Want to start your own spirits brand? Here’s how you can spread the word

Jocelyne Simpson and Nik Robinson, founders of I Do My Own Pr.
Jocelyne Simpson and Nik Robinson, founders of I Do My Own Pr.

With an ever growing market for craft beers and boutique spirits in Australia, more and more industry types are giving distilling and brewing a go. So if that’s you and you’ve tested a few versions on your mates, you’ve perfected the recipe, your bottle label is done and you’ve even got a few friendly bars stocking it, what do you do now? How do you get people taking about it and ultimately buying it? Facebook? Instagram? Build a website? What about PR?  

PR doesn’t have to be expensive if you do it yourself and getting that third party endorsement from the media can be the catalyst you need to get you noticed.

We talk to Jocelyne Simpson, co-founder of I Do My Own PR, about getting your brand in the media.

Firstly, why should a new drinks brand bother with PR?
There are so many benefits to getting media coverage but probably the main reason is to build trust and credibility in your product. It makes it real when someone not connected to your company writes about your product. People are far more willing to try a gin, for example, that they’ve heard about in the media. Similarly, it opens the doors to your customers. Bars and bottleshops will be more receptive to you knocking on the door if they know their customers are reading about it and are likely to ask for it.


Why should someone do their own PR?
Because if you’ve got a good story and a good product, then the media genuinely wants to hear from you and they’d much rather hear from the founder of a brand directly. No one can match your passion for your product and no one knows your product like you do. 

Is doing your own PR easy?
Ah, now that’s a catch 22 question! If you know what you’re doing then yes, it’s not rocket science, but there is a process to doing PR and there’s a fine line between doing it well and missing the mark.

What is your single biggest piece of advice for anyone planning to do their own PR?
Ooh that’s a tricky one; there are two main things that rise above all else in my opinion. First is to know what your key messages are before you start talking to anyone. What makes you different to all the other brands lining up on the back bar? 

And second, make sure you really know the publication you are contacting and what kind of stories they run. There’s no point talking to a mag that only covers retail products if you’re starting off in bars and pubs only. Likewise there’s no point pitching an interview when the journalist only reviews products. It will just put you on the back foot.

So what exactly is I Do My Own PR?

  1. It’s an online tool that teaches you how to do your own PR so you don’t have to have an expensive PR agency on retainer. 
  2. We’ve just launched a liquor specific version for boutique liquor brands.
  3. We include a comprehensive drinks media list so you can start to build your own relationships with media that will be key to your success.

What kind of results can someone expect to get from using your kit?
Well the Hawke’s Brewing Co. guys used our Premium kit to launch its lager with former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke last month. Within 24 hours the guys had secured over 200 pieces of coverage across print, radio and TV including the front page of the Tele. 

Of course with a big name behind it, it was always going be headline news, but the guys found the media were really receptive as they were doing the outreach themselves and they were doing it properly. And they’ve now learnt the skill of PR which they will use as they roll out their product across the country.

But what if they don’t have headline news?
This is where 80% of businesses live – great product, no natural news. Nothing annoys a journalist more than receiving weak stories time and time again from brands. We show you where the opportunities for media coverage lie beyond just a news story and teach you how to spot opportunities and how to make the most of them. 

The I Do My Own PR kits are available in three versions – Essential ($750), Premium ($1800) and Premium Plus ($5000).

Jocelyne Simpson is co-founder of I Do My Own PR, an online tool that teaches boutique liquor brands to do their own PR. 

Jocelyne has 14 years of experience of working with drinks brands like Coca-Cola, Stoli, Angostura aromatic bitters, Grey Goose, Toohey’s Extra Dry and more and has whittled this knowledge down into a DIY PR kit. 

She is also co-founder of PR agency, Good Citizens. 

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