This is the first installment of Tip of the Hat, a new series where we give a tip of the hat to brands who are doing it right. 

The branding of Bulleit is delicious.

Branding alcohol can be tricky. Sure, some people are willing to try whatever the barkeep is mixing, but on the whole people tend to stick to drinking what they already know and love. Take Jack and Coke, for example. Jack Daniels is so heavily ingrained in our culture that it has become intrinsic to the cocktail name, partly because Jack and Coke sounds like a good name for a drink.

Bulleit fits in well with this existing paradigm, and it has a good story, to boot: the name comes from master distiller Tom Bulleit — whose great ancestor Augustus Bulleit was making bourbon way back in 1830. Saying Bulleit Bourbon is addictively alliterative, evoking the combined energy of Harold Edgerton’s bullet and Steve McQueen’s Bullitt.

When Bulleit was first being distilled, the makers knew they couldn’t compete using marketing dollars alone. The product name was a great start, but to be successful, the brand packaging would need to attract people’s attention with its good looks and historical roots, then hold that attention with its good quality.

Rather than throwing their money into the $2 billion per year alcohol advertising abyss, which people try as much as possible to ignore, Bulleit made the decision to put their money into making a distinctly beautiful brand. The bottle is pretty enough to repurpose after the liquid is long gone, which essentially turns the brand packaging into free advertising.

It’s no wonder distribution and sales have been increasing every year. Thirsty?


Follow us on Twitter @ahundredmonkeys for more on naming and branding and bourbon.

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