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The goal of tastings is simply to get the product into the hands of your audience 108 

o the untrained eye it looks like distillers are just having fun, but as you know distilling requires a massive amount of hard work. Any edge you can gain against your competition is well worth the effort, but that’s easier said than done since many brands have large budgets and marketing departments. Fortunately, with a little time management and networking we can distinguish our products and be cost effective by mastering the art of self-promotion. One of the most effective avenues of selfpromotion is the in-store tasting. With in-store tastings, the opportunity to get a sample to the mouth of a target consumer with the ability for them to purchase the product immediately is priceless. The fact that they are in the store already is exactly what makes them your target consumer. This is your chance to make an impression with your name recognition, branding, and product tasting. But can you sell in-store? Every state and sometimes even counties have different laws regarding this. I can only speak to California law and more specifically License Type 86: Instructional Tasting. There are some funny regulations to this so I won’t get into all the details, but I will mention some to show what kind of regulations you might have to deal with.

In California, the liquor store has to obtain the Type 86 license. The area in which the tasting is held has to be roped off from general public and store employees are not allowed to enter. The tasting must be held by the manufacturer and they have to check IDs. They cannot charge for the tasting, the customer cannot leave the roped area with the tasting, and you are limited to three quarter-ounce pours. The store may and probably will have their own stipulations, too. Be sure to abide by them, keep your area clean, and do not bring too many things that might get in the way of other displays, such as large signs.

THROWING YOUR PITCH When it comes to the pitch just remember most consumers are well versed in the arena of people trying to hand them things in hopes of buying their product. I try to approach the pitch by conveying a targeted message. Most of the time that is something along the lines of craft and locale. With my products I almost always start off with, “Hi, I’m a local distillery right here in San Francisco.” That usually cuts through their ambivalence of trying to pass by without being harassed. Then I go through the usual, “I’m craft,” WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM

Artisan Spirit: Summer 2016  
Artisan Spirit: Summer 2016  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.