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

    The Booze Bin

    Musings from a PR Booze Mom

    I love what I do. I count myself lucky to have found my calling in an industry I adore. I began my experience in booze PR as a singleton, going out, friending mixologists and sommeliers, living it up. Even when I got married, I hit the nightlife, got major media hits for clients, traveled the world and threw some amazing events. Then I had a baby.

    Whatever industry you’re in, women who choose to have a career and children are forced to live a double life – they can’t have it all.  We know this; we’ve read this; some, I’m sure, are sick of hearing this. I, for one, am not. Women who split their lives 50/50 soon find themselves dedicating more time to one world over the other, and something has to suffer. I’ve experienced it first-hand.

    women have it all

    Honestly, I can go off about maternity leave in the U.S., equal pay (thank you Patricia Arquette) or just overall how the country treats mothers (and single parents of any gender). But this is specifically about the booze world.

    In booze PR, keeping up with the constant…

    The Booze Bin

    Sake to Me

    280178953_96d0eacdb8_zSimilar to the craft beer trend, sake has become a growing niche market where consumers – specifically millennials are looking for sakes that are high-quality. According to Impact Databank, sake consumption in the United States increased to 3.9 percent to 2.2 million cases in 2013.

    Sake growth is also branching outside of traditional Japanese food like sushi and ramen restaurants, and so are pricier variations. In restaurants across the country sakes easily go upwards to $210 for a 720-ml bottle.

    If you’ve only tried sake bombs (a beer cocktail where you drop hot sake into a glass of beer) then I challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and give sake a try. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Kurosawa Kim15118924673_1ee2a9f914_zoto Junmai: This full-bodied sake can be served chilled or warmed. It’s floral and fruity aroma mixes apple cobbler, green apple and dried honey.
  • Hakkaisan Tokubestu Junmai: Looking for a sake that is clean, dry and pristine? Then look no further. Fine local water is a key ingredient in this sake, which comes from melted snow and filtered water at Mount Hakkai.
  • Shirakawago
  • Media Relations

    The Secret behind Craft Beer’s Media Success

    When it comes to media darlings, reporters tend to give David (craft beer) more ink than Goliath (Anheuser Busch and the likes). There are many possible explanations for this phenomenon, ranging from “craft beer is more authentic” to “everyone loves the underdog.” Here is my theory: the media loves geeky stories, and craft beer brands happen to have more of them.

    Wastewater Beer

    NPR just announced on its culinary blog “The Salt” that The Oregon Brew Crew and Clean Water Services in Oregon seek approval to collaborate on making the first beer with treated wastewater (yes, you read correctly). The network of home brewers would make small batches of beer to be served at events, not (yet) at a brewery.

    Takeaway for the Big Boys: My educated guess is that a larger brand has more R&D budget than a bunch of home brewers, some even more than a state agency. Think like a start-up when it’s time to decide what research project to fund next. An innovative study will always have a home in a consumer outlet with a passion for science and

    The Booze Bin

    3 lessons learned from a PR wine newbie

    wineAs a virtual stranger to wine PR (but definitely not to wine), getting tossed into the ring was a teensy bit stressful, to say the least. But hey, I don’t mind conducting my research at the liquor store. Definitely beats a library.

    After spending 2014 knee-deep in the industry, I’ve taken away a few glassfuls (get it?) of knowledge to fortify myself for the year to come. While there’s definitely a great deal of knowledge I have yet to gain, here are the top three things I learned:

    1) Making sure a wine brand’s voice is heard in a saturated wine media landscape is a bit tricky. Well, that’s an understatement. Let’s just say it’s tear-inducing.

    Though there are hundreds of wine blogs, columns, magazines, etc., when everyone in the industry is vying for a mention, things get competitive. Though it’s difficult, it’s important to identify the aspects of a wine brand’s identity that make it niche enough to stand out to media, but appealing enough to consumers.

    2) Events are huge in the wine PR industry. Walk-around tastings, wine seminars, press lunches with winemakers… The thing is, there are usually three million of…