It all started with an experiment in your basement, where you started your own “homebrew.” Weeks to months later, you’re actually pretty impressed with the results – as are the rest of your friends and family who also tried it.
You’re onto something…you’ve successfully brewed your own beer!
Perhaps you didn’t brew your own beer but instead, you tried your luck at crafting your own spirits and had the same successful result.
But now you’re probably thinking, “What next?” Well, if you’re looking to share with more than just close friends and family, knowing how to bring an alcoholic beverage to market will allow you to share your creation with a much larger audience that will also appreciate it.
Here’s our advice: authenticity.
Be yourself, because that’s what catches peoples’ attention. That’s what sells.
From there, everything else will come together.
How to Bring an Alcoholic Beverage to Market
So, you actually have crafted a pretty good product. Congrats! We can’t wait to try it.
Whether or not you thought of actually making something of it, there’s a lot of potential with the alcoholic beverage you crafted. A majority of the hard work is already behind you. Marketing your alcoholic beverage may seem intimidating, but think about it as a process – just as you did when you were making your alcohol.
While this isn’t the entire process, these are major steps that will guide you in knowing how to bring your alcoholic beverage to market.
Start with a Story
We live for stories. We’ve always lived for stories.
Since the beginning of existence, we’ve been telling stories. We are wired to tell stories. We are wired to listen to stories. Even when we lived in caves and drew on walls and sat around the campfire, there have been stories told.
It’s what’s connected us as a species.
Think of those friends or family members who tell the best stories – it represents them as a person. It’s the essence of who they are and how they express themselves to the world.
Now think about what you told your friends and family when they tried your alcohol for the first time. Did you give any backstory to what you poured into your craft? What stories did you share about your motivation and experience that added to their experience of tasting your beverage?
Stories are also what connects us to brands. What sparked you to start thinking about creating your own alcoholic beverage? Did you sit on it for a while before you actually started? Was there something that inspired you? A favorite beer or spirit?
All of these questions will hopefully spark some good stories and conversations that help shape who you are as a person and who you are as a brand.
Create a Brand
A brand is how others perceive you and what they think of when they think of you or your product. In this case, you and your alcoholic beverage.
To give you an idea of how to create a brand, let’s start with thinking about a close friend or relative. When you think about them, what comes to mind? What visuals or images do you see? Are there certain features or characteristics that stand out about that person?
These all relate to that person’s “brand.”
Now let’s think about some of America’s best-selling spirits brands, like Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Can you visualize the bottle? The logo? What colors come to mind when you think of Tito’s? Perhaps you even know a bit of the back story or their slogan.
Consider these things when you tie your story and message together. What do you stand for? What colors speak to you and your product? What flavors or notes make your product what it is? What makes you different from the other 3,452,542 (exaggerated number) bottles on the liquor store shelves?
Identify Your Niche
Like we just mentioned, there are a lot of alcoholic beverages out there “going to market.” Like, a lot. In fact, the Global Alcoholic Beverages Market is expected to reach $1.7 billion by 2025.
Intimidated? Don’t worry. Think about how many alcoholic beverages you’ve actually tried and stuck with.
There’s a reason. You have a certain taste for what you like and what you drink is perhaps a representation of you, in a way. In general, we connect with the beverages and brands we engage with.
For example, one of our social media specialists can’t stand IPAs. Our VP of Marketing is really into sours. Another, who’s of German descent, likes his hefeweizen. What we’re getting at is certain individuals have certain tastes. Within the IPA realm, there are so many different spectrums. Try and focus on one. The more specific, the better.
Remember the game Risk? It can teach us a lot about bringing an alcoholic beverage to market.
If you try and spread your army out to take over the entire world as fast as possible, you’ll most likely fail. It’s better to focus on a smaller area and do it right before expanding further. Most of the time, an alcohol brand won’t market well if they try and appeal to everyone, everywhere.
Invest more time, resources, and effort into a smaller niche and get it right. The return on investment will allow you to expand to a larger network of that same niche.
Everyone and their dog are creating a hard seltzer right now. However, consumers have their favorite brand and that’s because brands do a good job of knowing their audience and catering to them.
When you start to discover your audience, or who you’d like your audience to be, create a few actual profiles of people within your demographic.
Give them a name.
Give them an average salary.
Give them hobbies.
Give them jobs.
Give them interests, behaviors, etc.
The more detailed you can be, the more success you’re likely to have to go to market and cater to these people because they do exist.
Other brands exist, too, and if you don’t do a good job of defining your audience, they will.
By researching other competitors in your space and analyzing their approach, you’ll have a better idea of how you stand out from the competition.
You can learn from what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong.
You can understand who these audiences are by studying their audiences through online platforms.
Listen to what they’re saying. What are their frustrations with these other brands? What are the pain points? What are these other brands doing right that create brand awareness and brand loyalty with their audiences?
Develop a Marketing Strategy
Once you’ve done enough research and analysis on yourself, your own brand, and other brands, you can now put a plan together on how you will market your brand.
Establishing an online presence is a must, but how do you do that? Which platforms should you do?
Well, before you think about your marketing strategy, think about your content. Content, in other words, is the story you tell, bringing this blog full circle. Think about how you’ll tell your story through content. Will it be video? Will it be a blog? Will it be amazing photos of your alcoholic beverages in amazing locations that your audience will appreciate? These questions will help determine which platforms you establish yourself on.
Remember when we talked about the game of Risk earlier? The same principle applies here.
Just because there’s an online platform doesn’t mean you should be on it. Think of your audience. Are they on this platform? Will they appreciate the content you’re putting out on said platform? Say, Snapchat, for example. Start with one or two platforms that you know your audience will be open to seeing/knowing more about you and your alcoholic beverage.
When you’re creating your website, think about what main talking points you’ll feature in the menu, what kind of content you’ll have throughout your site.
An alcohol marketing strategy should be a giant web of platforms and content that you draw out, but it needs to all make sense. It needs to all be related. It needs to be consistent.
Design a Label
How many other bottles are on that same shelf you want to be on, whether it’s in that awesome bar you like or a local liquor store?
So, how do you stand out? Well, hate to say it, but the label does play a significant role in how consumers choose an alcohol brand for the first time.
If you want to know how to bring an alcoholic beverage to market, this is a key factor.
Consider these things when designing your label:
- Story: Incorporate your story/brand into the label. Since you can’t speak to the consumer, let your label say that.
- Color: Think about the color and the psychology of color perception.
- Font/Text/Image: These are the factors that “pop” on the label. And, although we dislike using that word, it’s what grabs the attention of your audience first and foremost. Go easy on the number of fonts, the amount of text. Less is more.
- Legibility: How easy is it to read your label? Do you have a typographic hierarchy of fonts?
If you’re still having trouble with the design of your label, we have a few other tips here for label design – whether you’re a wine company or not, the same principles apply.
Find the Right Distributors
Not all alcohol distribution companies are created equal. There are a few things you should know about finding and working with distributors, as sometimes your alcoholic beverage isn’t as special to them as it is to you. Here’s what you need to know:
- Distribution laws differ between states – there are some open states and some control states.
- Distributors usually focus on specific “territories”.
- Distributors usually focus on specific types of alcoholic beverages. For instance, only wine, wine, and spirits, or only craft beers, etc.
- Distributors will want proof that your alcohol will sell, so provide proof of demand for your product in the market.
With these factors taken into account and with the right pitch (as well as the help from The Brandsmen), you’ll have a few people in your “corner” to help you succeed in the market.
Lastly, it takes time to really establish your brand and identity. Upon laying a foundation, make sure you don’t change your values, your audience, or any core characteristics of who you are as a brand and product. You’ll lose awareness, your audience, and your credibility. Stand for what you stand for and mean it.
Don’t do it only so you can sell more because your audience will sniff that right out.
As we said earlier, you can avoid this by being authentic.
How The Brandsmen Can Help
We’re not only experienced digital marketers – we’re alcohol connoisseurs. We know what it takes to bring an alcoholic beverage to market and we have quite the portfolio to show you, may you ask.
We’ve established ourselves as one of the best Denver SEO companies and can help you shape your story, your brand, your audience, and much more to make sure that amazing alcohol you’ve made, leaves the garage and ends up in your consumers’ hands.