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Distillery Brand Building During the Pandemic

05/5/2021 • Shawn Patrick

We can all agree on the staggering effect that the pandemic lockdown has had on the economy. Newer companies that have been sidelined or others that have been gun-shy to start businesses due to COVID-19 are finding innovative ways to get things going despite restrictions. 

Whether you are a spirit distiller ready to get your distillery operations up and running or a restaurant preparing to open your dining area, branding and making an impression in your community is a vital part of building a solid name. Here, we will focus on ways to develop and sustain your brand despite the COVID setbacks.

The Business Impact of COVID

In August of 2020, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) released a report along with the American Distilling Institute regarding the impact that COVID-19 had on distilleries. This report indicated there was clearly a negative impact on on-site sales due to the pandemic. 

Tasting rooms first being closed and later open to limited capacity led to a 25% or more significant decline in sales on-site, for nearly 40% of distilleries, according to the report. However, there are still some ways to build your brand and attract customers during COVID restrictions.  

Show Responsibility

As a location that will be hosting customers inside, it is vital to show that you are responsible and take everyone's safety seriously. This is a great way to show the world that you care and an excellent way to entice those who are reluctant to visit public locations that you do everything possible to ensure guest safety. Utilize outside signage that tells passersby the COVID accommodations and policies that your facility has in place.

Mask Enforcement

As a location with a tasting area, there may be moments that patrons in isolated areas may remove their masks to taste your spirits—see the regulations for your area regarding this. In states where masks are required, be clear about any mask enforcement measures are in place and the policies regarding mask-wearing in common areas. 

Social Distancing

Depending on your location and what phase in the COVID lockdown your state is in, it's crucial to adhere to those specific state and local social distancing restrictions; this will likely involve signage to indicate safe distances and limited seating. 

Get Creative

You can use COVID as a way to build your brand by being creative and providing pandemic-specific solutions for customers. For instance, you can have special offers or campaigns influenced by the lockdown (i.e., COVID discounts on special days or for a specific period) or special take-out cocktails with stay-at-home themes. You could also consider investing in pod-type outdoor seating that could be repurposed for private events once the restrictions are lifted.

COVID doesn't have to be a death sentence or deferment to the building of your brand. The tips provided here are ways to build your brand's integrity despite the dark cloud that the pandemic lockdown has unleashed on the economy. Part of the economic recovery involves companies showing that they understand the seriousness of the situation and the world's demand to get back to some sense of normalcy. 

As your distillery gets back to normal and sales begin to increase, consider incorporating a distillery management solution early on. OnBatch provides distillers solutions that make scaling batches and managing inventory, TTB reports, and warehousing super simple. Check out our user-friendly software solution and schedule a demo today.