Barrel Fermentation Vs. Barrel Aging: What’s the Difference?

Wood wine barrels stored in a winery on the fermentation process
Wood wine barrels stored in a winery on the fermentation process

You may have heard the terms ‘barrel aging’ used interchangeably with ‘barrel fermentation,’ but it may surprise you to find that they are incredibly different processes. They both involve the same materials and methods, but their impact on wines and spirits can be astronomically different. Like most things involving alcohol, one small change can ripple out, causing a shift in the flavor profile of your brew.

Aging Vs. Fermentation

We’re going to explore the difference today and explain it in a way that enriches your understanding of both processes.

The Magic of Fermentation

In case you’re not a sommelier or whiskey lover, you might want a refresher on the importance that fermentation plays in making alcohol. During fermentation, yeast is added to the wort to begin fermenting. As time goes on, the yeast eats and breaks down the sugar to produce alcohol and CO2.

The only thing you need to know at this point is that you choose where this fermentation process happens. Some distilleries opt to place the liquid in wooden barrels for the sake of fermentation, but some operations decide to proceed with the process by setting the liquid into steel tanks. This slight difference can make a world of difference in the flavor of the final product.

The Benefits of Barrel Fermentation

Now that we’ve established the difference between these two products, we’d like to discuss some of the nuances of barrel fermentation. Placing the liquid into barrels for fermentation can impart much more flavor and complexity than a steel tank. Most notably, barrel fermentation results in a wine or spirit that boasts notes of toasted vanilla, muted fruit flavors, and a creamy round texture.

When to Choose Barrel Aging

The benefits of barrel aging are even more numerous than fermentation. Barrel aging results in a more profound and complex product, with tasting notes of vanilla, tobacco, and even caramel. When a distillery chooses to age in barrels like ours, they produce a softer and richer drink than what they could achieve otherwise.

Barrels That Enrich

To enjoy the best wine and spirits, you must give them the perfect conditions before, during, and after the brewing process. At the Barrel Mill, we’ve dedicated over a century to our understanding of lumber and craftsmanship. That’s why we stand as one of the most respected cooperages in our industry.

If you’re interested in selecting the finest barrels for your brightest product, contact us today to see how we can enrich your product with unmistakable quality.

Unique and Complicated Liquor Laws from Around the Country

A police officer standing at a bar paying his bill with a bar and liquor bottles in the background.
A police officer standing at a bar paying his bill with a bar and liquor bottles in the background.

As a national retailer for premium point-of-purchase displays, Creative Barrel has had the opportunity to create unique solutions for an array of clients. Even with our years of experience, we are continually adapting to new liquor laws and regulations for customers around the country.

Let’s take a look at some unique liquor laws and regulations around the country:

Sunday Liquor Sales

Over the last few years, many states have lessened their restrictions on alcohol sales on Sundays. Many states still do not sell alcohol on Sunday or close earlier than other days of the week–often referred to as “Blue Laws” which are often based on religious reasons.

Alcohol Takeaway for Restaurants

Since the pandemic, many states, counties, and cities have passed new laws based on the home delivery of alcohol. This was set into motion to promote food delivery efforts to support restaurants that could not open their doors to the public. Many of the laws required customers to purchase food along with their alcohol orders, and not all of them stayed in effect once restaurants were allowed to reopen. 

Banning the Sale of Miniature Bottles

Some states have adopted rules to help combat drunk driving as well as prevent littering. Some Massachusetts towns began banning the bottles as far back as 2018, though the law has yet to pass on a state-wide level. Back in June, New Mexico began phasing out the sale of miniature bottles of alcohol. The new law, which took full effect on July 1st, banned the sale of bottles containing less than 3 ounces of alcohol. 

Strange Liquor Laws Around the Country

While many of these liquor laws are easy to define and understand, there are. A few states that still adapt very strange or out of fashion rules around alcohol:

Utah: If you are craving a drink in a restaurant in Utah, you must order food with your beverage. And if you order beer, the alcohol content is likely 3.2% or below.

Indiana: Have you ever been to a Happy Hour in Indiana? If so, it might have been over 30 years ago, as lowering prices for a portion of the day is illegal in the state.

Colorado: While some states require you to purchase food with your rink, Colorado cannot sell food in their liquor stores. 

Maine: Looking to start the St. Paddy’s Day festivities early? You’re in luck in Maine. Even on Sundays, liquor stores open their doors at 6 AM!

Creative Barrel brings a classic approach to wooden barrel point of purchase displays. Whatever the laws in your state or the impression you would like to make on your customers, we can help you accomplish your goals. Visit our website to learn more.

Transitioning Product Displays from Summer to Fall

This time of year brings many transitions. Leaves change colors, tank tops are exchanged for sweaters, and “fun in the sun” turns toward “fun around the fire”. As the season changes, so do the ways that businesses attract customers. Everything from point of purchase displays to the products themselves are switched out to cater to a cooler, cozier, autumn seasonality. 

To best attract customers and freshen up the way products impact your brand, take a few considerations in mind. 

Seasonal Appeal from a Customer Perspective

Different products can sometimes emote different feelings depending on seasonality. For example, seasonal displays in a clothing retail setting might feature fuzzy sweaters and deeper, darker fall shades as opposed to light, bright summer features. For beverage, food, and alcohol displays, promote a warmer, cozier atmosphere.

In a food display, it should feel like anything a customer might purchase will stick to their ribs and fill them up through cool nights. Drinks should feel soothing and comforting rather than brisk and refreshing. The “ice cold” promotions of the summer give way to the ciders, toddies, and hot drinks of fall and winter.

Include Seasonal Holidays

Of course, retail providers understand that consumers purchase more during the holidays than during many other times of the year. While the full holiday season might still be a few months away, Halloween and thanksgiving promote the same fall festive feelings. Craft beers and hard ciders are also big sellers in the fall compared to other times of the year, so promotional displays that feature these products will do well.

Capitalize on The Atmosphere

When it comes to retail, there perhaps is no seasonal change as dramatic as the transition from fall to summer. In terms of advertising and marketing, few people fail to notice the change from bright, summer displays to pumpkin-spiced… everything! More than just #PSL fans can appreciate the change. The season is a chance to refresh: change your activities, change your wardrobe, and even change your food and drink options. As a builder of classic POP displays, Creative Barrel is no stranger to the rustic craze that seems to overtake us every fall. The decision to pair a whiskey or wine barrel with a retail product display is as obvious as going apple picking and saying yes to a hayride this time of year. Contact Creative Barrel to get started.  

The History of Whiskey: Fun Facts About Whiskey Barrels

Whiskey is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world. It is made with malt barley, yeast, water, and other grains that are mashed to extract sugars. The resulting liquid is then distilled and aged in oak barrels. Aging alcohol in oak barrels gives beverages distinctive flavors not otherwise achieved in other brewing and distilling measures.

Of course, oak barrels are used for much more than just brewing wine, beer, and spirits. Discover five fun facts about whiskey barrels that you may not know!

The Romans Took the Idea of Barrels from the Celtic Whiskey

Back in the second and third century B.C., the Roman Empire was using ceramic jugs called Jars of amphorae to transport their liquid goods. Though these jars were decorative and traditional, they were also fragile and not well-suited for transportation. The Celts living in areas of Germany, Britain, France, and Spain had advanced wood making and metalwork skills to create wooden barrels for liquid transportation but were unwilling to share the technology until they were eventually conquered by the Romans.

The Angel’s Share is Essential to Good Whiskey

There’s always some amount of alcohol that escapes during the aging process, called “The Angel’s Share.” The loss varies from roughly one percent to as much as eight percent per batch, depending on the number of times a barrel is used. This loss is helpful to the taste of the whiskey. without the Angel’s Share in each batch, the ending whiskey would be too potent and would carry a more unpleasant flavor.

Oak Barrels can be Used Over and Over… and Over…

The same oak whiskey barrel can be used for 100 years or more–if properly taken care of. Some barrels need to be repaired or swelled–a process in which the wood is soaked to help the wood expand, potentially clogging leaks and preparing the barrel for further use. This is especially useful since the perfect wood for an oak barrel is not easy to come by. Some French oak barrels are made from trees that are 100 years old or older. Because the wood must be split, each 100-year-old tree might only produce enough wood to make two barrels!  

The Smaller the Barrel, the Quicker the Aging

Smaller barrels and casks produce whiskey, bourbon, and other spirits at a faster rate. Because the surface area is more concentrated, the liquid absorbs the flavor more quickly. This is why smaller barrels are more popular with at-home brewers and microbreweries–results are given in months instead of years.

The Largest Wine Barrel in the World is Big Enough to Dance On

Called the Heidelberg Tun, the largest wine barrel in the world is roughly 23 feet (7 meters) high and 28 feet (8.5 meters) wide. The barrel was constructed back in over 250 years ago and has a dance floor built on the top. If you’ve ever felt the urge to dance on over 50,000 gallons of wine, you need only climb a short staircase!

Creative Barrel creates beautiful display barrels to catch the eye of your customers. We have a variety of sizing and customization options available on our website. Of course, if you’re looking to break a world record, you might want to contact us directly!

Creating Point of Purchase Displays for Sweets and Treats

Retail owners know that a quality point of purchase display can make a major difference in the sales of a product. An interesting display will grab the attention of your customers and entice them to get a closer look and buy your product.

There are limitless options for product displays, from cut-out cardboard pop-ups to elaborate installations. When it comes to marketing sweet treats and confectionery products, there’s just something about a wooden display that adds a bit of interest. It’s the difference between making a choice out of a storage bin or container or feeling like you’ve won a golden ticket into Willy Wonka’s Factory.   

Let’s take a look at the benefits of using wooden barrels in candy and treat displays.

Added Durability than the Average POP Display

There’s a saying constructing materials that are often used by children: the second most durable items are made with prisons in mind, but the most durable are made for children. Point of purchase displays from Creative Barrels are built to last. They are much more durable than the one-time-use displays seen at many big box stores. Especially for craft and specialty confectioners, a wooden barrel display will last years.

More Creativity and Customization

Wooden barrel displays are beautiful and naturally set themselves apart from the average display. Creative Barrel displays make an instant impact on customers, catching their eye and drawing them in. Our barrels are also customizable, including a range of colors, sizes, and stains, you may choose to add accessories and special features, such as windows, shelves, and nearly anything you can think of.

Promote Feelings of Nostalgia

While the days of the candy store owner might be fading, you can’t help but get a nostalgic feeling from a product display made of wooden barrels or baskets. Our custom displays are made using American-made pine, oak, and aspen wood staves, to our high-quality assembly- just as they have been for decades.

Creative Barrel is not a mass-producer of barrels. Our barrels are locally sourced and made of premium products. Featuring custom designs and eye-catching displays, your product is guaranteed to perform and look its best.

Creative Barrel can make you an amazing product display–no matter what your idea. Choose from a variety of styles using large barrels, small barrels, or even stacked basket displays. Find inspiration in our gallery of wooden barrel displays.

Investing in Your Brand: How to Plan a Basic Marketing Budget

Close up image of a professional woman’s hands working on a graphic tablet and keyboard
Close up image of a professional woman’s hands working on a graphic tablet and keyboard

Marketing plans of the past involved a fair amount of guesswork. Before the days of online analytics and trend tracking, creating a budget and marketing plan for a business was all about trial and error. Some companies would take big leaps and either have them pay off or fall flat on their face.

Investing in a marketing budget is not only a good idea, it’s a necessity for any business these days. It’s hard to know which areas you should invest in, especially with an ever-growing range of marketing and advertising options available. Before you decide on which marketing steps to take, you’ll need to set a budget.

Evaluate Your Business

Before you begin to set a marketing budget, it’s important to understand what stage your business is currently operating in. Your company will rank somewhere on a range of start-up to well-established. If your business is just starting out, or going through a period of growth, you might be better suited to invest in other areas of the business, such as hiring more employees or looking for a larger space.

While longer-running and more established companies often have more money to put toward marketing, they might also want to consider potential updates, such as rebranding efforts or a website update.

Understand Your Sales Funnel

Every customer or client goes through a journey–from the moment they are made aware of a company, to the moment they decide to take the action of purchasing their products or services. This process is called a sales funnel. It takes a potential purchaser (or lead) and turns them into customers by funneling the most qualified prospects.

Make note of the journey that your customers take before making a purchase:

  • How are your customers made aware of your goods and services?
  • What is it that keeps their interest in your company?
  • Is there anything they need to know before they buy?
  • Are there any major factors that contributed to making a final decision?

A sales funnel helps you deliver the right message at the right moment, which is what marketing is all about. The best use of marketing is when the right message gets put in front of the right person at the right time.

Consider Your Operational Costs

Properly calculated operational costs are the sum of a business’s fixed costs plus its variable costs. It will tell you how much your business spends to produce goods and services for your customers, and how much is left over to set other budget items–such as a marketing budget. They are important metrics for any business to understand and evaluate.

Set Goals

Evaluating the success or potential improvements of a marketing plan can only be determined if you first set clear goals. Are you looking to gain revenue or awareness? Is there a set number you’d like to reach to make a revenue goal? If so, how many sales would need to be completed in order to reach that goal? Conduct some research to better understand typical sales conversion rates and how to set a realistic target in your share of the market.

Scope out the Competition

Speaking of your share of the market, understanding your competition is very important to a successful marketing plan. Take a deep look into the key players in your industry. What are they doing in terms of marketing and advertising? Which methods or tools do they utilize? Are there certain areas that you might be able to capitalize on or improve?

Once you have completed these steps, you are ready to set your marketing plan. A good marketing mix will utilize traditional media, POP displays, and digital marketing. Depending on your audience and their purchasing habits, you might choose to focus on one area over another. From there, you can decide how much to spend, the tools you will need, and have a better understanding of how your customers want to be marketed to.

Creative Barrel creates classic approaches to modern point-of-purchase displays. Our eye-catching designs are beautiful and built to last. Learn more about advertising and displaying your products with a unique, customized display.

Alcohol Marketing Trends for Summer 2021

Like many industries, the alcohol industry has faced many challenges and obstacles in its advertising. Since the pandemic, alcohol sales and advertising have increased drastically, as has the demand from customers. Socializing became a very different occasion, taking place at home or over zoom calls. Now, as vaccinations are widespread and restrictions are lifting, patrons will want to return to patios and dining rooms this summer.

No matter what is happening in the world, summer is always a turning point for restaurant and liquor sales. Since the last year has uncovered many trends and advertising changes, let’s take a look at what we can expect from liquor advertising as the seasons change.

Liquor Advertising Stand-Outs after the Pandemic

We saw many trends develop as the pandemic hit the US. Boxed wine was the supermarket go-to beverage during months of lockdown–and for good reason. Bagged and boxed wine is easier to store and better preserves open wine than bottles, making it a popular choice for the newly stay-at-home crowd. It’s also more hygienic and sustainable, especially for restaurants. However, whether customer demand for this vessel of vino remains is yet to be seen.

RTD (or Ready-to-Drink) beverages were also very popular after the pandemic. Hard seltzers and pre-mixed cocktails have been popular for the last few years and will continue to dominate this summer. Convenience is the major selling point, especially during a time when bars and restaurants were closed or at a limited capacity, but these beverages will continue to be in high demand. Positioning these products in easy-to-spot locations with a unique product display is a no-brainer for stores and liquor shops during the summer.

Influencer Marketing for Beverages

Influencer marketing has been a hot advertising method for many industries. As influencers are still demanding the attention of social media users, celebrities have begun advertising their alcohol brands with much more vigor than in the past. And it’s not only the types of celebs you’d expect. For example, did you know that Post Malone has a line of wines?  

Video is also becoming a major tool in advertising. The ‘stories’ function–once a tool only for Snapchat users–is now a simple way to share video across many platforms. Through careful targeting and vetting, alcohol brands can reach age-appropriate audiences like never before using engaging and impactful content.

It’s hard to predict what the next few years will entail for the alcohol industry. Pandemic or no, we’ve known that engaging content and unique display ideas are important in creating a well-rounded brand. As technology makes it more difficult to catch the attention of customers, something truly different will always be a better choice.

For a beautiful, functional, and one-of-a-kind POP display, contact Creative Barrel. Our premium barrel displays will make an immediate impact for your brand in any setting.  

The Design Principles of a Successful Company Logo

It’s important to any business to have a strong and recognizable visual brand. Using specific fonts, colors, visual features and logos can get a company’s message across quickly and without explanation. This is why a clear company logo is especially important. Logos have the power to draw the eye of potential new customers and develop an identity with current clientele.  

Your company log isn’t something that should change often, as it will confuse and even irritate customers, so choosing a logo isn’t a quick decision to make. Take these factors into account when creating a new logo or rebranding an out-of-date style.

Keep it Simple

A successful logo is a combination of text, shape, and branded colors that represent a company. Think about the most recognizable logos: Nike, Apple, McDonald’s, etc. even if these logos were slightly off, feature the wrong color, or aren’t featured in the right circumstances, we would still recognize them more often than not. The best logos are recognizable because they are simple and easily recognized. When deciding on a logo, think of where you plan on using it. Would it look good on a polo shirt? Can you read it clearly on a business card? How about if you shrunk it down to fit on a pen? Simplicity is important.

Make it Memorable

It sounds cliché, but attention spans are very short these days. You have only moments–perhaps seconds, in many instances–to grab a customer’s attention. Your logo might only be a portion of your company’s brand, but it’s most often the most influential. The elements, fonts, and even colors you chose to include in your logo all tell a story about your company and what it stands for.

A good logo should stand out from the crowd. This is how your customers will identify you versus your competition. If your company logo reminds customers of another logo–or worse yet, a specific company–you’ve missed the mark.

Logo and Branding Versatility

Your logo is a visual representation of your brand. It’s important that your logo is versatile enough to be featured in electronic and print forms, as well as on merchandise and apparel. A versatile logo will maintain its integrity no matter where or how it is being used. It should be functional in a portrait or horizontal orientation. It should also take into account potential colors, shapes, and textures that your logo will be included with most often.

Creative Barrel display barrels are designed to represent your brand. They can even be customized with a range of colors, stains, and even your unique logo. If you would like to learn more about custom branded display barrels, contact Creative Barrel to learn more.

The History of Barrel Making and Cooperage

While the actual origins of barrels are hard to find, wooden barrels as we know them were invented around 300 B.C. In the past, wooden barrels were standard for transporting goods. They were very durable and made for a convenient way to transport goods. While modern technology has replaced transportation methods of the past, we still utilize barrels for the aging, storage, and transportation of alcoholic beverages.

Since wooden barrels are not as common place today, it’s understandable that many people don’t know how they are made or why they still in production. Let’s take a look at how barrels are made and why we continue to use wood.

The Process of Cooperage

Wooden barrels are made by a process called cooperage. The name comes from the professional craftsmen who make the barrels. Cooperage takes time because the craftsman carefully puts together each piece of wood. These pieces of wood are held together by metal hoops. For barrels used for liquid, they are toasted over a flame after they are finished. The toasting of the wood allows for the flavor to come through more potently in beverages. After toasting, the coopers will sand the outside to reduce the likelihood of splinters, and the barrel is ready to go.

Why is Wood so Important for Barrels?

When barrels were invented, the previous method of transportation was clay pots. Pots were easier to create, however, they could not hold as much and were not as durable. The wood used for barrels is now essential because it can make or break the flavor of your favorite drink. While some companies may use wood chips or sawdust to create the flavor, barrels create it naturally. Creative Barrel only uses sustainably sourced pine, oak, or aspen for our barrels.

Every barrel has a different use. At Creative Barrel, our premium pine barrels are most famous for displays, while aspen barrels are typical for coffee producers. Barrel making has a long history because it has served as beneficial tools for transporting goods since the B.C. era. The barrels we think of now are prime examples of how wooden barrels can improve your favorite alcoholic beverages’ flavor. If you are looking for professionally crafted barrels to age your drinks in, contact us today.

How to Target Different Generations and Audiences in 2021

Marketers have known for years that you have to change your marketing strategy depending on your target audience. Several generations are currently at the drinking age. The way you market to baby boomers, who are seasoned drinkers, will be different from advertising to Gen Z, which only has a few years at the drinking age. To successfully sell your alcoholic beverages, you need to understand the best ways to market to baby boomers, generation X, millennials, and generation Z.

First and foremost, you will have to identify your target audience. Spending your time, energy, and money on a generation that is not interested in whiskey, for example, is not an optimal idea. Though, if you are trying to market a new seltzer, millennials and gen z’s are where it is at.

In recent years, millennials have made up 79.8% of seltzer sales, so they are a recommended target for hard seltzers. Statistics like these will tell you which generation is more likely to purchase a type of alcohol, and using that information is helpful if you need to narrow your target audience.

Targeting Boomers

Baby boomers are those who were born between 1946 and 1964, or right after World War II. Boomers are one of the most populous generations because many families wanted to grow after the war. There are several tips for marketing to baby boomers that you can utilize, such as do not use slang, utilize Facebook, provide plenty of useful information, do not use the terms old or elderly, and make things accessible. So, when making an advertisement for your new alcoholic beverage, your advertising and signage should use clear, readable fonts, simple language, and a straightforward approach.

Appealing to Gen X

Those born between 1965 and 1980 are qualified as gen xers. It’s one of the smallest generations in the United States, but they have a lot of purchasing power. This generation loves a deal. When marketing to them, provide discounts or loyalty programs that build an incentive to keep them coming back. Have written reviews or testimonials available, giving them proof of the quality and satisfaction others received from your product. Keep things personal, give fantastic customer service, and use videos to sell your beverages to Generation X.

Selling to Millennials

Millennials are often the focus of marketing strategies as they are the largest living and working population today. Millennials are those born from 1981-1996 and grew up in the early age of technology. Many of their formative years incorporated switching from wired home phones to blackberries to iPhones. This means they are used to change and adapt quickly. To successfully reach a millennial audience, give instant responses, meet with them personally (whenever possible), and commit to authenticity.

Reign in Gen Z

Generation Z is the youngest generation that can drink, with only a few years at the legal age. Those classified as Generation Z are those born between 1997-2013. This generation has largely only known technology. To sell successfully to Gen Z, you will have to sell an experience, not the product. Utilize videos, build your engagement with customers, and use real, personalized content. With Gen Z, using influencer marketing is often more valuable because people they look up to are no longer the famous superstars of Hollywood. It is a person with 20,000+ followers on Instagram or TikTok.

There are many differences when marketing to different generations. Identify your target audience and utilize these tips to appeal to any age. If you better understand your target market, you will sales will see the benefits.

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