This is a Quora question and here is my answer.

I have not sold spirits directly so do not know of the specific nuances for that industry. But below are more general approaches for a strategy for introducing a new product.  In my experience, this works across many CPG categories.

I will assume you do not sell to the distributor already and you are a new brand to the distributor.

First, answer these three questions:

  1. What are your competitor offerings and how are you different?
  2. What does your target market want that your competitors are not offering?
  3. What are the consumer trends in your category?

You triangulate from the above three to arrive at a differentiated product that will capture your target market’s attention.

Next, how do you plan to market your product? How will you capture your target market’s attention? What marketing copy and channels will you use?

You have to answer the above questions, and in many cases, before you approach a distributor, you must have previous sales that proves your marketing and messaging is bringing in sales.

If that is not possible, then can you demonstrate that your category (or sub-category) of products is already selling through other competitors, in other channels, or geographic areas?

You will also need to commit marketing and sales dollars (also called tradespend) to support sales for the distributor. Marketing is messaging and brand awareness, and sales is selling to retail accounts that the distributor supports. Most distributors will not sell your product for you. You have to do that, as they will just handle logistics for the retail account.

If you do not have a differentiated product, but it is very similar or exactly similar to competitors, then you will compete on price, which means you have to be able to offer a cheaper product, or, you are priced the same, but you are willing to spend more dollars than your competitors on marketing and sales to attract customers.

With more product innovation/differentiation, then you might get away with less spend on marketing and sales, but with less innovation/differentiation, you will need to spend more to capture attention.