A SPIRIT THIS WELL-CRAFTED DESERVES AN ARTISANAL GLASS.
different about your production. Do you use a less-common sugar like a single-source molasses or an heirloom grain? Bring it along. Even better if you can compare it to what’s generally used instead. Have a custom-shape still? At a minimum, bring a large photo if not a table-top replica. BRAND PROPS: Brand elements such as images and iconography can be turned into physical representations. “Touching” a brand is another layer of tangible experience beyond visiting a distillery and tasting product. Also, for whatever reason, oversized fake spirit bottles always elicit strong reactions and get good attention, especially in competitive expo environments.
SOUVENIRS AND KEEPSAKES
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As much as “trinket trash” has a reputation as a waste of money, thoughtful souvenirs and keepsakes can help maintain a connection with your brand long after the tasting is over. Like the tasting itself, tailor such items to the audience. Branded barspoons are better gifts for bartenders and branded glasses are better for consumers. Educational and informative references are valued by all audiences so a branded and visually beautiful tasting mat, production flavor diagram, or flavor wheel chart makes an easy (and inexpensive) take-away. Discount coupons or event invitations help maintain connection with the guest after they’ve left. Avoid non-informational (logo only) giveaways as they’re probably going to end up being pitched.
CLOSING THE DISTILLERY EXPERIENCE
If your distillery experience is a movie, the tour is the longrunning action building to the climax of the tasting with the gift shop as denouement. If your tasting is anti-climactic, you lose the impact of the tour and the potential value and return. In traditional sales terms, the tour is the setup and the tasting is the close. For this reason, within your distillery always strive to have formal tastings. If you are pouring shots and handing them around you don’t have control of the audience, and you won’t be able to communicate your brand, product or flavor message. It also looks amateurish compared to the major distilleries. (No, it does not make you look quaint.) The tour should be cohesive with the tasting, especially for sensory components. If your guests taste malted barley on their tour, that’s a setup for nuttiness in your spirit. Nosing a fermenter can introduce fruit and floral notes. Just standing next to an operating still can create temporary palate memory for banana aroma or gin botanicals. These can be reflected back, especially when prompted by the tasting guide: “Remember the orange zest and angelica root aromas from the gin basket? Now we’re tasting them in the gin.” Have separate tasting guides and gift shop
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