The traditional artist/brand liquor partnership just got “coldcocked” by Rick Zeiler.
Zeiler has been a pioneer in melding spirits and music, with a proven track record doing such deals with Jägermeister and Grey Goose Vodka at Sidney Frank Importers as director of marketing for 18 years. Jäger, for instance, is a brand built in the United States largely on the backs of musicians, tours and brand/band partnerships with such acts as Slayer, Staind, Slipknot, Slightly Stoopid, Korn, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley and others. With Jäger, Zeiler built brand identity, sponsored bands and helped develop artists, most memorably through the Jägermeister tours and sponsorships at festivals. Zeiler resigned a year ago and has now launched a new animal in the space, Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey, owned by artists and touring executives.
Rather than straight tour-sponsorship dollars, the Coldcock concept allows artists to directly share in the profits of the brand they’re helping to build. “Imagine an up-and-coming band requesting a piece of the parking and bar sales at their upcoming shows,” Zeiler says. “Most promoters would laugh at them.”
But Zeiler says the Coldcock model allows bands to earn profit-sharing units in the company, Zeiler Spirits, by simply drinking and talking about the product. “We wanted to enable the musicians who help build a brand and company to ‘own it,’ and stand to profit from it,” he says. “What we are really asking of these people is to help with the brand [through] social media, product placements, mentions onstage, telling people to drink responsibly. We ask them to do what they’re comfortable with.”
Investors in Coldcock include Michael Arfin, agent for Linkin Park at Artists Group International; John Reese, producer of the Mayhem, Uproar and Oddball Comedy tours; Creative Artists Agency agents Darryl Eaton, Ryan Harlacher and Kyle Wilenski; and such artists as Kerry King (Slayer), Miles Doughty (Slightly Stoopid) and Disturbed’s David Draiman.
“We couldn’t ask for a more influential and diverse cast of people to help drive sales and build with us,” Zeiler says. “We may not be able to afford a major sponsorship in a specific festival, but our partners are offering us the opportunities to be involved in other ways. We may not have the resources to be in every city we sell in today, but you can bet there’s a local band there playing once a night.”
Recognizing that many musicians like to party, Zeiler goes to them with a pretty compelling pitch: Why not drink your own brand? Today, Coldcock works with more than 91 acts, including Pepper, Asking Alexandria and Datsik. “Basically, if a busy band, artist or DJ has a following and likes whiskey, we have a home for them,” he says. “Last week, Datsik did a liquor store signing and the brand sold 10 cases.”