The Booze Bin

Millennials, Redefining Luxury


Credit: Forbes

Hide the Cristal. Millennials are now the target for many brands, but in the luxury space, there’s a striking shift from their predecessors.

“Gone are aspirations to acquire the must-have brand-name purse and thousand-dollar bespoke suit. They don’t see money as a way to show off. They don’t flaunt it or need to impress others.”*

Instead they seek out enriching experiences – from trips to the Amazon to the ports of Croatia – to feature on their Instagram feed. It’s more about sharing the opportunity with friends than showing extravagance. Today’s social media gives them the platforms whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or the newest platform, Periscope.   Nothing is off limits and their creativity has no bounds. They realize it’s not what’s flashy on the outside, but what’s beneath the surface.

So what does this mean for marketers, especially those in the alcohol category? You have to be more than a pretty bottle. There needs to be substance and quality to what you’re selling. Here are some brands we think will be in the hands of these “millennial millionaires.”


The Booze Bin

Dear Blogger…#ILoveYou

pay-it-forwardIt was one of those weeks where you wake up staring at strange, fancy furniture and forget what city you’re in. Where you take the elevator downstairs and unconsciously sit at the same corner table each morning for good people watching and some sense of familiarity. One where you sleep just enough to maintain the ability to form full sentences, but not enough to completely shed that bleary, red-eyed look that will be forever captured in recap reports. And stay there for long enough to start calling this odd, yet cushy place “home” when you describe where you are headed in the evening.

Full disclosure, these weeks are decidedly harder when there are sweet munchkins waiting for you with hugs and cheers at your real home.

I spent the week with my incredible Wines from Rioja team organizing a series of events that make up Rioja Week in Chicago – from a ~2,000-person wine and tapas festival with endless opportunities to pair tasty wines with cured pork and beyond, to an intimate winemaker luncheon with the sweetest bodegas principals in the world, to endless media interviews in a speed dating…

The Booze Bin

The Rescue Guide to Event Planning

Two weeks ago, a coworker called to ask for my help. A mutual colleague had just put in her two weeks’ notice, less than one month before their wine client’s biggest event of the year.  As she had been the event manager, the team found themselves in a difficult position and now needed someone to pick up team coordination and ensure all deadlines were met.

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, tasked with jumping on a moving train to take over as the conductor midway, don’t panic. Here are five tips that helped me stay on track, and get everyone to their destination on time and happy:

1. Be honest: No shame in admitting that you don’t know something. Just don’t pretend you do! The first thing I did was call all vendors, explain the situation, and thank them in advance for helping me get up to speed.

2. Play it out: The easiest method to come up with the money questions is to play out the event in your head minute by minute. While you go through the imaginary run-of-show, write down

The Booze Bin

Wastewater: The Future of the Beer Industry

It takes four liters of water to make just one liter of beer. Since water is such a big part of the brewing process (it’s 90 percent of beer) brewers and other environmental services are looking at innovative ways to save water. Why is water so important to the brew process? Simply put, without clean water you can’t make a great-tasting beer.

On this Earth Day, let’s take a look at a new sustainable effort in the beer industry: Using recycled sewage water. According to the World Water Council, within 30 years recycled sewage will be a source of drinking water in cities around the world.

What’s your initial thought when you think of recycled sewage water? For most, I’m assuming Jimmy Fallon’s “Ew!” sketch comes to mind.


Last year, Clean Water Services, a water resources management utility in Oregon, challenged home brewers in the Portland-based Oregon Brew Crew, to a sustainable water brewing competition where brewers made their beer using 30 percent purified wastewater. Apparently the beer tastes just like beer.

The next step is for the Oregon Brew Crew to make a beer

The Booze Bin

My Learnings in Booze PR

I recently got to thinking about my twelve years in public relations – I came from publishing on the editorial side and, perhaps being the daughter of a journalist, this gave me a different perspective. I am by no means a vet of PR, but I’ve had my share of experiences and witnessed a thing or two. With that said, please bear with me as I rehash what I’ve learned in public relations for wine and spirits in the last decade. Perhaps something might rub off…11949896971812381266light_bulb_karl_bartel_01-svg-hi

Everyone SHOULD have an “aha” moment. I like to ask people this question to gauge their love of the industry – and I’m always happy to share mine: I was sitting in on a journalist interview with a terroirist, about a year into my career, when I tasted three different wines: one from Sonoma, Tuscany and St. Emilion. The three wines all had the same grapes, but different percentages and different terroirs. It was an eye-opening experience. How could three wines with the same grapes taste so vastly different? I was amazed at the endless tastes and possibilities and thought, “This is awesome!”

Only you

The Booze Bin

Taking Social Engagement to the Next Level

wine world








Not known as an industry at the forefront of the digital world, VinTank and its tireless leader Paul Mabray have continuously tried to usher the wine industry into the new world. Well, as of last week, they’re letting us know they are about to push a lot harder, and it should be awesome.

Already known for their next level social engagement with “the most powerful algorithms to understand what people say about wine and especially your brand,” VinTank announced last week that it was acquired by the W2O Group, an ecosystem of digital communications companies. This is particularly notable news given W2O has not previously been connected to the wine industry.

“As a result of this purchase, I think we can truly catalyze the industry into meaningful and healthy change in how they understand and relate to their customers,” Mabray told Forbes. He also wrote in the official announcement on the VinTank blog:

       “Not only is our software joining them but we’ll be working closely with their award winning analytics team to bring new and exciting insights to the wine industry. We

Digital Marketing

PR Pranks for April Fools’ Day

I’m not a big prankster, but I have been on the receiving end. Working in wine PR, I sometimes wish people were joking.  For example: When a shipment of a new wine vintage is stuck in customs and your media tasting is the next day, that’s got to be a joke, right? Sadly, it never is.

If you’re planning to prank your wine PR colleagues today, check out my list of office-appropriate lies below. All of them are too good to actually be true, but your coworker may believe you for a hot second.

  • Your new client has national distribution.” In wine PR, everyone and their mother wishes their products were available nationwide (as in every single state). In reality, the brand is probably only available in markets like New York, Chicago, and L.A. We all know that you can’t play the “available everywhere” card when pitching that client to truly national media outlets.
  • 2. “I heard your client needs help with an issue,” said on a weekday morning. Have you ever strolled into the office on a Wednesday after a good night’s sleep and your…

    PR Industry Trends

    In Defense of Publicists

    Recently I sat across from some restaurant “publicists” at a dinner and as I listened to them and fed them ideas for promoting their client, I was amazed (appalled?) at the lack of understanding. I asked myself, “Does anyone think they can write a release, get it out on PR Newswire and call themselves a publicist?” It suddenly occurred to me why my industry has such a lack of empathy from the world: People who don’t put in the effort expect a grand pay off. Is that a Millennial thing? Naivety? Or idiocy?Public relations concept in tag cloud

    Needless to say, I was annoyed, upset and a little shocked. When people ask what I do, I say public relations for alcohol. I’m sure many think I just drink all day and tinker around. OK, sometimes. But in all seriousness, I consider myself a fantastic publicist, and yes, I say PUBLICIST, and I’m not ashamed. And for those naysayers out there, it’s considered one of the hardest jobs in the U.S.

    Public relations is about perception. It’s all about how one perceives the topic of conversation and approaches the situation

    Digital Marketing

    Top 3 Social Media Conferences for Booze Communicators

    Just about every day, I receive emails from new social media and digital vendors and read articles about changes to various social channels that will affect my clients. On that note, I’d like to send a personal shout out to Facebook for their latest efforts in the endless quest to make my job harder.

    It is my job to keep up with all changes and new capabilities in social media channels, content curation, analytics, measurement and beyond. To do this job well, all social media managers need to attend top social conferences to stay on top of trends and technology, and take part in the meeting of minds and networking that inevitably occurs.

    social media conversation

    In researching those that best fulfill these needs, here are the top 3 social media and digital conferences for communications professionals working in the beverage alcohol arena:

    1. Social Media Week (Jun 8-12, 2015 in Los Angeles): Reaching beyond the booze world, social media week brings together thought leaders from various industries to discuss social movements and trends. They offer some of the most interesting speakers and topics, and the range of seminars is always


    How to Honor Independent Research

    All things being equal, media and consumers trust studies without corporate or branded backing most. Edelman’s 2015 Trust Barometer confirms that academic experts are twice as credible to consumers as CEOs.

    credibility of spokespeopleWe are quick to call out bias, which makes a new report published by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee last week so significant. An independent, government-backed advisory panel announced that drinking more coffee is good for you. It was the first time in 40 years the committee weighed in on coffee consumption and said that up to five cups of Joe a day are A-Okay.  Now, federal endorsement for drinking coffee seems imminent.

    If you work in the coffee business, I think you would agree: It doesn’t get much better than this.

    One important question remains: How do you leverage positive and independent health research? Everyone agrees independent research ranks highest in credibility. But since you don’t own it, you can’t customize the study to fit your communications needs. Or can you? I spoke to our in-house RD and Manager of Nutrition Communications, Joanne Tehrani to find out.

    Here are three