Welcome to Drink Artisan!
It is a great pleasure for us to host you, as we begin launching unique daily content, for your enjoyment. Our purpose is to help keep you well informed about this very unique industry. We can all agree that everywhere you look the drinks business is changing and evolving rapidly. But most of all, the industry is changing the way they operate. In today’s fast paced technological society, importing and selling spirits or beers and wines just doesn’t cut it anymore, especially if we want to pay the bills. Even the different routes to the market have become varied and complicated, so it actually makes sense that control be taken back and the final step put back into your hands. This way you get to put drinks into the hands of your consumers that leaves you in total control with the choices you want to make.
So with all that said, let’s kick things off by telling you why Drink Artisan exists.
A fairly generic question, but at Drink Artisan, we have a very strong belief set, a core set of principals and a desire to…
“solve a broken industry”.
The food and drink industry is dominated and dictated by the distributors. They decide on what products are needed including the taste needed, the output needed and to survive the producers must conform to this or risk losing business. A prime example is the desire for supermarkets to commercialise the Brussel Sprout. Brussels were famously sour and didn’t taste very nice but contained very healthy properties. So, supermarkets asked farmers to change the DNA of the Brussel to make it much sweeter and more appealing. The demands put on producers since the age of the supermarket, has forced existing players out while creating new mass-manufactured poor-quality replacements, and significantly reduced the growth. This also resulted in phasing out the uniqueness and creativity of local smaller producers of spirits, alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic drinks.
The recent age of super-cheap supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl have significantly disrupted the ‘dawn of the supermarket’ era. Supermarkets now are affected left-right-and-centre with external issues [like plastic ban’s and taxes, sugar levy etc.] and the customers demand for cheaper produce. This focus on price reduction has left a blind-eye to the craft food and drinks industry. Local producers are finding new markets and the provenance of their product is seen as an exciting, must-have purchase. This is found nowhere more significant than in the Gin sector. The interest in how — and where — drinks are made has fuelled an explosion in craft drinks. First it was beer, then gin. British gin sales were worth £1.5 billion in the year to March 2018, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. HM Revenue & Customs says there are now 315 distilleries — up from 152 in 2013.
Many of our peers are a big part of the problem in this trend, demanding the lowest prices whilst also asking for high-unit output, ignoring producer individuality. With such huge ranges of products they aren’t motivated by quality, and there is a tenency to stock the same top 100-120 SKU with a limited number of 'exploritory products'. The issue is that many of these more mainstream products are often not tuly artisan and sacrafice has often been made to increase production volumes.
How can we define artisan of craft? Shaun Bebington founded Pocketful of Stones and has teamed up with other Cornish distillers to promote the county, MARK PASSMORE/APEX NEWS. The term “craft” is bandied around by just about every alcoholic start-up these days. Shaun Bebington the founder of Pocketful of Stones distillery in Long Rock, Cornwall, argues that a stricter definition should be applied. Unless spirits entrepreneurs are lying on their back on the cold floor of their distillery every morning looking up at the underside of a bulbous still as they try to light it with a match, it’s simply not craft, he says.
“We don’t sit in bed in the morning and start up production remotely with a tablet,” he says. “Everything here is hand-made.”
This is the spirit - literally!
There are several markets and channels to supply, this is something most can agree upon. If we were to compare the export market 10 or 20 years ago it would look very different today. This would include the potential routes to the market, whether it be online and direct to consumer through apps and other markets. Today however, we are faced with new challenges, and rightfully so. New competition which not all traditional drinks produced are geared up to or capable of taking on for that matter.
What was once a straightforward supply chain of production, distribution, import and sales is indeed very different today. Now, these new challenges and rather unique supply chain is forcing or enabling spirit companies to behave very differently. Distributors today are constantly looking a different steps and even different marketing approaches that will allow them to take full control of at least parts of the supply chain including distribution, which used to be always left to third parties to handle. However, at Drink Artisan, we believe it is not a case of taking control, simply because in a sense, they never really had it in the first place.
So, in retrospect, this opens the door to new opportunity for the drink business to fully evolve and grow in areas they had previously no control over.
Drink Artisan aims to put the producer in control.
Getting their image, their brand, their story, their journey and of course, their wonderful products to the end customer, on their terms. We aim to give them a range of all-in-one-place services, analytics tools and a unique, dynamic distribution model that suits them, for any orders irrespective of size.
Our core principals are to make a level playing field, and encourage the recent growth seen in the alcohol industry, specifically launching with Gin. Giving new producers a national platform to showcase their products, international marketing and a range of in-depth analytics tools to constantly improve themselves. We literally aim to give them the tools to succeed and prosper. We are like proud parents, showcasing the best of UK artisan crafts, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
Drink Artisan – Take a Step in the Right Direction
We’re kicking off with a step in the right direction, it’s really that simple. Our aim to fix a broken industry will revitalise distribution and give you a platform to evolve. Here you will find the brands, the producers, the distributors, and importers are the ones setting up retail and direct to consumer propositions and cutting out their traditional route to market. We certainly won’t pretend to know how far these new initiatives will go, but it is incredibly clear the opportunity is there, and we know that consumers are very open to the idea.
At the end of the day, there is really nothing to stop us other than our own ambition and how far we are willing to take a risk.
Drink Artisan are looking to fulfil your Christmas Cheer with Spritzers, Gin and Ginger Beer!
Enjoy your Christmas period with Drink Artisan!