How this small biz vodka + sausage + great story hooked us

I LOVE when I see small businesses doing things right.

On a recent wine-tasting trip to Woodinville, Washington, we were leaving one small winery (many of the wineries there occupy warehouse park space so it’s fun to hit like 12 in an hour) to head to lunch when a sign caught our eye:

Project V Distillery & Sausage Co.

What? Huh? Distillery and sausage company? “Oh, we have to check this out!” we said. Intrigued, we locked the car back up again and went to investigate.

We were greeted by a charming, cozy, rustic store full of antiques and cool signs. Instantly, the woman behind the counter smiled and welcomed us. Another kind gentleman asked if this was our first time there and offered to give us a backroom tour and tell us about the place. He turned out to be one of the investment partners.

Project V is fairly new and produces, among other products, Single Silo Vodka, handcrafted from Washington Winter Wheat which is grown on a family farm. As their marketing materials say, “It is a labor of love and it makes damn fine booze.” Damn, yes, this is smooth vodka.

Our kind guide walked us into the back where we joined a few other partied milling about and sipping. He showed us the distillation stills that they built, educated us on the distillation process and the fact that a vodka which is over-distilled too many times actually means it loses some of its flavor. He also gave us some tasting samples. One was a chai tea vodka and as strange as that sounds, it was delicious.

“What about the sausage?” we asked. The place is still so new that the sausage is not yet sold there yet, but the farm is raising pigs on the leftover wheat from the distillation process and hoped to offer those products soon.

The brand vibe was pure, natural, almost Old West with it’s sepia-hued labels and dusty floorboards. They emphasized family farming, craftsmanship and even a joyful love for the work that they do. This definitely stands out from the hip and trendy vibe you feel with Grey Goose or Stoli.

The point here is that Project V has a story to tell.  They start with education to show you why their product is different and better, wrap it with passion, love and pride, and tie it up in a bow of natural, hardworking craftsmandship. You feel like every bottle was distilled just for you. This brand was further exhibited in the kind welcome we got, the knowledgeable staff and the hospitality we experienced even though we’d just “popped in.”

Effective branding and storytelling does lead to sales and word of mouth. We ended up buying a bottle, and here I am spreading the word about this unique little find. Oh, and they’re on Twitter: @ProjectVDistill

That’s how good small business branding is done, ladies and gents. And this is a story none of the big guys would be effectivly able to pull off so elegantly and believably.

How do you use your small size to communicate a unique and effective brand story? Please share in the Comments for some Link Love back to your site!


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