Product Branding: Is it for You?

Expansion is good for business. But, as many elements come into play, from budgets and business plans to raising additional capital and fulfilling a niche in order to succeed, as with almost everything else in life… timing is everything. And only you, as operator, will know when the time is right.

In order to offer clients the best restaurant consulting practices we can, we look at all dimensions. Recently, we delved into the notion of taking your brand global, offering key techniques and concepts, such as: Know who you are. Know what you are looking to achieve. Know where you want to go.

Now, we take the concept of restaurant expansion one-step further: Product Branding.

When will you be ready? How many/which products should you start with? Will the demand be there? Who should I partner with?

We went straight to our in-house source, Beverage Director Jon Arroyo to get a sense of all that and more. Having worked directly with our clients to create award-winning bar & beverage programs that are innovative moneymakers, we’re thrilled to offer his case study in successful product branding.

The Client: Farmers Restaurant Group (FRG).

The Journey: Their branding journey began early, as evolution has always been part of their business plan. “When you’re producing something, when you’re putting something together, when you’re assembling an idea… it has to come from a place of truth,” Jon has said. “And what do you have at the end? A story to tell.”

The Products: FRG decided to expand upon their commitment to the American family farmer and inspiring guests with their brand of, and belief in, sustainability, with a line of Proprietary Beverages that would literally, and figuratively, bottle their brand. The products began with: The FF Spirit Project, Founding Farmers Rye Whisky, Founding Farmers Gin, and Founding Farmers Pisco; and grew to include a line of From Farm to Cork® wines, New York Vines White and Virginia Vines Rosé; and Founding Spirits including, Founding Spirits Vodka, Founding Spirits Amaro, and their latest offering Founding Spirits American Whiskey.

The Case Study: Founding Spirits American Whiskey. 

The Partners: The key here? Finding a partner to launch your branded products with the same fundamental beliefs. As Jon says about FRG’s branding journey, “Over the years, if I have learned anything it’s that this is a business of relationships.  We’ve been fortunate to foster long-term relationships with Copper Fox Distillery and Bay’s Best Feed over the years. And with those relationships, the trust that we have in knowing where our ingredients come from and that quality and care is of the upmost importance to us all.”

The Distillery: With their own distillery, Founding Spirits, Jon and his team are allowed more creativity with the products they choose. The fermentation, distillation, and aging process are just that, a process. Jon and his Copper Fox team pick through several barrel samples (apprx 15-20) and he chooses three barrels he feels best fit his desired flavor profile. The barrels are brought to and blended at their Founding Spirits distillery over several sessions, all while seeking out the perfect taste, mouth-feel, and finish. It is then proofed down with our filtered water, bottled, labeled, and packaged.

The Final Product: Our Founding Spirits American Whiskey, Jon says, “Is made up of a blend of corn, wheat, oats, and barley malt. All sourced locally from Bay’s Best Feed in Heathsville, VA. It’s aged in used American Oak barrels and bottled at 100 proof.”

The Last Word: Product branding is a process, a lesson in foresight, creativity, passion, education, and dedication. In order to have a successfully branded product, you must be willing to know (and trust in) your brand, your audience, and your partners, in order to take the next step.

*photo: Farmers Restaurant Group’s latest offering in their line of proprietary products, Founding Spirits American Whiskey.