Tips for Selling Drinkware (or, How Jimmy Carter Saved the Drinkware Industry)
Bill Mahre, president of ADG Promotional Products, Hugo, Minn., succinctly tells us why promotional drinkware is still so popular:
“People still use them, and they use them on a regular basis.”
Pretty simple, right? It doesn’t have to be complicated to be good. Sometimes the most ingenious promotional product is the one that gets used the most, not the one that has the fanciest bells and whistles.
“People are looking and saying, ‘Does it behoove me from a marketing standpoint to get something that people will want to reuse?’ because that’s how you have greater impressions,” he said. “I think that’s the one thing about drinkware, about why it’s so popular in some respects. People still use the old, traditional coffee mug.”
Mahre isn’t alone in his thinking here. And now, more than ever, reusability is key—not only for the sake of increased exposure and brand visibility, but for legal reasons as well.
We’ve seen multiple national parks, amusement parks and even cities ban the sale of single-use plastic bottles. The environmentally-focused laws aren’t great news for big-name beverage companies, like Nestle and Coca-Cola, but for promotional products distributors, it means opportunity.
Jeff Lee, vice president of STOPNGO Line, Industry, Calif., said that, laws aside, the eco-friendly mentality growing in the U.S. is prompting more people to want greener options in their drinkware.
“With current trends, drinkware products will always be in the top few categories of most popular promotional items,” he said. “With trends going the way they are, they will consistently stay there as well."
So, just what are the current trends in drinkware? Obviously you can’t ever go wrong with a sturdy coffee mug, like Mahre said. And eco-friendly designs are always appreciated, as Lee pointed out.
But, the two (inadvertently) agreed that stainless steel is the future.
“One of the most popular trends right now is stainless steel drinkware,” Lee said. “I believe it stems from following a few retail brands that have trended that direction with their consumer products.”
Companies like YETI Coolers and S’Well are prime examples of companies that have created stainless steel drinkware products to big-time customer praise.
“The trends are mostly water bottles and ‘YETI style’ insulated stainless steel tumblers,” Mahre added. “The properties of these tumblers to keep drinks hot or cold for long periods of time make them great for the office, travel and any outdoor event.”
While drinkware is surely meant to be portable, the two pros said that drinkware you’d find in bars and restaurants is vitally important. And, as new trends develop (like the burgeoning popularity of Moscow Mules in copper cups), drinkware needs to follow suit.
Small Companies, Big Business
“We offer a wide range of barware products, and thus have really extended our drinkware line from everything including Moscow Mule mugs all the way to stainless steel, copper plated pint cups,” Lee said. “The stainless steel drinkware category is extremely popular right now, and I believe will continue to be for the next few years.”
Another huge trend in the beverage world is the growing rate of microbreweries in the U.S. After all, it’s a relatively new thing.
Did you know it was former President Jimmy Carter who paved the way for the microbrew revolution? In 1978, Carter signed H.R. 1337, which made home production of beer and wine exempt from federal taxation, thus ending regulation set in place by Prohibition in the 1920s. (When this is an answer on “Jeopardy,” you’ll have us to thank.)
Thanks to President Carter, microbreweries and family-owned wineries have been thriving in the U.S. But, since they’re much smaller companies than the real titans of the industry (think Anheuser-Busch or MillerCoors), advertisement is a necessity.
“We’re seeing a lot of wineries and a lot of microbreweries,” Mahre said. “Those have become really popular all over the country.”
What sets many microbreweries and wineries apart from other clients is that they sometimes have very detailed logo designs. They have to stand out in the store, you know? And, when they want to put those logos on drinkware—even items as small as shot glasses—they want the logos to look right. That’s where Mahre says ADG Promotional Products shines.
“The one thing that’s really challenging for distributors is that a lot of the microbreweries and wineries tend to have very intricate and complex logos. And if you use traditional imprinting abilities, you’d never be able to pull it off, because of either multiple colors or registrations that are way too intricate. And, in our case, a lot of people come to us because we have this digital imprint, so we can replicate it exactly.”
And isn’t that the most important part of decorating a promotional product? Your clients want their logo to look correct. Whether it’s on an eco-friendly water bottle, a fancy copper mug or a tiny little shot glass in the bar, your clients want their logos to be seen over and over again. And drinkware is the perfect solution.