition” is a major step forward for us, the first time that Bancroft has been involved in a documentary film on what has historically been one of California’s most important agricultural industries. We are thrilled at the work that Carla De Luca Worfolk and her crew have accomplished.”

“The remarkable journey we experienced in putting together this documentary enabled us to witness historical events, record final interviews, review private archives and share never-before displayed images, yet didn’t prepare us for the emotional impact of recognizing the passing of a generation.” said Filmmaker Carla De Luca Worfolk. She continued, “Immersing ourselves in the era of Prohibition and then its Repeal, we came to understand these complex times, as well as the culture we live in today, through vivid memories and personalities as their words informed our script and enlivened our images. While inevitable, we didn’t expect to be so personally moved as we worked in post-production and learned yet one more member of the “Phoenix Generation,” – eight total – had died since our interviews.”

“We could not be more excited to host the New York premiere of ‘America’s Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition'”, said J. Smoke Wallin, Chairman of Wine 2.0. He continued, “Wine 2.0. The ‘America’s Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition’ movie should cause everyone to gain perspective on the rich history of wine in America and appreciate what so many have done to lay the foundation for today’s vibrant wine market.”

Carla De Luca Worfolk, the Director, Executive Producer and Writer will have an interview with Wine 2.0 New York to discuss the film and wine with attendees. Media interviews are available.

Three years ago Bancroft’s Regional Oral History Office at the University of California, Berkeley, embarked on a project to augment the California Wine Industry Oral History Collection with a documentary to mark the 75th anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition. In the making of the film, De Luca Worfolk and wine historian Dr. Victor Geraci used scholarly oral histories from the Bancroft’s Regional Oral History Office and Bancroft archival materials, augmented with over 40 original interviews and photographs and film clips from numerous other collections, to provide an historical overview of the legacy of Prohibition and the rebuilding of a new American Wine Culture.

About Wine 2.0

Wine 2.0 is the innovator in social networking and events in the wine industry. Wine 2.0 focuses on the next generation wine consumer and breaks down the barriers to learning about, experiencing and enjoying wine. Wine 2.0 events feature the newest generation of emerging technology companies, services and communication tools that are changing the world of wine. (www.winetwo.net)

About America’s Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition
America’s Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition is a documentary film celebrating the rich history of the American Wine Industry. This documentary offers an unprecedented overview of the legacy of National Prohibition (1920-1933) and its continuing impact on the wine industry and everyday lives of Americans. Covering a span of one hundred years of winemaking up to the present day, the film tells the story of how the leading entrepreneurial wine families overcame obstacles to rebuild the American wine industry, which had been decimated after National Prohibition and its Repeal. From within this historical context, the film also explores the most significant news-making subject areas in today’s media that reveal Prohibition’s legacy: laws governing direct shipping of wine to consumers; scientific research that influences alcohol and health policy; and the changing global marketplace.

Marking the 75th Anniversary of Prohibition’s Repeal, the documentary brings to life never-before-seen archival photographs and film clips, and features nearly 40 interviews including those who experienced Prohibition, historians, winemakers, members of Congress, and public policy experts. Among those filmed are Kevin Starr, California Librarian Emeritus, Leon Panetta, Former Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, and Kathleen Sullivan, Former Dean of Stanford Law School, as well as legendary winemakers Brother Timothy, Robert Mondavi, and Ernest Gallo. Through differing views and historical perspectives, the interviews contribute informed commentary as the documentary chronicles the rejuvenation of the American wine industry and the emergence today of a new American wine culture. It also pays tribute to the passing of a historic generation. Equally significant are the insights fueling the continuing societal debate over the issue of alcohol in America.

About Carla De Luca Worfolk, Director, EP/Producer, and Writer

Carla De Luca Worfolk, an Emmy award-winning television and documentary producer, has enjoyed an extensive career across media, gravitating towards highly creative assignments with an emphasis on education, public service and policy. Throughout her career, the San Francisco Bay Area native has worked as an independent producer, magazine editor, writer, public relations executive, and paralegal. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Santa Clara University, and a Master of Journalism degree from the University of California at Berkeley. During her years as a CNN producer in Atlanta, Worfolk supervised content for the highly-rated CNN Saturday/Sunday Morning program, a live, two-hour magazine show, and was also on the Emmy-winning team that covered the Olympic Park Bombing in 1996

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