Casamigos Tequila Joins Sidney Frank Importing Company

Suggested price of $44.99 for the Blanco and $49.99 for the Reposado
Casamigos ultrapremium Blanco and Reposado

A celebrity owned tequila joins a beverage alcohol powerhouse

Sidney Frank Importing Co. (known for Jägermeister and the creators of Grey Goose Vodka) has been named the exclusive importer of Casamigos Tequila. The brand is owned by actor/director/producer George Clooney, nightlife entrepreneur Rande Gardner and real estate mogul Mike Meldman.

Usually, I don’t think very highly of celebrity owned or endorsed spirits products but this one sounds to me like a winner.

The previous winners — few and far between

I can only think of a few such products that have made it with dozens falling by the wayside. The top of the list is P Diddy and Ciroc. He has a stake in the brand and works hard at marketing it. Add Dan Akroyd and Crystal Head Vodka to the list – while not a home run, it has a presence and a following. Bringing up the rear is Skinny Girl, which came out of the starting block strong with Bethany Frankle, but seems to me to be languishing.

I can’t think of any other successes and the list of failures and wannabes is very large. (See my January 9, 2013 and August 21, 2010 blogs for the full obituary list.)

Will this one make it?

In my opinion, yes.

First, Sidney Frank Importing Co. (SFIC) is a significant player in the booze business with the infrastructure; sales and marketing players; and distributor network that’s top of the game. The gents running it are seasoned veterans and brand builders and so, put a double check mark next to trade marketing box.

But, the consumer is the ultimate judge and most critical component of brand success. Casamigos will need to challenge some pretty tough top shelf competition including Patron, Don Julio and, strong newcomer, Avión (my personal favorite). Oh, and let’s not forget Mr. Diddy’s new tequila venture, DeLeon Tequila.

What are some of the key elements of successful new entries?  Awareness, curiosity, discovery and willingness to try.

Imagine this… you’re in a bar with friends and someone says, “Hey, let’s have some tequila.” Someone else says, “Great idea, I’d like to try that new George Clooney tequila.” Another says, “Oh, I love George Clooney, great actor and seems like a decent, down to earth guy. Let’s buy a round.”

So… thanks to SFIC’s clout, the bar or restaurant will have Casamigos in stock. And, thanks to George Clooney, the consumer is very likely to try the brand.

In the brand building equation, if there is uniqueness and relevance (Clooney and tequila) awareness will very often lead to trial.

The most important elements in the equation, however, are brand adoption and loyalty (sustained usage). If the quality of the tequila is high and Mr. Clooney helps in the promotion, I think the brand will be around for the long run.

So, move over Diddy, there may be a new player in town.

George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Michael Meldman at the Sidney Frank national sales meeting.
George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Michael Meldman at the Sidney Frank national sales meeting.



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Jägermeister Enters a New Era

Jägermeister Spice Bottle Image High-resJägermeister, a brand icon for decades, has just introduced a product extension called Jägermeister Spice. The product combines vanilla and cinnamon spices with the original Jägermeister ingredients. It will be available nationally in limited quantities starting this month.

Interesting – a limited edition spirit product. Wonder what they have in mind?

Regardless, from the handful of people I asked to taste the product, the results were very positive. “It’s perfect for this time of year…it’s like eating a holiday spiced cake.” One woman described it as “Jäeger’s softer, kinder relative.”

I think they have a winner here. It’s easy to drink; fun tasting and can go wherever the original product goes in those special Jäger occasions. But, the appeal moves it further along in the drinker’s repertoire. In that regard, the folks at Jägermeister have stayed true to the cardinal rule of product extensions – “feed the brand, don’t eat the brand.” In other words, I think it will bring new users, lapsed users and new occasions to the franchise. All without alienating those original round of Jäger shots moments.

As to the limited edition aspect, the company says that this first ever product extension will be limited to 100,000 cases this winter. The brand sells around 3 million cases so it’s a drop in the bucket.

Why limited edition?

One cynical industry observer thought that if the extension doesn’t work, they wouldn’t damage the base brand. It will just disappear. I’m not buying that.

I think that the best way to grow a franchise without denigrating the core audience is to periodically introduce seasonal or other temporary variations that – pardon the expression – spice things up and adds innovation to the mix. Perhaps we can expect a spring or summer variant. Or, maybe Spice will stick around.

Adam Rosen, EVP Marketing (and a smart, innovative one at that) summed the effort up –

“Jägermeister Spice offers both new drinkers and our longtime fans an innovative product that can be enjoyed in any setting. Whether served neat or mixed with cola, Spice offers new experiences and drinking occasions while delivering the same quality spirit that Jägermeister is known for.”

Looks like Jägermeister Spice is about to join the holiday festivities.

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