Since launching Barfly a few years back, one of our most popular services has been our Drinks Strategy offering. A phased approach to creating high volume, ownable serves, it brings international bartenders into the heart of the creative process, not least to ensure that the final drinks are commercially viable and street-worthy. But one interesting dilemma keeps popping up in many of these projects – the delicate balance of brand needs with those of bartenders and consumers.
“Punters come in for a drink. They do not come in for a brand.” was a comment a US bartender once shared that has always rung true with me. “It’s called a drinks menu, not a brand menu,” he continued. And how right he was.
Too many times we see brands unveil new serves via social media and the press, desperate to showcase their latest Instagrammable drink to the world. Presented majestically in a branded highball, sitting on a branded coaster, mixed with a branded stirrer, by a bartender wearing a branded waistcoat, and only using ingredients from their parent company, despite all the investment they rarely experience the volumes they set out to deliver.
There’s a reason why the likes of the Aperol Spritz, Hendricks & Cucumber, and even Magners over ice, continue to do so well, years after their creation… at their core, they are just great drinks. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely agree that people “drink with their eyes” – the rise of the peacock drink is testament to how important visual cues are – but if I want to consume an advert, I’ll turn on the TV.
Start with taste, and success beckons. Start with a logo, and failure looms.
This article was written by Nick Dudley-Williams, Managing Partner