brand and bottle

Booze News: Sea Beer, Space Whisky and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 26, 2014 07:02 PM

• Samuel Taylor Coleridge may have looked at the ocean and seen “water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink,” but at least one brewer saw it a little differently. A new beer, Er Boqueron, is made from “exhaustively” filtering water from the Mediterranean Sea, according to The Drinks Business blog. The beer’s label has won a design award in Spain and the drink itself took home two gold stars at the annual Superior Taste Awards, which is overseen by 120 chefs and sommeliers.

• Scottish whisky distiller Ardbeg just released its latest batch of single-malt Supernova. To celebrate, though, it did something it had never done before: unloaded whisky that had been floating around the Earth 15 times a day for the last three years on the International Space Station. It isn’t known if the space whisky experiment has been a success scientifically but it certainly is paying off on the PR front.

• America may soon have its first known crowdfunded beer. New laws in Wisconsin have allowed MobCraft Beer in Madison to go over cash to help fund the brewing of its beers.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Bud Light's Whatever is a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Brand Campaign

Posted by Abe Sauer on September 12, 2014 05:46 PM

As if sent by Snapchat, the new light beer campaigns accompanying a new football season are too often self-erasing. Remember Bud Light's campaign "theme" last football season? Miller Lite's? Coors'? We didn't think so.

Aside from occasional great Super Bowl ads and Bud's "Wassssssup?" home run, mainstream beer advertising is insipid, loud, fast, still often shockingly chauvinistic, overly complicated and, worst of all, brand interchangeable. Is it any wonder sales of craft and imported beer brands, which offer substance and character, have skyrocketed, especially among Millennials?

Now along comes Bud Light with "Whatever," perhaps the most appropriately named mainstream beer campaign ever. Luckily for Bud, its Whatever campaign is turning out to be somewhat memorable. Unluckily for Bud, it's because it's for the wrong reasons. And yes, Vanilla Ice—yes, that one—is involved. Continue reading...

brand and bottle

New Booze in Old Bottles: Alcohol Goes Retro for Eternal Cool Factor

Posted by Taylor Goddu on May 20, 2014 01:23 PM

A psychological phenomenon regarded as “the mere-exposure effect” suggests that people tend to gravitate towards the familiar. Taking something old and making it new is trendy—even fashionable—in this eco-friendly world of ours. Established brands are returning to their roots, mining their archives by reintroducing iconic products with a modern twist. 

Even new booze brands are harkening back to the good old days, whether in name, design, or messaging. This strategy makes the new feel more familiar—and desirable. With a consistent focus on artisanal qualities, newer brands are standing out by deploying vintage typography, line-base logos, bright colors, and more simplistic packaging techniques.

With a business model that would be at home in Portlandia, The Mason Shaker is tipping one back. Founded in 2012 by best friends with southern roots, this Brooklyn-based brand developed a 4-piece cocktail shaker set featuring the iconic Americana jam jar. This update on a product that was patented in 1858 feels refreshingly simple for sudsy occasions.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

$16 Billion Beam Inc. Acquisition Will See Greater Distribution of Whiskey Brands

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 13, 2014 05:22 PM

Liquor giants Diageo and Pernod Ricard can start looking over their shoulders. Japan’s Suntory Holdings, which produces some of Japan’s oldest whiskeys, has just agreed to pay $16 billion for Beam Inc., the American producer of Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Sauza, and Gilbey’s, Ad Age reports. The deal makes Suntory the third-largest liquor company in the world. 

As a result of the deal, Suntory, which also bottles Pepsi in Japan and owns the Orangina brand, will have greater distribution in the US and Beam, whose portfolio includes the lucrative Skinnygirl line, will have much stronger exposure in the Asian marketplace. That’s a pretty good deal for Suntory, which currently sources 90 percent of its business from Japan. 

“Suntory has virtually no U.S. presence,” Mark Swartzberg, an analyst at Stifel Financial Corp., said in a research note today, according to Bloomberg. “This will take their share from less than 1 percent to 11 percent. Meanwhile, Beam stockholders will head to the bank with $83.50 for each share owned instead of the $66.97 share price that it last closed at." The two companies previously had a distribution deal in which Suntory distributed Beam products in Japan, and Beam distributed Suntory products in Singapore and greater Asia.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Heineken Pours Out Brand Initiatives As It Sets Bottle-Design Judging for Milan

Posted by Dale Buss on March 29, 2013 06:56 PM

Heineken marketing and design types are huddling these days to prepare for the final phase of this year's annual Your Future Bottle Design Challenge. A team of brand people and design experts are planning to select a single winning bottle design at Milan Design Week next month as Heineken uses the second consecutive year of the crowdsourcing initiative to mark the company's 140th year in the beer business.

The brand also is fielding new advertising videos under its two-year-old "Open Your World" campaign, unveiling a new multi-media advertising effort called "Get in the Game" around rugby's Heineken Cup tournament in Europe, looking for volume gains in central and eastern Europe by positioning Heineken as a "five-minute luxury," and enjoying a new designation as the winner of a "Digital IQ Index" for beer brands.

Heineken seems to be all over the place—all over the world, really—with these new branding efforts and mini-campaigns, which of course is the idea.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Miller Lite Brings Back 'All Star' Approach in New Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on March 8, 2013 06:11 PM

Miller Lite is turning to an old page in its playbook, with a new gang of celebrities designed to boost the flagging brew in a fresh slate of TV ads served up on another iconic platter for the franchise, "Miller Time." The new go-to guys for Miller Lite include Vince Vaughn, Ken Jeong, Chuck Liddell and Questlove.

But interestingly, Miller brand managers say that their new campaign will not seek to trade too heavily on the appeal or persona of any one of its new stable of celebrity pitch people. One ad wonders what it would be like to hang out with actor Jeong, who will star in the upcoming Hangover Part III—but he's self-deprecating in the spot.

"Celebrity is not our strategy," Con Williamson, chief creative officer at Saatchi & Saatchi, told Advertising Age. "Our strategy is solely focused on Miller Time." That, of course, will leave Miller strategically opposed to the growing number of tight tie-ups between beverage brands and individual celebrities, including Justin Timberlake and Bud Light Platinum, Taylor Swift and Diet Coke, and Beyonce and Pepsi.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Brangelina Joins Fergie, Drew And Other Stars Launching Celeb Booze Brands

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 18, 2013 07:02 PM

If there are two things that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt need it’s more money and more publicity. So the pair will release their first wine from their organic 1,000-acre French estate, Chateau Miraval, next month with their names on the bottle, Bloomberg News reports.

The rosé, formerly known as “Pink Floyd,” will be labeled as Miraval and feature Pitt and Jolie’s names on the back of the bottle along with Perrin, the family that Brangelina has partnered with to help create and distribute the wine. The trio will also distribute a white later this year and reds in 2014. “We are intimately involved and quite enthused over the wine project with our friends the Perrin family,” Pitt said via his publicist.

One thing that brought Perrin and Pitt-Jolie together was the fact that both vineyards grow their vines organically, something the Perrin family has been doing since 1950. Now the Hollywood escapees are joining a long line of celebs who have extended their personal brands to alcohol brands.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Maker's Mark to Irate Fans: "You Spoke. We Listened. Here's (90) Proof"

Posted by Dale Buss on February 18, 2013 03:01 PM

Maker's Mark hopes it has managed to avoid a New Coke-style disaster by reversing its widely-scorned decision (which was revealed in a Bloomberg Businessweek article) to dilute its iconic bourbon with water. Just days after his initial decision to cut the proof of Maker's Mark from 90 to 84, CEO Bill Samuels Jr. realized the error of his ways, turned tail and just hoped that the brand hadn't sustained any permanent damage.

On Sunday, Feb. 17th, the company announced on Facebook that it had surrendered to the collective will of thousands of bourbon drinkers expressed over the last several days after Maker's Mark tried to extend tightening supplies of its flagship spirit by adding extra water that, it said, didn't affect the taste. Fans, however, rose up on social media and argued that the move diluted the brand, too.

"They've told us that they would rather deal with the occasional supply shortage than have us change their whiskey," Samuels Jr., son of the founder of Maker's Mark, told USA Today.

Effective Monday, supported with a new cover image on its Facebook page (with the tagline "You spoke. We listened. Here's proof"), every bottle coming out of the Loretto, Ky.-based brand owned by Beam Inc. is reverting to its historic 45-percent-alcohol content.Continue reading...

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