Time to bring back the two Martini lunch

I’ve never liked vermouth. When I ask for a Martini I always say, “Skip the vermouth.” So actually I don’t drink Martinis: I drink very cold gin or vodka, up, with a twist. Sometimes I even order just that: “I’d like ice-cold vodka, up, please. Lemon twist.”

But this distaste for vermouth nags at me, and I’ve been thinking lately that what I dislike is not vermouth in general but the quality of the vermouth I’m served. Maybe if I tried a higher end brand, I’d find I even enjoy the stuff.

And just as I’m coming to this conclusion, brandchannel.com publishes an article about a high-end, never advertised but widely appreciated vermouth, Noilly Prat:

Is the lack of awareness for Noilly Prat keeping employees awake in Marseillan or at the company’s headquarters in Paris?

“No, not at all,” says Aude Rocourt, Noilly Prat’s director, whose brief includes strategy, marketing and product development.

Pressed to clarify why it’s unimportant that the brand name is to some extent unfamiliar to the man in the street, Rocourt replies, “That’s absolutely right. Noilly Prat has never been mainstream. It is an haut-de-gamme product, a sophisticated and authentic taste for people — almost invariably over 35 years old — who are seeking to ‘trade up’ in terms of their drinking. It’s about 25 percent more expensive than our main rival — Martini — and targeted at the upmarket and refined drinking connoisseur.”

It’s like he’s talking just about me!

Now I have only to hope that the PA Liquor Control Board stocks this stuff.

Incidentally, Noilly Prat’s marketing strategy is interesting in its long-term approach, targeting the influencers — bartenders, chefs, caterers, hoteliers — who then bring the message to exactly the consumers to whom the vermouth is targeted.

Also interesting is that Noilly Prat’s “competition,” Martini, isn’t competition at all: they’re sister brands, aimed at different segments of the market. Martini itself barely needs to advertise, as it’s the only vermouth most of us have ever heard about.

(Link via Agenda.)