I don't have the strength or the time to put these ideas into a long, well-written, cleverly-organized article right now, but here are some things about booze that have been on my mind over the last day or two:
- I participated in a blind tequila tasting last week where we rated five premium tequilas and gave our thoughts. Using the dreadful 100 point system, most of us gave medium to low scores for all of the tequilas involved, but one of the judges gave all 90+ ratings. Because we knew which tequilas were involved in the competition, her rationale was that these were all ultra-premium tequilas so they should all be in that range. That blew my mind because the term "ultra-premium" is a self-designated label. The point was that this minute bit of marketing was enough to influence a professional taster, so it must be influencing millions of other drinkers around the world.
- Yesterday I met with Belvedere Vodka's brand ambassador and we talked about the brand's role in the category. She mostly talked about how it compared to other premium vodkas and how it was great for bartenders wanting to make great cocktails. I said that trying to convince SF bartenders to use vodka was a lost cause because it doesn't fit in with what they're doing. It isn't about snobbery, it's about taste and vodka doesn't add anything to these recipes. That doesn't mean, however, that vodka doesn't have a place, but no one is marketing it appropriately for people who like craft spirits. Don't talk about luxury or purity, talk about tradition. Belvedere vodka should have two marketing teams: one schmoozing it up with Usher and Lil Wayne in the club, and the other preaching the tradition of vodka. White people like myself love co-opting other people's cultures as our own! Every hipster in SF is looking for the taco place that doesn't speak English and makes the "real" comida. Show me a picture of a group of Poles from the 1800s drinking vodka in a warm cabin while eating a potato stew! Romanticize the tradition of vodka in Eastern Europe! That's the way to get the other side interested. Make vodka cool again by showing people a rich heritage! That's free marketing advice vodka companies! The craft movement has single-handedly made vodka uncool. No one wants to admit they like it, but this is one way around that. Make it cool again and everyone will come right back.
More on this subject later. I've got a million things swimming around in my head right now that I need to consider first.