Today I will discuss a topic I discussed in today's episode 011 of the MAFFEO DRINKS.
I'm a big fan of the mantra that one case in one bar is better than six bottles in six bars. During my podcast episode, I always bring it up to polarize the conversation and stress the importance of farming while hunting.
We focused on increasing sales in the first 10 bars you sold a bottle and increasing sales there. When you start seeing traction at a particular bar, it depends on how well the product has performed initially; if there's rapport and understanding between the brand owners and the bar staff, the brand owners will try to offer them at least one case to drive delivery efficiencies. However, suppose they're skeptical or want to see results before committing further. In that case, they try offering something extra with our product, such as creating session-able cocktail menus tailored specifically for their customers.
1. Sample the product in the bar.
Focusing on independent outlets is critical initially, as chains specifically buy only the brand that the headquarter is pushing top-down. What often happens is that the bar staff is into your brand, but they need some evidence to show to their bar manager or owner. To drive awareness among potential customers while overcoming skepticism from bar managers/owners who might hesitate to stock new products, they sometimes provide free samples (with conditions) and design special promotions/events giving them reasons beyond just the free bottle to consider selling our spirits.
2. Giving Cocktail names that people can relate to
An approach that we discussed We use marketing techniques around attracting desired outcomes based on my background in communications and marketing; renaming cocktails after relatable identities helps customers associate themselves with specific drinks without explaining what session-able spirits are.
3. Segment Cocktails on the menu by stating their approximate ABV
People don't usually think in ABV (alcohol by volume) terms, but they have a rough idea of the alcohol intake they plan for the night. They don't realize that a highball cocktail with a lower ABV base alcohol could be lower in ABV than a strong beer. By explaining it, a lower ABV brand could tap into a pool of IPA beer drinkers, expanding their category massively, especially in pubs.
4. Track when bars change cocktail menus and create a pipeline
Finally, as for getting onto cocktail menus and demonstrating value, Timing is crucial when approaching bars during their menu launch planning stages. If you miss that window, it could be a year before another opportunity arises. Establishing a system to track these launches can help build momentum over time in securing spots on upcoming menus.
I often advise people to adopt an off-trade mindset when dealing with on-trade establishments, which can help maximize success. If you miss out on one year, learn from your mistakes and prepare for the next.
By correctly lining up your efforts, you can create a snowball effect in gaining more listings. From my experience, being featured on a cocktail list usually drives more sales than not being listed. However, it depends on where and what type of establishment you're visiting.