Creative mixologist Lucas Bucton as the driving force behind Banks & Solander Distillery's success

Photo for: Creative mixologist Lucas Bucton as the driving force behind Banks & Solander Distillery's success

21/01/2024 Meet Lucas Bucton, the Creative Force and Brand Ambassador at Banks & Solander Distillery. From bartending to brand recognition, Lucas truly and innovatively transforms the spirits industry.

Meet Lucas Bucton, a driven soul who has smoothly transitioned from bartending to his present position as a Brand Ambassador at Banks & Solander Distillery. In this exclusive conversation, Lucas gives insights into his interesting path in the spirits industry, revealing the multifaceted responsibilities, methods, and obstacles that define his dynamic personality.


Tell us a little about yourself. How did you progress into this role?

I come from a bartending background. I was heavily drawn into the world of cocktails and mixology, which then led me down the path of spirits. I wanted to learn all I could about the spirits world and use that to be able to make the most impressive cocktails. I bumped into the Banks & Solander Distillery team at a gin festival back in 2020 and got chatting to them. They were a fairly new distillery with great products and were enticed by the idea of me coming into the distillery to throw some cocktails together with their liquid. From there a relationship grew more and more until they were looking to expand and bring on a BA/Sales Rep to take a big step forward for the brand. They knew how much I loved the products and said they would love to have me join the team.

Could you define your role and the tasks involved in your role?

Being in a small team, I have to ensure that I am versatile in many roles and able to spread brand awareness in as many ways as possible, this includes but is not limited to Being in charge of both on and off-premise sales, delivering orders to accounts based in the Greater Sydney region and sometime beyond, hosting tastings and events at bottle shops, doing markets and other spirits festivals, conducting training for venue staff, creative content creation and being the overall face of the brand.

How do you Increase visibility and promote brand awareness around consumers and trade?

Conducting free tastings, supplying bottle shops with signage, interactive props at tastings and events, cocktail booklets and other education materials, training events, collaborations with venues, and being an overall friendly chat with anyone interested.

Image: Lucas Bucton

What strategies do you use to gain distribution, increase volume sales, and gain cocktail placements? Could you give me an example of an account you recently cracked?

Proving myself as an educated and trustworthy personality that people and businesses want to work with. There is a bar quite close to me that I would constantly visit, talk cocktails with the owners, throw ideas around with them, help them out with any questions they had, teach them techniques that they weren't aware of, and invite them to the distillery for a tour. Now they are running with our Vodka as their house pour for all vodka cocktails.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

Being able to fit into the big brand liquor chains.

What are the 3 things you focus on while pitching your product to buyers?

How can I genuinely help your business, what fits into your model, and how can we build and sustain a long-lasting future.

What do you focus on in your training and masterclasses? Could you take us through your training module?

Tailoring specific spirits and flavor pairings is the biggest thing for me. There are plenty of other distilleries out there with similar products to ours, but I need to demonstrate why ours stands out and teach how you can utilize our spirits for fantastic flavor pairings. I usually go through a tasting of our range, allowing the class to pick up on certain flavors. Then we taste with various mixers and demonstrate how to highlight or contrast certain flavors. A focus on technique and ideal serving procedures with our products is something I always like to focus on as well. And being able to teach bar staff how to talk about our range is also something quite vital. I speak to the customers through the bartenders, so ensuring the staff has the right tools and vocabulary to talk to customers is vital.

How do you ensure the success of your training programs? Through routine follow-ups or?

Quiz at the end, offering prizes, freebies, and incentives throughout the session, and showing my face regularly as both a punter and on work hours to try and help out.

What kind of marketing collaborations do you do with Hotels and Restaurants? Could you give examples?

Getting window space for signage, offering training services to staff while running promotional periods with a product, pop-up tasting events, and providing unique ingredients to make our signature cocktails with when they purchase a case of our spirits.

Maintaining relationships with your clients is a big part of your role, what are a few simple yet effective ways to keep that going?

As simple as being a genuine friend outside of the professional side of the relationship. Visiting as a punter, providing advice beyond the usual, proving to be a trusted business advisor, always showing that I am on their side.

What kind of digital marketing do you do personally to promote your brand?

Cocktail videos and posts, educational blog posts.

How do you motivate distributor sales reps and what piece of advice would you have for newly appointed brand reps?

I do it all myself for now.

What sort of consumer brand awareness programs worked for you in 2023 and what do you plan to do in 2024?

Pop-up tastings were always the most successful, I will continue with this and always further explore more options.

What are the current challenges the spirits industry is facing according to you?

Excise rise, a flood of the market of below average quality products

What skill or topic you are learning currently and why?

Learning a lot more about the science of rum production and barrels. This is because we have recently started releasing rum. 

Your role involves collaborating with bartenders and mixologists. How do you foster creativity and innovation in crafting unique cocktails that showcase the distinct characteristics of your spirits?

Coming from a bartending background, I can prove myself to be on the same page and speak the same language as the bartenders and mixologists. This allows us to brainstorm and bounce ideas off each other when it comes to showcasing the best parts of our spirits. Usually, our approach is advanced techniques through simplified flavor combos/ideologies. Starting with a flavor combination or expression as a final goal, then working backward from there on how to incorporate said flavors.

Your favorite 2-3 distilling or spirits books?

Cocktail Codex, Liquid Intelligence, Whisky: Technology, Production and Marketing.



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