By Clare Goggin Sivits On February 16, 2023

Why Your Distillery’s Values Matter and How to Share Them

Your target customer believes deeply in their values, whatever they may be. Even an average whiskey drinker has strong convictions about one thing or another. And recent research shows that more than 82 percent of consumers seek out brands whose values match theirs. 

This phenomenon has always been a factor in alcohol marketing to a small degree. As issues such as climate change and women’s rights become more widely discussed and debated, it’s getting even more critical to let customers know where you stand. 

Of course, once your distillery voices an opinion, you may discourage and maybe even anger some purchasers. However, that segment likely doesn’t make up a big chunk of your target market. No brand can be everything to everyone, after all. So focus on connecting with those customers who share your beliefs.

Now you may ask, “how do I communicate our liquor brand’s values to our customers?” It takes more than just a social media post. Here’s how to identify and share your brand values in an effective way.

Determine Your Distillery’s Values

Maybe your spirits brand already has a clear understanding of what your values are. Perhaps you’re already supporting animal welfare or sustainability in quiet but active ways. If you have an obvious set of principles already guiding your business then you’re well on your way to determining the right brand values. 

However, other distilleries may not have such an evident path forward. Many businesses are started by individuals who are passionate about the thing they want to produce. In your case, that’s craft spirits or craft beverage. That may leave you without a direct connection to current events or movements. 

When a distillery explores brand values, the brand must reflect on its position within the community and the shared principles of its customers and partners. Consider how what your customers believe may be drawing them to you already and how that might line up with any existing philosophies of the owners and employees at the company already. Are there shared interests that benefit everyone? How do those interests translate to values? 

Answer those questions and you’ll land on the right brand values to move forward with.

Build Messaging Around Those Values

Now that you know what your values are, consider how to describe them. This process requires a liquor brand to really determine the connection between those principles and their business. For instance, if sustainability is one of the values you’ve identified, how does that concept guide your distilling practices?

As you move through the process of developing a story around your values, you may have to come to some difficult realizations. After all, if you believe that sustainability should be a key message for your brand, you’ll need to ensure you’re operating a distillery in a sustainable way. Otherwise, your message will fall flat and come off as rather disingenuous.

Coming to terms with your values often requires a business to go through some changes. Occasionally those are small changes but from time to time, those changes could be big. It’s worth balancing the investment with how important the brand value is to your business.

Once you’ve got your business as a whole aligned with those values, you can more easily tell the story of your sustainable distillery and how it supports sustainability as a whole.

Add Values to Your Distillery Website

You’ve written your brand value story: now add it to the website. It’s time to let people know more formally about your beliefs and how they impact your business practices. As customers come across your brand online, they may even be looking for that value messaging before they make a purpose. Make it easy for them and show them that you are on their team.

For some brands, brand value messaging occupies a space on the About page. Others infuse brand messaging across the entire site. Perhaps they open with it on the Home page and then add details about values around each product. How ever your distillery decides to incorporate the messaging, make sure you write it clearly and genuinely. 

Share Your Values on Social Media and Other Platforms

As with any social media post, you need to time it right. Don’t come out of the gates touting every single principle your brand holds like it’s a manifesto of some sort. You risk even turning off those who closely align with you on those values. 

Instead, find opportunities to share your values in a productive way. When you release new products, add values to the description of it. As an example, you could drop how you sustainably distilled a new whiskey by practicing water-saving methods and reducing waste. It could be incorporated into messaging around a tasting room redesign or a distillery upgrade. Add it to your announcements then resurface it on special occasions, like Earth Day.

One thing to keep in mind as you share out your values: avoid bragging. No one likes it. It’s a fine line between humbly sharing the good you’re doing toward a shared goal and beating your chest. Try to walk that line as much as possible and maybe find a good copywriter who understands the difference.

Align Your Distillery with Organizations that Support Your Values

Don’t just share your values; live them! As we mentioned earlier, coming to terms with your brand’s values sometimes requires a distillery to change how they operate. Additionally, it means aligning yourself with partners and organizations that share those values.

This means supporting non-profits that work toward accomplishing the goals of your principles. In the case of a distillery aiming for more sustainability, it might mean donating profits on a regular basis to an organization like the National Parks Service or Rainforest Alliance. 

It can also mean working with suppliers and farmers that practice sustainability to deliver products that are sustainable from ground to glass. Oftentimes, not only with a distillery source ingredients from a farmer growing sustainable crops but they could also donate spent grain to another farmer with similar values to feed livestock. The result is a full-circle realization of their brand values.

Struggling with how to identify your alcohol brand’s values and tell that story? We can help! Set up a consultation with us today.

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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