Name: Kevin Charuel
Portfolio/Brand Represented: Marie Brizard
Like many brand ambassadors, Kevin Charuel started his career in the bar and nightlife business as a bartender. And, like many bartenders, he entered the world of bartending when he was searching for a part-time gig while he pursued university. Charuel first worked at a wine bar in Avignon, a city in the south of France. His passion for this business was ignited, so he traveled to Dublin, Ireland, to work at The Duke, and then Melbourne, Australia, for a position at Walter’s Bar.
Charuel now represents Marie Brizard – producers of some of the world’s most iconic and highest quality liqueurs, essential oils, and syrups – as their US market brand ambassador. He was motivated to apply when he learned that the brand, first created in 1755, was relaunching after more than 250 years. Charuel is a proud and enthusiastic brand ambassador, eager to share great cocktail creations featuring Marie Brizard. He’s also eager to help you make the most of your relationships with brand ambassadors, including educating you and your staff, so read on to learn more.
What are some experiences you’ve had being a brand ambassador that stand out?
The most amazing experience I had was to take part in the 2016 Marie Brizard Masters contest in Bordeaux, France, with 35 amazing bartenders from 28 different countries. The contest lasted for 3 days and I will never forget this epic experience!
Obviously, a lot of people want to know you, and many of those people want things from you. What are a couple of the oddest, most interesting, most rewarding or flat-out most challenging requests you’ve had from an owner, operator, manager, bartender, etc.? And were you able to deliver?
A bartender, friend of mine and also a Marie Brizard lover, wants the company to pay for his whole trip to Tales of the Cocktail this year as a guest bartender. Every time I see him he asks me about his flight tickets to NOLA. So I invited him to join the #ToastToHerStory contest hosted by Marie Brizard and Tales of the Cocktail this year since the top 5 will win a trip to Tales 2017, including airfare and lodging. I hope he will make it to the top five!
Speaking of being asked for things, what are brand ambassadors prepared to do for operators in their territories?
The brand ambassadors have to be prepared to provide any kind of support to the operators. For the most part, brand ambassadors are in the field to provide the right products to the right operators and support them in their business development. This requires educating the staff members on the brand and products, assisting the team for cocktail development, creating and executing promotional events to improve brand awareness among customers, and providing sales support.
Let’s say I’m an operator about to open my doors. How do I get in touch with brand ambassadors so I can start things off right?
The best is to ask the sales representative of your distributing company to put you in touch with the various brand ambassadors of his suppliers, or networking on social. USBG communities are also a very efficient way to get connected with the right people.
Point-blank: What should a great brand ambassador be prepared to do for an operator?
A great brand ambassador should be prepared to make the life of the operator easier. This also includes supporting his business by visiting him as often as possible with friends.
Do you have any tips for operators when it comes to truly maximizing their relationship with a brand ambassador?
The best way to truly maximize their relationship with a brand ambassador is to communicate well their expectations and needs. It is important to think about it because every single brand is different and the perspectives offered are not the same.
If there’s anything different, what can bartenders do to maximize the relationship between a brand ambassador and the venue for which they tend bar?
Being curious about the brand and the category to get more knowledge about it. Bartenders are the first influencers to the final consumers at their respective bars, so it is crucial to stay open-minded and curious about any kind of products.
Is the relationship between a brand ambassador and a venue limited to operators and bartenders?
No, not at all. The brand ambassador can be in contact with every single person working at the venue on the floor, in the kitchen or behind the bar, so it is much more than this.
People make mistakes. What are some of the things operators have done or do that you wish they wouldn’t?
It has happened that some operators forget about the wide range of Marie Brizard flavours and order a common flavor from a competitor. Marie Brizard provides the best quality price ratio for the naturally flavored liqueur category with 17 different flavors, so it is easy for me to reduce your cost.
Can you share anything with our readers about exciting new products they’re going to want to get their hands on?
The new Marie Brizard Yuzu Liqueur which is amazing but also the Finesse Orange Liqueur, which was the first orange liqueur ever created in 1766 (more than one century before Cointreau and Grand Marnier). They will be both available very soon in the US. We will import soon the Jolie Cherry also, this traditional cherry brandy was created in 1894 and it is one of the iconic liqueurs of the brand.
We’ve pointed out before that brand ambassadors are often exposed to and educated about trends before they really take hold. What are your predictions for what we’ll see and what will be hot in 2017?
I think that low-ABV cocktails, also referred as aperitif cocktails, are going to become very important in the next few years. These drinks offer great flavor profiles without all the alcohol and they can be built from liqueurs, vermouth, fortified wines or aperitifs.
Is there anything else you want to share with our readers?
As a great illustration of a low-ABV but delicious and flavorful cocktail, I would like to share the following recipe featuring the iconic Anisette created in 1755 by Marie Brizard:
- 1 oz. Marie Brizard Anisette
- 1 oz. Fresh lime juice
- 3 oz. Tonic water
- Garnish: 1 Cucumber stick and 1 crack of black pepper
Combine all ingredients into a serving glass over small ice cubes. Stir. Garnish with a cucumber stick and a crack of fresh black pepper.
*Marie Brizard Wine and Spirits portfolio also includes other valuables brands such as Sobieski Rye Vodka, Estate Single Rye Vodka, Gautier Cognac, Cedar Ridge American Whiskey, Tromba Tequila and William Peel Scotch Whiskey, now available in the US.