Shawann Crumpler recently seized the opportunity to join the ranks of black business owners by developing his own premium liquor label.
Crumpler is so confident in the launch of his new premium brandy label, Savíor Ládell, this September, that he has touted that the line is projected to make at least $20 million in profits before 2020.
The 25-year-old Morehouse graduate and recent Army deployee said that his idea to create a liquor label was born while he was overseas.
“I was in Korea when everything came to me,” Crumpler said. “I was literally drinking Hennessey when I realized that ‘I’m always drinking Hennessey, let me see who it’s actually made by.’
“I began conducting research and realized Hennessey is owned by the white man and we (black people) are the primary consumers of their liquor. I then researched how to make my own liquor and it transpired from there.”
With his sights set on seeing Savíor Ládell on the shelves of liquor stores, restaurants, and bars throughout the southeast, Crumpler plans on selling the 25.6 fl oz. bottle of brandy for $50-$60.
“I got the name from the original French word “savoír” meaning “to know” in French,” said Crumpler. “Ládell is actually my middle name so I added the two together to get “to know Ládell.”
He’s already managed to secure Truth Restaurant and Lounge in Atlanta to come on board as a customer.
Caroline Porsiel, the CEO of the Atlanta Bourbon Company and a native of Germany native provided some insight into the process of developing a luxury liquor brand.
Porsiel, who possesses more than ten years of experience in distilleries, said her company offers classes that educate people about the world of fine liquors and distilleries, specifically in how to launch a product in Atlanta.
“Creating your own brand of liquor really depends on how much money you to have to invest in it,” Porsiel explained.”While it’s much more difficult to achieve on a tight budget, it is fairly simple just to create a brand.”
There are numerous factors and costs that are involved, Porsiel said.
“In Georgia, you always have to go through a distributor. The distributors have a markup of about 60 percent which acts as their share,” she said. “Then you have to take a look at marketing fees as well. I would be extremely cautious in how you approach it but always remember to consider the cost first, that’s the most important part.”
Moreover, Porsiel also shed light on the actual steps involved when first beginning your brand.
“There are few options available when creating a brand: One is to have the idea for the type of liquor bottle and market you want,” Porsiel explained. “You have to write the complete business marketing plan and source someone who is going to be producing the alcohol.
“You could go to either a large corporation or a smaller local distillery,” she continued. “You could build up and then later go into national if desired.”
After his own further research, Crumpler said he was able to learn more about the diverse world of fine liquors, which led to him devising plans for his own label.
“What I discovered was that cognac would have been five times more expensive to create,” Crumpler said. “You can’t legally call a liquor cognac unless it’s made in France.
“Brandy has the same taste, the only difference is it’s not made in France,” he added. “I wanted to start off with something more simple and more attainable with my budget.”
Taking on the full financial burden of making sure his vision comes to life, Crumpler decided to forgo the idea of having any additional partners. At least not while his project is in its early stages.
Instead, he relies on his relationship with Miami-based Citrus Distillers, the company that will be responsible for making his brandy’s recipe and bottling his product.
“I called them up and even took a trip out there to speak with them in person. I asked what it would take for me to have my own liquor,” Crumpler said. “They explained everything to me and said we’ll help you throughout the process, even creating a formula for me.”
“What drew me to them was that they were willing to help me through it all, and most importantly they didn’t try to take over,” he added.
Using data from other liquor brands that they’ve successfully produced, Citrus Distillers has projected that Crumpler’s brandy label will reach $20 million by 2020.
As far as sustainability and success goes, Porsiel, has one simple piece of advice.
“If you have a good idea and if you are consistent and follow up in your beliefs, I think you can get anywhere. They said to me that I couldn’t create my own distillery in the U.S. You can do everything you want, you just have to possess the positivity and perseverance to get it done. Distilleries often like to help each other, so there’s so much room to grow.”
Currently preparing for deployment, Crumpler is making arrangements to continue working on his business while gone, until he returns in August.
“Although it does sound complicated I just feel like if something matters to you, you’ll find the time to make it happen,” said Crumpler.
“I have different people trying to invest now but I’ve been holding off until the right time because this liquor will definitely hit the projections it’s expected to reach.”