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12 Foot Beard

How do you introduce a new whiskey? How do you stand out on a wall of glassy amber—a sea of sameness?

The answer is you find a little known story of a local oddball and introduce his story of integrity and character in such a way that it’s impossible to ignore.

The story goes something like this:

In the 1860’s a Pike County, Missouri man grew a beard of astounding length. And it wasn’t long before other men followed suit. While the beard was astounding, the true story behind it was nothing short of inspiring. He had lost a bet and the beard was his wager. When he died, the beard measured over 12 feet long. That kind of dedication to honoring promises isn’t just another thing—it’s the only thing that matters. We gave our word to distill a spirit without equal and here in Missouri we keep our word, no matter what.

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That’s what the back of the bottle says. The logo on the front used a retro-frontier typeface and wood-etching style illustration, every visual element immediately established the brand as distinctly different.

Once the label was created and printed on the vintage style bottle we knew that while stunning it would still need some support.

We created a simple, clean website that utilized parallax technology. It gave us a place to tell more of our story and let people know where they could buy a bottle. And just for giggles we created a wicked, custom 3-D 404 page where our bottle exploded.

Visit 12FootBeard.com.

And since we had a little time between sips, we also created a old-time photo app for events that allowed users to take a picture and a branded 12 Foot Beard frame would appear.

We were working on a shoestring budget, so the team had to be smart, agile, and savvy. We created social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and used them to start a dialog with customers. We presented our own branded messages that echoed the brand standards of the established label. The tone was one of integrity and honesty with a touch of sarcasm. Soon, our followers were sharing images of enjoying 12 Foot Beard with their friends.

So, with our social media efforts gaining momentum we wondered what could be next. How could we ride this momentum? How could we take our brand to where the people are? And then it came to us like two high powered headlights, how about a tour bus? So, we borrowed Kenny Chesney’s tour bus, wrapped it in our brand and sent it rolling down Missouri highways. It stopped at tailgates, liquor stores, bars and anywhere else with a space big enough to park in. It wasn’t long until our customers started sharing pictures through our social media accounts writing, “I saw you guys on 44!” and

“When are you gonna drive that thing to our town?”

We hosted a launch party with our partners at Atomic Cowboy. We created signage, tee shirts, signature drinks and coasters to put them on. We also attended Whiskey in the Winter, a yearly event of whiskey connoisseurs, and made a huge splash. True to our brand we eschewed the expected “women in tight black dresses” approach that our competition used. No, we were manly men of integrity, wearing our bit-too-snug branded tees. Soon everyone (including the black dress wearing brand ambassadors for other whiskeys) wanted a tee shirt and we were all too willing to hand them out.

Our brand started to gain some traction. But, we needed to provide more of our story than the space on the label could provide. So, again with no deep pockets to dig into, we developed a brand video in-house and released it on our webpage and through our social media channels.

Also, we created a branded deck of cards. And why wouldn’t we? What goes better with a glass or four of 12 Foot Beard whiskey than a game of Texas Hold ’em or five card Stud? Nothing. Besides, the brand art was just begging to be incorporated into a deck of cards. Each card was designed with headlines that spoke in our brand voice. We even created a custom 12 Foot Beard game to accompany the cards.

As the brand continues to gain more momentum, we continue to find new ways for the brand story to get out there and to have it escape the wall of amber glass.