Cheers March 2015

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 23 of 59 24 • March 2015 "We want to push boundaries with new technologies and digital platforms that will reach consumers with relevant brand experiences," says Gigi Dadan, senior director of U.S. Maker's Mark. "We'll help them create personal discoveries at the local level by expanding initiatives with digital partnerships." Maker's Mark also celebrated its strong female infl uence last year, as Marge Samuels—wife of founder Bill Samuels, Sr.—was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame. She's the fi rst woman to join that group who was directly connected to a distillery. McCormick Distilling's Triple Crown has used social media to build its brand following. The brand leveraged its horse racing tie-in when California Chrome was competing for the Triple Crown in June. "We contributed to online conversations, celebrated with the horse racing community and engaged with sportscasters and race fans," says the company's vice president of marketing Vic Morrison. "We asked, 'America is ready for a Triple Crown, are you?'" While there may not be another Triple Crown contender in 2015, the brand is ready to continue its social media engagement to drive awareness and connect with consumers again this year. The number-one selling superpremium bourbon took things up a notch last year, as Knob Creek launched its fi rst television ad, Bookerisms, which showcased the product's bourbon heritage. The campaign will continue in 2015, as will the brand's commitment to celebrating the spirit of founder Booker Noe. The brand also partnered with celebrity chef Michael Symon, bringing 10 fans to the distillery in Kentucky for a campout and grilling demonstration as part of a summer sweepstakes. "We plan to bring consumers even bigger, better and more fl avorful content and experiences in 2015 as we continue our partnership with Chef Symon," says Beam Suntory's Jenkins. "We'll continue to demonstrate Knob Creek's big, full fl avor on the grill and in the glass." TEQUILAS EXPAND THEIR REACH Like their bourbon counterparts, tequila brands won an impressive number of Growth Brand Awards this year—especially the higher-end spirits. What's even more striking is that these brands are branching far out from traditional tequila consumers and consumption patterns, embracing a more sophisticated view of agave and tequila's mixability. Diageo's Don Julio tequila brand, founded more than 70 years ago, spent 2014 traveling across the U.S. in partnership with the Airstream Speakeasy, a mobile cocktail bar designed and built by three bartenders. The Airstream's on-tap cocktail system allowed the brand to serve craft cocktails to more than 30,000 consumers across the country. "This collaboration enabled the brand to reinvent the way we approach large-scale sampling, while also reaching infl uencers, engaging with press and delighting spirits enthusiasts with an engaging activation," the company explained in a statement. Don Julio this year will roll out a fl eet of pickup trucks resembling those that founder Don Julio Gonzalez used to travel to and from his agave fi elds. The 1940's-era restored trucks will also function as mobile cocktail bars and drive growth and interest for the brand across the country. Espolon Tequila also emphasized craft cocktails during the past year, launching the Espolon COCKtail Fights to challenge courageous and daring bartenders. The brand visited 11 cities, allowing local fans to wager on their favorite mixologist. "We plan to build on that success in the next year," says Kathleen Schuart, senior marketing director of white spirits at Campari America. "We want to amp PIEHOLE WHISKEY DIAGEO RISING STAR 2014 Cases sold: 27,000 (--) Piehole Whiskeys, a combination of Canadian whisky and pie-fl avored liqueur, launched this past November. Seizing on the holiday season, the brand used digital and social media programs to encourage infl uencers to create their own pie-fl avored cocktails for Thanksgiving and other holiday gatherings. "At the time of the launch, we also executed hundreds of samplings in the on-premise to allow consumers to engage, experience and taste the brand during the peak of the holiday season," says Yvonne Briese, vice president of marketing for Diageo North American whiskey. "We also have a number of unique and noteworthy efforts that we believe will drive consumer passion for Piehole in 2015." Among those initiatives is a calendar featuring 14 bartenders from Boston, each posting for a 1950s-style portrait along Piehole cocktails they've created. The brand's packaging features Americana imagery, which further connects the brand to nostalgic consumers. Piehole is currently available in three fl avors: apple pie, cherry pie and pecan pie. "Currently, we're not planning to release any additional variants, but as the brand grows we'll evaluate consumer desire to see if there's a new slice of pie to offer," Briese adds. ROCA PATRON PATRON SPIRITS COMPANY RISING STAR 2014 Cases sold: 36,000 (--) Just six months after its launch, Roca Patron is already a Rising Star on this year's list. One big reason is its positioning as a hand- crafted, artisanal tequila. "Consumer interest in authentic production is a huge macro trends, not just in spirits, and Roca Patron is made in a style that honors the origins of tequila," says Lee Applbaum, Patron's chief marketing offi cer. "Consumer palates in tequila are also becoming more sophisticated, so a complex product like Roca answers their call." Mixologists have crafted incredibly creative, innovative cocktails that leverage spirits like Roca Patron, which add fl avor to a drink. "They're looking to capture the spirit and essence of the tequila itself," Applbaum says. "It's similar to what's being done with gin and rums and whiskeys. It's not about hiding the spirit in the cocktail anymore; it's about letting it be the star." 2015 GROWTH BRAND AWARDS – SPIRITS

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