Blog: Olly WehringUS Drinks Conference 2007

Olly Wehring | 18 October 2007

just-drinks was at the US Drinks Conference, held in London on Tuesday (16 October). We’ll have an overview of the US alcoholic drinks market for you in the coming days, but in the meantime, here’s some of the choicer soundbites from what turned out to be a most insightful event.

“When looking at the US market, if you ‘paint the states’, you’ll most likely make a few sales initially, then fade away. Pick a few markets, and make success a certainty. Prove successful in one state, and it makes a story that I can take to the other markets.” – Ron Lepow, Glazer’s Distrbutors.

“Market entry into the US is more difficult than ever. In 1977, it was a seller’s market. Today, 30 years later, I’m sorry, but it’s a buyer’s market.” – Lepow.

“Four million consumers will turn 21 in the US each year and they will be seeking new brands and better experiences. It used to be that consumers were hitting legal drinking age and heading straight for beer. Today, they’re entering with a cocktail mindset.” – Jeff Grindrod, Brand Action Team.

“If you can make it easy for the American consumer to understand your offering, it’s going to be to your benefit. I say this as an America: We don’t like to read, we don’t like to learn new things, we don’t know where your countries are.” – Grindrod.

“When it comes to advertising on the Internet, you need to recognise that you’ll never get it ‘right’, you’ll just keep getting it better.” – Steve Raye, Brand Action Team.

“Yellow Tail realised that the US consumer didn’t care about all the usual barriers to wine, such as point of origin and appellation. Guess what? The consumer doesn’t care! You don’t have to be a ‘cork dork’ to understand Yellow Tail. It’s all about lifestyle, taste and profile.” – Mark Lyle, WJ Deutsch & Sons.

“What we found from market research prior to our US launch was that the Russian heritage of vodka did not hold sway in the US. The American consumer just isn’t interested in where the spirit comes from.” – Mark McKethan, Soyuz Victan USA.

“The distributor network in the US can no longer be relied on for brand-building activity – if you can’t do it yourself, then it won’t get done. The distributor can’t ignore the Diageos of this world, because Diageo is their bread and butter. You have to do the brand-building, not them – they’re not interested.” – McKethan.


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