The spirits industry generates an estimated $82 billion dollars per year in the United States.
$82 BILLION. Granted, that’s less than our man Jeff Bezos makes, but that’s still a lot of damn money.
And while there’s certainly no shortage of beverage companies, the majority of this revenue belongs to Constellation Brands, Diageo, and Brown-Forman.
All of whom committed to creating more opportunities for disadvantaged suppliers over the next decade. What does that mean exactly? It means they’ll add more suppliers to their portfolio. It does not mean those suppliers will see a lion’s share of the revenue. So if you’re one of those disadvantaged (BIPOC, LGBTQ, veteran, or disabled) beverage suppliers, how do you take advantage of this opportunity? The answer is two-fold.
You have to have a brand.
You have to have a strategy.
A company that’s giving you the opportunity to level the playing field is not going to do all the work for you. Having a brand is not the same as having an LLC and a website. No, no. Brands are for big players - those committed to the long-haul. Those that understand the investments are non-negotiable if you want to be around in ten years.
Strategy is something that most small businesses fail to develop and it’s the main reason so many don’t make it. You can have a killer product, even have an incredible brand, but without the strategy, you have no chance of carving out a market share.
If you’ve walked into Target or your local liquor store you’ve probably noticed a huge display of women-owned wines. This is all well and good. Target has done its good deed of giving these businesses a platform, the rest is up to those brands to drive the sales. And here’s an unpopular opinion, not every opportunity is right for every business. So unless their customers shop at Target...you get our point.
Consumers have changed. Their buying behaviors have changed. So if you’re a newcomer to the beverage industry it’s a good idea to truly understand who buys your product. Not who you think buys your product, but who actually buys it. What role does your product play in their life, how do they interact with it, when do they buy it, and why? This is brand + strategy.