We have done a lot of consulting projects over the past few decades for a broad range of wine, beer, and spirits clients, big and small. Every consultation is unique and custom crafted to our client’s needs and goals. We’ve identified three consultation types as the most popular options: Comparative, Developmental, and Basic.

Privately compare your spirit against its key competition to identify and leverage strengths and weaknesses for marketing or internal review.

Example: Jim Beam Black

Challenge

In 2003, Jim Beam developed a new formula for their Jim Beam Black Bourbon and needed to find out how it compared to its key competition. They believed the new flavor profile was very good but they wanted an independent professional evaluation form a well known body to confirm this; one that they could potentially use for a major ad campaign for the relaunch of the brand.

Example: Jim Beam Black

solution

Tastings - Beverage Testing Institute conducted a professional panel tasting of Jim Beam Black Bourbon in comparison to a selection of leading whiskey brands that were currently on the US market. The comparative set for the tasting was five leading, premium North American whiskey brands in the US market.

In each tasting, all the products were tasted and evaluated blind, neat, and at room temperature. In order to provide the best-suited results and analyses for the marketplace, the BTI panel employed an attribute ranking methodology and an ordinal ranking methodology to evaluate Jim Beam Black with the other whiskies.

From these rankings, potential claims of superiority in the any of the attributes (e.g. “the smoothest whisky” or “the most flavorful whisky”) could be credibly made and sustained in a cross-category context.

Example: Jim Beam Black

results

Based of the successful results of this tasting, BTI recommended that JBB promote the merits and superior quality of Jim Beam Black in the context of these leading North American whiskies. Jim Beam Black is clearly an exceptional whiskey that represents an excellent, easily accessible, introduction to the premium whiskey category for novices and a great addition to the range of premium whiskies for connoisseurs and bourbon aficionados who might not be aware of the product’s recent reformulation and high quality.

A highly successful ad campaign based on BTI’s results was launched and ran for ten years.

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Learn More about comparative tastings >

A comparative tasting of your product versus a competitive set of your choosing by the professional panel using the BTI methodology and additional attribute ranking methodologies and custom characteristic or marketing keyword tests. These tastings are geared primarily for testing marketing claims prior to advertising campaigns and any favorable results could be licensed for those campaigns, like Grey Goose, Jim Beam Black, etc.

It could also include the addition of two more panels, a trade panel and a small scale educated spirits consumer panel for additional feedback and claims testing. Or a large scale consumer panel of 200 demographically specified or diverse consumers that would be recruited to test A vs B (“Pepsi Challenge") type comparisons of a client brand versus a key competitive brand. The 200 person panel size is large enough to fulfill FTC guidelines for advertising consumer-based claims or endorsements.

Get our feedback for your distillery, rectifier, or flavor house to improve the hedonic experience of your spirits’ recipe.

Example: Internationally recognized gin brand

Challenge

Assist in the development a modified recipe for a long established, internationally marketed gin brand that would accommodate changing production logistics, refresh consumer enjoyment of the well-known flavor profile, and coincide with overall re-branding.

Example: Internationally recognized gin brand

Solution

BTI launched this aggressive challenge with a 3-step process for standard recipe development. Flight One used BTI’s provide methodology to yield scores and tastings notes of all the submitted recipe variations. Flight Two used a comparative method to determine which sample was similar in attributes to the standard recipe. Flight Three used the comparative results to rank the recipes in order of preference.

Example: Internationally recognized gin brand

Results

The data demonstrated which new modified formula was superior to the brand’s current formula. It also created a flavor blueprint for the brand aspired to become. The client used the analysis to adjust their formula and craft the best possible gin for its brand’s loyal consumers and new fans.

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Learn More about developmental tastings >

A developmental tasting where we either analyze and pick the best recipe for a final product from a set of recipes, or work with a your or your supplier in a back and forth manner to improve one recipe with feedback for each subsequently refined recipe until it is optimized.

Get a confidential, unpublished review and analysis for your spirits before you go to market.

Example: Maker’s Mark “46” Bourbon

Challenge

Review and analyze a new Maker’s Mark Bourbon brand produced by a new method of wood treatment aging.

Example: Maker’s Mark “46” Bourbon

Solution

Using a pre-market sample, BTI produced a private, unpublished tasting review for Maker’s Mark “46” Bourbon. It offered confidential results for our client’s objective review needs. Produced with our panel of sensory experts, the same BTI methodology and authoritative review provided flavor notes, 100-point rating scale and a deeper analysis and recommendation on oak tannins and name branding.

Example: Maker’s Mark “46” Bourbon

Results

The private review provided verification of quality standing for the distiller’s successful blend and integration of seared French oak staves. The data from the panel helped development after-market grounding in quality assertions and price point standings. BTI’s results confirmed that the new Bourbon offered more complex flavors, while eliminating potential tannic bitterness that usually comes from whiskies that are aged longer. BTI’s review proved helpful to Maker’s Mark, while offering confidentiality of the outcome before final national release.

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Learn More about basic private tastings >

A basic private tasting yields an unpublished tasting note, score, application analysis, and packaging analysis from our professional panel with a one month turnaround and an option to publish the private reviews if you wish.

Gain invaluable insight into consumer and/or trade buying decisions, preferences and more.

Case Study: A major spirit producer’s line of flavored vodkas

Challenge

A major global beverage producer sought to gauge consumer acceptance and preference of their vodka line for a new marketing campaign. Our task was to obtain private feedback from consumers and trade and provide data on how the products compared to other established brands and the suitability of various cocktail recipes to each vodka flavor.

Example: A major spirit producer’s line of flavored vodkas

Solution

The Beverage Testing Institute conducted two separate Focus Groups— one comprised of consumers in the brand’s target demographic and one comprised of trade buyers. Each panel analyzed the client’s products and those of their competitors neat, at room temperature and in a variety of cocktails. Participants were asked a series of questions about their preferences, consumption, and typical buying patterns.

The participant’s profiles and responses were compiled into a report that the client used to inform their marketing decisions.

Example: A major spirit producer’s line of flavored vodkas

Results

As a result of our extensive testing and research, we were able to provide the client with a clear and successful path for their marketing campaign; one that differed from their initial concept but was ultimately well-received by the trade and public. Our guidance saved the client substantial time and money in misdirected marketing efforts.

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Learn more about Focus Groups here >

We’re the oldest alcohol beverage product research firm. We specialize in your field.

Our 39 years of test-design experience makes us uniquely suited to conduct and manage your alcohol beverage brand’s qualitative research study. As veterans of the beverage trade, we truly understand the industry. We’ve seen thousands of successful brands operate and we’ve consulted with over one hundred of them.

From our decades of experience, we’ve learned to ask the right questions and find the right consumers and decision makers to get you the valuable answers and feedback in the most expeditious manner. Our pool of group participants ranges from trade buyers to everyday enthusiasts, writers and influencers to under-informed consumers. Let our technology, ideal facility and networks give you the impactful insight you need.

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