Birthday Bourbon and Four Roses Limited Edition products. Subtle though the yearto-year flavor change may be, those products receive huge attention by acknowledging flavor change.
M A RK E TING THE ME S S A GING
DRIFT, MA NAG E D
Communicating your flavor change message can Flavor drift will happen be done at any point of brand contact with the to you. By accepting it and consumer. dealing with it proactively, At your distillery, the consumer interaction you can leverage it for new is obvious and easily managed. Likewise via products, line extensions, MAKIN G TH E M E S SAGE press releases and online channels. Marking the limited releases and The specific messages required will vary spirit’s packaging with a vintage identifier and individual bottlings. This depending on the type of spirit and reason for the barrel or batch number directly on the bottle or can mitigate consumer change. on secondary packaging (like a hang-tag or box) frustration with the change Vodka: It’s all about purity. Celebrate new awards can catch a potential repeat consumer’s attention and even generate powerful and reviews, and how you’re achieving constantly without the expense (or potential brand confusion) marketing value, but you higher standards of purity with your product. of entirely new labeling. need a clear flavor change Gin: This spirit can be relatively consistent at the message and strategy for hands of an experienced distiller. But the first runs S P E CIA L CA S E : S OURCE D OR communicating it. will almost certainly be variable. Changing botanical CONTRA CT TO IN- HOUS E recipes and sourcing can change the flavor profile. When you’ve had another distiller produce your Consider ‘seasonal releases’ or named recipes even spirit and then begin to make it yourself there will Tim Knittel is a bourbon within the same product. undoubtedly be flavor change. How you manage educator, writer and Brandy: Like wine, brandy can be vintage or nonthe messaging depends on several factors. event specialist in vintage. ‘This year’s crop’ is a great phrase and Lexington, Kentucky. If you are switching your primary brand to inHe formerly managed successfully captures positive interest in experiencing a house liquid, consider carefully how close the the culinary and VIP new and limited availability flavor. flavor profile matches. Be honest with yourself. hospitality programs Rum & Whiskey: Differences in sugar/grain type and Blind trial with consumer groups for verification. for the Woodford souring, fermentation methods, distillation parameters If the flavors are similar enough to be Reserve Distillery. He and barrel aging can all make dramatic changes. When you interchangeable, great! Nothing else to do. If not, now runs Distilled Living which provides make a change, be straightforward with what is different one option is to blend the products slowly sliding private bourbon and how it shaped the product. from majority of the old to majority of the new. education, brand Barrel-Aged: Since every barrel has at least a slightly This won’t go undetected by all consumers, so be representation and different flavor profile, ‘barrel picks’ are the new hotness ready to address the flavor change over time. distillery consulting in the American whiskey industry. Some individual barrels If the flavors are dramatically different, consider services. He holds have achieved legendary status (Willett 808, for example). the title Executive releasing two separate products. If you’ve been Bourbon Steward A product could be released with a unique barrel number on honest about sourcing from the beginning, an through the every bottle (like Blanton’s) or even a name. The same is true ‘in-house’ product checks the new and possibly Distilled Spirits for small-batch production. It’s also possible to craft a new exclusive boxes for your brand, which can be a Epicenter. product line (ala Heaven Hill Brands and Jack Daniel’s) based great boost for earned traditional and social on barrel warehouse position and resultant flavor characteristics. media.
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