The Booze Bin

5 PR Basics, As Explained by Game of Thrones

What do Little Finger, Arya Stark, Tywin Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen and Joffrey Baratheon have in common? They all exemplify a certain trait every PR practitioner and “good” brand should have. While my examples are booze-related, the underlying principles are true for every industry. Keep reading even if you’re not a Game of Thrones fan (although the real question is: Why aren’t you?).

1. Little Finger – Be Strategic

Winter is coming, folks. Only the well-prepared will prevail. When preparing for turbulent times (a bad harvest, a spokesperson gone rogue, etc.), it’s key to have a strategy. It’s ok to change course if the situation warrants, but in order to do so, you need to know your final destination. Most underdogs are also operating on a well thought-out strategy to gain respect and influence in their industry of choice. Little Finger clearly wants to marry a Stark girl and become king– two goals almost impossible without an elaborate plan.

Real Life Example: Virginia Wine wants to compete with the best of the best from Europe and California. A series of vintners is leading the way, backed up by a strong vision

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Are You Recall Ready?

Food Recall

A quick scan of FDA’s Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts is enough to make you put down your lunch. While the majority of incidences tend to include undeclared ingredients, you do not need to look far to find multiple references to listeria, salmonella and E coli.

My colleague recently posted 5 Tips to prepare for a crisis, and while prevention is always the most important step you can take, how you handle a recall could make or break your brand. If not handled properly, you could at best experience a lack of consumer confidence and at worse face criminal prosecution from resulting deaths as families in the egg and cantaloupe industries recently discovered.

The FDA was granted authority for mandatory recalls under new rules in the Food Safety Modernization Act. However, this change was largely symbolic since the food industry traditionally honored voluntary recalls. This week the Center for Science in the Public Interest filed suit against USDA over their handling of salmonella in the meat supply. And as the GAO noted in 2012, communications of recalls does need to…

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The Booze Bin

The 7 Commandments of Producing a Memorable (and Flawless) Booze Event

New York City has the highest concentration of alcohol-related events in the U.S.  A local listing can show three to four liquor-related events happening in just one afternoon, not to mention the plethora of industry-only events. Add to that the countless PR agencies, beverage brands and importers housed in New York and you have an enormous mishmash of factors to contend with. It’s your job to make sure your client is innovative, fun and on top of what’s next – not what’s already trending.  So keep these hints in mind:

Be different

New York is big city, this means tastings don’t have to take place at the same, tired locales.  Think untraditional: forget restaurants and hotels (unless they have a unique space no one knew was there).  Ask photographers for ideas, they are out there shooting and see it all. Caterers are great resources too.  Don’t be afraid to venture out of the typical comfort zone, if Dior can do it, so can you! Your chosen venue should always make a point and if your guests can say it was their first visit there, even better.   Even if you’ve never seen an event taking place at a given…

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The Booze Bin

3 Craft Beer Festivals You WANT To Be Tagged In

Combine alcohol, nice weather and a festival atmosphere, and voila – nine times out of ten, you’re attending a drunk fest. The kind of event you want to un-tag yourself from on Facebook the morning after. Need I say more? As the interest in craft beer grows, so does the number of events promoting the beverage. Exhibit A: The Great American Beer Festival, a legendary annual beer celebration in Denver, Colorado, sold 60,000 tickets in 20 minutes last year. That’s 3,000 (!) tickets a minute.


Unfortunately for the industry, most craft beer events don’t know how to nurture America’s interest in craft beer. An opportunity that Alex Papajohn, founder of the first Capital Ale House National Beer Expo, is hoping to seize: “The average craft beer fest provides little more than a walk-around tasting.  We’ve reached a turning point in the industry that calls for more premium festivals. I want to elevate craft beer to the point where you choose to bring a great bottle of craft beer, instead of wine, to a party.” Taking cues from the wine industry, Papajohn is enriching his festival experience with satellite events, educational…

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Wine, Food & Nutrition

4 Tips for Working with Supermarket Dietitians

shopping cartOver the past ten years, the number of dietitians employed by supermarket retailers has grown tremendously. The midwestern-based chain, Hy-Vee, now employs a registered dietitian in almost every one of its 230-plus stores. What better place for consumers to seek dietary guidance than where they shop? The Food Marketing Institute’s Shopping for Health survey, taken by 1,500 retailers, showed that 85 percent employ dietitians at the corporate level, and about 50 percent employ dietitians regionally.

The FMI survey also reports that nearly 50 percent of shoppers are confused by information surrounding nutrition and, if they had to choose an expert to help them live healthier, most would choose a dietitian over a personal chef or a personal trainer. A few reasons why grocery-goers may utilize the services of a registered dietitian are to seek guidance on shopping for specific diet-related health concerns, for help on how to read food labels and ingredient lists, or for ways to help them create healthy meals for their families.

Supermarket dietitians wear many hats and their role(s) differ store to store. They lead found-in-store tours that teach customers how to navigate the aisles and decipher front of packing claims…

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The Booze Bin

Don’t Be Creative – How to Host A Successful Tweet Chat

As PR pros, we are wired to think outside the box. Many times, that’s a good thing. But when it comes to tweet chats, be predictable, do less and for the love of god, don’t be creative. After hosting more than a dozen tweet chats for wine clients, I swear by these five tips to organize a successful chat:

  • Be selective:  Less is more, especially when trying to squeeze your key messages and a virtual wine tasting into a single hour (a good length). Resist the urge to do too much – that applies to the amount of people you invite and the number of wines you taste. A good rule of thumb: Select three wines and ship samples in advance to a dozen people, hoping that eight will actually join the tweet chat. Great if some random wine enthusiast joins the conversation too, but eight-ish confirmed participants with a solid Twitter following are a solid foundation.
  • Be predictable: Nothing is more annoying than being clueless about the order in which the moderator will taste the wines. When tasting both red and white wines, communicate the tasting order ahead of time, so…
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Wine, Food & Nutrition

Bye, Bye, Foodie: 5 Reasons Why This Word Needs to Just Go Away

I work in public relations. I classify groups of people and then determine the best way to communicate with them for a living. Literally, it’s my job. But I hate being classified.

Technically, I’m a Millennial. But I refuse to think every Millennial-based stereotype applies to me.

And, yes, my voter registration card technically identifies to which party I belong. But I seriously dislike the idea of taking a hard left or right.

And, sure, I love food. I love shopping for it, preparing it and, most of all, eating it. I think about food for a large portion of the day. I read about it, talk about it, pin about it, ‘gram about it.

Via Thought Catalog

I’m interested in where it comes from, how it gets to me and how it’s made. I think about the nutritional value, and how much of it is lost when I cook. But does that make me (*cringe*) a “foodie?”

Wikipedia defines a foodie as someone who “seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger.” Or, as Adam from GIRLS would say:

“Do you…

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Got Milk? What Kind?

Last night I went to Trader Joe’s to buy milk. Sounds like a simple task, right?


This was me when I got to the milk aisle:

Baby gif

There were so many options, I didn’t know where to start.

Soy? I hear that’s good for you. Almond? That sounds delicious. Coconut? Will it make my skin look like I’ve been at the beach?! Rice? Hmmmm ….

Twenty minutes of hemming and hawing later, I left with a carton of each.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had that experience.

hand raise

My own experimental purchase, along with that of millions of other purchasers in the past year, is a threat to real milk. It’s one of many challenges the dairy industry has to contend with in its quest to grow milk sales, which declined by about 1% in volume last year according to Euromonitor International.

While cow’s milk still dominates the market (its sales are valued at 9x that of non-dairy per Ad Age ) exotic plant-based options have crept up like a pride of lion prepping for a kill. Last year, Silk Brands, which makes…

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Digital Marketing

3 Booze Marketing Lessons the Suburbs Taught Me

After six years of the Big Apple grind, my husband and I relocated to the ‘burbs of Richmond, Virginia. Working in beverage marketing, I am fully aware this is media no-man’s-land. For nearly a decade, I had been so busy catering to major market influencers that I rarely thought about the best way to engage the other half of the country (aka, the more than 115 million people living in suburbia today).


Image: Zazzle

Luckily, smaller markets offer communication professionals great opportunity to score big and perhaps hit a homerun long enough to benefit activities in major markets and the overall marketing campaign at the same time.

Here are three marketing lessons I learned from suburban living:

  • A Good Idea’s Shelf Life is Longer Than You Think: A good idea, like good wine, lasts a very long time. After a hot trend cools down in the big city, it can still be the next big thing in the burbs. Pairing wine with comfort food or exploring mixology with herbs from your garden for your next cocktail party may sound old to marketers, but they’re still novel for next-door neighbor.…
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The Booze Bin

Top 5 Drinks to Celebrate Golden Sochi Moments





As always, this year’s Olympics have been filled with triumph and tears, and that’s just on my couch! From raging eye infections to brotherly bonds, these memorable Sochi moments call for a celebration with some equally memorable cocktails:

1. Bob Costas’ Raging Pink Eye

costas-sochi-memeMaybe Bob has taken to the latest, disturbing craze of vodka eyeballing, but the double eye infection has caused us all pain the past few days and we deserve more than just a shot of vodka. Let’s all toast Matt Lauer for saving Bob (and sparing us) with a few shots of “Pink Eye” (equal parts chilled vodka, cranberry juice and simple syrup). Dim those lights, shut those peepers and rest up, Bob!

2. Ginger Mary for the Out-YOLO’d Flying Tomato

Ipod’s YOLO was rad enough to win gold, upsetting two-time gold medalist Shaun White (formerly “The Flying Tomato”) on the half pipe last night. He gave his competitor a hug and handled the reporters gracefully following the blow, making him all that much more deserving of this Ginger Mary concoction from The…

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