It doesn’t matter whether you enjoy it straight up, on the rocks, a little bubbly or a full-bodied cabernet; alcohol is a part of nearly everyone’s life which is why the beverage industry is such a large business. Progressive beverage marketing is vital for restaurants, clubs, bars and retail outlets. With the variety of products available, the industry lends itself to creative and unique marketing campaigns.
And no one understands that better than Michael Chu, owner-operator of Beverage Industry News (BIN). BIN is California’s only trade magazine that focuses solely on the needs of both on and off-premise beverage retailers, and has a local advantage that helps beverage professionals tailor their marketing messages to effectively reach key industry and decision-makers throughout California.
I recently had the privilege of speaking with Mike about BIN and his well-founded ideas about marketing within the beverage industry. Mike has been working on magazines basically since he was 15 years old. He’s done PR work in New York, and put in time on other journals. In essence, when it comes to the beverage industry, Mike knows what he’s doing.
NDF: Hi Mike, what do you love most about BIN?
Mike: The great thing about BIN is meeting people and being involved with a range of companies whether they are start ups or already hugely successful. People in this industry are truly fun – they are either throwing the biggest parties or involved with the biggest parties.
But one of neatest things we do is support the Asthma Foundation. Each year we raise enough money through donations and auctions to send 250-500 kids to an all inclusive summer asthma camp. We’re gearing up to start our fundraiser in November for 2011.
NDF: Why did you want to make Next Day Flyers your “GO TO” printer?
Mike: I’ve worked with NDF for 6 or 7 years and they are absolutely unbeatable when it comes to quick turnaround and the quality they provide at a reasonable cost. I’d like more people in the beverage industry to know about Next Day Flyers because the printed material they offer is hugely effective in the beverage industry.
NDF: So, over the years you’ve worked with us, which printed products have been the most useful?
Mike: Postcards, postcards, postcards. I’ve even offered postcard programs for liquor professionals where a 5×7 postcard is tacky glued to magazine, which they can use as a promotion and include their winning recipes and things like that. And beyond postcards there are bottle neckers and table tents. All good.
NDF: With your experience, what marketing advice would you like to offer distributers, restaurants, or bars and clubs?
Mike: BIN has been a big part of my life for over 20 years and I can say within the beverage industry print ads and direct mail are the key. Sure, we’re in the 21st century and it’s vital to have websites and utilize social networking. Those are great exposure but within this industry they are not bringing home the bacon. To succeed, beverage industry entrepreneurs need to do direct marketing pieces to promote directly to the source – it’s at least as important as being online. For restaurants, clubs, bars marketing online should act as a support system to other methods because the bottom line is, people want to try a beverage before they buy it. So, first you have to educate and promote within the trade, and then to the consumer.
Many restaurants are struggling with the depressed economy so they need to get creative and use the pieces Next Day Flyers offers. They need to use postcards for unique events, do special drink recipes and happy hour specials — anything to draw consumers in and build their customer data base.
With the economy as it is, now is not the time to bury your head in the sand and cut back on marketing. You need to find inexpensive ways to promote and make whatever you’re offering as enticing as possible.
NDF: We’re moving right along into big seasonal celebration time, any holiday words of wisdom you’d like to share?
Mike: Yes. If you don’t have a big budget, educate yourself on inexpensive ways to market, like using Next Day Flyers products. Get a direct mailing list, have a dynamite calling card – cover the basics. The bottom line is you have to get your name out there, have a presence and be seen.
NDF: Thanks, Mike. One last thing. What’s your personal recommendation for a low to mid-priced champagne selection for all those company holiday parties this year?
Mike: Moet & Chandon – about $30.00 per bottle.
Happy beverage marketing everyone!
And no matter what you’re celebrating, please drink responsibly.
BIN has been serving the beverage industry for 80 years and was the first liquor trade journal to come out when prohibition ended. BIN comes out 10 times per year and delivers up-to-the minute information to California’s beverage industry. Beverage Industry News stands alone as the authoritative source of trends and usable information and offers a balance of editorial that covers every aspect of the business.