You might not have heard of LQR House, but don’t be surprised if you catch a glimpse of the company popping all over Nasdaq as it began trading on the platform earlier this month after its IPO.
The liquor marketing company, which works with the likes of Country Wine & Spirits and Ssquared Spirits under an exclusive agreement, plans to raise $5 million by offering 1 million shares at a price of $4 to $6 and intends to become “the full-service digital marketing and brand development face of the alcoholic beverage space,” per the company.
“The big guys out there…massive distribution companies, have thousands of people out in the workforce understanding trends, while we use technology, we use the quarter-million customers that we have through CW Spirits,” LQR House CEO Sean Dollinger told Retail Brew. “For example, two years ago, during the holiday season, we saw peach was really trending. So we were able to create a peach-infused tequila first—[the] first of its kind. So it really allows us to have the knowledge before things actually take off.”
With the IPO, Dollinger said the company hopes to “align” itself with smaller liquor brands from the get-go and help them increase their market share. “That’s why it’s called LQR House, a house of brands,” he said.
Pearls of wisdom: A lot of the brands on LQR’s roster are relatively unknown, such as Mystery Tequila and cocktail caviar (edible pearls made with flavored liquor). But there’s a strategy behind this, too.
“We realized that there was such a niche for different products—products that people never heard of,” Dollinger explained. “For example, if Don Julio 1942 [tequila] is sold in every single store in New York City, then where’s our competitive advantage? But if cocktail caviar isn’t available in every single store, and it’s a phenomenal product, then all of a sudden, you have an outlet to go ahead and purchase that product from.”
But making a product like cocktail caviar popular doesn’t come without effort, and usually requires a nifty marketing strategy.
“[Cocktail caviar] was sitting on the Total Wine shelf for literally years and collecting dust,” he said. “It’s hard when there’s thousands of products on a shelf. What would make them reach for something called cocktail caviar if they’ve never heard of it?”
To remedy that, LQR created videos explaining exactly what the product was and how it was made. But not every product has the potential to go viral.
“We only take on clients that we actually believe in the product. So if it’s just another company, it’s very hard for us to sell and get momentum, but caviar filled with vodka that you could add to any single drink in this world as a supplement—that screams viral,” Dollinger added.
Future proofing: LQR is not only helping give the niche premium liquor category a boost, but also hopes to integrate the supply, sales, and marketing facets of the alcoholic beverage industry into its own platform—and couple that with Dollinger’s deep faith in the industry as a whole.
“People say, ‘Good times, bad times, recessions—everybody enjoys a drink’…We realized how powerful our platform is to give the smaller brands a chance to get known in this world,” he said.
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