Ever wondered what’s the real secret behind some of the coolest drink brands? In Episode 027 of The MAFFEO DRINKS Podcast, I had the honor of interviewing Steven Grasse, the Founder of the agency Quaker City Mercantile from Philadelphia (USA) and the creator of brands such as Hendrick's Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, and many others. You can listen to it here below, and I tried to summarize the most critical aspects we discussed with real brand examples.
The ‘Big Bang’ of Branding.
Building a brand doesn't commence with a product or the brand name. It's a comprehensive process. Like the Big Bang, everything converges at once, resulting in a singular idea that eventually crafts a world around itself.
A balance of brand and liquid.
"What's your brand really about?" Let's take Sailor Jerry Rum. It was like the "punk rock Captain Morgan." It came at a higher proof (ABV) for just a dollar more. More value, more attitude, and certainly not run-of-the-mill. That's it. Simple, right?
Start from a simple story.
Hendrick's Gin It started off simple, but they kept adding bits to their story over the years, making it richer without confusing the original drinkers. They added layers but kept the base the same. The brand started as the "unusual gin, not for everyone," showcasing the liquid and taste profile as a first touchpoint supported by great packaging. After more than 20 years, the bottle has not changed.
Evolving the brand as it scales.
Adapting a brand to current contexts without losing its inherent essence is an art. Take the tale of Hendrick's Gin. Its extensions, like Lunar and Flora Adora, were introduced without disrupting the brand’s core, ensuring that each new variant harmonized with its unique narrative, without jumping on trendy liquids of the moment.