So arctic blast number two (or is it three?) has come and gone (or is it still here?), and as we continue to work through the sangria “off-season” (a concept we begrudgingly accept but still don’t agree with), we do succumb to the reality that idle time increases. I have learned from experience that idle hands do carry forth the devil’s work. While there are plenty of pranks to be played in the snow, we try to turn our attention to support a better cause (but please, feel free to share your winter pranks).
I took a paragraph or two in a recent blog to look back, reflect, and pat ourselves on the back. While that puts a smile on my face, I refuse to let us rest on our laurels. It’s time to start projecting towards the next “season”. We’re looking at where we’ve excelled and succeeded, and where we’ve failed to execute. Outside of expanding into new territory, this represents our greatest opportunity for growth. If some corn syrup synthetic blend with a sangria label can find its way on most shelves, I’ll be damned if there isn’t a place for Senor Sangria.
So it comes down to education, both for us and our potential customers. Where has our strategy failed? To a beverage manager, in the end it’s about $$$, so it’s our job to get them to see potential revenue in the quality of our product and our history of incremental sales. We have to keep setting up tables to encourage strangers to give Senor Sangria a try. And for our fans and customers, we’re looking into hosting some events to show our appreciation. We are truly grateful to the folks that have helped to spread the word, and want to give back.
Now, remember! One bottle of Red, some Grand Marnier, and one cinnamon stick in a slow cooker and Senor Sangria fits right in with the winter season! Cheers!
Polar Vortex??? Not everyone knew what the heck that was prior to a couple weeks ago, but just about half the country figured out that it’s essentially an arctic hurricane. A ton of fresh snow was dumped across the northeast, and parents didn’t let their kids out to frolic in the winter wonderland for fear of frostbite within just minutes. Schools closed or delayed opening, roads closed, airports closed. Niagara Falls even partially froze.
Now it didn’t take a polar vortex for the folks here at Senor Sangria to realize ‘tis isn’t exactly the season for sangria, but that didn’t stop our Sales Managers Allen and Kendell. They strapped on their snow shoes and worked to [literally] break the ice with new retailers. It might not be realistic to expect a store manager to stand up our display or even place an order; but they are willing to let us introduce ourselves and taste a sample. So as the ground thaws and thoughts turn to beaches, BBQs, and backyard fun, when we swing by again it’s not a cold call. And if we’ve done our job getting the word out and the retailer realizes the demand, we’ve built another relationship and added another point of sales.
Now, all that being said, our sales manager Kendell ignored the naysayers and demonstrated that Senor Sangria can absolutely be that beverage that warms the body and soul on a chilly day. In a slow cooker he combined Senor Sangria Red, a cinnamon stick, and a shot of Grand Marnier. He served it at a retailer and received rave reviews! Give it a try, or play around with the concept and let us know!
We’re back! We’ve been hard at work since you last heard from us, and a lot has happened. But first…a step back. Some of you might be here for the first time, so an introduction is in order.
My name is Rick Martinez. As a kid I always wanted to own my own business. I began my career in IT and software development, gravitating towards start-ups. I loved the challenge and accountability that came with being part of a small team. Outside of work, I enjoyed spending time with family and friends…and we loved to have fun. Over time I had developed my own sangria recipe, so naturally this came to be a staple at our parties and get-togethers.
One day, my then girlfriend/now wife said something that changed everything. “Start a business. Bottle your sangria and call it Señor Sangria.” At first I didn’t take her seriously (I knew squat about the beverage industry), but one day I bought a bottle of sangria at the store and realized…it wasn’t sangria. It was artificially flavored sweet wine. After that day, I never looked back.
I left my career and sold my apartment for initial funding. Three years were spent developing our brand and perfecting the formula. A good wine as the base along with real fruit juices (and a few other secrets) resulted in a sangria that tasted authentic. I began cold calling liquor stores and delivering from the back of my SUV, which soon became a van. After bringing on some part time sales and establishing Señor Sangria in the marketplace, we brought on distributors.
Today we distribute in NJ (35000 cases sold this year), NY, MA, CT, and we recently added MD, DE, and D.C. At year’s end we project sales of 55,000 cases and $2.3 million in revenue. We’re stoked but we’ve just begun. Having perspective is important, but we don’t make it a habit to look back. Chances are we’ll just see who’s gaining on us.
Cheers! There’s more to come!
These days it seems more and more that we are accomplishing what we
set out to achieve. Both Senor Sangria Red and White continue to be a huge
success. 2012 is rockin’ along with the summer heat. We’re psyched
and busy as hell as we are working hard to meet demand. But, July quickly
became August. In the blink of an eye September will arrive. Before
you know it, fall is here, and – for some reason – demand drops off
(note: Sangria tastes just as good in the fall!).
So the process of setting goals for 2013 that will dust 2012’s
accomplishments is once again on the forefront of our minds. We want
to keep our feet-on-the-street by continuing to sell and market
our brand. We want to sell more through today’s retailers and
distributors. We want to expand to more states. We want to add
more distributors. Heck, we might even want to introduce
something new… The list goes on and on!
We’ll keep you posted, but In the meantime…stay cool by drinking a big glass of sangria and Cheers to everyone!
The Last 4-5 weeks have been a whirlwind! Back in March I posted a blog about how much driving I’ve been doing….well I am still driving, driving, driving! Our car is only 6 months old and we have hit 14,000 miles +. We’ve definitely taken some extreme road trips to manage all these different markets…..In one day I drove 12hrs + for two 30 minute meetings. NJ to Buffalo, NY to MA back to NJ…Oh man…thanks goodness for good music and lots of energy drinks.
The traveling is totally worth it, but the biggest struggle with being on the road so much, is leaving my beautiful pregnant wife Maria home alone. I would love to just be home spending time with her and of course taking responsibilities off her plate, so she could relax more. She has been such a trooper and is so supportive of the chaos (good chaos that is) in our lives right now. It is so important to get these markets established now, before the baby comes so I can have quality time at home with my girls in September.
With all this traveling, I have continued confidence that our brand is unique and we are definitely onto something here. As we begin to expand outside of NJ into NY, CT and MA we continue to receive the same excitement from our distributors, retailers and customers…We are certain customers will continue to come back again and again for our sangria….YEAH BABY!
When you get to a point in your chosen profession where you stop
learning new things and you find yourself doing the same thing day in
and day out…well, that’s never a good thing. You’re not being
challenged…you’re not challenging yourself. You get complacent and
lazy. That’s when bad things happen. We strive to ensure that does
not happen at Senor Sangria.
At this point we’re pretty confident that Senor Sangria is good…damn
good…awesome, if you ask me. Even so, we’ve started investing money
drilling into our formula and our practices to find out exactly
why it rocks. We want to be able to replicate this success with
future products (yes, that’s right folks!). We love to experiment and
do crazy things, like testing our products to see how they stand up to
harsh environments. We bake bottles in the sun, freeze them, then
bake them again to see how they taste. We want to know what happens
if a bottle or case or [gasp] pallete is left out for a month in the
summer…or the winter. This type of R&D is crucial to our success.
In a sense, we feel like a craft brewery. We put a lot of time,
effort, and passion into what we do. We want to ensure only the best
gets to our customers. As we gain more and more experience in this
industry, we find that you can never analyze your methods and
procedures enough. So we are constantly testing our boundaries to
provide the best possible product from production line, to the
warehouse, through distribution, to the shelves, and most importantly
to your home!
On Saturday, January 28th we participated in a charity event organized by the family of Gerard’s Wine and Spirits located in Point Pleasant, NJ. We absolutely love this family! The mom, dad, and son are so nice and friendly! The support we have received from them is amazing! We are so grateful for the opportunity in getting to know this family and can’t thank them enough for exposing so many people to our product.
Many of the folks at this event have already tried our Red Sangria, but hadn’t had the opportunity to try our White. We definitely pushed our White sangria very hard, because a lot of them weren’t aware of it. We received so much positive feedback and everyone promised to buy a bottle of White and a bottle of Red, the next time they take a trip to their local liquor store. We also made friends with some wonderful people, who were also in the beverage industry. Hearing about their experiences really helped us become more knowledgeable and we appreciate them being so open and honest.
This was a great event for more exposure and increasing our confidence level. We have always been passionate about our sangria because we know it’s great product, but after this event we are confident that our product is here to last. We are forming a following of dedicated loyal customers that will continue to grow with us. Thanks again to the Gerard’s for including us in this wonderful event.
Hello, friends, fans, and first-time followers! The 2012 Sangria Season is upon us, and like last year and the year before it, I expect it to be our toughest year yet! And I need your help! (more on that to come…)
We expect to see continued demand for our product, which means yet again reaching production volumes never seen before. While it will be challenging enough to meet those demands while maintaining our quality standards, it is also our intention to continue our aggressive expansion into more states. Specifically, Western CT, Upstate NY and MA. I’ve already been to MA a few times and there are a lot of great distributors psyched about our product. What’s sweet is I’ve noticed the MA market is similar to NJ – a state we are somewhat familiar with – so we’ll be looking to replicate best practices for that market.
CT and NY are also giving good vibes. In CT we’ve got Star Distributors lined up to cover western CT (Fairfield and New Haven ). Another distributor, A Gallo & Company, will cover Litchfield County. That gives us 3 of Connecticut’s 8 counties, which is a helluva good start. Just recently on a drive we dropped in on 6 liquor stores to do gather some info. What are the competitors? What is the top selling sangria? What do people want? It was awesome to see that everyone we spoke to gave rave reviews on Star Distributors. And of course we went bearing gifts. We left one store owner with a bottle of white and a bottle of red (not a bottle of rosé instead…) and our business card hoping to hear back with his comments. Down the road from there, I stopped for some grub at a Mexican joint and started chatting with some guy that worked with the power company. After some obligatory opening weather commentary, he asked why I was there and he got our story from the very beginning. After hearing me out, he also left with samples to share with friends and family (Winning!). Bottom line, if you run into us driving through your state, there’s a damn good chance you’ll walk away with some libations!
Right…so how can you help me??? I’m going to be putting a ton of miles on the old odometer to make this happen this year. I need some driving music recommendations from our Sangria-Head community! Of course, I have my favorites and I can always ask Siri for her thoughts, but I want your input!
We have been reflecting quite a bit on 2011 as we begin our 2012 sangria season. While looking back on the past year, we ask ourselves; did we accomplish everything we set out to do??? And my answer is HELL YEAH!
Below is a list of our 2011 New Year’s Resolutions for our company and promises we made to our loyal followers. While, there are a few we didn’t achieve, we definitely tried our best and will work towards achieving them in 2012.
• Increase online communication… Using Facebook, Twitter and other outlets to share what’s going on with our company
• Listen to our customers… Find out what our customers are saying about our product
• Make our sangria available by the gallon… A few folks have suggested we add this as a resolution
• Bring our white sangria to market… This is something we’ve been teasing everyone about for the past 6 months
• Own the NJ sangria market… Basically when people think about bottled sangria in NJ we want them to think of our name
• Create more videos… Yup… that means you’ll see me more often… I don’t know if that’s a good thing…
• Create Senor Sangria Swag (t-shirts, hats, etc…) for people to buy online
• Double the number of locations in New Jersey that carry Senor Sangria
2011 was a great year for Senor Sangria!
• We added 3 distributors in NJ to our Senor Sangria Family!
• 20,000 cases of our White and Red Sangria were sold because of the efforts of our talented sales force and the motivated employees at Short Point, Peerless and Kramer distributors…YEAH BABY!
• Our sangria can be found in 900 + locations across NJ
• Our White Sangria has been on the shelves since June 2011
2011 brought us closer to really understanding why our consumers like our product and our brand. The support we’ve received from store owners/employees has been overwhelming. Everyone is so animated with excitement about our product, which really pumps us up because this is exactly how we feel. I know that lots of folks would like us to expand quicker, but like we said at the beginning; we are a home grown company and will concentrate on one store at a time and one city/state at a time. It may take a while, but Senor Sangria will arrive in your city/state, this is our vow to you!
At the end of October, we participated in the NJLSA (New Jersey Liquor Store Alliance) Tradeshow. This was our 3rd year at the show and we have always used this as an opportunity for leads and getting the word out about our company and our product. This year was a whole different experience, now that we had Shore Point and Peerless distributors on board. Lots of folks already knew about us and the feedback we received was humbling. Shore Point was also at the trade show, so our booth was right next to theirs. We were surrounded by all their fantastic staff and the love we received was tremendous. We really felt like part of the family, which makes this journey we are on….so much better! I started reflecting on the year to come and couldn’t help but get excited. Our brand will be so much stronger in 2012 and we can only go up from here! We would like to thank our distributors and our loyal customers for your continued support! We wouldn’t be here without you!