The New Brand Craft Phenomenon: An Even Better Future

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During his presentation at USATT 2017 (“The New Brand / Craft Phenomenon”), John Beaudette, President and CEO of MHW, Ltd., emphasized that “The perfect beverage alcohol storm is here.” And that growth is happening around the world, not just in the United States. There has been exploding growth in brands produced in the U.S. and around the world… Anyone connected to this industry in any capacity has a great opportunity to succeed.

About 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.

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.

About USA Trade Tasting:

USATT is an annual show for retailers, sommeliers, bartenders, importers and distributors to network, learn and find new opportunities to grow.

Every year, the USATT Show brings together small and medium-sized importers, distributors, retailers and press professionals of the US wine, spirits and beer industry in New York City for 2 days of learning, buying and selling, networking and fun — all designed to help participants grow their bottom line. Visitor trade registrations are now open.

About the Event Organizer: 
Beverage Trade Network (BTN) is a leading online marketing and B2B networking platform servicing suppliers, buyers and beverage professionals in the global beverage industry. BTN provides a selection of sourcing solutions for importers and distributors as well as an extensive range of marketing and distribution services for international suppliers. BTN also runs a line-up of b2b trade shows around the world. For more information about BTN, please visit www.beveragetradenetwork.com 

Exhibitor Super Early Bird Registrations for USATT 2018 are Now Open. Secure Your Best Price Now And Grow In Us Market.

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.

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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.

Highlights from Day 1 of USATT 2017

Representatives from across the wine industry met in New York City on May 16 for the second annual United States Trade Tasting Show

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The second annual United States Trade Tasting (USATT) conference kicked off on May 16 with more than 2,000 attendees and 138 exhibitors from more than 20 countries. As Steven Raye, President of Bevology, pointed out in the opening keynote, this year’s event is designed to give emerging wine and spirits brands a smarter way to enter the U.S. market by connecting them with importers and distributors and sharing best practices from across the industry.

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Brandy Rand, Vice President of IWSR (USA), led off the morning session with a review of some of the key trends in the marketplace today. Two of the hottest trends are “Premiumization” and “Category Blur” (the creation of new hybrid drinks as well as consumers who consume alcoholic beverages across categories). U.S. spirits are now an “affordable luxury” and IWSR is seeing tremendous growth in the premium and ultra-premium categories.

In order to stand out in the U.S. marketplace, Rand noted, some brands are adopting alternative packaging (such as wine in cans and boxes) and adopting marketing messaging that emphasizes their “artisanal” and “craft” origins. Among consumers, one new trend is a changing flavor profile that emphasizes “spicy/smoky/savory” rather than just “sweet,” which had been the previous trend. There has also been what IWSR refers to as the “Hispanic phenomenon,” which means greater popularity for categories like tequila, mezcal, and imported Mexican beers.

Some of these trends visitors were able to see directly on the USATT 2017 showroom floor, which opened at 11:00. For example, Vodquila is a new hybrid vodka and tequila drink created for tequila drinkers who want a smoother sipping experience. For many visitors, the highlight of the Grand Tasting in the first floor main hall was the ability to sample wines and spirits from all over the world, including products from up-and-coming wine regions like Lebanon, South Africa and China.

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In the morning session, Chris Mehringer, President of Park Street, talked about the basics of building a long-term, sustainable business model for the U.S. market. As he pointed out, it’s important to have a realistic plan and sufficient resources before meeting up with distributors. Any go-to-market strategy needs to be market-driven, coherent, balanced and flexible. As part of this strategy, brands need to keep in mind how they can differentiate themselves in the marketplace and how they can create economies of scale.

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Josh Wand, Founder of BevForce, explained how importers and distributors can build a strong sales force for the U.S. market. As Wand explained, it’s all about hiring the best team possible. Start off by hiring for passion and expertise and then establish challenging goals for this sales staff. He also outlined two of the keys to employee retention: offering fair market value compensation and building a healthy, positive sales culture. Attracting and retaining talent, he noted, is the key to the long-term success of your business.

In the afternoon session, Donna Hartman, attorney at OlenderFeldman LLP, covered the key points of wine distribution agreements, walking participants through the differences between drafting distribution agreements for franchise and non-franchise states. She also noted some of the important legal points to keep in mind as brands expand in the U.S. marketplace and build relationships with distributors.

Jonathan Newman, Chairman and CEO of Newman Wine, talked about the Top 10 ways for brands to get noticed and picked up by national chains and retailers. Getting positive press in the major industry publications still matters, as does holding regular tastings to build customer awareness. He also mentioned the important things that brands can do to make their products stand out on the shelves of retailers, such as creating the right types of labels and using the right kinds of point-of-sale (POS) materials that help retailers sell their wine.

Stephen Fahy, Sales Director and Senior Buyer at the Wine Library, talked about ways for wine and liquor stores to turn into “lean, mean selling machines.” He boiled it down to a few key points. One important point is data, which he said now “drives the engine.” You absolutely have to have the data to know who are your best customers, in terms of how often they buy, how much they buy, and how willing they are experiment with new categories. Another key is being bold and standing out – you need to be fearless about being passionate, enthusiastic and even flamboyant. You need to be an “activist” – if you stay quiet, you will be forgotten.

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Finally, the day wrapped up with a Master Class on Chinese wines led by Chateau Rongzi. Participants were given a brief history of Chinese wines and an overview of how the wines are made at Chateau Rongzi before sampling a number of different wines – the first public tasting of these wines in the United States market.

Outside of the conference sessions, there was a palpable buzz on the floor throughout the day, and there’s more planned for Day 2 of the event. Things kick off at 9:00 with a special Office Hours session moderated by Steven Raye of Bevology, featuring a number of prominent importers and distributors.

There are also two afternoon Master Classes planned, featuring the wines of Tejo (Portugal) and Beaujolais (France). In addition, participants will hear from Thomas Barfoed, Managing Director of JF Hillebrand USA; Adam Lambert, Seller of Beer & Spirits; and Richard Halstead, COO of Wine Intelligence.

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And, of course, the Grand Tasting hall will be open again on the first floor, giving everyone a chance to meet and mingle with importers and distributors as well as experiment with wines and spirits from across the world.

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

China Masterclass: Learn all about Wine Regions and Varietals of China at USATT

China Masterclass: May 16th, 4pm to 5pm

Learn all about China Wine Regions and Varietals. The attendees of the USA Trade Tasting Show will have a unique opportunity to be one of the very first people in the United States to sample the elegant wines of Chateau Rongzi. The wines are made by the Iconic Winemaker Jean Claude Berrouet of Petrus fame.

Jean Claude Berrouet is known for being a “classicist” winemaker and making wines that are balanced and represent their origins. With his partnership with the Chateau Rongzi team that has truly been accomplished. These wines are balanced; pairs very well with a wide range of cuisines and simply delicious!

Here is more information about Wine Regions and Varietals in China.

 

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.

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

 

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.

 

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

Taste Sash & Fritz: A German Vodka with Russian Soul at USATT

Sash & FritzSash & Fritzthat’s German vodka combining Russian tradition with German precision and perfection. Only the best, carefully selected ingredients, such as 100 percent German wheat and clear spring water from the Ore Mountains, are processed into top-quality vodka in a carefully thought out manufacturing process. The result: manufactory vodka at the highest level, with recognizable aromas of grain and yellow fruits, as well as a very subtle yet easily perceptible sweetness. No unnecessary processes or additions – and definitely not absolutely neutral.

Sash & Fritz combines the best German wheat with pure, fresh spring water. This is manufactory vodka at the highest level, which stands out from conventional vodka thanks to its recognizable aromas of grain and yellow fruits and a very subtle yet easily perceptible sweetness.

 

Sash & Fritz

Sash & Fritz vodka not only tastes good, it also looks good. This is because we attach great importance to the purity of the raw materials and manufacturing perfection of the packaging, just as he does for the vodka. Fritz comes in sophisticated bottles made of high-quality special flint glass, exclusively designed for the company. The material is known for its exceptional quality, clarity, and consistency because it is especially transparent and translucent.

The quality of the vodka is characterized by perfection and precision in the production: 5-fold careful distillation and 5-fold gentle filtering guarantee the pure, unique taste of Sash & Fritz. Recognizable flavors of cereals and yellow fruits and a very discreet, easily perceptible sweetness, Sash & Fritz distinguish from conventional vodka. 

They recommend Sash & Fritz be chilled, but not ice-cold. This is the only way to experience the unadulterated taste: clear and soft, warm and cool at the same time, with a fine silky finish.

Meet and explore this fine German Vodka at USA Trade Tasting in NYC. USA Trade Tasting (USATT) is an annual trade only event in New York city helping producers connect with wine, beer, spirits importers, distributors, retailers and press of USA. Meet Importers, State Distributors, Retailers and Press of USA in New York City.

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.

 

Every year, the USATT Show brings together small and medium sized importers, distributors, retailers and press professionals of the US wine, spirits and beer industry in New York City for 2 days of learning, buying and selling, networking and fun — all designed to help participants grow their bottom line. Get Your Visitor Trade Pass Now. 

USATT Visitor Registration is Now Open.