‘Promiscuous’ consumers want craft brand storyBy Amy Hopkins
Consumers are “promiscuous” and striving craft distillers must “sell their story” in order to stand out from the crowd, according to a leading whisky writer.
In a presentation on craft spirits’ brand positioning at London’s Craft Distillers Expo this week, whisky writer Ian Buxton said that entrepreneurs aspiring to launch their own spirits brands stand out in an industry “inhabited by promiscuous consumers” who will “move on quickly”.
“There are no bad products in the spirits sector,” said Buxton. “Diageo, Pernod Ricard and William Grant, they can beat you up on price. Their production costs are lower, they have got the money to spend on promotion and they have access to the distribution.
“So for aspiring craft brands, you need a compelling story, which can help you stand apart and as important as anything else.”
Highlighting independent Scottish brewer BrewDog and once-independent Scotch whisky brand Bruichladdich, Buxton said craft brands can stand out through their “anti-marketing” attitudes, “simple, clear branding” and by setting themselves “apart from industry norms”.
“Bruichladdich didn’t join the Scotch Whisky Association,” he said. “They said they believed this was just a lap dance for the big boys and got extra free attention because of this.”
Buxton also emphasises that quality is no longer a unique selling point for producers since this is now “taken for granted”.
“Consumers are now searching for authenticity and brands which are ‘real’,” he said.
Also at the Craft Distilling Expo this week, spirits expert and author Ian Smiley said craft Distillers should consider bulk buying neutral spirit in order to make themselves “scalable” in the face of increased demand.