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Rob Patchett On Building Brand Awareness

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12/09/2022 Rob Patchett, Global Whisky Ambassador at The Cotswolds Distillery explains his role as a Brand Ambassador and shares tips on building brand awareness.

After over a decade of working in hotel and cocktail bars in Italy, Rob Patchett decided to further his education as a Sommelier. So he pushed himself into the spirits portfolio while managing wine merchants and landed at Cotswolds Distillery. He started as the Regional Sales Associate, then as an Accounts Manager, and now serving as the distillery's Global Whisky Brand Ambassador for the past five years.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background. How did you progress into this role? 

After working in Italy for nearly a decade in hotel and cocktail bars, I took some time to educate myself as a Sommelier in wine. While managing wine merchants, I threw myself at the spirits portfolio, and Cotswolds Distillery was a standout brand for me. When they reached out to me, I jumped at working for the brand. I've been with the company for five years, and this year I took the role of Global Whisky Ambassador. Again, there was no hesitation on my part. Taking Cotswolds Whisky around the world is exciting. 

Could you describe your role and responsibilities as a Brand Ambassador at Cotswolds Distillery? 

My role as Brand Ambassador has many different facets at Cotswolds Distillery. We are a small but ambitious team, so I work with marketing, sales, export, events, and R&D to best facilitate what we do in the marketplace.


What is your favorite thing about your job?

I've been with the Cotswolds Distillery for five years, and we are growing at a rate we could have never imagined. The best part is being part of that and looking from where we were to where we're going. Of course, working with delicious whisky is a bonus too. 

What kind of digital marketing do you do personally to promote your brand and gain engagement?

Digital marketing is an important part of the job, and I'll be the first to admit I need to do more. Instagram is a big part; creating video content for social media, blog posts, and possibly some more audio content could be a part of our future digital endeavors. The options and capabilities are endless, and you just need to have a clear message.

Rob Patchett

What is the biggest challenge you face in your role? Are there any challenges you are facing at the minute in getting your message out to the customers?

Being an emerging brand in a small category within whisky (English Whisky) has its challenges, but it's a good problem to have. Telling people your story and bringing them along for the ride is great. However, the biggest challenge is making sure the decisions you make today are right for the brand in 1, 5, 10, and 20 years down the line. 

How would you describe the uniqueness of Cotswolds's whisky range? What makes it stand out from other brands?

Cotswolds Distillery is an amazing brand because we have an unspoken ethos of making products based on flavor and honesty at the core of everything. You can't ask for much more than that from a brand. We are based in the Cotswolds utilize as much from the Cotswolds as possible. The entire production, maturation, and bottling process are done within a couple of miles of the distillery. We are the Cotswolds Distillery beyond geography alone. 

What factors do you focus on while pitching your products to the buyers?

Provenance, flavor, and quality are important factors to make people aware of our brand. We make gin and whiskey, and we couldn't make a less economical gin if we tried huge botanical mass, hand-peeled citrus, local botanicals, and one-shot distillation on beautiful Holstein Copper stills. The quality of the gin, like the whisky, is outstanding. Although we don't chill filter, so you get a wonderful louche when you add ice, the devil is in the detail of everything we make. 

How do you improve visibility and brand awareness among customers and businesses?

We have a lot of different audiences to speak to, so building awareness has to have a multilayered approach. We speak to people who appreciate whisky, gin, good spirits, creativity, the Cotswolds, and finding the right tone for all of those demographics is tough. Still, we're always learning, and that's the most important part, remaining open to learning how you can better build awareness and speak to people and businesses with a like-minded outlook. 

How do you attract potential customers? Can you describe a time when you increased sales for a particular product?

There are various cooking-based TV shows in the UK that small champion brands and innovation within alcohol. We've recently appeared on a few of these segments, and the spike in sales we receive from a 5-minute segment is incredible. Drinks journalists in the UK are fantastic at giving platforms to small brands.

Cotswold’s Single Malt Whiskey

What’s next for Cotswold’s Single Malt Whiskies? Can you tell us some of the plans or upcoming releases at the distillery?

We have a lot of exciting releases coming up this year in Whisky, but we're most excited to be completing our brand new distillery. It's still on our site, and it will help us grow production to meet our aspirations for the future of Cotswolds Whisky in the global marketplace. We have a saying at the distillery, "Big Wheels," meaning we have to keep moving forward and pushing because these big wheels keep turning. Our wheels are about to get a bit bigger.

What piece of advice would you like to give to future brand representatives?

Be yourself and work with brands that fit with who you are. You have to be an educator, historian, communicator, bartender, photographer, host, quick thinking, and agile at the same time. Make sure you do it for the right reasons too. 

Which is your favorite Cotswold Whisky, and how do you like to have it? 

Our Cotswolds Signature is our 46%abv (92proof) whisky. I was there to bottle the first batch back in 2017. We've traveled all over the UK and Europe together. We've been through a lot together, and I love the flavors. It still surprises me with its versatility. It's a brilliant expression of whisky.

Interviewed By Aakriti Rawat, Beverage Trade Network

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