Monday, June 19, 2006

July 2006

Another month filled with lots of great news, milestones achieved and hard business decisions to make. Lots of press coverage - playboy.com finally came through (hey, 3 million men read it a week and they drink a lot of vodka, so why not?), lots of great trade press that has generated distribution inquiries and some great new distribuiton gains in high profile accounts in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. Our Phase 1 distribution strategy of seeding the brand ourselves in SF and NYC with a tiny fulfillment wholesaler before appointing a traditional distributor has paid off, not so much in terms of sales revenue, which we expected, but in terms of getting us placed in some of the best possible accounts for a new brand. As a result of that, we decided to officially move to Phase 2 of our distribution strategy, which is to appoint traditional large wholesale distributors in CA and NY so we can cover the whole market in those states. Our strategy paid off as we now have several distributors in both markets interested in us whereas we most likely would never have gotten interest from them in the beginning if we had gone to them before we proved what a great product and marketing concept we had. So in August's blog, I will be sharing who wins our distribution contracts in those markets!

We hosted some great consumer and trade events, including a high profile event in conjunction with the Kimpton Hotel Group and The Trust for Public land, a charity the Kimption group supports. We mixed some of our signature cocktails for both consumers and top execs from many of the Kimpton Hotels and restaurants (think Postrio in San Francisco, Hotel Triton, hotel Monaco, etc.). They have both a "Women in Touch" program and an "Eco Care" program that fit us well. As a result, we got placed in the Executive Club Lounge at The Prescott Hotel, which also houses Postrio. We're hoping to get into Postrio next! And we now have the green light to speak with other Kimpton hotels and restaurants in other states, so hopefully we'll be there soon!

Not everything was super-rosy though, although we only experienced some minor hiccups. Oregon is the #1 organic product consumption state in the U.S., yet the Liquor Control Board (Oregon is one of those states where the government runs the distribution and retail for spirits so they have to approve your listing) chose not to accept our request for a state listing. So together with our broker we are working on a special order program to get some traction going in that market in hopes of getting listed the next time around. Other control markets like Oregon are dragging their feet getting us in there, but we've been helped along by direct inquiries through our website from restaurants who want to carry our product. It sure does help us when we can tell the distributor they are missing out on sales if they don't hurry up and get our product in their state! :-)

We are also now exploring financing options outside of self-financing. We'll see where it leads us, but we are exploring all avenues.

There is more to share, but I'll sign off for now and maybe come back and update July a bit more.

And since we are writing about blogs, check out our website and our new blog feature! Feel free to comment on any subject you like! www.squareonevodka.com. Go to "Town Square/Circle in the Square".

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