What happens when a great tasting product, but one that has been gathering dust on the shelf, tries to make it?
To tell the tale of this wannabe spirit, we need to start with its pronunciation. It’s Two-AH-Ka and it’s named for the two brothers-in-law that created it in 1938. Messrs. Tuoni and Canepa named it after themselves –TUACA, their combined names, get it? The liqueur is said to have come from a recipe dating back to Lorenzo de Medici and the Italian Renaissance. So they say.
I first encountered the brand during my Seagram days and, despite efforts to make it happen, the brand languished as only an orphan brand could at that company. According to Sam Ellias, who worked on the brand at one point, they tried everything to make it a contender – changed the package, reduced the alcohol (to minimize the harshness) and worked hard at developing mixed drinks using Tuaca. (My favorite was the hot apple pie, consisting of Tuaca and hot apple cider.) Nothing helped the brand catch on. Throughout the 80’s, 90’s and into the 21st century, the brand, as they say, couldn’t get arrested.
Yet, there were pockets of strength including bartenders in different parts of the country. The poor little brand was kept a secret and hidden away. (Sob.)
Enter Brown Forman in 2004. The brand starts to grow a bit, but no real traction or spotlight to build a franchise among consumers. Still a stepchild.
I have a feeling that this is about to change.
Buffalo Trace Newsletter reprinted a story from Decanter with the following headline:
“National Rifle Association starts wine club.” Huh?
Apparently the association has linked up with a wine club and is offering home delivery of wines for members and nonmembers.
The website offers these inducements: “Now you can support the 2nd Amendment with every wine you buy.” It also offers new members a “nine-piece custom NRA engraved wine box” when they join. A portion of the profits will apparently go into the coffers of the NRA as it battles gun control legislation.
One of my readers had the following questions about this link between the NRA and the wine club.
“Will the NRA recommend a cabernet to go with Moose?”
“Is it white or red while you clean your shot gun?”
“Is the wine box good for target practice?”
Actually, according to the Huffington Post, the National Rifle Association has hosted a wine club since 2007, but word of it only recently came out as a result all the current press. The story goes on to say that, an Australian winery is pulling its wines from the club in protest against the NRA’s views. Others have not objected.
What’s your take?
An advertising campaign that actually works?
Wine and Spirits Daily reported recently that the Southern Comfort ad campaign seems to have paid off.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you won’t be surprised to learn that. (See Aug 4, 2012 and Dec 19, 2012.)
The brand’s net sales had been in decline for years but turned around in 2012. While 3% growth isn’t necessarily a big deal, for a brand that was hemorrhaging, it’s a road to recovery.
Judging from the emails and comments I received, I’m not surprised at all that the brand turned around.