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5 Ways Spirits Brands Are Powering Through The Pandemic

03/04/2020

The novel coronavirus has caused havoc across the industry. However, as usual, the industry is coping and doing its best to come out strong. Here’s how spirits brands are powering through the pandemic.

The COVID-19 outbreak has undoubtedly affected the spirits industry like none other. With the partial lockdown Boris Johnson has put across the country, and social distancing that people are following, brands and distilleries are both facing a plethora of problems. Issues are rising up from production, to sales, to operational issues. However, the spirits industry, as usual, is powering through this by working in different ways and trying to sustain their business.

Let’s take a look at the different ways in which spirits brands are powering through the pandemic.

  1. Distilleries bottling more due to retail rush

The UK has pronounced the selling of alcohol as an essential, which means that retailers can still sell liquor to customers. With on-premise establishments shutting down, the retail rush is becoming more and more as customers are stocking up on their liquor cabinets. Due to this, brands are bottling more of their spirits to meet the demand being put out from retailers. For a lot of brands, retail is becoming their major source of income, therefore their need to bottle more.

So if you’re a brand with a retail presence, speak to your retailer and see what you can do right now, and how you can help get your bottles up and off of shelves.

  1. Hand sanitizer production

As we’re all aware, there’s a shortage of hand sanitizers, and spirits brands have taken it upon themselves to produce hand sanitizers in their distilleries during this time. A lot of brands are pausing production of their spirits and focusing on hand sanitizer production. Some of the major brands that are doing this are Bacardi and Pernod Ricard. Similarly, other distilleries such as Flitcham gin distillery WhataHoot is also expanding to create hand sanitizer.

Not only will this help the community, but it is also a good source of income so you don’t have to lay off a good amount of your staff, and your business will still remain sustained in one way or another.


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  1. Going full-throttle on digital media

Let’s be honest, right now, a lot of our hands are tied - but what is completely open is the internet and social media. A major step that brands are taking right now is gaining visibility online. Going digital is something that brands tend to look over at regular times, due to them being caught up with other things such as production, distribution, and operations. However, right now, most people are spending the majority of their time on the internet - and brands are taking the utmost advantage of it. Brands are going full throttle on their digital platforms by creating valuable content for their audience, engaging with their audience, doing ads and boosting their content - all in all, investing in digital marketing to gain both visibility and credibility.

Once things start calming down, you’re going to still want to have your customer base - and going digital is the best way to do so. When your brand is active on social media, customers will tend to see you, and once they see your brand all around social media, it’s going to drill into their heads. So once things calm down, and they go out, they’re definitely going to be like ‘oh hey, this is the brand I want to try’.

  1. Direct to consumer channels

People are still going to be drinking, no matter what. “I think any kind of circumstance about stuff happening around the world makes people drink more because if they’re happy, they drink and if they’re sad they drink,” said Dan Fisher, Bartender at The Ned London, in an interview with the London Spirits Competition.

During this time, when people are avoiding going out, yet still drinking, brands are going towards DTC channels where they can send their spirits to customers directly. Lots of brands are doing this in different ways, and some of the ways you can do this are:

  • Tie up with a retailer that offers delivery.

  • See if your staff is up to making deliveries to your customers, and have them do same-day delivery.

  • Sign up with online DTC channels.

  1. Work from home for staff

The one thing that is very important between all of this, is your staff. Brands know that their staff and team is the reason that they are still up and running. Some brands are laying people off, while others are offering work from home opportunities.

What you can do right now is to measure your cost scale and see where you stand. If possible, it’s best to have your staff work from home. Some brands are also chopping down salaries by having their staff work half time. This is helping in saving operational and staff costs and also helping employees in keeping their jobs.

In the end, a leader has to care about their staff and their business. The spirits industry is working heavily and powering through this pandemic with whatever they can do to stay afloat. Right now, we’re not sure of what’s going to happen next, so all we can do is reach out till where our hands can touch, and do that successfully.

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