Distilleries: You are a media company first.
I'm a big fan of the content Gary Vaynerchuk and his team produces. One of the blueprints he discussed that has stuck with me for the last three years is the concept of every business being a media company first.
So what does this really mean? And does it really apply to distilleries?
Short answers is yes, and YES! With lots of examples to showcase the above argument. Let's take a very recent and fresh acquisition of Aviation Gin. A great local brand that grew from Oregon into a national brand, in what it seems like an "overnight success".
And I can bet that founders Christian Krogstad and Ryan Magarian can give you the real deal and what all the sacrifices and work it took to get to today's success, but maybe that's a story for a podcast.
P.S. If Christian or Ryan ever read this, hit me up I would love to dive into the details :)
But looking at the success Aviation has when it was acquired by Ryan Reynolds, is the easy thing to look, yes he's a celebrity, yes he's the Deadpool guy, and yes he's a funny dude.
But whats more important is the effort and marketing that goes daily into producing content for the brand, as you would be surprised even with all that influence how many Americans still don't recognize Aviation Gin. But Aviation understands that they are not only a distillery, they are a media company first.
Marketing is hard, being yourself is easy
OK, Ilias so what does Ryan Reynolds has to do with my small craft distillery that is located in an ex-auto body shop behind a run down mall?
For starters, don't think Marketing as a thing you have to learn how to do.
You are already doing it, you just got use a few different tools.
Tools like Instagram and Facebook, podcasts and YouTube, blogs or even music playlists.
You already produce content that you might not be aware or otherwise forget to publish because you most likely get caught in the mist of running a business, and thats OK.
But like any habit, if you make a mental note to record that fermentation and explain why you chose that grain or fruit, or even talk about a new account or breakthrough in your distillery, or better yet educate the consumer or other distilleries about your process, yeast, distillation techniques, bottle cleaning, and the list goes on and on.
Great marketing leaves clues, look for them, study them and implement right away, even if its at a small scale.
My personal mental hack is to think marketing as education, I love to teach people how I'm doing things at the distillery so I always try to tell a story about how I use a particular piece of equipment or why I choose the yeast for this specific product.
So my ask is for you to think of your distillery as a media company not only for the sake of producing content for the likes or shares but also as an educational tool that you can capitalize for consumers and industry members.