R O T I S I V Y R E L L I T DIS E C N E I R E P EX PART E1L
HOW TO LEAD A TASTING Tastings cost time and money, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting a return. Of all your marketing and brand-building tools, a well-performed tasting can be one of the most powerful. But a poorly-led tasting might be the first and last time a consumer engages with your product and your brand. Tastings are highly variable affairs, from short “shot and trot” samples at expos and liquor stores, to hour-long sessions at conferences or in your distillery’s tasting room. Audiences range from category first-time drinkers to enthusiasts to trade groups to media. Getting that return on your investment requires designing and executing a tasting experience which communicates your brand product messages and matches the venue, audience, and timing. Tracking the return requires identifying your desired outcomes and establishing performance indicators and metrics.
ITT M KN BY TI N E T RIT
TASTING = EXPERIENCE OF FLAVOR
A tasting is an opportunity to communicate your brand and product messages, combined with a sensory experience of your product, directly to an audience. While the design of brand and product messages are beyond the scope of this article, keep this in mind: Your product message is incomplete without a flavor message. If you (or your rep) don’t have a clear product flavor message — that is, if you aren’t able to clearly articulate the flavor of your product — then you can’t lead a tasting. You will just be handing people shots and hoping for the best. A comprehensive flavor message encompasses nose/aromatics, mouthfeel, front palate, mid palate and finish. It should serve to position and differentiate your product within its category — or jump category, if that’s appropriate. It might touch on production, offer consumption suggestions or use a sensory metaphor or reference. A full flavor message can be quite long, but short ones — or just a list of flavor notes — can work in certain instances, too.
CONSIDER THESE EXAMPLES FOR FICTITIOUS SPIRITS: YE OLD KY BOURBON: Our low-corn, high-rye recipe brings a bold, spicy character to the traditional sweet style of bourbon whiskey. Silky and rich on the tongue with a touch of heat on the finish, Ye Old KY Bourbon has a complex flavor profile with caramel and vanilla up front, oak and tobacco smoke in the middle and a host of spices including clove, nutmeg and black pepper on the long, lingering finish. Perfect neat, rocks or as the base for bourbon or rye cocktails like the old fashioned and manhattan.
DEEP WOOD WILD PINE GIN: Our gin is infused exclusively with wild-harvest botanicals from mid-altitude old-growth forests in the Rocky Mountains. In addition to the traditional juniper berries, we add 13 botanicals including freshly-harvested pine needles, making our gin intense on the nose and the palate. Deep Wood Wild Pine Gin is bursting with layered flavors from herbaceous thyme and mint to the light, sweet floral notes of prickly rose and red clover. It’s sure to please any gin lover.
COPPER KETTLE MOLASSES RUM: Our 100% molasses rum is cooked and fermented using the traditional copper kettle method and barrelaged for at least 6 months. The result is a slight sweet, slightly tangy spirit that’s easy to drink straight, as a cocktail or with a splash of your favorite sparkling beverage.
BRANDI’S 6-FRUIT BRANDY: By combining juice from six different fruits, our brandy has easily detectable grape, tart apple, pineapple and citrus flavors making it the most complex brandy we’ve ever tried.
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