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“Many of America’s first whiskey brands were created by companies without a distillery,” explains Noah Rothbaum, author of The Art of American Whiskey. “What is known is the blend of whiskeys purchased, not the distilleries that produced them.” Not much has changed in this regard – today, companies large and small still buy whiskey of their own origin or blend products from various distilleries that often remain unknown on the label.
How To Start My Own Liquor Brand
However, the number of distilleries is almost always increasing. More than 70 dry plant licenses were issued by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in April 2018 alone. But, as Rothbaum points out, a spirit producer doesn’t need a stationary location or a physical location to launch a brand. “The brand is very much where the value is,” says Malte Barnekow, CEO of 86 Company, which makes Aylesbury Duck Vodka, Caña Brava Rum, Fords Gin and Cabeza Tequila brands.
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Starting a brand without a distillery can be very easy – and only managed with a few contracts – but there are several steps that must be taken before starting a new label, including sourcing and developing the product, obtaining federal and state approval. Licensing, implementation of a distribution model and supporting administrative functions in the back office.
“We looked at [some of] the best vodka, gin, rum and tequila distillers in the world,” says Barnekow, noting that he and his team had marketing knowledge but wanted to leave production to the professionals. In the agave world, this is probably more the rule than the exception. Very few tequila and mezcal companies have their own facilities, instead they hire a producer to create a branded spirit.
JAJA Tequila was recently launched by Elliot Tebele, founder of the FuckJerry Instagram account and meme platform Jerry Media, his brother Maurice and Martin Hoffstein. Maurice Tebele, president of JAJA Spirits, explains that the impetus to launch a brand like Barnekow’s was driven by his group’s marketing expertise. “We know how to market in today’s world,” he says, “but [we] definitely entered this industry with no prior knowledge of tequila production. Producing tequila is the easy part.”
The first step in creating a concept is deciding on a product spirit and a brand story. Antonia Fattizzi, head of Cork and Tin, a branding agency for the beverage industry, says it’s also important to understand the brand’s target audience and why the product is attractive to them. “Have a solid plan for where you intend to put the product and how it will be sold to customers,” he says, so it doesn’t end up “sitting on shelves and gathering dust.”
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Fattizzi points out that, since the market is saturated with distillates, new products must solve problems and add value in the minds of professionals and consumers. For example, bartenders or customers who want to make a cocktail with tequila and jalapeño can turn to a product like Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila, which is already mixed with jalapeño, rather than just tasting tequila (or the cocktail) and adding a shot. to prepare the cocktail. Tanteo Jalapeño offers not only a solution, but a consistent flavor profile.
Deciding what you want to bottle is obviously the biggest decision. You should contact a distiller and get samples. When talking to distillers, ask about their minimum order (you might want to start small, testing the waters with a few hundred cases), how much they need for future orders (you don’t want the product stock), payment terms and whether they will bottle for you or just supply spirits in bulk.
Midwest Grain Products (MGP), headquartered in Atchison, Kansas, is one of the largest distilleries in the United States – and a major supplier of premium spirits. The company has at least four barrels of whiskey, or a new spirit for whiskey, gin or neutral spirits. Barry Younkie, beverage sales manager at MGP, explains that the distillery offers more than a dozen different blends that customers can choose from as a starting point. “As part of the sampling and formulation process,” he says, “MGP will also help the customer create a unique blend by customizing blends from our time-tested pure powders.”
If a customer wants to keep the product, or put the product aside, but wants to buy aged whiskey for immediate supply, Younkie explains that MGP can sell the product from “its old stock, while matching the customer’s bill. wort with new distillate.” to ensure a consistent product and seamless transition for years to come.
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If you work with a contract producer like MGP, you will need to find a distiller that will take the great spirit from the contract producer and bottle it for you. Bottling varies in price; can cost anywhere from a few dollars to almost $20 a case, although the high end is usually reserved for relationships where the distillery also supplies the spirit.
Some distilleries provide spirits and bottling services. Many businesses across the country offer these types of customized services. Miami Distilling Company, which makes Miami Club Rum and Miami Club Cuban Coffee Liqueur, is one such distillery. “In addition to our own rum, we distill products under contract for third parties, which includes distillation and bottling services,” says Matt Malone, owner of Miami Distilling. Avi Aisenberg, owner of South Florida Distillers in Fort Lauderdale, says his company offers services to clients to launch a brand, including brand formulation and design, as well as bottling.
Before closing a contract with any distillery, the first step would be to establish a company. Whether you form an LLC, S corp, or choose another corporate structure, you want to protect yourself and your partners from personal liability.
Keep in mind that state fees for setting up a corporation can vary from state to state. New York, for example, has a publication requirement for LLCs that can cost more than $1,000. You may also choose to work with an attorney to prepare documents, such as an operating agreement for your LLC. Once the facility is established, you will also want to register your symptoms.
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Before you start working on your brand strategy, be sure to register your brands. It makes no sense to spend thousands of dollars on a designer for your labels and marketing materials only to find out that another brand owns the trademark for the name you chose.
You have several options to actually sell your product and make money from the sale. First, the bottle-distillery can sell its product under its license. You must have the appropriate federal and state licenses in order to receive the product from bottle sales. Another option is to obtain all the necessary federal and state licenses and buy the product from the bottle-distillery and sell it to various distributors who will then sell the product to retailers. Finally, it is common for people who start a liquor brand without a distillery to use the services of a third-party certified company such as American Spirits Exchange, MHW or Park Street. The service companies will receive bottled brands, store them and then resell them to brand distributors across the country.
Working with an accredited company means you won’t have to deal with many administrative headaches up front and you’ll only need a federal permit. Most of these fulfillment companies also have retail licenses in several states, such as California and New York, which allow “self-distribution” to retailers without trying to convince a large national distributor to agree to carry the new product. .
“We maintain federal and state licensing infrastructure and manage complex back-end administrative functions,” explains Harry Kohlmann, CEO of Park Street. This allows the client to focus on product development, marketing and street sales. Accredited companies such as Park Street also offer working capital solutions to give customers the resources to run day-to-day operations, in addition to providing human resource management, accounting and other services to manage the tasks that most brand owners have. t. want to manage – or just don’t have the leverage to manage on your own.
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But Park Street and its ilk don’t advise on state-by-state regulations regarding the actual advertising and marketing of their products. As you begin marketing your brand, you will need to be aware of the various rules and regulations that govern marketing and sales, including potential violations of pay-to-play and closing fee schemes.
Once you have completed the process and the product is ready for sale, the rest is up to you. “That’s the fun part,” says Barnekow of The 86 Company. “That’s the hard part too – but you have it
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