Artisan Spirit: Summer 2014

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Page 18

more likely to be interested in exploring what the rest of our industry has to offer. We hear this discussion in the industry often, but friend and mentor Johnny Jeffery put it really well when he said:

“This industry is not like the small brewing industry in the 80’s. When they got started they were competing against a few core brands and a beer style that was pretty uniform. Then small breweries started bringing out IPA’s, Alts, Ambers, Stouts, Dark Ales, etc. Not only that, but the small breweries were making great beer and were competing against beers that weren’t very good. The analogy to small distilleries stops there.

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Macro distilleries make very good products across an amazing range of styles. Just because you open a distillery and hang your “master distiller” shingle doesn’t mean that you’re automatically going to make better product than the macros who have been doing such a damn good job for so many years.” Basically what he’s saying is that we don’t have the same starting point as the small brewers of the 80’s and if we don’t

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concentrate on doing our best from the first bottle out the door,

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a very different attitude with a $6.00 six-pack than they do with

then the second bottle just isn’t going to sell. The consumer has a $25-$60 bottle of spirits.

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»»“A rising tide lifts all ships.” »»“Best” isn’t just product quality, it’s also price point, brand message, and as always something about successful brands that can probably never be defined but instead comes back to the owners and staff who produce the brands and their love for what they do together every day.

»» Passion is a powerful sales tool if it’s really there. We’re in this together, a community of distilleries (if you doubt our conviction, watch our culture deck, it’ll prove you otherwise) and we need to recognize that as an industry the actions of us all are reflected in our customers. Give them something more

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than a story and they’ll tell your tale everywhere. Give them a compelling reason to buy the second bottle and you’re on the right track.

John McKee, along with his wife Courtney, are the owners of Headframe Spirits in Butte, MT. John can be reached at john@headframespirits.com

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