In March 2020 the world launched into a global pandemic. That same month, emerging craft spirits company, Phenomenal Spirits, entered the U.S. market with their small-production Ron Izalco Rum and RY3 Whiskey.
Over the past 15 months the spirits brand has found huge success, expanding distribution to 15 states and selling barrel after barrel of their small-batch products.
What’s been one key to their success? Working with LibDib.
“LibDib can move at a rapid pace,” says Phenomenal Spirits founder Karthik Sudhir. “I’m here to tell craft brands that there’s a way to secure distribution with a limited budget and test out your brand positioning, pricing strategy, and marketing campaigns, as well as fine tune your strategy before pitching your brand to the big five distribution companies. LibDib gave us a platform and within a couple of weeks we launched in California.”
”Much of the success of Makers has come from the ability to leverage LibDib to capture a large portion of ecommerce-related sales,” said Helene Venegas, Sr. Director of Innovation Revenue at LibDib. “Whereas other distributors were not prepared to pivot into the online channel, LibDib is perfectly positioned for success within the space. We have the ability to listen to Makers and to act quickly. We also constantly link our partners with key retailers and new opportunities. Phenomenal Spirits has been great to work with in this capacity and we look forward to further success.”
Karthik came to the spirits industry from the tech world, so he was already a big fan of digital transformation and technology. That drew him to LibDib’s innovative marketplace and partnership with RNDC. Phenomenal had seen significant growth in the European market, but Karthik knew the U.S. market was a tough one to crack. He and his team built a strategy on finding a customer base in one region and then building from there.
“We went to 15 markets in less than 15 months–all during COVID,” he says.
The next evolution of the brand was a solid Cask Strength Barrel sales strategy. The Phenomenal team knew that barrel selections would bring a top-notch customer to their high-quality whiskies and rum.
“We have been able to move a significant amount of product over the past 9 months by selling barrels,” says Karthik. “Our revenue has doubled from the Cask Strength barrel sales program which we implemented during the pandemic and we are quickly increasing production to keep up with demand.”
The LibDib Barrel Market made this all possible. Karthik says that the LibDib process runs at a very fast pace, which allows his team to up-level the buyer experience. Working with LibDib, they develop unique barrel picks, send samples and quickly onboard customers.
The sales opportunity of barrels–each barrel contains an estimated 240 bottles–is exactly what was needed for rapid growth. Phenomenal is also able to split barrels between retailers, which is easy with the flexibility of the LibDib model and the excellent customer service by the Maker portfolio team.
Phenomenal offers whiskey and rum barrels, including Ron Izalco Private Reserve 10 Yr Cask Strength Rum, Ry3 Whiskey Private Reserve Cask Strength and a Ry3 Whiskey Private Reserve Rum Cask Barrel. Look for a new barrel launching during OND 2021.
“Barrels are the ultimate buy for retailers and subscription clubs. They sell at the right price, consumers love getting something special, the labeling is specific to each retailer or whiskey club. It’s a win-win for us and our customers,” adds Karthik. “All brands should take these unique LibDib opportunities and take advantage of cask strength trends.”
Phenomenal has been selling barrels in California for the past few months and will be expanding to other markets soon. The brand has sold half of these selections to subscription clubs, all with the excellent service provided by the LibDib team.
“As a craft player, LibDib has given us the springboard to launch.”
His message to other spirits producers? “Consider LibDib, especially as a test opportunity to enter big markets. Even if you’re able to generate small incremental revenue, this will build immense confidence in your brand and fine tune your route to market strategy. The LibDib platform gives that opportunity and they are really great to work with!”