Today marks almost 5 months since I first launched Swig + Swallow’s cocktail batching and delivery service, and a lot has changed in a short period of time. For starters, 2 months ago I partnered with Cocktail Kingdom Logistics, the industry leader supplying wholesale juice, syrups, and garnish specifically to spirit companies and restaurant clients in New York City.
This is such an exciting partnership and is a great opportunity for both parties, as we now provide complete event solutions for various tiers of trade. We supply the basics, from wholesale juices and syrups for cocktail professionals accustomed to ordering and preparing ingredients for events… or, we can provide perfectly measured and batched cocktails (minus the spirits of course) along with garnishes, custom ice, and more, for the thousands of event producers, brand managers, and agencies that are tasked with throwing cocktail events, but are not bartenders themselves. We provide the knowledge from our decades spent in the beverage industry to ensure our clients’ cocktails are perfect every time.
This has been an amazing learning opportunity so far, as literally every client we have had has given us great feedback, saying how the experience was seamless, the cocktails were delicious, and our system could or did help them conserve product, and therefore reduce costs.*
I have noticed however, that while everyone we tell about Swig + Swallow immediately recognizes the need for the service, so many potential clients who should be using us are not. This question, “how do we go from being the best option in a pinch, to becoming the instant and immediate choice for events” is really what drives my thinking most days.
Of the various ways I could explain this phenomenon, I think lack of awareness is our biggest challenge- and therefore our greatest opportunity. The notion that fresh juices (not frozen juice or juice from concentrate) are essential to delicious cocktails is only now seeping into the mainstream, and clearly awareness of the superiority of our batching experience vs the norm (with few real standards) has yet to fully make news in the industry.
My plan to address the awareness issue is multifold, spanning design, sales, and marketing. It includes revamping the logo and website, so our visuals better communicate our process and points of differentiation (the logo redesign is complete, website is still in the works.) It also includes contributing interviews and editorial pieces to trade and consumer media, to ensure we reach our ideal clients (brand and agency folk) as well as our bar friends who clearly see the value, and often request our help for their larger events. Lastly, our sales strategy is layered, and encompasses pitching brands directly, pitching event hosts in their time of need, cold calling caterers to the stars, creating an influencer program that creates a mutually beneficial scenario for referrals, and so on and so forth.
In short, we are thrilled to be where we are at this moment, and we are excited about the future. We truly believe that we are at a point in history when the mainstream palate and the craft cocktail world are converging…. Where lounges and high volume clubs want to offer a higher quality of cocktail, and the craft cocktail world wants to serve their guests more quickly, and with a greater diversity of presentations. Batching is step one of uniting these worlds, and we are excited to be around to help make it happen.
*Because preparation at the venue is so easy- clients pour their spirits into the jug with the batched non-alcoholic ingredients – clients can conserve alcohol and only add spirits to a half or quarter of the batch if they thought they’d have fewer attendees. (Typically you prebatch everything including alcohol for the maximum number of guests you might have, but this can be a tremendous waste of product if fewer guest show up.)