how to create an alcoholic beverage company

Alcohol branding company, The Brandsmen, outline the best steps to take when considering how to start an alcoholic beverage company. Do this, and not that – read on, friends. 

Alcohol is an industry where billions are made. The alcohol marketplace provides endless possibilities for growth. Being part of this growth as new beverage companies enter the market is equally exciting and rewarding. However, learning how to start an alcoholic beverage company is far from a simple and uniform process. Much like life, every journey starts with one small step followed by another. Approaches may not differ entirely, but how can a startup alcohol company enter the business with little knowledge of how and where to start?

The Brandsmen are connoisseurs when it comes to bringing an alcoholic beverage brand to market. With our bespoke marketing services, alcoholic beverage companies can confidently define their unique appeal and standout in a heavily saturated market. Our experience in wine and alcohol branding provides an opportunity for new brands to succeed. Contact us today for more information.

start an alcohol company

Alcohol Beverage Business

The alcohol beverage business is a profitable market that is desirable to explore by interested entrepreneurs and alcohol-enthusiasts, regardless of previous experience. Alcohol is an exciting endeavor. It’s something that surrounds us everyday and with more unique crafters, flavors and possibilities are virtually endless. The alcoholic beverage market includes:

  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Spirits

According to Statista, beer, lagers, and cider are among the most heavily consumed beverages worldwide. However, consumption of wine and spirits is currently skyrocketing, as well.

In 2019, the United States was the second largest producer of beer globally, accounting for over 211 million hectolitres. The U.S. also ranked fourth in 2020 as one of the leading producers of wine with production over 24.3 million hectoliters. The country was one of the leading exporters of wine, while also topping the charts for total consumption.

What this means for entrepreneurial spirits (pun intended) is that there’s plenty of opportunity to capitalize on. However, the steps to take in bringing an alcoholic beverage to market are far from straightforward. With expert guidance, taking a vision or idea and making it reality is much more fluid.

How to Start an Alcoholic Beverage Company

Being a liquor entrepreneur is an exciting endeavor. Explore the wild flavors of microbrews and distilled spirits. Starting out, it can feel a little like being a kid in a candy store as you begin exploring the endless possibilities of crafting a unique alcoholic beverage. What are the steps to take (and those to avoid) when trying to approach how to start an alcoholic beverage company?

In general, there are four big main components to begin the process of launching a new alcohol. The steps are as follows:

  1. Create the Product
  2. Obtain Appropriate Licensing
  3. Create a Business Plan
  4. Develop a Brand and Attract a Loyal Following

In short, there are several steps to consider before the launch of a new label, including sourcing and developing the alcoholic product, obtaining proper federal and state licensing, putting a distribution model in place, creating packaging and branding materials, and going to market with a strong marketing strategy.

Create the Product

If you’re considering how to start an alcoholic beverage company, it’s likely that you’ve developed a preference for certain types of alcohol. Creating a new alcohol can feel a lot like creating art. One of the first initial steps in creating an alcohol is to decide on a spirits product and brand story.

It’s important to consider that since the market is saturated with spirits, new products should work to resolve problems and add value to the minds of trade professionals as well as consumers. For this reason, it’s critical to work with an alcohol branding agency that is versed in defining target niche audience members and provide SWOT analysis in entering that specific market.

How to Create the Product:

According to Small Business Chron, there are two distinct options for producing a commercial liquor, which include:

  • Opening a distillery
  • Hiring a distiller to contract-bottle a new line

There are perks, as well as drawbacks to each option. The biggest advantage for contract bottling is that start up costs are typically much lower. It also carries the perk of getting the liquor to market much sooner. Why is this the case? An existing distillery already has working knowledge of creating a unique blend that is appealing and ready to go to market. It may also mean you avoid legal requirements and paperwork with opening your own distillery.

What are the perks of owning a distillery? For one, it provides tighter control and oversight over the production of the liquor. It can also become part of the brand’s image. Behind-the-scenes, hand-crafted storytelling usually provides a strong connection to consumers and feels more authentic.

alcohol beverage company getting started

Obtain Appropriate Licensing

Business, regardless of industry or market, requires appropriate government permits and licensing to operate. Alcoholic beverage companies are required to obtain licensing. Unfortunately, the hurdles that come with licensing at federal and state levels are often time consuming and incredibly expensive. Aside from the stringent requirements, there are many different layers of bureaucracy.

What licensing is needed?

On the federal level, permits are required from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. State regulations will vary, but most companies will be required to obtain a business license, as well as separate licenses and permits that allow for the manufacture of spirits, shipping products to consumers, and more. A local liquor control board can offer guidance on the different types of permits needed.

Branding & Marketing

One of the most crucial pieces in learning how to start an alcoholic beverage company is anticipating the needs of going to market. In a trillion-dollar industry, it’s increasingly difficult to stand out in a very crowded room. In stores, competition for shelf placement is fierce. Having solid label design is paramount for this reason.

Label Design for Your New Alcohol

While we love alcohol as much as the next person, we definitely do not recommend drunk designing your label. After you’ve crafted your beverage, the fun part begins. Liquor label designs spark creativity and promote taste. The theory we maintain is that the average liquor consumer isn’t well versed in telling the difference between, say, a mid-range vodka and another based on taste alone. Therefore, label designs become a distinguishing factor and often a deal maker (or breaker).

Working with expert label designers can ensure that the design doesn’t only match your brand image, but that it capitalizes on what makes your beverage truly unique. Have fun at this stage! It’s about exploring your creative genius and celebrating your big moves to bring a new liquor to market.

how to start an alcoholic beverage company

Digital Marketing

Shelf placement was a major battle for most liquor brands. However, as new technology and shipping options emerge, alcohol is no longer limited to shelf displays. In fact, more people are connecting with alcohol brands using digital mediums such as social media and search engines. It’s increasingly more important to think of digital strategy as an integral piece in how to successfully start an alcohol beverage company.

Amid a global pandemic, online alcohol sales and online subscription box options exploded. This changed how alcohol beverage companies approach marketing in a digital era. Today, alcohol brands are promoting new products across a wide spectrum of new platforms – from social networks to mobile phones to immersive, virtual communities. Converging developments in communication and e-commerce have created the perfect storm for alcohol brands promoting online. Internet-savvy users are connecting with brands in a powerful way. As accessibility to the online super highway increases, content, branding, and storytelling through key mediums like Facebook, Google, and YouTube is paramount.

Online advertising and marketing techniques will make a difference in how a new brand goes to market.

Storytelling through Digital Media

To appeal to consumers, especially Millennials who are major target audience for new alcoholic beverages, brands are going beyond the product to create authentic, relatable lifestyle brands.

Due to enormous competition within the industry, the best options for advertising for alcohol is, in fact, storytelling. Professional alcohol branding companies can help craft brand stories that resonate with key audience members and help to create loyal fans of the product. Solid storytelling starts with an in-depth examination of target audiences. In order to create an engaging story, working with experienced marketers within the alcohol beverage industry can make a world of difference.

starting an alcoholic beverage company

The Brandsmen: Helping to Start Your Alcoholic Beverage Company

With restrictions that surround advertising for alcohol, it’s important to work with knowledgeable professionals that can help steer you in the right direction. The Brandsmen combine experience with bespoke digital marketing services to help emerging alcoholic beverage companies stand out. From website design, brand development, content creation, and social media management, we have the basis for creating products that are not only visually appealing, but also celebrates the unique aspects of newly designed alcoholic products. Contact us today to learn more about our services.