The Booze Bin

Making Trade Shows and Event Sponsorships Work for You (Part 1)

If you’ve worked in wine & spirits for more than 90 days, you’ve probably noticed there’s a lot of plonk out there when it comes to events, “food and wine festivals” and even trade shows. There’s no shortage of suspect events clamoring for your marketing dollars and 20-case wine donation. While there are some that have knocked my socks off, I must admit that quality events (by quality I mean those that result in discernible sales or great networking opportunities for a wine brand) are few and far between. And know that the worthy ones are not necessarily in the obvious places! Never underestimate the power of the Florida Panhandle Food & Wine Extravaganza (note: not a real event).


Image Credit:

Sponsorship managers can be an aggressive bunch – as they should be. At any given moment, there’s a deluge of sponsorship decks in my inbox, with all manner of pricey packages to pick from. The requests for “in-kind” wine donations can feel like an avalanche too.  Participating in these events is mentally and financially costly. They’re labor intensive and require a huge amount of detail if they are…

Product Marketing

Angostura Bitters from the Sun-Soaked Islands of Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad-and-beach #1


I just came back from a pre-carnival trip to Trinidad & Tobago (T&T). Loved it. It has been exactly twelve years since we last visited. The twin islands are a cosmopolitan melting pot of cultures known for their incredible Carnival fetes, beautiful people, incredibly tasty and diverse cuisine, and also being the birthplace of steel pan, limbo and many musical styles from calypso to soca. Trinidad and Tobago is ground zero to the most revered bitters in the world, Angostura.

T&T #2


My first encounter with Angostura was in my in-laws’ kitchen before they became my in-laws (over 20 years ago). I remember staring at the funny looking bottle with the over-sized, newspaper looking label and wondering what it was. My in-laws are both great cooks, and devoted users of Angostura as a “secret” ingredient in stews, curries, seasonings, cakes, cookies, morning coffee and even as an aid to relieve and upset stomach by adding a few drops to water. You can find other creative ways to use bitters here.  The story behind the…

The Booze Bin

Building Relationships With the Wine Trade


Huge Wine Store,Don’t be fooled by the simple title, it’s a lot harder than it sounds. The other day, a colleague who typically doesn’t work on our booze business helped us out by confirming wine trade guests for a client event. He later asked me if it was normal for “wine people” to be less-than-friendly toward brand reps and us PR and marketing folks. He was taken aback by some of the reactions he got to his phone calls and I realized that I’ve become desensitized to the standard crankiness that comes with outreach to the people who move the needle on wine sales. This is largely due to the fact that trade folks are extremely busy, overworked and are primarily focused on their customers (not working on whatever it is we are asking them to do for our clients’ brands). In other words, it’s understandable.

Since our top priority as wine marketers is creating alliances with (and being useful to), the wine trade and media so they’ll recommend our client’s brands to their customers more often, relationship building and long term partnerships cannot be stalled by an unwelcoming vibe.


Why Strong Brands Will Win the Wine Game

image: shutterstock

Millennials are changing the face of the wine world. And they’re doing a pretty kick-ass job of it.

Propelled by a thirst for authenticity and discovery, this new generation of drinkers is embracing both old-world traditions and experimental styles. They’re not just drinking more, they’re drinking better.

Producers around the world are eagerly trying to engage this lucrative yet elusive market. And overall, they are not doing such a kick-ass job.

With a mass of curious new-comers on their doorstep, most of those trying to sell to them are doing so in the cryptic lingo of the wine aficionado—with promises of “bramble berries,” “old saddle leather” and “forest floor” as an attempt to start the conversation. While others, fueled by trends reports and superficial demographic data, are pursuing an opposite yet equally flawed strategy, of bending over backwards to show their audience how well their wine will fit into a mundane, millennial existence. (“You can pair it with pizza! You can take selfies with it!”)

“This wine pairs perfectly with my ADD, you guys.”

Neither strategy is…

The Booze Bin

Brews with Views: 5 Must-Drink-At Mountain Breweries

Is it just me, or do snowflakes, icicles and sledding make you want to drink beer? There’s something about winter that screams let’s bundle up, trek through the snow and get ourselves to a brewery. (Okay, I am a year-round beer drinker so MAYBE I feel this way every day.)

Regardless, isn’t the perfect way to spend a blustery day hanging out with friends, warming up with a frothy craft beer while enjoying a beautiful view of the outdoors? I thought you’d agree. And especially in the winter, you can’t beat the scenery at a mountain brewery. Check out some of our favorites from across the U.S.

Photo Cred: Appalachian Mountain BreweryAppalachian Mountain Brewery

Boone, NC

There’s nothing I love more than a quality, fun, unique brewery in a gorgeous setting…except a brewery that is environmentally-conscious and gives back to the community. Appalachian Mountain partners with local non-profits to raise awareness and funds through their Pints for Non-Profits program, while also focusing on sustainable business practices. Love! Check out some of their flagship beers: Black Gold Porter, Boone Creek Blond Ale and Long Leaf IPA. (And hey, they have ciders

The Booze Bin

How Brands Are Mixing New Cocktail Trends into their Campaigns


Source: Friend & Johnson

Whether you’re a man-bunned mixologist in-the-know, a marketer of luxury spirits or a cocktail-loving consumer, 2017 is a year to cheers to with interesting trends on the horizon. Especially when Euromonitor is estimating that there will be many, many new consumers — 400 million new consumers by 2020 globally for luxury spirits.

Let’s take a look at a few cocktail trends and how smart brands are mixing them into their marketing.


More and more, consumers want to hear the story behind their cocktails. These stories are traded as social currency among millennials, passionately showing their knowledge of a single-malt (ahem, my fiancé’s recent obsession) or linking a spirit or drink’s history back to their own community.

Cooper Spirits created a cool video to promote Slow & Low’s Hochstadter’s Rock and Rye which dates back to the mid-1800s. It’s artfully shot, gritty and has just the right amount of anecdotes, like the fact that the drink was originally sold in pharmacies to cure colds. What they tapped into was this trend of rich storytelling that consumers were eager to hear, resulting in a strong…

PR Industry Trends

Quality over Quantity: 2017 Booze Resolutions

captureWe know. 2017 is going to be YOUR year. The resolutions have been made, the fitness classes have been booked, and the snack cabinet has been padlocked.

And some among us may be opting to drink less alcohol as their resolution for a myriad of reasons, including to lose weight, save money, make smarter texting choices, etcetera. Drinking less alcohol is a goal for many when starting out the new year; binging during the holidays with family and friends can leave a sour taste in one’s mouth and give rise to a renewed determination for cutting back.

No matter the reason, “Dry January” will be a reality for many. For those not quitting cold turkey, quality over quantity may be the best option. So, true to form, we’d like to provide a few choices for those opting to have only the occasional cocktail. To give you the best bang for your alcoholic buck, if you will.

Old World Wines

We foresee 2017 as being a fun, high-quality year that won’t break the bank. You know what’s also high quality and won’t break the bank? Wine from Old Word regions. You can find affordable…

Product Marketing

Health, Wellness and….Booze?


It’s no secret that health and wellness themes are increasingly a topic of mainstream discussion. Whether it’s the cover of Time magazine or Oprah’s partnership with Deepak Chopra and Weight Watchers, these themes are cropping up in myriad ways.

timeoprahEmbracing a holistic health mindset is becoming popularized – it’s no longer just for the “alternative” or “hippie” crowd. There is a broader recognition of the importance of mental and emotional health, the impact they have upon physical health/energy, and vice versa. Meditation has moved mainstream and “adult play” such as coloring books are on the rise – evidenced in part by the multiple options available for holiday gifts at my local bookstore. Other related movements include increasing sleep, breaks from digital communication, and a push to embrace life outside of work, as well as wellness in the workplace.

In the food realm, it means a “back to basics” approach: a focus on whole foods and ingredient quality more than calories, and fitness for the sake of feeling good versus the number of pounds you hope to lose. Extreme…

The Booze Bin

Holiday Drinking – How to Pace like a Pro


(image: David L. Reamer)

Alcohol and the holidays—they can be the best of friends or the worst of enemies. When applied wisely, booze can melt away the inherent awkwardness of any family gathering or office party. But alcohol can also summon our inner Grinch. One minute you’re singing “Oh Holy Night” in sweet harmony, the next you’re screaming “UR A RAAACIST!!!” in your grandma’s face.

In these final and booziest days of the year, you’ll come across all kinds of articles on how to pace yourself and your guests. Along with the obvious advice like “drink water,” you’ll often find some more creative/questionable ideas like “start the party with fun, non-alcoholic mocktail” and “eat a big meal first.” To which I would counter: “Has a party that started with a mocktail, started at all?” And “have you ever tried to drink after a big meal?” In my experience, it just ends up with a bunch of people burping into a karaoke machine and going to bed at 9pm.

The advice in these articles typically comes from some well-intended physician. But, with all due respect to my friends in the…

The Booze Bin

Overlooked Wines You Need In Your Life

Few beverages are as old as wine, and thank goodness! I can’t imagine our ancestors making it through the ups and downs of humanity’s evolution without it. I mean, where would the great literature of the world be without wine? Or great romances for that matter? For most of our history as wine drinkers, we have consumed wine like water – literally. Water was too dirty and dangerous to drink for a big chunk of our past, so we drank wine instead.

There are conflicting claims out there, but wine has been around since at least 4,000-5,000 BC. Naturally, there have been tons of regions and people making wine over the centuries as a result. Some of those often fall through the cracks for American wine lovers in their 20s and 30s, mostly due to obscurity, lifestyle, misinformation, or just the sheer volume of available wine in the U.S. Below are my top picks for wines we tend to forget about and why we need to give them the proper pour that they deserve:


It’s no secret that Americans don’t do after dinner drinks – we have an