We’ve been live now for almost 5 months and it’s been a crazy journey so far. With 44 venues selling PeatReekers and interest from a number of International Importers, we’re starting to build traction.
10th November 17, launch date. After months of planning, review and alterations we were live. Unveiling a company is a surreal experience. There’s the extreme highs of praise and the surmounting lows when reality kicks in and you realise that not everyone will become your biggest fan. A fast-paced first day, we sold more units than expected and created a buzz on social media.
Timing is everything. The festive period is accountable for 60% of annual whisky sales and we knew that we had to take advantage of this. Selling in Nov/ Dec means you’re thrown into the holiday madness and there’s a chance you can get lost. So, we opted to promote our “First Batch” as a limited release by numbering each bottle and signing with a UV pen. Too busy to be taken on by any re-seller, we listed on PeatReekers.com and sold out in early December. A good start.
Festive period over, it was time to focus on selling into trade. The spirits industry works on a model of producer – wholesaler – retailer – end consumer. Retailers (both on and off trade) often deal with a preferred wholesaler, therefore it was important to work with the right wholesalers for our target venues.
After speaking with a number of venues, we discovered which wholesaler(s) they use and it soon became clear who we needed to partner with. We quickly got a listing with Inverarity Morton and managed to sell into Montpelier Group, achieving listings in Tigerlily and Rabble. It’s a fantastic feeling to see your product in a venue for the first time and we’re very grateful that both Morton’s and Montpelier’s agreed to take us on so quickly.
Next up, we listed with Laurence Smith, Select Drams and Speciality Drinks. Each wholesaler unlocked specific accounts including G&V Hotel, Whiski Rooms and Behind This Wall. Starting in Edinburgh, we gained some momentum and picked up a few more on trade listing. Next, we got our first off trade listing with Cadenhead’s, Scotland’s oldest independent bottler. Being listed in a whisky store on the Royal Mile was an early goal and it was amazing to start working with the original.
We also managed to pick up a few online listings including The Whisky Exchange, Master of Malt and 31Dover. The ability to reach a global audience from the click of a button is incredible and will help us to build an International presence. We also set up an account with Not On The High Street, which proved to be extremely useful during gifting periods. We will continue to grow online channels and hope to expand on our current reach.
on, on trade
The on trade is an industry that takes a lifetime to crack. We appeared next in The Swan Inn, Eaglesham. Marco Sarao owns The Swan and has been an incredible influencer. He’s printed up staff t-shirt with our logo, set up PeatReekers displays and listed Double Standard as the house blend. The Swan also invited us to host a Burns Night tasting and we got the opportunity to tell our story. An awesome evening and a great venue…also Tennents Pub of the year.
In February, we ended up attending the annual Benevolent Society Dinner as a guest of Gavin Watson, a leading packaging company in Scotland. We were introduced to the procurement manager at Caledonian Heritable and ended up setting up a meeting in Edinburgh a few weeks later. Caledonian Heritable agreed to add PeatReekers to their House List and the job of pavement pounding to convince venue managers to stock Double Standard began. Now, we’re listed in a number of the Group’s venues and we will continue to grow throughout the year.
Launching a whisky is an extremely rewarding experience. The people you meet both on and off trade are very welcoming and it’s almost impossible to have a bad time in the alcohol sector. We’ve learned a lot in the first few months and we’re continuing to build towards our vision of telling the stories of the darker side of Scotch.
Next up: more listings, a few pop-ups (check out our stall at Fàilte Brands Event at The Hub in Edinburgh this weekend) and some whisky innovation that will be sure to impress.