When I was a child there was a movie filmed in my local area caller Weird Science. It was about two kids that designed the “perfect” woman for them to achieve their high school goal of popularity. She was, at the time historically, what the embodiment was of the ideal female and also a robot. She was designed in a lab or with a computer and looking back it was probably inappropriate. The movie cost $7.5M to make and grossed nearly $40M at the box office. Clearly it hit a nerve among the youthful set. The premise is silly, but the idea of crafting the perfect “someone” is interesting, and we are going to apply it to the adult beverage business. Based on over 30 years of experience and 10 years as President of BevStrat, this is the booze business version of Weird Science.
So for today let us build our perfect producer, across all categories.
- Money. Not only is it the root of all evil, but it is the root of survival for all makers. A maker that is funded and understands that many months/ years may go by before a significant profit is turned is ideal. Spending money for building a brand is paramount in a brands long term sustainability. When you spend a dollar in this business you have invested in your brand. Investments are long term plays.
- Single Decision Maker. See above. We meet makers daily that have a board, have investors and still do not have product. The reality is that when you have a kitchen with a lot of cooks you have a lot of unfinished dishes. We do not mind working with makers that have the above but sometimes one decision maker is the best decision maker.
- Patience. See runway. This business is super expensive. It will requires time and money and those two items together require patience. People talk about Casa Amigos as a success story and while 1000% true it is a total outlier. People talk about Tito’s and that too is an outlier, but more importantly it took Tito 20 years and countless sleepless nights I am sure.
- Ability to visit the market. I believe it was Ron Popeil that coined the phrase, “set it and forget it.” That is not applicable in the booze business. When you ship goods to the market, a perfect maker needs to visit the market often and stay for weeks on end. Ride withs and work withs are all part of the perfect maker, and that takes time. So if you are also a distiller, a business person, a warehouse owner, and a maker, you need to also be a traveler, and that will help.
- The perfect maker creates a brand AND a brand story. If we are creating the perfect maker/ producer than he/she has the perfect brand story. Perfect brand story does not NEED to be perfect but does need to be authentic. A maker that can share a good story and a good product will have a good sale.
All in all the perfect producer does not exist. What does exist is the amalgam of all the attributes above. The maker that makes the decision to sell into market does not need all of these attributes to be successful but does need to be aware of them. We, at BevStrat, talk to makers all day/ everyday and have not ever met a maker that is similar to the Kelly LeBrock character in Weird Science. That will never exist, but makers should know what they are in for when they want to sell into market. Makers should know that selling your adult beverage is a long term game that can and will have success in the time frame between Casa Amigos and Tito’s.