David Fights Goliath

You know how, when you walk into a Total Wine, a Bev Mo!, or any other big liquor retailer, you're always hit by a bunch of huge displays featuring one big brand or another? Piles of logo-covered cartons create dominating displays, each pile festooned with bottles and backed by elaborate graphics featuring celebrities, alluring models, or well-known spokespeople. Yeah. We've noticed that, too. Because that's our competition.

The biggest players in the spirits industry—call them Big Alco—have millions (even billions) to spend on sales, marketing, and promoting their products. The biggest names, you've probably heard of: Seagram's, Beam-Suntory, Diageo, Pernod-Ricard, Constellation Brands, Moet-Hennessey, Bacardi, and others. These companies dominate the global alcohol space and need to spend like crazy to stay competitive in a supremely cutthroat market.

And then there's us: Batch 22 and other brands like us. Small. Independent. Trying to build something with our own sweat equity and limited resources. So how can we stand a chance competing with the unlimited resources and clout of Big Alco? One way is to band together with other similar brands and to use strength in numbers to bring an advantage to all who become a part of the shared effort. 

A little more than 6 months ago, Batch 22 and five other brands (Fierce & Kind, Mario's Hard Espresso, Clever Fox Rum, Storyhouse Spirits, and Pacific Coast Spirits) helped to found the SoCal Spirits Collective, which aims to create a cooperative sales, event, and marketing vehicle for small, independent brands to share. Since the founding, five other brands have joined (Above Board, First Light, 619 North Park, 117 West, and Shadow Ridge) and a handful more are expected to come on board in the next few months.

The primary mission of the SCSC is to promote independent SoCal spirits brands by hosting events, educating the public, and presenting the group as a marketing win to retailers and bar owners. The SCSC is also a forum for all members to share in best practices and to support each other by cross promoting and cooperating in critical facets of the business.

The official website, SoCalSpiritsCollective.com, has background and information about all the member brands, as well as links to individual member websites.

This Saturday, June 8, the SCSC will be hosting its very first Mini Spirits Fest at Pacific Coast Spirits in Oceanside, San Diego, from 12-4 PM. If you'd like an opportunity to come out and meet the founders of a bunch of SoCal brands, and to sip and sample some great spirits, this event is for you. Tickets are available here.

If you're in SoCal, you can also help support the SCSC by looking for member brands at your major retailers and by asking for those brands at your favorite bars and restaurants. You can also follow the SCSC on Instagram at @socalspiritscollective.