From Spirits to Beer

Mark Brown’s newsletter reported today that Tony Foglio and Keith Greggor are the new owners of Anchor Brewing Company, which includes its portfolio of craft beers and artisan spirits, including the well-known Anchor Steam Beer.

In addition to wishing Tony and Keith well, I think it’s great for the spirits industry. Like many, I believe that craft (or artisan) spirits will grow in importance in the spirits world with lots to learn from craft beer.

I’m happy to know that mainstream players are on the case.

Even if they’re not ex-Seagram folks.

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Those Seagram Folks

I was talking to a fellow Seagram Alum the other day and the conversation turned to what made Seagram unique and where people are today.

He pointed out that ex-Seagram folks occupy top positions in many companies in the industry.

He’s right; all of the top 5 spirits companies have former Seagram people in very senior spots. When you think about it further, the Seagram folks play important roles throughout the industry – suppliers, distributors, retailers and service providers.

I suppose it’s because of a number of things that characterized the company back in the day. Perhaps it was the combination of self-confidence (some would say arrogance) and humbleness. A belief that there was a Seagram way to do things and getting it done didn’t have to be in an overbearing manner. Strength of conviction combined with respect.

Me? I think Seagram people learned to adapt, survive, flourish and succeed because of the common enemy. Sort of like a successful person who grew up with dysfunctional parents but knew he could survive if he relied on his siblings. In short, it’s called camaraderie.

They did us a favor by shutting the lights.

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Brand Nicknames

There is an interesting article in this week’s Ad Age on Belvedere and their new advertising campaign.

Not much more for me to add other than what I said in the article.

However, what I didn’t say and was thinking at the time of the interview was why go in this direction in the first place? Most brands I know that are called for by nickname have traction and a following e.g., Crown, Jack, Captain, Stoli, etc.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to further develop the brand on-premise rather than through ATL spending? Even if the message was strong.

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