I love seeing a brand start out with a great idea. An idea so strong and genuine, that with just a little ripening, it could set a new standard for its category.
On a recent trip to the Okanagan, I discovered just such an opportunity. The Beaumont Family Estate winery has 36 acres of grapes under cultivation in a lush corner of Westbank, BC. I was pulled off the road by their sign: ‘Wine shop open. 100% Organically Grown Grapes’, adorned with a well-rendered if somewhat mysterious treble clef symbol . As I am a sucker for all things organic, musical and wine-like, I turned in.
Entering the tasting room, a bar in the corner of their production area, the first thing I noticed was a keyboard, guitar, amps and PA set up in the corner. Owner Louise Lubchynski explained the set-up as she set up their range of wines for tasting. She said they often have musicians playing in their winery, and locals frequently drop by to jam. That’s when I noticed the phrase ‘Wine is friendship set to music’, featured on some of their marketing materials. This thought swirled in my head as we tasted our way through their offerings: Gewurztraminer, Gamay Rose, Pinot Gris, Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir and Heritage (a delightful blend of Gamay Noir and Pinot Noir)
Certainly the quality of their product is competitive. My favourites were the Gamay Rose, the Pinot Noir and the Heritage, and we took home a selection. The organic heritage of the winery itself is also strong, having sold grapes to other organic wineries for years before opening their own label just this May. And, as an operation who started organic farming because of their children, the Lubchynskis have a strong family background story to tell. (Their daughter is now the winemaker) But for me, as a big brand idea, the musical overtones of this winery kept calling. So how can this young performer break through without spending barrels of marketing cash?
Green Briefs Marketing Recommendation
First of all, the musical angle should become the main marketing focus for the Beaumont brand. It’s a natural. Wherever musicians, organics and wines intersect, Beaumont should be there. Louise told me their wines have a strong fan base in the Kootenays. This would be a good place to start to generate some word-of-mouth with social media and some targeted sampling. Local festivals such as the Shambhala Music Festival, the Kaslo Jazz Etc Summer Music Festival and the Island Music Fest in Comox/Courtenay, just to name a few, would be excellent venues.
The Beaumont website could also benefit from some musical presence, as well as telling the excellent family story of Beaumont. Why not make it a place where local musicians can feature their music and downloads right next to the wines and the organic story?
Last, but not least, the packaging and identity could do much more to establish this brand as the musical friendship wine of choice. Certainly it is clean and functional, but when every bottle gets into the hands of a customer, it’s a shame not to have each one tell more of a story. I would even go so far as to rename their line, along musical themes, which would virtually guarantee more sales among musicians and their fans alike.
After all, stories (and songs) are one of marketing’s most powerful tools.
As an example, Louise told me of one taxi driver who brought a tourist to their winery and stopped short when he saw their musical stage. He ran back to his cab, returning with a flute he had been carrying in his trunk.
“It has always been my dream to play in a winery!” He exclaimed. “Then live your dream!” replied Louise. And the cabbie did, joining the musical jam.
Likewise, I hope Beaumont lives its dream. As should any brand with a unique niche. If you’ve got one, play it loud.
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