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By Clare Goggin Sivits On October 20, 2021

Checklist for a New Product Launch

You spent a lot of time and energy bringing your product to fruition. But once crafted and bottled, that spirit has to get in front of the right audience. That’s where the product launch marketing plan comes in.

The ultimate goal of any product launch is to sell more bottles. In order to achieve that goal, the distillery marketing team has some work to do. It starts long before the product is on the market with a solid plan. Everything from label design to website updates should be mapped out well ahead of time. Here are the action items that should be on any product launch to-do list.

Identify the Audience

Before setting a spirit loose on the public, a distillery should narrow down the audience that might actually welcome it. That means finding potential customers before there’s something for them to buy. This requires market research and exploring potential competitors as well. The results of a project like this can pinpoint the type of person who would drink this beverage, specifying an age range, set of interests and other attributes.

Once identified, the distillery’s gotta track that audience down. Who are these people, where do they live, where do they spend their time and where can a marketing campaign reach them? Determining that allows the team to build the right assets to appeal to these potential customers. Here at High-Proof Creative, we offer a Brand Strategy Workshop that covers all of this.

Create the Label Art

The look of the bottle should blend the overall identity of the brand with the uniqueness of this new product. It incorporates both standard brand elements with fresh new twists. Perhaps adding a flourish that makes the bottle stand out amid its competitors on the shelf. It needs to look good. 

Part of the consideration for the label also takes into account the shape of the glass. There are a number of bottle styles a distillery can choose from. The label needs to look balanced and created to fit that bottle shape. Interested in sustainable bottle design? Check out our blog post here

Photograph the Bottle

Once the bottle and artwork are complete, it’s time to photograph the product. At this point, the distillery may want to call in a professional photographer or set up their own photoshoot. Whatever the method, it should result in high-quality images that make the product look good.

Bottle shots with a white background may be necessary for certain design assets. This kind of image is called a knockout. These types of images make it easier to remove the background so that the bottle can be inserted into different settings, including sell sheets and other materials. 

It’s also wise to get shots of bottles in different settings that can be used for social media purposes or PR. Before setting up these shoots, it’s important to determine what a distillery wants to communicate visually about the product. Knowing that will help inform what sets or backgrounds will work best with the product.

Create Product Messaging

How would you describe the new product? That’s the question a distillery asks when building messaging around the brand. Tasting notes, ingredients, descriptions, and taglines all need to be written and implemented consistently across labeling, website, and any other resources created for the product. It can even be added to a guide that lays out these descriptions and notes and can be referred to by anyone needing some talking points about this new item.

Update the Website

Once the words and the photos are ready, they need to be added to the brand’s website. It should occupy its own page and have a similar format to all the other products featured across the website. Part of this requires some amount of keyword research. Determining what potential customers may be searching for and incorporating those words and terms into the page — or the website as a whole will help draw the right audience to your new product online.

In some cases, a new product may require its own website. This could be in the case of a product that stands out from the brand and appeals to a completely different audience from the rest of the brand’s portfolio. If that’s the case, the distillery needs to design an entirely new site that is optimized for search and provides a solid user experience for potential customers.

Design Assets for Launch

Materials, such as sell sheets and shelf talkers will be required as the product rolls out into the market. Each piece helps the sales team deliver this product to distributors or to retailers. The more these assets can promote the product to its target audience, the easier they make the sales team’s job.

Build Social Media Marketing Campaign

While it may be the last step on this list, a social media marketing campaign should not be the last thing on your mind. What social media marketing will look like for a new product is something that should be considered in tandem with photography, messaging, and even website updates. This is because every piece of the campaign should be cohesive. When a distillery shares a photo of the new spirit on Instagram, it should match the copy perfectly as though that Instagram post had been planned from the beginning.

The target audience will point the distillery toward which platforms to utilize. Copy and images will need to be customized for each platform. The product needs to be shared more than once too. In fact, there should be a full series of posts planned out to introduce the spirit to followers. Each post provides a reason to buy that new product. Paid social may also be an option to explore if a new audience needs to be reached.

Once a distillery has considered and planned out each of these steps, it’s time to launch. PR and additional promotion will be needed. But it’s important to set this foundation first.


Need help with a product launch? Check out our product launch package or email Karen@highproofcreative.com for more information.

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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