Big Thirst, a complete e-commerce platform that accelerates sales of alcohol for spirits brands and distilleries, launched today. Based in Austin, Texas, Big Thirst gives spirits brands access to new markets with an online shopping solution, marketing tools, distribution management, and analytics to effectively sell products online to consumers. It is a one stop shop to pave the way to profitable growth for spirits brands.
Big Thirst will address an expanding need in a fast-growing segment of the market for consumers and spirits brands. Alcoholic beverage analyst firm, IWSR, forecasts that e-commerce sales of alcohol will grow from $5.6B in 2020 to $19B in the U.S. by 2024. In 2020, there was an enormous increase in awareness of alcohol e-commerce among consumers, while some states have relaxed legislation to facilitate online sales.
While Big Thirst is an e-commerce start up, it is founded by passionate beverage industry veterans and is powered by a distribution and sales consultancy, Big Thirst Consulting, and a full-service marketing agency, Big Thirst Marketing. The combined complementary resources make it the only company in the spirits industry to provide an end-to-end consulting, online sales, and marketing solution to help spirits brands to succeed — from recipe development to final sale.
“The time is right for a new e-commerce company to make online sales more effective for spirits brands,” says CEO and Founder Matt McGinnis. “We are bootstrapping the start-up company to take on well-funded competitors. This is definitely a passion project for us.
We – the founders and board members of Big Thirst – have all gone through the trials of trying to help our distillery clients succeed during this pandemic when bars and restaurants were closed for a long time, when consumers started stocking up on the big brands instead of buying local, and when their businesses were closed for months on end. We worked hard to figure out ways to help distilleries not only make it through the hard times, but to also emerge stronger.”
One of the big pieces of the puzzle was making it easier for people to find craft spirits and buy them online. “Nowadays, we’re all very used to having products shipped directly to our doors, but distilled spirits with its inscrutable web of laws has made it difficult for people to find and buy the great bottles of locally made whiskey that they really want. We are solving that problem for consumers. We are solving the problem for distilleries,” says McGinnis.
With Big Thirst, spirits brands have greater access to sell to consumers nationwide through a convenient, three-tier compliant, online ordering that facilitates shipping spirits directly to their customers’ doors within days.
Big Thirst turns websites into an e-commerce engine with the Big Cart shopping cart built in, maintaining the brand’s look throughout a seamless purchase experience. With the shopping cart integrated into a spirits brand’s website, it provides a streamline process which maintains consumer confidence, reduces cart abandonment, and increases sales.
All transactions made through Big Cart are processed through the three-tier system with orders fulfilled by a network of retail partners. Purchases are supported by the Big Success customer support team.
“We chose Big Thirst as our e-commerce platform because they were able to quickly get us up and running to sell our Norden Aquavit ~ Limited Snaps Edition Strawberry/Rhubarb ‘Pink Aquavit’ online in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” says Robyn Cleveland, president and distiller of Norden Spirits. “We’re excited to be able to ship this limited-edition Aquavit in customized packages to people in 41 states when it is normally only available in select markets. I’m impressed with the responsiveness and support from Big Thirst, and I’m looking forward to having better access to consumer information from their dashboard.”
The Big Thirst team is intimately involved with the spirits industry, and keenly focused on providing the right solutions for emerging craft spirits brands to find a new route to market. The company draws on years of distilling industry experience from board members Mark Shilling, Joseph Castillo, and Suzanne McGinnis. Its cost-effective, nimble approach will expand spirits brands’ ability to get bottles moving.
“Big Thirst Marketing has been instrumental in helping Milam & Greene become one of the most buzzed-about brands in the US,” says Heather Greene, CEO of Milam & Greene Whiskey. “I know they will bring the same skills and energy to their e-commerce platform as they do to their digital marketing efforts, which for us has driven sales and made quite a lot of noise.”
Big Thirst makes it easy for consumers to find new, rare, or exclusive spirits, easily purchase them online, and ship it directly to their home. It also propels sales with public relations, effective digital advertising and targeting, email marketing, and automated cart abandonment emails to attract consumers and keep them coming back to buy more products.
Big Thirst also provides consumer insights through its Big Data analytics to ensure spirits brands can track ROI on their marketing spend.
“Because we have been managing digital marketing to drive online sales for distilleries, we know exactly the kind of business insights that are needed to be successful,” says Wylie Donoho, chief operating officer of Big Thirst, Inc, who is responsible for software development behind the shopping cart, and will be the lead to integrate it with distillery websites to turn them into e-commerce engines.
“We developed our Big Data business intelligence dashboard so our customers can make better informed sales and marketing decisions with the most insightful analytics on the market. We combine essential information into customizable, and digestible charts so distilleries can attract and keep customers for increased sales. There is nothing else like this on the market.”
Big Thirst also offers website and website store design, distribution management, customer service, digital advertising, and email marketing to help boutique spirit brands reach a wider audience. With the new platform, the sky’s the limit for small distilleries.