By Clare Goggin Sivits On May 16, 2023

6 Ways to Boost Alcohol Marketing Strategy This Summer

Summer means warmer weather, flip-flops, pool parties and barbecues. It’s also an excellent opportunity to sell more craft spirits with an updated alcohol marketing strategy. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, the alcohol marketing possibilities are endless.

If you’re considering the many ways to market your spirits throughout these hot days, we’ve got you covered. With everything from cocktails to tasting room promotions and summertime events, it’s almost too easy to get your customers to pick up a bottle.

Since we’re all eager for a bit more sunshine and a bit less chill, let’s get right into it with a few stellar summer alcohol marketing ideas.

Highlight Your Most Summery Spirits

It’s time to put your best be-sandaled foot forward. For a distillery, that usually means prioritizing products strategically. Which of your products best complements warm weather – that’s up to you. It might be your botanical spirits for spritzy drinks or maybe you’d rather emphasize the well-aged rum you’ve just released.

In many ways, it doesn’t really matter which products you choose to promote throughout the season. It’s more important how you showcase them. The challenge is convincing customers that they need to have a bottle ready in their home bar for the next barbecue or they should seek out the spirits behind the bar at their next summer happy hour.

A few obvious ways to do this: offer cocktail recipes, create flavor descriptions that highlight summery traits or photograph your products in craveable summer settings.

Sunny Photo Shoots

Whenever the sun is shining, it’s a good day for a photo shoot! Get your products out in the light and take photos in gorgeous places. Make sure you get them from all angles and in all settings – think picnic drinks or beachfront cocktails. Show your customers that your spirits fit into any ideal location they could imagine.

While you’re at it, create video content as well. Shoot a summer cocktail how-to – maybe a few. An eye-catching video that offers something of value to your customers could inspire them to pick up all the ingredients (including your spirits) and follow the detailed directions you give them.

When you’ve got a full library of photos and videos, you’ll be ready to update your website, draft up fresh blog posts or flood your customers’ social media feeds with gorgeous and delicious content. You’ll draw even more drinkers through your funnel to discover the distillery and its many products.

Summer Festival Sponsorships

Whenever the weather gets nice, festivals pop up like dandelions. Everything from big national outdoor tasting events to small local fests sprout up from coast to coast and all of them need sponsorships. The possibilities bloom like crazy.

By weaving your brand into these events that serve crowds of potential customers, you extend your reach to happy festival-goers. When you extend your distillery’s footprint to these events, you tap into your customers’ happy memories and maybe even inspire some of them.

Additionally, sponsoring events allows you to associate and partner with organizations that represent your brand’s values. Many festivals benefit charitable causes so when your distillery supports that festival and its cause, you take a stand that will help you align with your customers and their values.

Seasonal Cocktail Menu

As we usher in the warmer months, it’s time to spruce up your tasting room. That could mean brightening the interior with fresh decor and setting up outdoor space where you can find it. Maybe it’s even time to freshen up your cocktail menu for summertime visitors.

Showcasing your spirits in a tasty cocktail might be the best way to convince the people walking through your front door to buy a bottle. When guests sip a cocktail that perfectly complements the weather, they’ll want to recreate it at home.

The trick is to craft delicious cocktails but make them easy. Keep ingredients to a minimum and prep should be simple and quick. If you need a hand determining the best combos, work with a professional to help you develop the perfect concoction for you and for your guests.

Tasting Room Parties

Now that you’ve spruced up your interior and opened up any outdoor space you’ve set up, invite your neighbors and customers inside for a celebration. Whether you want to host a mid-summer night soiree, a Fourth of July get-together or a Tuesday trivia night, highlight the many ways your product enhances the season.

Consider offering a limited-time summer cocktail flight or a pairing menu that stars summer snacks. However you manage to do it, make sure that you get your spirits lined up with something essentially summer for all of your guests. And make it delicious so that everyone who comes leaves with a good taste in their mouth.

The added bonus of parties is that it attracts a wider crowd. Events with a purpose, like a charitable cause, or a theme, such as plant swaps, will appeal to people who may not have otherwise walked through your door. And once you’ve got them there, you have an opportunity to turn them into a loyal customer.

Hot Brand Partnerships

Summer is an excellent season for making friends. That can be true of brands as well. In order to extend your reach between May and August, team up with a brand that could complement and even amplify your brand. To really magnify the benefit, choose a partner that also shares common goals – whether that’s targeting local audiences or activating a particular demographic.

A few examples of brands that might be good partners include glassware producers, barware manufacturers or syrups makers. If the company also operates within your geographic area, it could be an even better fit. You may also seek out partners with a similar audience or similar values, like contributing to an organization or supporting the same causes.

During the summer, you might seek out a partner that can help you celebrate the season. For instance, a syrup company that makes a great mixer for your summer cocktail or a glassware company that develops the perfect summer cocktail glass. The appropriate ally will make your customers see you in the right light and introduce you to their own customers as well.

Clare Goggin Sivits

As a marketer with a strong writing background, Clare Goggin Sivits has worked in the beer, spirits, and wine industries for nearly a decade. She oversaw digital marketing for a small wine startup as well as a craft brewery and distillery with a nationwide footprint. A Florida ex-pat, Clare now lives in Portland, Oregon, and continues to write about craft beverage marketing and the industry as a whole.

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