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Nov. 16, 2022

Selling Celebrity w/ Albert Hammond Jr. of Jetway & The Strokes

Selling Celebrity w/ Albert Hammond Jr. of Jetway & The Strokes

The idea to start Jetway came from drinking Aperol Spritzes in Italy and thinking it should be canned and modernized.


Being the lead guitarist of the band, The Strokes, and with a celebrity roster of investors including Joaquin Phoenix and Nick Hoult, one might believe that Albert Hammond Jr.’s new wine seltzer, Jetway, should have an easy path to take off. However, creating a product from ideation to quality in a can, starting a new business and raising money, and getting that wine seltzer into stores, restaurants, and people’s hands was more like launching a new band for Albert. It takes a lot of effort, and there are a lot of unknowns as to what might help it stick. Albert tells the story of the first year of Jetway and how celebrity has helped but is far from enough to make the product successful. 

 

Detailed Show Notes

Albert’s background

  • Lead guitarist of The Strokes
  • Dad was into French Bordeaux, and Albert really liked the aromas of wine

Jetway’s founding - the idea came from drinking Aperol Spritzes in Italy and thinking it should be canned and modernized

Jetway product

  • Ultra-premium wine seltzer, positioned as a new category w/in a category between wine and seltzer
  • Wine base with yerba mate and yuzu/ginger/lemon peel (white) or white peach/orange peel (rosé)
  • Dry with no added sugar
  • Can’s art is trying to be nostalgic and new

Price point

  • DTC - $131 / 24 cans (~$5.45/can, incl shipping)
  • In-store - $14.99 / 4 pack

Product launch

  • Similar to launching a new band
  • In 200+ stores
  • Available at Disneyland on draft and the San Diego Zoo, both did well
  • The goal was to sell 10,000 cases in the first year
  • Most people buying are not friends and family

Raising money

  • He pitched to friends for feedback, and some wanted to invest
  • Investors include Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara and Nick Hoult

Leveraging celebrity

  • It helps to get in the door for restaurants and stores, but a good product is required to bring people back
  • Social media is a “double-edged sword” - it only hits fans of the band, which is not the entire market for the product
  • He had Jetway on the road when The Strokes opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and a broad audience enjoyed it
  • Most of the investors don’t have social media, but mostly have helped provide feedback on product design

Celebrity alcohol brands are growing, partially to diversify business interests and following the success of George Clooney’s tequila brand

 

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