Antonia Fattizzi has managed, marketed and sold boutique wines and spirits in the United States market for the past thirteen years.
She is an expert in the field and her company Cork and Tin is the voice for small and emerging brands in the beverage industry. Check out what she tells Chilled about guiding spirits on the road to success.
CHILLED: Tell us how did Cork and Tin start?
Antonia Fattizzi: After a decade of working mainly in a sales management capacity for boutique wine and spirit brands, I wanted to get back to what initially brought me into the industry, which was marketing and brand development. The idea of working with companies in their early stages was very appealing. In 2012 I advised friends introducing new products to the NYC market, and they recommended me to other small and emerging companies that could use those types of services. That’s where the seed was planted.
CHILLED: What was your background previously?
AF: I’ve been in the wine and spirits industry for a total of 13 years. Prior that, I was a Marketing Director for a large retail property that housed major anchor stores and restaurants. I also worked in development (fundraising) for college athletics and girl’s sports. The common theme throughout was that I created opportunities to tell the story of WHY a product or a fund was created, be it the history of a winery or an athlete’s dream of reaching the Olympics. I’m attracted to a project or job because of the opportunity to tell the story behind its existence.
CHILLED: What are the main services you provide your clients?
AF: We are equipped to bring products from inception to market. Our services include (but are not limited to) brand development, trial and advocacy, business planning, sales training and market representation. We are able to provide a wide array of services thanks to an extended network and deep relationships we’ve built with the trade and our vendors.
CHILLED: What types of clients do you work with?
AF: Currently our marketing division is developing some exciting brands that won’t be out for another year or two, at which point we will create their launch plan, appoint distributors and hire and train their sales representatives. Our sales side represents boutique companies such as Cooper Spirits in New York and Brooklyn Gin and Tanteo Tequila in New Jersey.
CHILLED: What makes Cork and Tin different from other branding companies?
AF: We take a thoughtful approach to who we want to work with: high-quality brands that have integrity, are making a meaningful contribution to the industry, and are working to elevate standards of consumer consumption. We are inspired by producers who want to leave a lasting impression on their category.
In addition to developing our client’s unique selling propositions and design elements, we connect them in a variety of ways to their target audience of trade and consumers. Our team delivers and implements integrated sales and marketing strategies tailored to each organization.
CHILLED: You use Brand Advocate as an informal title on your business card – what is that meant to convey?
AF: That role is why I created Cork and Tin. As I mentioned earlier, I’m passionate about communicating the story and purpose of a brand to those who will carry on its message, hence our tagline “Be Heard.” After representing virtually unknown categories such as South African wine in the early 2000’s and Genever a few years after that, I consider myself to be an avid supporter of unique products.
CHILLED: What can you tell us about your future plans for the company?
AF: Of course we dream big and want to secure our position as THE preferred collection of boutique wines and craft spirits…down the road. Right now our focus is working closely with the brands we have. We’re really enjoying what’s going on and are excited to see our current clients flourishing in the market. We will continue to take on like-minded partners across the country that share our same values to service our clients as they grow.
CHILLED: What is your marketing directive to clients?
AF: Crystallize your message and position before entering the market. Define your target audience and a develop a cohesive communications plan that will add value to their experience with your brand. Too many brands try to figure this out after they’ve launched, and then scramble to develop a plan they should have created beforehand.
This communications plan needs to deliver a coherent experience across all platforms. Ask yourself: do you know where your customer’s attention is? A current and important point is building quality digital content that will educate and inform trade, consumers and press. People don’t want to be sold to, they want to engage. The end goal should always be to increase brand loyalty and thus, drive sales.
CHILLED: How do you see the market developing for your services?
AF: Across the board, there’s been a heightened interest from consumers in wine and spirits that are not commercial and mass-marketed. An example of how the industry has responded is that the number of craft spirits distilleries have mushroomed in the US from 51 to 588 over the past decade, according to data from ADI. They predict the total spirits market share of these producers in the US could rise to as much as 8% by 2020 from the current 1%. With statistics such as these and following the growth of boutique domestic wineries and craft breweries, there’s ample opportunity to develop brands before they enter the market and represent them once they’ve launched.
CHILLED: Anything else you’d like people to know about your company?
AF: Opera singer Beverly Sills once said, “there are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” That quote nicely sums up our team’s philosophy of establishing strong brands in a crowded marketplace over a realistic period of time. We are passionate about sharing our knowledge with ambitious producers and find it deeply rewarding to accompany them on their road to success.