Highlights from Day 2 of USATT 2017

After an exciting first day at the USATT 2017 conference that featured nearly 1,500 attendees, 138 exhibitors and the first-ever public U.S. tasting of wines from Chateau Rongzi in China, the second day continued with two new Master Classes, two VIP expert panels and a number of different speaker presentations focusing on how emerging brands can enter the U.S. wine and spirits market.

The second day kicked off with an interactive audience Q&A that focused on the specific problems and needs of foreign wine and spirits brands attempting to enter the U.S. market. The panel, moderated by Steve Raye of Bevology, featured Martin Sinkoff of Frederick Wildman, Michael Votto of Votto Vines, Michael Yurch of Blue Sky Group and Rob Bradshaw of Cape Classics. This group of experienced wine industry veterans shared their perspectives of what importers and distributors are really looking for when selecting a new brand for their portfolio.

As the panelists explained at the outset, importers and distributors get lots of cold calls, so you need to be interesting and stand out. As Rob Bradshaw pointed out, unique stories can instantly connect you with importers and distributors, so you need to make some kind of emotional bond with a buyer. Always have your story ready when talking with importers and distributors. Michael Votto emphasized that you always need to know what your specific category looks like in the U.S market and what your competitors are doing. And Martin Sinkoff suggested that you need to understand where your product fits within an importer’s portfolio.

Along the way, the panel’s participants fielded questions on everything from how global warming and climate change are impacting the wine industry to a discussion of new, non-traditional routes to navigate a very complex U.S. market. Michael Yurch noted that the bigger the distributor’s portfolio, the harder you have to work to become an important part of that portfolio. You need to be your own advocate. The difficulty, says Martin Sinkoff, is that, “The wine business is not one thing. It’s a very complex organism. Each retailer is looking for something different.” So you have to be constantly innovating.

The morning session also featured a Master Class on Portuguese wines, focusing on the wines of the Tejo region. Participants learned about Portugal’s winegrowing tradition and how the wines of the Tejo region are distinct. They also had a unique chance to sample some of the best wines from the region.

As on Day 1, the United States Trade Tasting 2017 event also featured a busy day on the showroom floor. Over 130 exhibitors from 20 countries showcased their products. Alongside wines from traditional wine producing countries like France and Italy were new wines from Eastern Europe (including Slovenia and Moldova), South Africa and China.

USATT 2017

In the afternoon session of the conference, participants had a chance to hear from Thomas Barfoed, Managing Director of JF Hillebrand USA, who discussed the “7 Ways That Brands Can Optimize Their Domestic and International Logistics.” For example, he discussed how small and mid-size brands can optimize their shipments to the U.S., what logistical factors might impact margins and pricing, and how different modes of transportation can impact your go-to-market strategy.

Gerry Schweitzer, the legendary marketing genius behind Leblon Cachaca, made a special appearance in the afternoon. He illustrated the right way to go about pitching a distributor, focusing on how to tell a convincing brand story. Your brand story, he says, has to be compelling, personal and easy to remember. It has to explain why your brand is unique and how to build your brand.

In some cases, as in the example of Leblon, you can own not just a category, but also the entire drink (as in the example of cachaca and the Brazilian caipirinha). Schweitzer provided plenty of relevant marketing examples from Leblon, including many tactics that today’s marketers might refer to as “guerilla marketing” (e.g. re-painting a DHL delivery truck as a hip and trendy cachaca delivery truck).

Richard Halstead, Chief Operating Officer of Wine Intelligence, then gave a talk on, “How to Win Retailers and Influence Them With Effective Merchandising and Programming.” He was joined on stage by Stephen Fahy of Wine Library, who was also a special guest during Day 1 of the event. The two talked about the best strategies and tactics for getting specialist retail stores to carry your specific product.

When thinking about specialist wine retailers that might carry your product, they suggested, it’s important to think in terms of two very different types of consumers – the consumers who are very brand-driven and the ones who are very “involved” and care a lot about how a specific product fits into their lifestyle. In general, these more involved consumers are younger, and they are starting to account for a larger and larger percentage of retail wine consumers.

Then, a press panel on “The Do’s and Don’ts For Getting Press Coverage For Your Brand in the USA” featured moderator Steve Raye of Bevology; Gregg Glaser, Publisher/Editor of Modern Distillery Age; William Tish, Managing Editor of Beverage Media; and David Spencer, Publisher, and Editor of iSante. The panel covered both the big picture view of how to generate media buzz for your product, as well as some of the granular details of marketing, such as how to prepare a pitch e-mail for editors of both online and offline publications.

The afternoon session concluded with a Beaujolais Master Class, in which participants had a chance to re-discover the light red wines of the Beaujolais wine region in France. The Master Class covered the unique characteristics of each of the Beaujolais Crus.

And, of course, the day ended with more activity on the main showroom floor. Even in the last hours of the event, importers and distributors were mingling with the exhibitors, looking for the perfect new product for their portfolio.

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Highlights From USATT 2017

On May 16-17, the United States Trade Tasting (USATT) event brought together producers, importers, distributors and other industry professionals at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York. Producers learned more about how to enter the competitive U.S. marketplace, while importers and distributors got an early look at some of the innovative brands and products potentially coming to the U.S. market.

The event, which featured more than 2,000 participants and 138 exhibitors from more than 20 countries, focused on helping emerging brands stand out and differentiate themselves within their product category.

Learning to tell your brand story

As many of the speakers at USATT 2017 pointed out over the course of two days, being able to tell a unique and dynamic brand story is especially important when it comes to attracting new importers, distributors, and retailers. If you’re not telling a unique brand story, you’re making it harder for suppliers and wholesalers to sell your product.

Chris Mehringer, President of Park Street, emphasized that brand differentiation had to be at the core of any marketing strategy. One way to do that is by creating “badge value,” in which brand can serve as a badge for people to communicate who they are and what they want to be.

Jonathan Newman,  Chairman, and CEO of Newman Wine talked about the 10 biggest factors that can help brands get picked up by national chains and large retailers. For example, he mentioned the value of creating point-of-sale (POS) materials that help retailers sell wine, as well as the importance of making the label look right. At the end of the day, the attractive packaging really matters.

Stephen Fahy of the Wine Library emphasized that producers always have to be thinking like a marketer. Wine brands, he said, need to take an activist approach to getting noticed within the U.S. marketplace. That means infusing your brand with passion and enthusiasm. And it also means staying one step ahead of what customers want in the marketplace, “Look for new angles, new perspectives, and new opportunities. Always.”

New and innovative products on display

At this year’s USATT 2017, there were different tasting sessions to help participants explore wines from up-and-coming wine regions. For example, on Day 1 Chateau Rongzi held a public tasting of its highly acclaimed wines from the Loess Plateau of China. This marked the first-ever public tasting of its wines in the United States. And on Day 2, show participants had a chance to attend a master class on the wines of the Tejo region of Portugal.

In the Grand Tasting hall, attendees had a chance to see many of the themes and trends emphasized in the speaker presentations in action. Walking around the buzzing showroom floor, participants could see some of the innovative new products coming soon to the U.S. market – such as wines from Portugal and Eastern Europe (Slovenia, Romania, Croatia, Moldova). premium rum and mezcal drinks from Latin America, spirits with new flavor and taste profiles, and wines and spirits with innovative new packaging.  Some of the brand’s people were buzzing about at the event included Vodquila, Get Hot Tequila, Bira, and LIQS cocktail shots.

Getting educated about how to enter the U.S. market

What made this year’s event so distinctive was how carefully the conference content was tailored to the specific needs of the U.S. market. Day 2 of the event, for example, featured a dynamic Q&A hosted by Steven Raye, President of Bevology. Members of the audience had a chance to ask one-on-one questions about building a successful brand to members of an expert panel: Martin Sinkoff of Frederick Wildman, Rob Bradshaw of Cape Classics and Michael Yurch of Blue Sky Group.

Participants asked a wide-ranging number of questions, touching on everything from how global warming will impact the wine industry, to how the growing legalization of marijuana could impact the future trajectory of the alcoholic beverage industry.

USATT - 2017

Later on Day 2 of the event, there was also an interactive panel with three prominent journalists from the wine and spirits industry: William Tish (Beverage Media), Gregg Glaser (Modern Distillery Age) and David Spencer (iSante). Audience members asked specific questions about how to get press attention, and what types of stories can attract media coverage.

And throughout the two-day event, there were speaker presentations on every aspect of bringing a new wine or spirits brand to market. Thomas Barfoed of JF Hillebrand, for example, discussed the logistics of bringing a product to the U.S. market from overseas. Being able to optimize your supply chain can have a dramatic impact on your brand’s bottom line.  And Donna Hartman, an attorney with OlenderFeldman, discussed the important legal points to keep in mind when drafting distribution agreements.

Final takeaways

If anything, the pace of innovation within the wine and spirits industry is accelerating, and that’s placing even more of an emphasis on staying ahead of key trends in the market. It’s no longer just enough to have a quality product. That’s now a necessary, but not sufficient, condition. You also have to have a compelling brand story and a true understanding of where your product might fit within an import portfolio and how it should be priced.

The general consensus of the show’s attendees, based on first-hand conversations with many of the exhibitors, is that this year’s USATT 2017 far exceeded expectations. USATT 2017 showcased a range of dynamic new brands and brought together these brands with importers and distributors to think creatively about how best to bring them to market. Watch this space for follow-ups on success stories from these brands ahead of USATT 2018!

2018 Exhibitor Super Early Bird Registration Is Now Open. Secure Your Best Price Now And Grow In Us Market.

How to Win Retailers and Influence Them with Effective Merchandising and Programming

(Image: Richard Halstead)

Richard co-founded Wine Intelligence in 2002. He leads the company’s strategy practice and works closely with multinational clients on product development, branding and routes to market projects.

Richard’s early working life was spent in business journalism, including spells as a staff writer on the Independent on Sunday and the Mail on Sunday. After taking his MBA, Richard entered the world of wine when he was appointed the first Business Development Manager of Virgin Wines shortly after its launch.

Today Richard is in demand as a speaker, writer and lecturer. He is a regular on the international conference circuit, and writes a regular column for Australia’s Wine Business Monthly magazine. Recent teaching engagements include the Bordeaux Wine MBA programme, the OIV Masters programme, and the Masters in Wine Business at Trieste University. Richard is a Certified Member of the Market Research Society, and holds MBA with distinction from London Business School. He is a graduate of Brown University.

Time & Venue :

The Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City on May 16th at 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm.

Grab your USATT conference passes and learn more from Richard Halstead about How to win Retailers and Influence Them with Effective Merchandising and Programming.

USATT Conference is limited to 300 people only. Register today to confirm your seat and learn all about Sales, Marketing and Distribution. USATT Conference ticket includes your entry into the grand tasting area as well. We hope to see you in NYC. View Speakers | View Full Schedule | Register.

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.

2018 Exhibitor Super Early Bird Registration Is Now Open. Secure Your Best Price Now And Grow In Us Market.

Preparation to Pitching: How To Get and Grow With Your Distributor

Distributor

(Image: Adam Lambert)

Adam has spent the last 20 years learning from just about every angle of the beverage industry. Starting as a grocery store liquor clerk and growing to his current position as VP of Sales for New Holland Brewing, he is a Seller of Beer & Spirits and a Teller of Beer & Spirits.New Holland Brewing & Artisan Spirits-VP of Sales will take on the stage to coach you on sales and distribution.

Distributor

Prior to working for New Holland, Adam worked as VP of Sales at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and spent 6 years as National Sales and Marketing Manager for Rogue Ales. Lambert brings a wealth of sales and distribution experience that will provide suppliers distribution and selling strategies in how to grow your craft beverage brand by building a solid distributors network.

Time & Venue :

The Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City on May 16th at 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm.

Grab your USATT conference passes and learn more from Adam Lambert about Preparation to Pitching: How To Get and Grow With Your Distributor.

USATT Conference is limited to 300 people only. Register today to confirm your seat and learn all about Sales, Marketing and Distribution. USATT Conference ticket includes your entry into the grand tasting area as well. We hope to see you in NYC. View Speakers | View Full Schedule | Register.

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.

2018 Exhibitor Super Early Bird Registration Is Now Open. Secure Your Best Price Now And Grow In Us Market.

7 Ways That Brands Can Optimize Their Domestic and International Logistics

Logistics

(Image: Thomas Barfoed)

Thomas Barfoed is the Managing Director at JF Hillebrand USA, a company specialized in global logistics for wines, spirits and beer. In the 17 years he has been with the company, Thomas has held various leadership roles in key wine and spirits markets – starting first in his home country of Denmark, then Russia, Chile, Canada and now in the USA. He credits his time attending high school in Kansas City as part of the reason why the USA has always held a special interest for him; not only because of his experiences then, but also for the diverse market and business opportunities today.

Logistics

“Learning from different cultures and professional environments has always fascinated me and being able to foster development and expand business within those frameworks has become my personal motivation.” In his current role Thomas overseas all activities involving import, export, domestic transport and integrated beverage logistics in the USA. He is based out of the JF Hillebrand USA headquarters in New Jersey where he lives with his family.

Time & Venue :

The Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City on May 17th at 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm.

Grab your USATT conference passes and learn more from Thomas Barfoed about Which are the 7 Ways That Brands Can Optimize Their Domestic and International Logistics.

USATT Conference is limited to 300 people only. Register today to confirm your seat and learn all about Sales, Marketing and Distribution. USATT Conference ticket includes your entry into the grand tasting area as well. We hope to see you in NYC. View Speakers | View Full Schedule | Register.

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.

2018 Exhibitor Super Early Bird Registration Is Now Open. Secure Your Best Price Now And Grow In Us Market.

The New Brand / Craft Phenomenon: An Even Better Future

Brand

(Image: John Beaudette)

Since 1995, John Beaudette has been President and CEO of MHW, Ltd. (formerly named Monsieur Henri Wines, Ltd.). From 1985 to 1994, Mr. Beaudette worked with PepsiCo Inc. and its affiliate company Monsieur Henri Wines in the distribution of Stolichnaya Vodka and other wine and spirit brands. During this period, Mr. Beaudette held positions such as Director of Planning for PepsiCo Wines & Spirits Intl. and VP of Finance & CFO of Monsieur Henri Wines, Ltd. Prior to joining PepsiCo, Mr. Beaudette was Manager of Accounting for Somerset Importers, Ltd., US importers of Tanqueray TM, Johnnie Walker TM, and other spirit brands.

Brand

He currently sits on the Board of Directors of The National Association of Beverage Importers Inc. (NABI) in Washington D.C., serving as Chairman and a member of its Executive Committee. In addition to being a well recognized industry leader, John Beaudette is an international public speaker who has traveled the world, educating suppliers and government agencies about Brand Entry in the US & Navigating the Three Tier system.

Time & Venue :

The Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City on May 16th at 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm.

Grab your USATT conference passes and learn more from John Beaudette about The New Brand / Craft Phenomenon: An Even Better Future.

USATT Conference is limited to 300 people only. Register today to confirm your seat and learn all about Sales, Marketing and Distribution. USATT Conference ticket includes your entry into the grand tasting area as well. We hope to see you in NYC. View Speakers | View Full Schedule | Register.

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.

2018 Exhibitor Super Early Bird Registration Is Now Open. Secure Your Best Price Now And Grow In Us Market.