How to Pitch the Media About Your Wine Brand

Hear the answer to this question at 11:08 minutes

Getting a story about your wine brand published in a trade publication is about more than just having a great story. That was the consensus opinion of four wine industry experts – W.R. Tish of Beverage Media Group, David Ransom of The Tasting Panel and The SOMM Journal, Gregg Glaser of Modern Distillery Age, and Felicity Carter of Meininger’s Wine Business International who recently gathered for a media panel at the 2016 USA Trade Testing Conference.

As Tish points out, it’s important to have your media assets ready at any time. That means, for example, if you have a portfolio of 12 products, you also have a portfolio of high-resolution and low-resolution images of these products. It also helps, he says, to personalize your pitch to the specific publication. If you know what the publication is all about, and if you seem to know the role and position of your wine within a specific category, this is a real advantage. It’s even better, he says, if you can provide people at the winery to talk to, as well as an media-ready images.

Glaser agrees, pointing out that one easy step wine brands can take is to pay more attention to the press release they are sending out. At the very least, he says, invest in an in-house team or agency that can “write a professional press release.” This will ensure that your pitch is not immediately discarded.

But you have to do more than just come up with a great story – you also have to be able to bring some added value to the topic. As Ransom points out, you need to go far beyond just pitching with something like, “I’m a new winery trying to enter the U.S. market” or “My winery has been making wines for decades.” You need to show some new depth to the topic or genre, as well as something that’s new or novel.

Felicity Carter notes that it’s important to show that “you know how the world works.” That means being able to pull out a key trend, and show how you are a trend leader. If you can show evidence of being a brand that’s in sync with current events and trends, then people from a media publication will take time to understand how your brand is put together and why you are trying to enter the U.S. market.

Media

When all these pieces come together at the same time, says Ransom, you’d be surprised at how good the final product can be. He specifically notes the example of St. Francis Winery (in California’s Sonoma County), which worked with his magazine to produce a very content-rich piece that included sidebars about why restaurant owners loved St. Francis wines, and why the family history of the wine mattered so much.

Thus, if you’re reaching out to the media with a pitch, be sure to tailor it to the needs of the publication. That means personalizing it as best as possible, as well as customizing the pitch with enough details and depth to show why you are unique, novel and worthy of media coverage.

Event Producer: Beverage Trade Network

USA Trade Tasting is brought to you by Beverage Trade Network, the leading online platform dedicated to connecting the global beverage industry. Beverage Trade Network (BTN) successfully connects wineries, breweries, distilleries and brand owners with international importers, distributors, brokers and beverage industry professionals on a daily basis. Strong partnerships with international and US organizations have helped BTN establish USA Trade Tasting as a premiere sales and marketing event committed to connecting the beverage industry.

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Beer, Spirits, & Wine – Packaged Imports Grow

Beer, Spirits, & Wine – Packaged Imports Grow +5.3% By Value Over Last Twelve Months through November 2016, Packaged Exports Decline -2.3%

Packaged Imports

  • Total beverage alcohol imports (including bulk and packaged) grew +5.3% by value over the last twelve months and grew +4.9% by value over the last three months. 23.7% of all imported beverage alcohol by value came from Mexico over the last twelve months.

Total beverage alcohol imports

  • Total beverage alcohol exports (included bulk and packaged Imports) declined -2.7% by value over the last twelve months and declined -4% by value over the last three months. 21.1% of all exported beverage alcohol by value went to Canada over the last twelve months.

Each of the bw166 Import and Export Reports (for Beer, Spirits, and Wine) enable tracking Beverage Alcohol imports and exports on a monthly basis for volume, value in USD, and value in local currency for all major trading countries.

Beer:

  • Packaged Imports of beer grew +8.3% by volume and grew +9.4% by value over the last twelve months. Over the last three months imports grew +7.2% by volume and grew +6.1% by value. 63.6% of imported beer by value comes from Mexico.
  • Exported beer grew +2.5% by volume and grew +1.5% by value over the last twelve months. Over the last three months exports grew +5.6% by volume and grew +7.9% by value. 27.7% of exported beer by value goes to Mexico.

For more details regarding imported and exported beer across all countries, subscribe to the bw166 Beer – Imports and Exports report.

Spirits:

  • Packaged Imports of spirits for the last twelve months grew +5.4% by volume and grew +4.4% by value. Over the last three months volumes grew +3.8% and grew +2.2% by value.
  • Imported bulk spirits for the last twelve months grew +4.2% by volume and grew +5.3% by value. Over the last three months volumes grew +11.3% and grew +33.1% by value.
  • 31.4% of all imported packaged spirits by value arrived from France while 55.6% of all imported bulk spirits by value arrived from Mexico.
  • Exported packaged spirits for the last twelve months grew +1.9% by volume and declined -9.7% by value. Over the last three months volumes grew +2.9% and declined -14.1% by value.
  • Exported bulk spirits for the last twelve months grew +10.4% by volume and declined -2.5% by value. Over the last three months volumes grew +2.5% and declined -6.3% by value.
  • 11.9% of all exported packaged spirits by value is destined for United Kingdom while 24.7% of all exported bulk spirits by value is destined for Canada.

For more details regarding imported and exported spirits including detailed category breakdowns across all countries, subscribe to the bw166 Spirits – Imports and Exports report.

Wine:

  • Packaged Imports of wine for the last twelve months grew +3.2% by volume and grew +3.1% by value. Over the last three months volumes grew +2.4% and grew +4.1% by value.
  • Imported bulk wine for the last twelve months grew +2% by volume and grew +7.8% by value. Over the last three months volumes grew +11.4% and grew +31.1% by value.
  • 33.5% of all imported packaged wine by value arrived from Italy while 29.6% of all imported bulk wine by value arrived from New Zealand.
  • Exported packaged wine for the last twelve months declined -14.1% by volume and grew +2.5% by value. Over the last three months volumes declined -16.5% and grew +3.1% by value.
  • Exported bulk wine for the last twelve months declined -5.4% by volume and declined -8.2% by value. Over the last three months volumes declined -1.4% and declined -9% by value.
  • 29.9% of all exported packaged wine by value is destined for Canada while 29.6% of all exported bulk wine by value is destined for United Kingdom.

Source : BW166

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Event Producer: Beverage Trade Network

USA Trade Tasting is brought to you by Beverage Trade Network, the leading online platform dedicated to connecting the global beverage industry. Beverage Trade Network (BTN) successfully connects wineries, breweries, distilleries and brand owners with international importers, distributors, brokers and beverage industry professionals on a daily basis. Strong partnerships with international and US organizations have helped BTN establish USA Trade Tasting as a premiere sales and marketing event committed to connecting the beverage industry.

Wine Brands: The Art of the Perfect Media Pitch

When wine brands are reaching out to media outlets, they need to refine their pitches so that they are selling the right story at the right time. While there is no surefire, perfect pitch that is likely to win over every single media outlet, there are certain approaches that tend to do well, according to an all-star panel of media insiders who gathered at the 2016 USA Trade Testing Conference.

Knowing the audience of the media publication you are pitching is paramount. This automatically gives you insights into the types of stories that would be considered “newsworthy” by top editors. First and foremost, says Felicity Carter of Meininger’s Wine Business International, you have to keep in mind the “global significance” of the wine being sold if you want her to cover your wine’s story. That’s because the audience of her publication is very international, with readers all over the world.

It also helps to piggyback on top of current events and trends. As W.R Tish of Beverage Media Group points out, one great example of this was the recent 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. At the time, the big trend was around anything Brazilian, so it made sense to cover Brazilian wines. At any other time of the year, a pitch about Brazilian wines might have fallen flat, but not when the eyes of the world were on Rio.

For wine brands, it’s also helpful to understand the different publication cycles of both print and digital publications. A print publication, for example, will have to have all the layout and printing done a full month before publication, so you need to provide plenty of lead time if you want your story published. In some cases, says David Ransom of The Tasting Panel and The SOMM Journal, pieces will be assigned anywhere from 3 to 6 months before publication.

The publication cycle is shorter for digital publications. Gregg Glaser, editor of Modern Distillery Age, says that, for an e-newsletter going out on Friday morning, he can accept breaking news stories up until Thursday night. There’s always room, he says, to include a “breaking news” item that’s particularly relevant for readers.

Wine Brands: The Art of the Perfect Media Pitch

It’s also helpful to take a look ahead at stories that might be popular several months from now. For example, says Felicity Carter, any stories surrounding Donald Trump and the Trump Winery would be examples of story pitches you might have been able to anticipate months in advance.

The consensus appears to be that a successful pitch has to occur at the right place and the right time. It’s more than just avoiding a pitch about a heavy red Bordeaux in the middle of summer – it’s about understanding the types of stories that comprise a news cycle, and when stories are likely to be relevant to readers. Ultimately, media publications provide a service to readers, and so any media pitch has to take this into account.

Hear the answer to this question at 8:20 minutes

Event Producer: Beverage Trade Network

USA Trade Tasting is brought to you by Beverage Trade Network, the leading online platform dedicated to connecting the global beverage industry. Beverage Trade Network (BTN) successfully connects wineries, breweries, distilleries and brand owners with international importers, distributors, brokers and beverage industry professionals on a daily basis. Strong partnerships with international and US organizations have helped BTN establish USA Trade Tasting as a premiere sales and marketing event committed to connecting the beverage industry.

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Wine shipments into US reach 400 million cases for Calendar 2016. Beer, Wine, and Spirits all show growth.

For twelve months ending December, the bw166 Total Beverage Alcohol Overview shows total consumer spending on beverage alcohol at $233.5 billion, an increase of 4.2% and a slight deceleration from the 4.7% growth in 2015. The bw166 Total Beverage Alcohol Index, the standard in measuring overall consumption, stands at 119.98, a 1.28% increase over the prior twelve months.

Beer volumes entering the market were 209.3 Million Barrels, up 1.31% over twelve months but are down -1.06% over three months.  The growth is primarily driven by imports from Mexico.
Spirits volumes entering the market were 221.3 Million 9L Cases, up 1.92% over twelve months and up 1.80% over three months. This compares to growth of only .57% in 2015. Tequila has shown very strong growth throughout the year, up 7.37%.

Wine volumes (including Cider) entering the market were 423.2 Million 9L Cases, up 1.92% over twelve months.   Cider for the year is off -14.48%.  Wine excluding Cider reached 399.6 Million 9L cases, up 3.1%.  Sparkling Wines have been the the segment with the fastest growth, up 13.55%

Overall consumer goods sales for the last twelve months through December in relevant channels are as follows:

  • Supermarkets & Grocery Stores: +1.86%
  • Beer, Wine and Liquor Stores: +3.24%
  • Warehouse Clubs & Supercenters: +0.54%
  • Full Service Restaurants and Drinking Places: +6.17%.

For the year the CPI increase for Beverage Alcohol off premise is +0.84%,  The CPI increase for Beverage Alcohol on premise is +2.15%.

The bw166 Total Beverage Alcohol Overview Report tracks all tax paid shipments into the US market including domestic products, packaged imports and bulk imports.  The reports also track total consumer spending on beverage alcohol in both the on and off premise channels.

Source : BW166

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Event Producer: Beverage Trade Network

USA Trade Tasting is brought to you by Beverage Trade Network, the leading online platform dedicated to connecting the global beverage industry. Beverage Trade Network (BTN) successfully connects wineries, breweries, distilleries and brand owners with international importers, distributors, brokers and beverage industry professionals on a daily basis. Strong partnerships with international and US organizations have helped BTN establish USA Trade Tasting as a premiere sales and marketing event committed to connecting the beverage industry.

Why Distribution Is So Important in Telling Your Story to the Media

At the 2016 USA Trade Testing Conference, a panel of top media insiders from the wine and spirits industry discussed the role of distribution in helping to tell the story of a new or unknown wine brand. In many cases, they say, it’s a Catch-22 situation: it’s difficult to get broad distribution if you don’t have media attention, but you can’t get media attention if you don’t have distribution in place.

Why Distribution Is So Important in Telling Your Story to the Media

 

The consensus opinion is that distribution has to happen first, and then you can reach out to the media to help tell your story. As W.R. Tish of Beverage Media Group points out, if a brand wants to get its story out, it has to have some form of distribution in the marketplace. It just “doesn’t make sense” for a trade media publication to tell your story unless there’s some way to access to the wine within the U.S. marketplace.

In other words, if a media publication is going to take the time to learn about you and your brand, it’s going to want a way to introduce its readers to your products. David Ransom of The Tasting Panel and The SOMM Journal echoes this point, emphasizing that “you don’t have to be in all 50 states, but you do have to be in the major markets.” That means a presence in major markets like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle.

That’s especially true for wine brands reaching out to a national media publication. If you’re targeting a purely regional publication, then you may only need to have access to a few key distributors in your region or areas. However, if you’re telling your story to a national publication – or to an international publication, then it’s vital to have distribution in place.

As Felicity Carter of Meininger’s Wine Business International points out, if you are trying hard to get publicity, but don’t have any distribution, then it’s “a waste of money.” As she notes, it’s “absolutely critical” to have that distribution already set up, especially if you are trying to reach a very sophisticated international audience.

To a certain extent, you have to view this from the perspective of the publication’s readers. If they are reading about a compelling wine brand, the first thing they are going to do is find out how they can purchase it to taste for themselves. However, if they go to their favorite wine store or check out online stores, they are going to be frustrated if they can’t find it.

And that, ultimately, will reflect negatively on the publication that just featured your brand. As David Ransom points out, “They may need to re-think why they’re reading the magazine.”

Wanting to get your brand’s story out is a natural inclination, and one that’s shared by any up-and-coming brand. However, there’s a proper sequence of events that has to occur. And, in today’s media landscape, that means lining up distribution first, and then reaching out to top media outlets, rather than the other way around.

Event Producer: Beverage Trade Network

USA Trade Tasting is brought to you by Beverage Trade Network, the leading online platform dedicated to connecting the global beverage industry. Beverage Trade Network (BTN) successfully connects wineries, breweries, distilleries and brand owners with international importers, distributors, brokers and beverage industry professionals on a daily basis. Strong partnerships with international and US organizations have helped BTN establish USA Trade Tasting as a premiere sales and marketing event committed to connecting the beverage industry.

Hear the answer to this question at 6:50 minutes

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What’s On at the USATT 2017 Show

Featured

1. Grand Tasting: Meet more than 130 Exhibitors from 20+ countries who are looking to grow distribution in the US market. These brands are looking to connect with Importers, State Distributors and Retailers of USA.

USA Trade Tasting

2. USATT ShowDeals: We’re pleased to announce a new free program for USA Trade Tasting Buyers, called #ShowDeals. USATT Show Deals are the two-day only discounts for attendees of the show from the beverage industry. These are buying opportunities for distributors, importers, retailers and brokers to get real savings with specials and deals offered only at USATT 2017. These offers are limited to USA Trade Tasting attendees and can be redeemed on the trade show floor, 11:00am – 6:00pm on May 16 and May 17, 2017. ShowDeals will be live on USATT website from March 1.

3. Unique and Innovative Products: USA Trade Tasting will be promoting ‘Unique and Innovative Products’ (UIP) at the 2017 show from all over the world to US Buyers.

USA Trade Tasting

4. USATT Office Hours: In-depth advice and discussion on what are importers and distributors really looking for? (Panel + Q & A).

5. Business Conference: The USATT Conference is a 2 day event that brings together owners, managers, sales and marketing leaders in the wine, beer and spirits import, distribution and retail industry and helps them learn more about the business, network with other professionals from all areas of the country and exchange ideas and collaborate. The conference will have TED-Style talks where speakers will give you insight into what strategies and standards the industry’s top thinkers are using to shape the marketplace around you.

*Admission to trade & business visitors only. No person under the age of 21 will be admitted. All visitors must be properly attired & present business cards. More info at www.usatradetasting.com

Event Producer: Beverage Trade Network

USA Trade Tasting is brought to you by Beverage Trade Network, the leading online platform dedicated to connecting the global beverage industry. Beverage Trade Network (BTN) successfully connects wineries, breweries, distilleries and brand owners with international importers, distributors, brokers and beverage industry professionals on a daily basis. Strong partnerships with international and US organizations have helped BTN establish USA Trade Tasting as a premiere sales and marketing event committed to connecting the beverage industry.

USA Trade Tasting 2017 Buyers Registration Now Open RSVP NOW