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How do you think a distiller can help in driving marketing and sales personally?

In this interview, London Spirits Competition chats with leading distillers on the world on how they can help in marketing

Benjamin Brooks: I grew up in a marketing household and spent 7 years in marketing before making the switch to the distilling world. It’s important for buyers to know how a spirit is made, having them meet someone who has literally put their blood, sweat, and tears into making the product is essential. I love it when customers show up to the distillery to ask us questions on our product, Seeing their eyes light up when we show them how much goes into it always makes me smile.

Matthew Ensor: A distiller can play a huge part in direct engagement with the Horeca segment. Meeting the person who actually makes the spirit, helps to personify the image of the brand for bartenders & bar managers. I think it really helps small spirits producers to stand out a bit more. Especially as the big brands will always come with Titanic-sized marketing budgets; the smaller player needs to field a very different game in order to differentiate themselves.

Melissa Friel: We are the creators. No one would know any answers better about a spirit than the person who makes it every day. We know what’s special about it.

Kris Koenig: The distiller is the inception point for any product a distillery will produce and market. The spirit is their creation so they are the best person to talk about it. Only they have the authority to really sell what's in the bottle. 

Frank Deiter: That is very difficult to respond to as it depends heavily on the personality of the distiller. The distiller him/herself needs to know their strengths and if sales and marketing are not their strengths then another person has to take over that role.

Image: Mark A. Vierthaler

Mark A. Vierthaler: There's an encouraging trend of people recognizing the hard work, talent, and skill of people who create things with their hands. This has led to an increasing desire by consumers to want to "meet" those that make their products. By being able to share their knowledge and passion with the community that consumes their products, I think that distillers and blenders are in a unique position to help underline the authenticity of the distillery where they ply their trade. It's also an amazing opportunity to put the hard workers in the spotlight.

Ian Schmidt: Marketing and sales personality boils down to good storytelling. Getting out to tell the stories is the best way, whether in person or virtually.

Ari Klafter: - Who better to talk about a product than the person who actually made it? Distillers know every nuance of the product, from the flavor profile to the raw ingredients, production techniques, barrel profile, etc. The trick is that marketing and sales skills don’t always come naturally to us distillers, and I think we need to put extra effort into developing them. Because we can talk for hours about all the details that went into the spirit, part of our job is reading the room and conveying the product’s value and uniqueness in a way that’s digestible and engaging. - For me, sales and marketing is not just a great way to support the business, but it’s also personally fulfilling. Probably the most gratifying part of being a distiller is seeing someone’s face light up when they taste your spirits and start wanting to nerd out about some whisky or rum you made.

Kira Kamateras: How do you think a distiller can help in driving marketing and sales personally? I think that as a distiller I could have a bit of an impact on sales driving just by being present on social media. I have a personal business account on Instagram, where I use the platform to showcase things in my daily work life that usually most people wouldn't see on a general tour as well as showcase any upcoming whiskey products that are being produced. By doing this it might open some eyes of interest to behind-the-scenes of creating Whiskey, and thus intrigue people to hopefully look further into where the whiskey is being made and bring them to the final product. I think it's a great way to hit a very specified market as the algorithm that the platform uses tends to be quite well-established and able to bring the posts and videos I use to people who show some sort of interest in anything whiskey-related.

CARMEN GONZALEZ ALFARO: Telling the story behind each bottle that the consumer has in their hands. Producing a tequila that the sales and marketing teams have the confidence to recommend to the consumer. The product must be made with quality, consistent and with an excellent profile for the palate of the consumer. It is critical to repeat purchases.


Connie Baker: For those who are "distilling nerds" like me :) I know having the distiller represent the process and product is important to many customers in different ways. One, the knowledge of how products are created and made and two the passion that "The Maker" can bring to the hearts and minds of those that care.

Carolina Hoyos: As distillers, we have a unique opportunity to make a significant impact on marketing and sales by leveraging our expertise and passion for our craft. Firstly, we can contribute to crafting a captivating brand story that truly resonates with consumers. With our deep understanding of the production process, the carefully selected ingredients, and the distinctive flavors of our spirits, we can effectively communicate these elements to create a compelling narrative that sets our products apart. We also have the pleasure of actively engaging with industry events, trade shows, and tastings to showcase our exceptional spirits and connect with professionals and consumers alike. By sharing our enthusiasm and knowledge, we can forge personal connections, educate potential customers about the artistry behind our products, and generate positive word-of-mouth recommendations. Moreover, our collaboration with marketing teams is invaluable. We can provide them with insights into the production process and the essence of our spirits, enabling them to develop effective marketing strategies, refine branding efforts, and design packaging that authentically conveys the unique qualities and values of our creations to our target audience. Additionally, we can serve as educators within the industry, empowering professionals and consumers alike. Through training sessions, engaging tastings, and informative materials, we can deepen understanding and appreciation for our spirits. By sharing our expertise and passion, we foster brand loyalty and become advocates for our products. In summary, as distillers, we have the privilege of making a significant impact on marketing and sales. Through effective storytelling, personal engagement, collaboration with marketing teams, and educational initiatives, we can drive awareness, spark interest, and ultimately boost sales for our exceptional spirits.

Caley Shoemaker: Consumers love authenticity in brand marketing.

Sanni Aittanen: If everything is made with heart and passion and using the best possible ingredients, it's easy for everyone to trust the quality and be proud of all the products inside the company. And if you're selling or marketing something you really love and are proud of, you can share your passion with your customers easily.. or is that only my opinion? :)

Andrea Del Gaudio: A lot of brands on the market are just brands without a distillery or a distiller in their background. Having a distiller on the side of the sales force is a big plus.

Michelangelo Buzzi: Where a distiller can truly stand out is in their understanding of trends. It is crucial for a distiller to stay ahead of the curve and have a keen awareness of emerging market trends. While popular trends may already be covered extensively in journals and publications, a distiller can bring fresh perspectives by staying up to date with the market and actively experimenting. By proactively exploring I believe distillers can create innovative products that align with evolving consumer preferences. A distiller's expertise in crafting unique spirits gives them an advantage in driving mid-term sales because they can create products that not only align with current trends but also have the potential to set new trends and capture market attention.

The London Wine, Beer and Spirits Competition is now open for submissions. Get Product Feedback, Score Breakdown Professional Tasting Notes From Trade Buyers.