Vinoshipper: Spade & Sparrows successfully uses direct to consumer (DTC) sales as on-ramp to the 3-tier system

By Published On: September 29, 2022

At Vinoshipper, we have long stated that DTC sales can serve as an on-ramp to 3-tier distribution. An excellent example of this comes from wine brand, Spade & Sparrows Wine by Kaitlyn Bristowe.

Spade & Sparrows launched May 2019 with the goal of becoming the go-to wine brand for female millennials. In three years’, they have been successful in doing that. Their products have shipped direct to customers in 45 states, and they have been able to present compelling cases to distributors and secure large retail partners.

A foundation of Direct to Consumer

When Spade & Sparrows began, they wanted to be different. Instead of traditional marketing campaigns, they leveraged social media, through TikTok and Instagram, to present the brand and connect with consumers and retailers. The benefit was they reached a national audience quickly. The challenge was then navigating “the complexities that come with selling wine online”, explained Lightman, and getting the product in the hands of the consumer.

The Spade & Sparrows team was small. Lightman explained, “they didn’t have the resources to take on all of the highly complex compliance and reporting responsibilities internally that come with selling wine direct to consumer”. Spade & Sparrows had a great brand and great products but needed help in bringing their product to their community.

Vinoshipper was the solution.

Spade & Sparrows’ set up an online release with Vinoshipper and it was a huge success. The wine sold out in a matter of hours. What followed were further sell-out releases and the creation of The Big Wine Guy Club and Really Big Wine Guy Club, Spade & Sparrows’ two wine clubs.

Wine Clubs were an excellent way for Spade & Sparrows to secure recurring revenue and connect even further with their customers. Spade & Sparrows setup clubs in the Vinoshipper club portal, used the sales data to reach out to previous purchasers and grew the club to where it is today.

The on-ramp

Spade & Sparrows just recently announced that they will be launching in all 142 Target locations across the state of Texas. Lightman noted that, “without Vinoshipper we wouldn’t have been able to build the case study that our distributors and sales team have used to convince retailers to stock our brand on their shelves.” Spade & Sparrows used the power of their brand and the consumer demand to present a case to Target that they could not ignore.

Their success illustrates how DTC sales can help build a national following and assist in obtaining nationwide distribution.

For those looking to follow in Spade & Sparrows’ footsteps, Lightman advised , “ensure that you are incredibly passionate about your product, have a differentiating factor and remember customer service is king”. Lightman also recommended, “anyone entering the space, use Vinoshipper as a partner”.

Empowering through choice

DTC and the 3-tier system can work in perfect unison. Utilizing both channels, brands benefits from having the choice of how to distribute their goods. It allows for brands to test the market before wholesale distribution and build brand awareness. Similarly, it limits risk for wholesale distributors and retail partners as they get to receive market data on brands that have already been tested in the market.  For consumer, they can pick up their favourite brands in store or have the convenience of ordering to their home.

When asked to summarize how DTC sales helped in creating brand power for entering the 3-tier market, Lightman concluded, “Vinoshipper allowed us to create a powerful community of wine loving women whose support has enabled us to show major retailers that we have a product that sells”.

Start your journey

If you would like to get in touch about Vinoshipper services and its ability to help launch  or expand your brand, then please reach out to , referencing this article, and we will be more than happy to help.

About the Author: Vinoshipper

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Vinoshipper is an end-to-end compliance, tax, and e-commerce platform that gives wineries, distilleries, and other alcohol producers the ability to sell directly to consumers while navigating the complexities of regulatory compliance and tax collection in real time. Every sale through the platform is guaranteed to be compliant.