Media Relations: Building Momentum for Spirit Hound Over Six Months

Last year, we wrote about our brand development project with Spirit Hound Distillers. Spirit Hound is a neighboring distillery in our hometown, the iconic mountain town of Lyons, Colo., that makes seriously awesome spirits, each made by hand on two built-from-scratch stills by its owner and head distiller Craig Engelhorn. (I popped by a local liquor store before writing this, so I have a bottle of Spirit Hound’s Straight Malt Whisky in hand for inspiration – I recommend grabbing a glass too.)


Since revamping the distillery’s messaging, the Turn It Up team has been building awareness for the brand through a strategic media relations effort. Through the first half of this year our media relations work, which included leveraging a blend of timely announcements, sample outreach, and culturally relevant tie-ins to build a consistent outreach calendar with local (Colorado), national, and industry media, saw Spirit Hound mentioned by the media 130+ times, reaching 311 Million impressions.


We aim to offer value in every outreach and consistently share the most relevant narratives for each media contact. By targeting reporters who speak to whisky lovers and executing consistent outreach to them about Spirit Hound’s story and their lineup of authentic Colorado-made spirits, we were able to secure placements about Spirit Hound’s most important accomplishments of 2022.


Awards Season Wins


Spirit Hound makes delicious spirits. Their Straight Malt Whisky was named Year's Highest-Ranking Whisky by The London Spirits Awards Competition in 2022, receiving the top score of any whisky in the competition with 96 points. The distillery was also awarded a silver medal and 78 points for its Barrel-Finished Gin and a bronze medal and 75 points for its Rye Whisky.


We leveraged these victories in our outreach to the press and secured placements about the international win that drove awareness and grew consumer confidence, leading to an increase in sales for the distillery and more visits to the tasting room. Articles highlighting the distillery ranged from local publications, like this article by Kristen Kuchar in Denver’s Westword, to national beverage industry publications like Wine Industry Advisor, and consumer-facing outlets like Forbes and Elevation Outdoors.




Industry Leading Publications


This year Spirit Hound was also featured in industry-leading publications, positioning the brand and its team as thought leaders and subject matter experts. These placements increase Spirit Hound’s share of mind and build confidence with retailers, investors, distributors, and business partners. In the last year alone, Spirit Hound announced the addition of new CEO Brad Stevenson (see that headline featured in Brewbound, Craft Brewing Business and in local business consumer outlet BizWest), had a cover feature on Craft Brand and Marketing magazine and celebrated new product releases mentioned on BevNet and countless other industry publications.


(Our Art Director Michael Eldridge snapped these awesome photos by the way.)



Consumer-Facing Publications


Consumer publications that talk to whisky lovers are an important segment in a strategic media relations strategy, raising brand awareness and driving consumer confidence. We used sample outreach, cultural holidays, product releases, and timely events to secure placements. Media mentions ranged from national leading publications like Outsider to local news like Boulder Weekly.


Our well-timed and relevant pitches leveraged Spirit Hound’s notoriety and popularity to secure placements that built trust with consumers. For example, we capitalized on national holidays like Father’s Day, when Forbes added us to their Gift Guide, and fun industry-specific days like World Bartender Day, where we secured a feature for Spirit Hound’s talented mixologist on Mountain Meetings magazine.



Altogether, we have increased our reach and the number of media mentions month over month in 2022, building off the momentum of years of partnership and collaboration with Spirit Hound.


In the first half of 2022, Spirit Hound was mentioned by the media 138 times, reaching 311 Million impressions.



With our aptitude for reliably sharing relevant messaging about the brand, we built awareness and confidence with reporters. Equipped with the knowledge and an authentic story, reporters are excited to help us spread the word about Spirit Hound.


Well, my glass is empty, so until next time.