On October 8, 2020
In the spirits industry, a distillery has two people it immediately needs to impress: the potential liquor buyer and the potential consumer. Convincing the buyer to bring you on their liquor store shelves, bar/restaurant, or distribution portfolio is no easy task. Not only do they have to be impressed by the spirit itself, but they also must feel confident that your spirit will sell. When you’re ready to start selling your products, here are the three marketing materials that are necessary to have on hand to make a memorable first impression.
SALES SHEET | The Bottom Line, But Prettier
Your sales sheet is going to be the first marketing material you should invest in. This is going to be your first point of contact at any liquor store, bar, or restaurant that could take on your product. This is your conversation starter. The sales sheet should cover the basic details of your product’s tasting notes, proof, key features, any significant awards it has won, and most importantly – pricing. Many distilleries offer a pricing structure based on how many cases are purchased at a time. Your sales sheet should highlight your pricing and explain the pricing tiers that are available to them. Keep in mind, the liquor buyer or store/restaurant manager is typically not the first person you speak with when walking into the prospective location. Most often, your sales sheet is picked up by an employee and will be handed to the buyer at a later time. The sales sheet must drive enough interest for the buyer to invite another conversation with you, taste the product, discuss pricing, and most importantly, place an order. Your sales sheet should be visually appealing, concise, and limited to a single sheet (front and back.)
DISTILLERY BROCHURE | Your Time to Shine
Often, a prospective buyer may want more information than just what is provided on your sales sheet. Many buyers want to understand more details behind your brand or product – the backstory and/or inspiration, the team, your unique distilling process, where you source your ingredients from, the mash bill, etc. Creating a distillery/brand/product brochure is a perfect way to leave this information behind for the prospective buyer. We live in the age of ‘storytelling marketing.’ If the buyer understands your story, help them better represent, and most importantly, recommend your product to consumers (while also building a bit of brand loyalty with themselves too.) If you are womxn-owned, veteran-owned, black-owned, family-owned/operated, highlight it. If you use all local grains, produce, or other ingredients, highlight it. If a portion of your proceeds supports one or various nonprofits, highlight it. Give the buyer something to brag about when they talk about your brand. Think of your brochure as the printed form of the ‘About Us’ page on your website. This is your chance to convince the buyer (and the consumer) of your product’s value through the value of your own story.
SHELF TALKERS | First Impressions with the Liquor Store Consumers
Your sales sheet and distillery brochure have gotten you through the door and onto shelves at the liquor store. Now it’s time for the hard part – make it stand out to the consumer. There are hundreds of spirits to choose from – how does your product distinguish itself from the bottle right next to it? That is where your shelf talker comes in. A shelf talker is a small advertisement designed to be attached to shelves, beneath each individual product, at the liquor stores. Its purpose? To do the talking! Shelf talkers act as the voice of your product.
In terms of content, the shelf talker should be visually pleasing and capture the eye of your brand’s target consumer. What do you want to be known for? The unique flavors or ingredients in your spirit? The awards your products have won? An excerpt of an industry expert’s review of your product? A recipe that highlights your spirit? Think about it – what about your brand is different and is going to pique the consumer’s interest? Implement your brand’s voice and tone throughout. If you haven’t considered your voice or tone yet, now is a great opportunity. Whatever you decide you want to convey to consumers, just make sure it’s consistent and cohesive throughout each product’s shelf talker.
There are many shelf talker styles – some snap into the ridges of the shelf, some have an adhesive that sticks on, and some are simple rectangular ads that are physically taped to the shelf. Shelf talkers have been shown to directly correlate with increased sales, so most stores will be happy to hang up whatever you provide. It never hurts to ask a few of your local liquor stores if they have a preference. Shop around and source quotes from online providers. Shelf talkers do not have the be cost-prohibitive, but they are worth every penny.
BONUS: STICKERS | The Marketing Phenomena
The truth is… people love stickers (including the buyers!) Think of the places that you place or see stickers yourself – water bottles, car windows, beer fridges, phone cases, and more. Whenever you, your sales rep, or distribution company are visiting liquor stores, bars/restaurants, or tradeshows/events, having a stack of stickers on-hand is an easy way to leave a long-lasting impression of your brand. Your stickers are likely to be handed out to consumers and liquor store staff alike and your brand recognition will begin to spread.
Getting your foot in the door to any liquor store, bar, or restaurant can be a daunting experience – especially as a new product. With the right tools on your belt, you are guaranteed to make a memorable first impression with the buyer and be on your way to fulfilling case orders with their establishment. Interested in creating some new marketing materials to help with your sales efforts? Reach out! We have a ton of experience designing sales sheets, shelf talkers, and other marketing materials and would be happy to create something for your distillery!