After years of innovation stagnation, every traditional category of spirit has evolved in the past 15 years. Consumers are demanding higher quality and more interesting flavour profiles.
Over a 15-year period, while my business partner and I started to create our new spirit, the question became: How do we create something that is truly unique?
In this article, I explore our approach to this question and provide thoughts on bringing a unique spirit to market…
For many years, I spent a lot of time writing a novel that takes place in Venice. Our new spirit, Cadello, was born from the question: “What spirit would wealthy 18th century Venetian merchants have served at their lavish masked balls?”
A product that created from your passions will ensure that what you create is truly individual and unique. It will provide a starting point for a spirit and brand that is unequivocally yours.
When creating something that doesn’t yet exist in the market, it is important to experiment, test, taste and solicit relevant independent feedback (over and over and over again). It is also necessary to push the boundaries and try every conceivable combination of ingredients and flavours imaginable. Once we found the right distillation partner in Italy, we spent 3 years working together to find the highest quality, natural ingredients in the right combination to create a flavour profile that was completely unique, smooth and complex.
Today, it is vital for new spirits to be truly different from anything else available. It is obviously also essential to use the highest quality ingredients and the appropriate extraction method for each ingredient to achieve the optimal result.
For 18 months, we met with twenty to thirty distilleries in Italy before selecting our partner: Distilleria Pisoni.
Distilleria Pisoni is a 150 year-old family-owned distillery that employed its vast experience to work with us for three years to create a truly unique production process and recipe. Their contributions were invaluable to Cadello.
Whether you produce in-house or partner with a third party distiller, it goes without saying that having people with the right experience, expertise and passion will ultimately make the difference between producing a good product or a great product.
4. Business Relationships
Producing a spirit, like any product, requires many steps and many external partners. You need to source ingredients, distil your spirit, bottle it, add well-designed labels and export, distribute, market and sell to different countries.
To ensure the smoothest and most reliable supply chain, it is highly recommended to choose each of your partners and suppliers wisely. We insist that our partners adhere to the following three criteria:
1. Do they possess the best possible experience and expertise?
2. Are they passionate about our business?
3. Could we develop a friendship with them?
While the first two are critical (and obvious), for us, the third element is equally important. You want to know that the people you are dealing with are people you like and trust. Our partnership with the Pisoni family has developed into a close friendship. When issues arise, we discuss them as friends, knowing that we will always find a mutually agreeable solution.
Getting your branding right is critical. What do you want to evoke as your customers drink your product? How does that feed into the packaging and label? Make sure everything communicates your brand in a consistent and appealing way.
We wanted every aspect of the Cadello experience to connect back to 18th century Venetian masked balls.
The name ‘Cadello’ is a derivation of sorts. In Venice, casa is abbreviated to ‘ca. We wanted to name our new spirit after a Venetian palace where grand masked balls would have been held. Hence… Ca’ Dello… Cadello.
Our logo is a “Ferro Dragon”. The head of the logo is a dragon, representing China (several of our ingredients come from the old Silk Route). The tail of the logo is a ‘ferro’ (the distinct prow of a Venetian gondola) which represents Italy.
The ‘88’ on our bottle represents the fact that we have 8 ingredients and, in Chinese culture, 88 is the luckiest number. We added a mask in the background to represent the masked balls of 18th century Venice.
Start from basic principles: Why did you create your spirit and for whom? Then consider your brand as a whole, including your brand name, before drilling down into the specifics like the bottle and label design.
6. Test the Market
We believe that it’s important to test your spirit before launching it on the market.
We tested Cadello in Switzerland for 7 months. While Switzerland was never intended to be a core market, we wanted to gauge reactions before we formally launched Cadello in the UK in Sept 2018.
You should be prepared to take on board feedback and develop your product or brand accordingly. It may feel like a sacrifice, but you’ll end up with a better product for it.
The market for high quality products has been growing perhaps faster than ever – and there is demand for more. To make a genuine success out of your creations, however, it takes more than a nice tasting spirit. You need a well-developed brand and story behind it. Good luck!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matt Dunn is co-founder of Cadello,a new, category-defining spirit produced by a 150year-old family-owned distillery in Italy. A unique flavour combining eight ingredients, Cadello is perfect served neat or in cocktails.