Friends Jeremy Kim, John Dalsey, and Brando launched Nectar Hard Seltzer in December 2020, and it has since become the number one Asian hard seltzer in the world. Drawing on Kim’s heritage, they created the first seltzer inspired by the flavors from his childhood, including lychee, mandarin, yuzu, and Asian pear.
Despite producing flavors that differentiated them in the highly competitive seltzer market, their bootstrapped business and launching at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic required thinking outside of the traditional marketing box. Having worked in music marketing, Kim saw how ineffective email was in reaching fans and knew how successful text message marketing was in driving engagement for artists. Drawing from these learnings, Kim turned to Community to build a highly engaged customer base and to assess demand for Nectar Hard Seltzer in different markets. This was important to them because most distribution avenues, like bars, and experiential activations were off limits due to Covid-19.
To gain local insights, Nectar created a TikTok video including their Community number, asking fans to text purchase intent for Nectar Hard Seltzer in their city. After the video went viral, Kim and Dalsey approached two family-run liquor stores in Los Angeles (where they are headquartered) with this data in hand and persuaded each to stock 150 boxes of the product, referencing the texts as a measure of demand. That night, they texted their Community the locations stocking the seltzer. The next day, lines formed outside of each store and Nectar Hard Seltzer sold all units in under one hour.
Shortly after, they used the same distribution strategy of aggregating demand in a market by texting their Community, and successfully dropped Nectar Hard Seltzer in San Diego and Orange County. Today, they distribute to seven markets and have committed to hand-delivering Nectar Hard Seltzer to any city that gets 300 people to text into their Community, demanding their product.
In addition to texting, Nectar Hard Seltzer has leveraged many of the features Community offers to amplify reach, including utilizing Sign Up Units. These are popups that appear on a brand’s website prompting users to enter their phone number to join its Community. In the case of Nectar Hard Selter, their call-to-action reads: “Text us to find booze or love in your area.” This comedic tone further helps them engage conversationally with their customers, generating signups and interest in the brand.
The Nectar Hard Seltzer team recognizes that consumers want to have a two-way conversation with a brand, and believe there is no other platform as effective in doing so. Community has helped these founders bypass many of the obstacles associated with distribution and scaling, especially out of state, where stores are not likely to take a chance on a smaller, unknown brand.