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New craft beverage introduction

  • 6 min read

New image for craft beverage introduction postHow do you control the conditions necessary for a successful beverage launch? Now is not the time to leave it to chance, trust your gut or listen to small (but vocal) sample sizes. We want to help you your team think strategically about creating a commercially-viable brand or extension, in order to establish a repeatable process for new product introduction. In the following email we’ll discuss:

New craft beverage introductions are some of the most newsworthy updates your business can share with fans and followers. They’re packed with energy, innovation and immediate calls-to-action for new and existing customers alike. But what if the product misses its mark with the audience? Not just the liquid, but the name and the story surrounding it? Craft beverage producers can’t afford mistakes. We’ll discuss how doing your homework helps set the stage for a successful craft beverage launch.

relevant styles

Family reviewing wine for craft beverage introduction postNot every beverage you introduce will appeal to everyone – it’s impossible to be all things to all drinkers! Give your new product or brand extension a fighting chance by first understanding how it will land with customers. In today’s noisy craft beverage environment, it’s important to choose a marketable style. Consider the following when planning your product mix:

  • Is the style current
  • Does it represent the right balance of classic, approachable and trending
  • Do you make what you like to drink…or do you listen to your customers and competitors
  • How are you differentiated from others with the same style
  • Are you disproportionately skewed to one end of the style spectrum (i.e. classic)
  • Is your geography known for a certain style
  • Could the style help support the brand story
  • Do certain styles go against your production philosophy
  • Is there a style that is getting negative attention lately
  • What styles generally receive the most press
  • What styles are innovative or dead
  • How important is it to introduce seasonal styles
  • Which of your styles blend well (beers, cocktails, etc.)
  • Which styles could be used in food recipes (on-site, especially)
  • Are certain styles more photogenic in the glass
  • Do you have the right balance of sessionable to sipper styles
  • What style has the greatest shelf space at local retail
  • Does the style color complement your brand
  • Does it define a new category of offering, i.e. a higher or lower ABV, price point, extreme taste departure from normal lineup

If you want to be the business known for a single style, be careful: drinkers want options when deciding where to visit. Most customers aren’t going to appreciate the nuances that make your offerings unique, no matter how spot-on your execution. Unless you have an established customer base and engaging brand story, it’s more difficult to capture new sales with a narrower focus.

tips for naming

Man shopping for beer photo for craft beverage introduction postProbably the most consistently frustrating aspect of marketing your new beverage is coming up with a name. It’s easy to get excited during a brainstorming only to find another craft beverage producer has already staked a claim to that elusive intellectual property. So why spend any time naming your beverage when it’s so difficult to do? Because a name connects your business to that customer beyond the liquid. Striking an emotional chord adds layers to the drinking occasion for an even more satisfying experience. And that’s what they’ll remember the next time and share with others. Does your beverage name stack up:

  • Is it reflective of personality and tone
  • Is it easy to understand, spell and pronounce
  • Are there limitations or restrictions for use
  • Does it appear politically-charged
  • How can it be used in the future, i.e. a seasonal beverage becoming a core, year-round or multiple variants
  • Can it be mis-used or -interpreted
  • Does it evoke emotion, a sense of time/place, or does it need explaining (more technical)
  • Can it be confused with a leading competitor
  • Is the name in any way appealing to underage drinkers
  • Is there an established pattern for naming new beverages (part of a family)
  • Where does the beverage name fit on the excitement versus clever scale (1-10)
  • If you were to win a state or national competition for your beverage, would you be proud to represent the beverage name when receiving the medal
  • Could it be connected to celebrities or other intellectual property
  • Can it be displayed in 60 characters or fewer (even that seems excessive!)
  • Is the domain name/Instagram profile available if the beverage were to take off

What if your team shortcuts the naming process, using the first name that comes to you? It only matters if the name has previously been or is currently being used in the industry. Not just competitors within your space, but all of craft beverage. The implications for being caught using someone else’s beverage name range from a slap on the wrist to cease-and-desist letters with lawyers involved. Needless to say, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of that strongly-worded letter, so take the time early to avoid conflict. We’ll show you how.


Before getting excited about a name, it’s a good idea to check for prior use. Below is a list of websites, apps and services that provide the most comprehensive product listings for ratings/reviews and commerce:

Lady Justice photo for craft beverage introduction postSo, what if you find your favorite name is already in use for another beverage? Before giving it up completely, it’s important to understand what rights the associated business has to the name. These rights can be either common law or federal in nature. Common law rights are created when a trademark – the source of goods or products – is used in commerce, limited to the geographic area where the mark is used. Registering a trademark federally with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) results in expanded rights and geographies for use. Using a name protected by common law in a non-competing geography is a calculated risk: you may never hear about it until the markets for your beverages overlap. However, taking the same chances with a name registered federally is not worth it. For more information or to conduct a registered trademark search, visit the USPTO.

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