Digital Marketing

PR Pranks for April Fools’ Day

I’m not a big prankster, but I have been on the receiving end. Working in wine PR, I sometimes wish people were joking.  For example: When a shipment of a new wine vintage is stuck in customs and your media tasting is the next day, that’s got to be a joke, right? Sadly, it never is.

If you’re planning to prank your wine PR colleagues today, check out my list of office-appropriate lies below. All of them are too good to actually be true, but your coworker may believe you for a hot second.

  • Your new client has national distribution.” In wine PR, everyone and their mother wishes their products were available nationwide (as in every single state). In reality, the brand is probably only available in markets like New York, Chicago, and L.A. We all know that you can’t play the “available everywhere” card when pitching that client to truly national media outlets.
  • 2. “I heard your client needs help with an issue,” said on a weekday morning. Have you ever strolled into the office on a Wednesday after a good night’s sleep and your…

    PR Industry Trends

    In Defense of Publicists

    Recently I sat across from some restaurant “publicists” at a dinner and as I listened to them and fed them ideas for promoting their client, I was amazed (appalled?) at the lack of understanding. I asked myself, “Does anyone think they can write a release, get it out on PR Newswire and call themselves a publicist?” It suddenly occurred to me why my industry has such a lack of empathy from the world: People who don’t put in the effort expect a grand pay off. Is that a Millennial thing? Naivety? Or idiocy?Public relations concept in tag cloud

    Needless to say, I was annoyed, upset and a little shocked. When people ask what I do, I say public relations for alcohol. I’m sure many think I just drink all day and tinker around. OK, sometimes. But in all seriousness, I consider myself a fantastic publicist, and yes, I say PUBLICIST, and I’m not ashamed. And for those naysayers out there, it’s considered one of the hardest jobs in the U.S.

    Public relations is about perception. It’s all about how one perceives the topic of conversation and approaches the situation

    Digital Marketing

    Top 3 Social Media Conferences for Booze Communicators

    Just about every day, I receive emails from new social media and digital vendors and read articles about changes to various social channels that will affect my clients. On that note, I’d like to send a personal shout out to Facebook for their latest efforts in the endless quest to make my job harder.

    It is my job to keep up with all changes and new capabilities in social media channels, content curation, analytics, measurement and beyond. To do this job well, all social media managers need to attend top social conferences to stay on top of trends and technology, and take part in the meeting of minds and networking that inevitably occurs.

    social media conversation

    In researching those that best fulfill these needs, here are the top 3 social media and digital conferences for communications professionals working in the beverage alcohol arena:

    1. Social Media Week (Jun 8-12, 2015 in Los Angeles): Reaching beyond the booze world, social media week brings together thought leaders from various industries to discuss social movements and trends. They offer some of the most interesting speakers and topics, and the range of seminars is always


    How to Honor Independent Research

    All things being equal, media and consumers trust studies without corporate or branded backing most. Edelman’s 2015 Trust Barometer confirms that academic experts are twice as credible to consumers as CEOs.

    credibility of spokespeopleWe are quick to call out bias, which makes a new report published by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee last week so significant. An independent, government-backed advisory panel announced that drinking more coffee is good for you. It was the first time in 40 years the committee weighed in on coffee consumption and said that up to five cups of Joe a day are A-Okay.  Now, federal endorsement for drinking coffee seems imminent.

    If you work in the coffee business, I think you would agree: It doesn’t get much better than this.

    One important question remains: How do you leverage positive and independent health research? Everyone agrees independent research ranks highest in credibility. But since you don’t own it, you can’t customize the study to fit your communications needs. Or can you? I spoke to our in-house RD and Manager of Nutrition Communications, Joanne Tehrani to find out.

    Here are three

    The Booze Bin

    Musings from a PR Booze Mom

    I love what I do. I count myself lucky to have found my calling in an industry I adore. I began my experience in booze PR as a singleton, going out, friending mixologists and sommeliers, living it up. Even when I got married, I hit the nightlife, got major media hits for clients, traveled the world and threw some amazing events. Then I had a baby.

    Whatever industry you’re in, women who choose to have a career and children are forced to live a double life – they can’t have it all.  We know this; we’ve read this; some, I’m sure, are sick of hearing this. I, for one, am not. Women who split their lives 50/50 soon find themselves dedicating more time to one world over the other, and something has to suffer. I’ve experienced it first-hand.

    women have it all

    Honestly, I can go off about maternity leave in the U.S., equal pay (thank you Patricia Arquette) or just overall how the country treats mothers (and single parents of any gender). But this is specifically about the booze world.

    In booze PR, keeping up with the constant…

    The Booze Bin

    Sake to Me

    280178953_96d0eacdb8_zSimilar to the craft beer trend, sake has become a growing niche market where consumers – specifically millennials are looking for sakes that are high-quality. According to Impact Databank, sake consumption in the United States increased to 3.9 percent to 2.2 million cases in 2013.

    Sake growth is also branching outside of traditional Japanese food like sushi and ramen restaurants, and so are pricier variations. In restaurants across the country sakes easily go upwards to $210 for a 720-ml bottle.

    If you’ve only tried sake bombs (a beer cocktail where you drop hot sake into a glass of beer) then I challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and give sake a try. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Kurosawa Kim15118924673_1ee2a9f914_zoto Junmai: This full-bodied sake can be served chilled or warmed. It’s floral and fruity aroma mixes apple cobbler, green apple and dried honey.
  • Hakkaisan Tokubestu Junmai: Looking for a sake that is clean, dry and pristine? Then look no further. Fine local water is a key ingredient in this sake, which comes from melted snow and filtered water at Mount Hakkai.
  • Shirakawago
  • Media Relations

    The Secret behind Craft Beer’s Media Success

    When it comes to media darlings, reporters tend to give David (craft beer) more ink than Goliath (Anheuser Busch and the likes). There are many possible explanations for this phenomenon, ranging from “craft beer is more authentic” to “everyone loves the underdog.” Here is my theory: the media loves geeky stories, and craft beer brands happen to have more of them.

    Wastewater Beer

    NPR just announced on its culinary blog “The Salt” that The Oregon Brew Crew and Clean Water Services in Oregon seek approval to collaborate on making the first beer with treated wastewater (yes, you read correctly). The network of home brewers would make small batches of beer to be served at events, not (yet) at a brewery.

    Takeaway for the Big Boys: My educated guess is that a larger brand has more R&D budget than a bunch of home brewers, some even more than a state agency. Think like a start-up when it’s time to decide what research project to fund next. An innovative study will always have a home in a consumer outlet with a passion for science and

    The Booze Bin

    3 lessons learned from a PR wine newbie

    wineAs a virtual stranger to wine PR (but definitely not to wine), getting tossed into the ring was a teensy bit stressful, to say the least. But hey, I don’t mind conducting my research at the liquor store. Definitely beats a library.

    After spending 2014 knee-deep in the industry, I’ve taken away a few glassfuls (get it?) of knowledge to fortify myself for the year to come. While there’s definitely a great deal of knowledge I have yet to gain, here are the top three things I learned:

    1) Making sure a wine brand’s voice is heard in a saturated wine media landscape is a bit tricky. Well, that’s an understatement. Let’s just say it’s tear-inducing.

    Though there are hundreds of wine blogs, columns, magazines, etc., when everyone in the industry is vying for a mention, things get competitive. Though it’s difficult, it’s important to identify the aspects of a wine brand’s identity that make it niche enough to stand out to media, but appealing enough to consumers.

    2) Events are huge in the wine PR industry. Walk-around tastings, wine seminars, press lunches with winemakers… The thing is, there are usually three million of…

    Digital Marketing

    5 booze trends to ban from predictions

    People in booze have been scouring the internet for upcoming trends and predictions in 2015. The only list that caught my attention was Kara Newman’s post on Everything else was the same old boring stuff. It was as though the majority of predictions were just rehashes of previous years. Are people getting lazy? Or is there nothing new?

    Rather than give my predictions, I’m doing something a little different. Here are my top five trends that you ALWAYS see in year-start predictions that need to be banned as they’re NOT trends…

    The Mad Men Effect – OK, old school cocktails are cool. They never really went away, so stop saying they’re back! Since the show’s last season is this year, we also need a better name for this movement. Small Batches are Big – People go ga-ga over artisanal, small batch producers. It makes you feel special that you’re having something so unique. And now that more and more distilleries are popping up around the country, this isn’t going away. The Death of the 3-tier System – This is not happening. This will

    The Booze Bin

    Parker’s Predictions, A Decade Later

    saved my points






    It’s January and that can only mean two things. One, I’m trying to figure out whether to eat a sensible dinner or spend my points on a few glasses of wine instead, and, two, the annual ritual of booze trend forecasts are flooding the interwebs.

    This is nothing new, but it got me thinking. How many of these predictions actually come true? Foreseeing next year’s trends is a challenge, but what about those from a decade from now? Woo-wee! Who would be bold enough to put themselves on the line like that? Robert Parker, that’s who.

    So, let’s see how the “Million-Dollar Nose” fared. Just over a decade ago, Parker put forward a prediction in Food & Wine magazine:

    fw200410_120Robert M. Parker, Jr., the world’s foremost wine guru, makes 12 bold predictions about seismic changes that will influence how we’ll shop, what we’ll buy and how much we’ll pay.

    TWELVE!? That is so crazy, Bob, it’s Italian television crazy. More importantly, it’s way too long for me to prove or disprove in a single blog post and…