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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The Booze Bin

Spring is the Worst: Top 7 Reasons to Hate Spring if You’re in PR

Last week marked the first day of spring. I don’t know where you’re sitting, but it’s still cold where I’m at. Spring is just the worst. Not only the weather, but spring is when you suddenly realize that you’re officially out of holiday excuses (I drank too much and forgot, etc.) and you have to get your act together and start producing something as the first quarter is almost over. Spring whips you, beats you and makes you realize you’re quite behind on everything. And to top it all off, it’s still so, so cold.

Here are my top 7 reasons why spring is just the worst:

7) James Beard announces their nominees and you forgot to congratulate anyone you might remotely know on the list.

6) You waited too long to get the discounted hotel price for the Aspen Classic and now you either pay an exorbitant amount or hole up in the dinky next town. 

5) Somewhere between fall of last year and now, bloggers started charging an arm and a leg for sponsored posts. And there goes my budget for the rest of…

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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

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly Celebrity Liquor

No, this isn’t an article announcing Clint Eastwood’s new whiskey (although how cool would that article title be!). I initially planned to discuss how celebrity-owned/endorsed liquors chew up the marketplace and make it hard for the little guys. But then I got to thinking, what’s the big deal? There are some celebrity booze brands that die a sad lonely death and others that prosper and get sold to even larger conglomerates (doesn’t it warm your heart when a millionaire becomes a multi-millionaire?). Instead, I reevaluated a few celebrity liquor brands and realized there was a little bit of everything – the good, the bad and the very ugly. Here is how I break it down… 

The Good

deleon tequila

On January 8, it was announced that Sean “P. Diddy” Combes would partner again with Diageo to bring to life DeLeón Tequila, a high end 100% blue weber agave Tequila that ranges in price from $120 to more than $1,000 per bottle (can anyone say 1%?). This is the second venture between Diageo and Combes after they launched Cîroc Vodka in 2007, which…

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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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The Booze Bin

Some things happening in wine media that are making me very jazzed

As a wine person (blogger, drinker, publicist, etc.) I’ve grumbled many a grumble over the state of the wine media. For every Eric Asimov column that elicited an enthusiastic fist pump, there was a letter from an editor about the risks of purchasing futures that set my eyes rolling far back into the depths of my head. There just seemed to be a lot of the same-old-same-old. With so many exciting things happening in the wine world, I was getting bored.

With the start of 2014 comes change. Here are two things happening in wine media that make me happy:

1. Two new wine online magazines have made their debut:

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The Booze Bin

My Liquor Predictions for 2014: GIF-Style

A few weeks ago, my colleague Pia Mara Finkell wrote about the top three wine trends she expected for 2014. Jumping on that bandwagon here are my predictions for the liquor trends we will see in 2014 to round out January, also known as the month of forecasts.

Gin is in – ‘Nuff said. Gin is one of the easier spirits to make, which means there will be more artisanal gin makers coming out of the woodwork. Plus, if you want to get technical, gin is also one of the “healthier” spirits out there (I use the term “healthy” VERY loosely hence the quotes, but it WAS used for medicinal purposes way back when). When you want a low-calorie drink, you’re best off with gin, seltzer and lime, which is also quite refreshing. But you name it, and the gin cocktail is usually the one with the lower calorie count. On top of that, gin drinks go really well with food!

Whiskies with flavors (for girls) – This is something that makes my husband cringe. If anyone messes with his whisky, they should go to H-E-double-hockey-sticks. But seriously, just…

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Digital Marketing

3 Must-See Infographics If You Work in Wine

By the end of January, I’ve usually read my fair share of trend reports and PR guidelines for the upcoming year. While the amount of forecasts is daunting, really good predictions are rare gems. Since we reigned in the New Year 22 days ago, I’ve seen a handful of infographics that are actually worth saving to your desktop, especially if you work in the wine industry.Here are my top three:

1. Food Matters

Food Matters
Eating and drinking go hand in hand. What’s on my plate will influence what’s in my glass, this year and in years to come. This infographic by thefoodpeople, a British agency specialized in global food trendspotting, is the most comprehensive one I’ve seen on the web. I like their approach of observing the entire lifecycle of trends, looking at emerging trends up to the year 2020.

Full infographic

2. Millenials Decoded

While Baby Boomers still drink the most wine, Millenials are catching up fast. Even though this infographic by the market research expert scarborough is already six…

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The Booze Bin

Toast the Top 3 Wine Trends of 2014

Eric Garland.com_bad-forecasts

A few things happen chez moi every January. I throw away all leftover Christmas cookies, lock the cellar (this is short lived) and purge my house of all signs of anything delicious. Beyond that, the post-holiday haze also comes with some trends forecasting. Well, tick tock, it’s time for my super sweet, wine trends list for the year, inspired by some wine pals across cyberspace:

1. Bubbles Beyond Champagne

Snooth_corks in a glassAccording to several top sources, Americans’ insatiable demand for bubbly will expand increasingly beyond Champagne into other sparkling production areas, such as France’s Loire Valley and Italy’s Conegliano-Valdobbiadene (think Prosecco). On Wine-Searcher, Tyler Colman quoted Patrice Cappiello, Wine Director of popular NYC restaurant, Pearl & Ash, predicting the rise of other kinds of bubbly given the rising popularity and sourcing difficulty of “grower Champagne.” W.R. Tish of Beverage Media also predicts a continued rise in demand of Prosecco, siting increased quality and consistency. For any other bubble lovers who went a little overboard on Cyber Monday this past year, this will come as…

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The Booze Bin

3 New Year’s Resolutions to Keep it Fresh: Inspiration for Wine Advertisers

It’s a new year — the perfect time to create fresh, inspiring goals for your advertising campaign. If you are a seasoned advertiser, you know the challenges of making your brand stand out among a sea of wine bottle ads. Take a peek at any wine publication or website…it’s a sea of the same. Given we are all selling a similar product, what resolutions can we make in 2014 to freshen up our campaigns? Here are some thoughts to consider:

1. Look at Me, Look at Me!

Do you really need a photo of the wine bottle in the ad? Is there a dominant color pallet or other kind of brand-centric, eye-catching imagery that can be used instead? Renderings or memorable people that capture the essence of your brand? As an average wine consumer (yup, that’s me), wine bottle images tend to blend together and lack that strong impact. Creating a visually stunning, yet distinctive ad campaign will capture the attention of readers.

2. Seek New Adventures  

Sure, we know placement in print and online wine publications is a smart move. However, have you looked beyond the traditional…

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