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Foreshot

How American Distilleries Are Transforming into Tourist Destinations

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Thanks for the link foreshot, although our distillery isn’t open yet, we started with the notion of becoming a destination, as we are located near the Second largest cruise port in the Southeast,which hopefully will bring us visitors for our tour/taste adventure ! 

Lorenzo

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When I was writing my original business plan, the idea of tourism never even entered my mind. Nowhere did I mention it. Rather, everything was focused on the local scene. When we opened our doors we had no idea that our place would quickly become a popular draw for the tourist crowd. In fact, even in the coldest depths of winter with what limited traffic we had, three quarters of it were people traveling from Vancouver on a quick getaway for the weekend. So now, other than token efforts for the locals, we focus the vast majority of our advertising/marketing dollars & effort on the tourist trade - rack cards, posters or signage at check points, article mentions, travel mags, etc.  

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33 minutes ago, Glenlyon said:

rack cards, posters or signage at check points, article mentions, travel mags, etc.  

Sounds like you have a pretty good grasp of how to attract traffic.  I think I understand rack cards.  This would be as generally seen in a motel lobby, right?  Where do you hang your posters?  What sort of checkpoints are you referring, are these border checkpoint between the US and Canada?  How do you get article mentions?  Do you send out frequent press release?   What sort of travel mags are you referring to and are you paying for ad placement in the mag?

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Because we are in an area where the only way to get here is via ferry or small airplane its fairly straightforward to target points where travelers get bottle necked - the aforementioned ferries are a great example, because people have 40 minutes with nothing to do but browse the rack cards looking for adventure. This summer we will also probably take out some display advertising in this venue as well. We have had a few travel writers do stories on us - these leads usually come through the local tourist association. We get the most amount of return from these kinds of articles because they are 'authentic' - whatever that means these days. Here is an example of one: https://montecristomagazine.com/food-and-drink/where-to-eat-on-the-southern-sunshine-coast So, we're always very accommodating for these types of people. There are loads of locally focused food, travel & lifestyle magazines all over North America - the trick is to find them. Most of them have small circulations - one we're dealing with now covers the Vancouver cocktail scene - so we've done a bit of display advertising with them. We also do radio, which we've had mixed results with. Overall though, a lot of small mentions and a lot of 'word of mouth' has really enhanced our reputation which absolutely makes it easier to draw people. An easy way to get a grasp of your own marketing efforts is to grab a map and start drawing a series of ever larger areas on the map radiating from your distillery. Each one of these areas becomes an area that you can easily visualize and where you can easily find a variety of mediums to focus on. We tend to look for opportunities where the potential audience ranges from about 5 to 15 thousand. Also knowing who your target market is is key. We find generally we are dealing with an older more sophisticated crowd or slightly younger but well established couples. Instagram has been great - our customers follow us and we follow the other distilleries so we can get a sense of what other distillers are up to and we're quick to seize on good ideas.

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So aside from just being interesting, I posted this for people in the planning stages of their business. If you have not thought of the tourism aspect of your business you should. Having a distribution only business model is going to be increasingly difficult in the future. With more and more distilleries opening winning your backyard is going to be really tough unless you have some very loyal customers. National distribution is going to be even harder. The local brands are going to choke out most of the biggest non-local players.  Right now we're starting to see a trend of large bev-alcohol companies buying portions of small/medium size craft companies for the sole purpose of distributing them. I see this trend growing to the point that without a big backer you're unlikely to be able to grow beyond your region without a ton of $$$. So anything you can do to make you business more tourist friendly is going to help you out a lot. Being "Instagram Friendly" is part of that. I'm building out my space with specific areas that serve no purpose other than how well it will look on social media. It's not something I want to spend money on but it's unfortunately part of the game.

https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/instagrammability-holiday-factor-millenials-holiday-destination-choosing-travel-social-media-photos-a7648706.html

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/millennials-are-skipping-out-on-travel-destinations-that-arent-instagrammable/

https://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/instagram-marketing/how-to-leverage-instagrammability-for-your-brand/

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Couldn't agree with you any more Foreshot!  Great advice and good luck with your venture!

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Thanks. As a side note I'm stealing your "dining room" idea as I really like it. I have an odd offshoot off the main tasting room and I though I could do the same there. 

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