I just returned from 10 days off in the Berkshires. There we recreated, relaxed, ate well and went to theatre, movie, classical, and rock venues (shout out to Jackson Browne, an old favorite from my sixties days). I averaged 2 ½ hours of tennis every day, and have the elbow, knee and back ailments to show for it. It was well worth the pain. I write this because I am a true believer in taking all the time off you’ve worked so hard for during the year. Many Americans think it’s a virtue to work endlessly, and neglect the body and soul. Europeans scoff at our obsession with working so hard, and our bragging about it. I agree with them. As I’ve written many times before, family, friends, health and enjoyment should be your priorities. You need to recharge your batteries, so do so. Work will always be there when you return. Again, as I’ve stated many times before, put down your devices while you’re off the clock.
Before we left, I packed the car with dozens of beverages sent in to me for my opinions on their taste, packaging, positioning and overall quality. I had accumulated so many in the office – too many for me to drink, in fact, so off to the mountains they went. We went for a potluck dinner and I supplied the beverages – and the very best babka New York City could provide (note to Jones Soda: Babka Soda? You got the idea here, first).
We had some very exciting beverages that have come out over the past year, and also a bevy of favorites from years past. The categories are too numerous to mention, but they covered the gamut. My guests were enthralled and titillated by them. Almost every one was well received and greatly enjoyed. We beverage people are on the right track and that was validated by a discerning audience of New Yorkers-on-holiday. The sad part is that so many of these brands have never been seen by our friends. They ask where they can get these great brands, and I have no great answer. They’re hard to find. There’s a market is search of these terrific products.
Distribution remains the greatest obstacle to achieving the success that these brands deserve. There are many who have opened up their bays and warehouses and taken a chance on them, but there are so many that are unwilling to venture past the traditional. That must change.
As marketers, narrow your focus to a few select markets, and push hard to partner with the area’s retailers and distributors. You might not grow as fast as you like, but you’ll have committed partners, a receptive customer base, and a chance for success.
My love and admiration of our industry knows no bounds, even while I’m galavanting in the hills. I see and feel your frustration in being stymied while you have something to offer. Keep the faith, we at BevNET will always support your efforts.