Before we talk Avallen, let’s just go back a little – you were the face of some of the industry's most iconic brands as an Ambassador. What did you work on?
I hugely enjoyed my role as a Brand Ambassador in Spain for brands like Zacapa, Don Julio and Johnnie Walker culminating in 9 years at Diageo as their Global Brand Ambassador for Tanqueray.
Talking to bars, trainings, travel all over the world - being a Brand Ambassador is an exciting job. For many, the burn out can be real too. What was the experience like for you?
The job was as thrilling as it was tiring! None the less, it gave me the platform for an incredibility diverse and international network of industry peers, the opportunity to eat and drink all over the world, and understand the importance of education and advocacy in all parts of life.
You founded Drinking out Loud, a consultancy to support brands and open their routes to market. It’s quite a big difference going from a Diageo scale operation to doing it yourself. What’s it been like?
Before I mention the highlights, there’s of lowlights as well! Waking away from an incredible company, a monthly salary and awesome colleagues is a hard thing to do.
Ultimately, for me it was a question of values and true self. Today, I am my own brand, I work in what I believe in and where I use my energy, passion and drive to positive impactful change.
Also, in theory I am my own boss, which again is good and bad, as I’m pretty strict on myself!
As drinkers we all want to see exciting, dynamic brands everywhere but it’s such hard work and takes a lot of graft for them to cut through. What’s the one thing you wished more drinkers would do (or say) that would help craft spirits get “on shelf”?
The reality of our industry that most drinkers don’t realise is that over 90% of all global spirits sales are dominated by global corporations. That means getting on shelf is much harder when you don’t have the huge marketing budgets to compete.
None-the-less there is a way through thanks to E-comm, independent retail and bartenders with true criteria. The best advice I can give is ‘pour with purpose’ the same way you ‘cook with consciousness’. Knowing where you drink comes from ie. how it’s made, who makes it, what is their company ethos and when you buy, buy from independent companies (ie. Spirits Kiosk vs. Amazon).