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By Clare Goggin Sivits On April 4, 2022

Our Craft Spirits Won a Medal! Now What?

Two glasses of craft spirits site on a table next to three American Craft Spirits Association medals awarded to craft distilleries.

Congratulations! You’ve won a medal. After the long process of submitting paperwork and samples to enter a competition (a process we’ve detailed previously here), it’s a rewarding experience. But your work isn’t done yet. Once you’ve earned an award, should you launch a marketing campaign?

When awards or medals are announced by a spirits competition, distilleries need to move quickly to take advantage of the news. It can be difficult to know where to start. Here are a few steps you can take to tell the story of your medal and your award-winning spirit. 

Consider the Metal of Your Medal

Not every award needs full marketing activation. For platinum or gold medals or other top awards, it makes sense to take every opportunity to promote the win and share the story across all channels. However, in the case of a silver or bronze medal, it may be wise to dial back the promotion a bit. Add the award to your website, especially product pages, and incorporate it into any other product-specific materials. Post a brief announcement of the award on social media and craft a targeted press announcement, if that’s a route you’d like to take. However, overall, your promotion of this award may be a bit more narrow.

Additionally, it’s wise to consider the source of the medal before pushing forward with a marketing blitz. Well-respected and renowned competitions, such as the American Distilling Institute competition or San Francisco World Spirits Competition, deserve publicity. On the other hand, smaller competitions with less clout in the industry or even with consumers may not need as much effort from a marketing standpoint.

On top of that, if the winning product has limited availability or distribution, you may want to limit the scope of your promotion. For instance, if you’re sending press releases, target the list to local or regional journalists. 

Drape Your Bottles In Medals

When a specific product earns an award, the best way to bring awareness to that accomplishment is to put the medal on the bottle. By this, we mean: incorporate the messaging and imagery of the win into marketing materials, such as bottle neckers or shelf-talkers. Both options allow your distillery to bring the story of the medal directly to consumers as they’re purchasing. 

In some cases, distillers may even choose to redesign the bottle or label to display the medal. Those that choose to make this packaging adjustment should be prepared to update it somewhat quickly. Featuring an award from more than five years prior could look dated and actually turn a customer off.

Plaster It Across the Internet

The announcement of a new award gives a distillery the opportunity to tell their products’ stories. Take advantage of the opportunity quickly and write up a blog post about the medal-winning spirit then surface that blog post on your homepage. Update your product listings on the website as well to reflect the new award and revise any other awards lists online.

Once you publish the content, distribute links to it across all of your social media platforms. Since this is a newsworthy event, post the story as soon as you can but don’t be afraid to share it again a few weeks later. And double-check any listings for your products online on sites such as distiller.com. You may find an additional opportunity to mention that your spirit has won awards.

Tell the Press About It

In the case of platinum or gold medals, it’s a good idea to push the story out to a select group of press contacts. Draft up a press release that describes the award-winning product, the competition it won, and why the award is important. An added quote from the distiller themselves would be a great inclusion. Then carefully select a list of journalists or reporters who cover spirits similar to your award winner and send the release to them.

When crafting a press release or press announcement for a silver or bronze medal, emphasize the award-winning product. In these cases, you can use the award as an excuse to talk about the winning spirit with a small group of press. Once prepared, choose an audience that would be more likely to respond. Often this could include local radio hosts or morning news reporters. 

If a press release seems too formal, you can also simply send a friendly email to press contacts with whom your distillery already has a relationship. Let them know that you’re excited to accept the award and why it’s a big deal. If those journalists need more info, they’ll ask for it. This type of approach may actually be preferable to some press contacts and feels more personable than just an attached, pre-written release.

Share the Good News with Distributors and Retailers

Draft up an email that your sales team can send to their wholesaler, distributor, or retailer partners. Since the sales reps have working relationships with these contacts, it makes more sense to have the news come from them. 

In addition to the email, create Google Drive files, Dropboxes, or other shared databases that distributor and retailer partners can access. In these files, they’ll find images of the product, the award, and perhaps even details about bottle neckers or shelf-talkers. Make sure they know all of the materials and assets available to them so they can put them to use in selling your products.

With these marketing methods prepped and ready-to-go, you’ll be prepared to quickly and effectively market your next spirits award. Best of luck!

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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