to stay fresh, hold an edge over competitors, or accelerate the growth of already-successful products.
WHY REBRAND? Rebranding isn’t necessarily inevitable. Your distillery may be successful from its launch until you retire thanks to the great quality, price, and value of your products. But experts at marketing, branding, and retail firms largely agree that brands do not have the lifespan they used to. In the past, consumers had strong brand loyalty, but now many people are loyal to categories like whiskey or gin, not necessarily brands. Further, many people are drawn to markers that stretch across categories, like handmade, craft, sour mash, terroir, etc. If someone likes distilleries that use ingredients unique to the region where they were made, they are going to seek out products in any category that meets that description, whether it’s gin made with Utah-foraged juniper or brandy distilled from Georgia peaches. Fortunately, your distillery and products have their own unique markers that consumers are looking for, and good branding will tell that story. “Your consumers want to feel a certain way when they choose your product,” explains Mayr. He says your brand and design is the best chance to convey that feeling when people are scanning the shelves. During Wishkah River Distillery’s first rebrand, they asked themselves what people wanted to feel when they chose their brand. They picked the traits that naturally fit their personalities, locale, the product
inside the bottle, and how it was made. When they built the brand around those elements, Mayr says the increase in shelf pull-through was almost instantaneous. “You’ve got to look at your demographic, what your product is, what price point you’re selling it at, and your story,” explains Matauch. “And you’ve got to convey that through branding and design.”
WHERE DO YOU START? If you are considering a rebrand, both Matauch and Mayr have the same advice: Hire a reputable design firm with spirits branding experience, and hire them at the beginning. “There are companies out there that specialize in spirits design,” said Mayr. “They’re familiar with TTB and COLA, they know what they can and cannot do on spirits labels.” Distillers usually think that hiring a professional firm will be expensive, but Mayr says distillers often actually pay more for an inexperienced firm or family friend that makes TTB-related labeling mistakes that have to be corrected. Each revision
costs the distillery more time and money. Matauch says the least expensive, least stressful, and highest-yielding approach is to hire the right firm at the beginning of the process. If you spend three months developing brand and design elements on your own just to abandon them later, you
REASONS TO REBRAND INCLUDE... DESIRE TO STAY FRESH SOMETHING HAS GONE WRONG HOLD AN EDGE OVER COMPETITORS SALES ARE DROPPING ACCELERATE THE GROWTH OF ALREADYSUCCESSFUL PRODUCTS 75
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