The Booze Bin

In Search Of a New Fall Flavor, I Failed

Ask anyone what makes a crowd-pleasing commercial, and you’ll get two answers: Puppies and babies. In beverage PR, babies are taboo, and puppies are almost synonymous with Budweiser’s Super Bowl ads. Many brands therefore jump on a seasonal flavor trend and ride the popularity wave for said “it” ingredient until the next season comes knocking on their door.

No Pumpkin Backlash in Sight

Since today marks the first day of fall, my curiosity in emerging seasonal flavors is at its peak. Sadly, those flavors must be late to the party, because what I came across in my research is pure “Pumpkinsanity.” Each year, every year, pumpkin (spice) seems to take home the people’s choice award for the most popular fall flavor and dominates the beer aisle of the grocery store. 2015 is no different. According to food industry tracker Mintel, use of pumpkin as an ingredient in beverages alone has grown 130 percent since 2006. Last year, almost four in ten Americans bought a pumpkin-flavored product. Only pie filling was more popular than beer in that flavor category (see infographic). Breweries like Blue Moon are taking note, and are releasing…

The Booze Bin

Not Your Father’s Root Beer – Growth Strategies for Small Brands

an adult root beer float

One of the most popular products to hit the beverage industry in recent history came in the form of Not Your Father’s Root Beer (NYFRB). This beer-slash-soda brand has taken the market by storm, as it represents one of the newest trends in alcohol, “malternatives” aka alternative malt beverages (usually artificially flavored). Social media has been in a tizzy as consumers frantically search for it on the shelves of their local retailers. The consumer is truly engaged with the product and shares updates about where to find it and what it taste likes.   Instagram feeds flooded with photos of the bottles with captions such as “YES! Finally, was able to get my hands on some. Now to see if the hype is true” and “I tried it and like it! #NotYourFathersRootbeer.” One NJ liquor store posted: “Not Your Father’s Root Beer is back in stock. Limit one six-pack per person. Don’t wait it will be gone in a day or two.”

But why has this brand been so successful and what can we learn from their product launch? Not Your Father’s Root Beer…


License to Brew: 3 Ways Beer Partnerships Improve Brand Awareness

According to Global License, food and beverage licensing grew 9.5 percent representing $8.04 billion in licensed merchandise in 2010. It remains to be a growth segment today and increasingly you see it in brand extensions in the craft beer industry.

From Fulton Brewery and New Belgium Brewing to Brewery Ommegang and 21st Amendment Brewery, a number of breweries are partnering with big brands like Wheaties, HBO, Ben & Jerry’s, and Count Chocula to create craft beers to reach broader audiences.

Here are three ways your brand can improve consumer brand awareness with a strategic beer partnership:


1.      Get creative and forge authentic partnerships.

Just listen to these creative beer descriptions: 21st Amendment’s homage to Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts with its release of Toaster Pastry, an India-style Red Ale, New Belgium’s Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream inspired Salted Caramel Brownie and Fulton’s Wheaties and Hefewizten beer, HefeWheaties.

Although not technically a licensing deal, the Wheaties brand extension didn’t come out of nowhere. The idea for the limited-edition HefeWheaties came about because Fulton has close ties to General Mills, which owns Wheaties. It also doesn’t hurt that the two Minneapolis companies use…

Digital Marketing

Report from TEXSOM: Top Beverage Trends

TexSom.jpgAttending TEXSOM has been on my bucket list, and this year, I finally made it. In its 11th year, the 2015 conference brought together more than 1,000 attendees, including roughly 25 percent of all industry pros who have earned the title of Master Sommelier.

Below are five takeaways from the “BevLab: Ideas and Issues in the Modern Beverage Industry” session, a panel discussion of current wine trends. Moderated by writer Jordan Mackay, the panel featured John Blazon MS; Levi Dalton (host of podcast “I’ll Drink to That” and wine columnist for; award-winning restauranteur Shelley Lindgren, and Antony Moss MW AIWS. These five beverage trends were worth noting:

 1: Restaurant Costs Skyrocket: Ready-to-Drink Wines Benefit

As the economy improves, restaurant rents are skyrocketing. Lindgren, who is in lease renewal negotiations now, said her landlord proposed a 43% increase over her last contract. How does this affect food and wine programs? Dalton suggested that restaurants can’t expect to be 20-30 year propositions any longer. That affects how wine directors buy wine and build restaurant cellars – there is not as much inventory, and…

Crisis Management

How To Avoid Creating Your Own PR Crisis: The Case of Riedel + The Blog World

Over the past week, people in wine PR have witnessed a dispute between glass manufacturer Riedel and Ron Washam, the man behind the wine-based satire blog “The Hosemaster of Wine™.” It started on August 3 when Washam, a comedy-writer-turned-sommelier, released a satirical piece about Riedel on the blog of his Master Sommelier friend Tim Atkin. In the column called “Riedel Me this,”Washman had a field day with Georg Riedel, the Austrian who pioneered different shapes of glassware for different grape varieties. You should know that people either love or hate the concept of varietal-specific wine glasses (VinePair addresses the debate). Some think the concept is bogus, some – among them Robert M. Parker Jr. himself – think it’s genius.

Riedel was – in my mind understandably – unhappy. At that point, the Goliath of stemware (over $300 million in sales in 125 countries) had a lot of options to choose from how to react to the article. From a PR perspective, I think they had an amazing opportunity to open up a real dialog with consumers and influencers about wine glasses. Having a special glass for each type of…

Digital Marketing

What Are We Drinking Now? Part 3

Image_Aperol SpritzSummer’s quickly coming to a close, but at PadillaCRT, the roster of refreshing beverages is still very much in full swing. After a two week stint in Italy during one of the country’s hottest summers on record, my drinks of late have been chilled Italian white wines, bottles of Peroni beer, and the occasional Aperol Spritz, the traditional Italian aperitif, or happy hour, cocktail. The drink is usually a combination of sparkling wine, such as prosecco, with a splash of the liquor Aperol, club soda, and garnished with an orange. These were all great options to combat the intense late July heat (glasses of ice water also occasionally made an appearance).

Post-vacation, wonderfully chilled red Beaujolais wines have made their way into my rotation, such as those from Les Vins Georges Duboeuf. For our third installment of “What Are We Drinking?” a few of our staffers offer some drink suggestions to end your summer with a boozy bang.

Kirsten Lesak-Greenberg, Senior Account Executive and Whiskey Enthusiast

These days, I’m sticking to my old standby, a Jack and Coke, which isn’t too sweet and I can get anywhere. My dad has always

The Booze Bin

Top Celebrity-Endorsed Booze Brands

I’m a sucker for juicy celebrity gossip. I also happen to love booze. So when my favorite celebrities develop their own beverage alcohol brands, I get particularly excited. From Drew Barrymore’s wine estate to Pharell’s “Qream with a Q” cream liqueur, the world of celebrity booze endorsements run the gamut from the serious to the hilarious. Let’s take a look at some of our favorites through the years:

cirocOne of the most well-known celebrity-endorsed booze brands is Ciroc Vodka, which comes from a 50/50 partnership between rapper/entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs and beverage industry giant Diageo. Though most people have heard of it and many people have tasted it, Combs explains that his celebrity has not always helped to contribute to the growth of the brand: “With Ciroc, people may have thought that was for African-Americans. People wanted to put it in a box. So…I had to work harder to overcome those perceptions and create a wonderful product regardless of my color, regardless of my celebrity. The reality is I have to work harder than other brands to do that.” Favored for their fun flavors, Ciroc has recently released their fifth

The Booze Bin

Breathe Responsibly: The Future of Booze

These days you can get buzzed from alcohol without ever having a sip of booze. In a time-crunched world, who has time to drink cocktails?

Although alcohol vaping and powdered alcohol are still fairly new concepts in the liquor industry, soon the cloud won’t only be for backing up your photos. Across the pond, there’s a new walk-in cloud bar called Alcoholic Architecture, where visitors absorb booze into the bloodstream through their eyeballs and lungs.


Created by Bompas & Parr, an experimental food and beverage studio, Alcoholic Architecture opens July 31 in the Borough Market in London, where it will run for six months. This isn’t the first time this bar has treated Londoners with boozy vapor clouds. The company opened up the first pop-up bar back in 2009 with vaporized Hendricks gin and tonic.

The cloud bar is made using industrial humidifiers to change the spirits and mixers into a boozy mist. Inside, the bar’s humidity is set at 140 percent and visitors are required to wear a protective covering over their clothes. According to Bompas & Parr, the breathable cocktails are made with spirits like

Product Marketing

Ales & Asanas – Marketing To Men with Brewery Yoga

As marketers, we know that one size doesn’t fit all. When it comes to men, though, especially of the Millennial kind, it seems like nothing ever fits right. “Elusive creatures, they’re commonly thought of as cord cutters who can’t be – and don’t want to be – reached,” a recent Nielsen study stated. The Millennial male, said the study, has the unique combination of spending power and purchase influence, based on their power of persuasion over their Baby Boomer parents. No wonder marketers bend over backwards to reach this group.

Bending over is actually a smart way to reach Millennial men these days. I mean the yoga kind, where you shift from upward into downward dog. Breweries around the country have begun offering in-house yoga classes, and guys are flocking to the yoga mats. The Washington Post points out the “democratizing effect” of breweries that’s appealing to beer yogis, which is much less intimidating than real yoga studios with “chic, toned ladies” and “hushed, Zen-like spaces.” Beer and its house of worship, on the other hand, defy pretense and are “linked to laid-back leisure activities such as watching sports, grilling

The Booze Bin

3 Reasons to Enjoy Boozy Ice Cream (as if you need one)

huff post snow cone cocktail

It’s mid-July and sweltering, so no matter where you live, you are either reading this outside and trying not to sweat all over your screen, or at work, freezing in the excessive air conditioning (wishing you were outside, sweating on your digital device). This would explain a recent trend I’ve noticed everywhere – boozy frozen treats.

If you’re looking for a new way to cool off at your next BBQ, or you just want to be everyone’s favorite house guest, here’s a tip. Bring some booze-infused ice cream. Your friends will be psyched for several reasons: (1) it’s delicious, (2) who doesn’t love boozy ice cream? and (3) it’s all the rage.

At the recent Fancy Food Show, many took note of the trend towards booze-infused specialty foods. One of my favorites is local ice cream cocktail brand Tipsy Scoop. We recently offered this to a group of uber-hip, 20-somes at a client event, and they literally went bananas. Maybe it’s the excitement of combining a childhood favorite with an adult favorite, or maybe booze makes everything better. Either way, I’m just saying their Dark Chocolate Whiskey…