3 Podcasts To Step Up Your Marketing Game

A whopping 92 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. I usually cut myself some slack when personal resolutions start to waver, but I have a much harder time letting go of professional goals. One of my 2016 resolves is to listen to one new podcast a week to step up my game as a beverage marketing professional.

I decided to let you in on the resolution and share my January finds. All it takes is 35 minutes of your time. Are you ready?

The EntreLeadership Podcast – Branding Your Story (Episode #103 – listen from minutes 10-16):

Synopsis: Brand guru Donald Miller challenges you to rethink how you are telling your brand’s story. His theory: Companies should not be the hero of the story, but the customer. Brands that understand how they solve the internal problems an external problem creates for consumers (e.g., a broken pipe causes frustration) will excel.

Miller uses political campaigns as an example: G.W. Bush ran on the problem of high taxes (external problem) and “hit a nerve” when he spoke about Americans not being able to send their kids to college because all their money

The Booze Bin

Lessons from the Biggest Brands in the Booze Business – Blue Chip Brands

Savvy marketers know there is plenty to learn from having your finger on the pulse of the market. To keep up with the top performers, marketing professionals rely on industry experts to rank brands by growth. One of my favorite rankings comes from Impact Databank and their annual ranking of “Blue Chip Brands.”

Published each year in Market Watch Magazine, these “Blue Chip Brands” have shown staying power over the last decade, reporting average growth rates of at least 0.5% each year of the past decade, plus reporting a gross margin of at least $25 million in 2014. For this reason, these are important brands to watch and learn from. Rounding up 58 brands across all three categories of wine, beer and spirits, these results act as a barometer of the current booze industry. Let’s see what valuable marketing lessons are hiding in this year’s results:


Spirits – Market Innovation Appeals to Consumers

The three largest Blue Chip spirits brands all come from the portfolio of industry giant Diageo and include Smirnoff vodka, Captain Morgan rum and Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey. Surprised to see Crown Royal

The Booze Bin

From Star Wars to Symphonies … Hot Trends in Brewery Tasting Rooms

Yep, the craft beer craze is in full swing across the country, and new breweries continue to pop up every day … lucky for us beer lovers! But as in any business, brewery owners will need to find fresh ideas to keep patrons coming back again and again. And of course, attract new customers. While certainly the beer itself is always a draw (yum), the happenings in the tasting rooms prove to be effective marketing efforts to bring in crowds. So what’s trending in tasting rooms? What are some cool, hip, innovative ideas you may see in your tasting adventures?

Yoga & Beer

YogaYes, please! Breweries from California to North Carolina are embracing this trend, holding yoga classes right next to their barrels, taps and hops. While yoga studios may be intimidating, breweries offer a laid-back, less formal setting that appeals to everybody (even men are embracing this concept; check out a previous Buzz Bin post about it!) And of course, downward facing dog is followed by a happy hour brew, just a few feet away.  There’s even a company in San Diego, Hoppy Yoga, that specializes in


How to build a top-notch global marketing team


When I went to school for international studies, my professors never talked about how business teams functioned across global markets. It was simply a matter of mastering linguistics. However, the reality is that cultural differences can create business challenges that get in the way of doing great work.

At the request of Felicity Carter, editor-in-chief of Meininger’s Wine Business International, I spoke on a panel called “Speaking Globally: Creating influence and negotiating deals in world markets” at Wine Vision, an annual conference that seeks to set the global agenda for the wine industry. Ms. Carter, very eloquently, spoke about direct versus indirect cultures, the significance of a strong translation partner, and how humor generally doesn’t translate well.

I drew upon my experience in managing multi-national communications campaigns and how the concept of “glocal” – where global strategy meets local execution – has shaped effective marketing campaigns.

A bit of background: The way we approach marketing has changed significantly in the last ten years. Gone are the days of executing one single program across the world in an imperialistic style. The phrase “glocalization,” or, in short, “glocal,” was coined…

The Booze Bin

Wine for Everyone!

Here we are at the end of the year, and 2016 is knocking on our door. Everyone has their mind on the holidays and enjoying festivities with friends & family. But savvy media consumers also know this is the time when everyone and their mother recap the past year and anticipate trends for the coming year. In fact, even this agency’s blog is recapping 2015 across all of our practices, from Food & Beverage to Consumer and Healthcare. But the yearly reviews that excite me the most include, you guessed it, WINE!

As marketing professionals, of course we want to see our products included in yearly recaps. But which ones are the most important, or the most reputable? Let’s take a look at some of the Top 100 Wine Lists from the industry’s biggest influencers and see what it all means:


Unlike some of the more reputable wine publications, doesn’t rank their wines based on the scores of wine critics. Instead, has “compiled top 100 list based entirely on customer preferences… we wanted our customers to be the judge, voting with their wallets.”

The Booze Bin

Big Beer: The 5 Best Launches of 2015

I could claim that 2015 was the year of craft beer, but let’s be honest: this isn’t the first year we’ve seen enormous growth in this market.

Consistently, over the last several years, craft brewers have seen double-digit growth in volume and market share. In fact, every day more than two new craft breweries open their doors.

It’s not surprising then, that this advancement has acted as a launch pad for strong concepts (beyond craft) that consumers are more open to than ever.

Our client Smart Beer is a good indicator of this attitude. Media authorities have offered support for its organic and healthy living brand proposition – something the market has only begun to dabble in. Buzz Bin Image

With this in mind, I’ve compiled what I believe are some of the smartest marketing launches in beer (packaging, storage, production and actual beer) in 2015.

  • Ommegang Game of Thrones Three Eyed Raven Dark Saison Ale – Although not the first of its kind, this partnership continued showcasing a genius method for authentically tapping into a cult following.
  • PR Industry Trends

    2016 Booze Trends: What we love, hate and can’t wait to start

    Each January is jam-packed with trend analyses and predictions, and the alcohol beverage world is no exception. Here, instead of restating what was or professing to know what will be, our team of beverage marketing experts and craft beer fans shares its hopes and dreams for the good, the bad and the not-yet-developed trends.

    #1: Wine Industry Trends 

    Katie Myers

    What trend do you hope to see continue?

    Drink Pink! 

    Rosé wines continue to be popular, and for good reasons: They are refreshing, pair well with foods, and are appropriate for any season and practically any occasion. Rioja, our Spanish wine client, has seen a 30 percent increase in U.S. imports of Rioja Rosados year-over-year. I expect more events like La Nuit en Rosé celebrating this wine style in 2016.

    What trend do you hope to see fade?


    I’ve never been a big fan of the 100-point-scale that’s so common in our business. Wine is subjective, as are the palates and preferences of the people who drink it.

    What trend do you hope to see start?

    Wine and Music Pairings

    Context matters. Music and wine each enhance their surroundings and together, they can pack

    The Booze Bin

    Serving up Seasonal Libations – Q4 Marketing Trends in the Beverage Industry

    Thanksgiving has barely arrived, yet it seems everyone’s palate is already preparing for the December holiday season. In this time of harvest, you might think pumpkin spice would still reign supreme over all other flavors. But while it seems like only yesterday we were discussing the popularity of pumpkin-flavored everything, consumer demand is driving a push for holiday-flavored beverages. Also known as “winter warmers,” marketing professionals are realizing what an unstoppable force these seasonal flavors can be. With annual seasonal offerings from Summer Shandy’s to Oktoberfest craft brews, let’s take a look at why “winter warmers” are quickly becoming the most popular flavors of the seasonal beverage category.

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    Fun & Flavorful Varieties

    Seasonal selections have actually been around way longer than you may think.  In a world of powerfully marketed megabreweries, you may be surprised to learn the tradition of crafting a limited-edition seasonal flavor actually dates back thousands of years. It was during a time when small brewers would craft small batches, usually spiked with familiar flavors of the holiday season, to gift to their friends and customers. Wikipedia cites the ancient Saturnalia Festival as the origin

    The Booze Bin

    Football, Turkey & Craft Beer: The Ultimate Thanksgiving Pairing Guide



    You know it, and I know it: Thanksgiving is awesome. The day is all about bonding: with family, with traditions, with food, with conversation, with sports, with fall and with booze. My family has a tradition we like to call “Ye Ol’ Turkey Fry Tailgate, Just like the Pilgrims.” We sit outside around the turkey fryer, talking, laughing, watching football games and drinking beer, wine or Shirley Temples. JUST LIKE THE PILGRIMS! Okay, maybe not, but the concept is the same…connecting, communicating, BE-ing. And while drinking alcohol and watching football were not in the cards of the Pilgrims on the first Thanksgiving Day, it has become a part of our American tradition (lucky for us) and of course, the feast was, and is, the highlight of this wonderful day. So what better way to celebrate these traditions? As an experienced beer drinker, eater and sports fan, I say let’s pair them up! Football. Food. Beer. Ultimate. Thanksgiving. Day.


    Fall1Game #1: Appetizer Pre-Game

    According to the NFL, an average 28.4 million viewers watch football on Thanksgiving Day. And we all know


    Disrupting the Digital Wine Communications Community


    Two weeks ago, I was one of six speakers recruited to Plovdiv, Bulgaria to inspire and to challenge how Digital Wine Communications Conference (DWCC) participants see the world.

    The goal of the DWCC’s Disrupt! Wine Talks is to present new ideas in a high-energy format: one word, one speaker with a microphone and eight minutes. The sessions are a variation on the Ignite format, in which each slide is displayed for 20 seconds, and slides automatically advance, whether the presenter is ready or not.

    To make things even more challenging, all six speakers were given the same word, “BLEND” (the conference theme) from which to build an inspirational talk from their perspective or area of expertise.

    Our task was to change people’s thinking. We were asked to push our captive audience to look at things from a new angle – to leave them asking questions, challenging assumptions and inspiring new ideas.

    One speaker, Richard Heming, MW, encouraged the wine community to “lighten up” and blend wine with humor. Simon Woolf shouted that “blending in is for losers!” and dared attendees to buck the norm. My call to action…