Veso makes wine-based aperitifs infused with fruit, citrus, and spices. Made with honest natural ingredients.
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Under The Hood: Chris from Veso

Veso's founder Chris Beyer discusses why D2C is the best channel for educating consumers and how unboxing experiences plays a critical role in this.

Welcome Chris! Tell us about Veso

Veso is an aperitif. It’s an alcoholic beverage that has a low ABV. Some of our goals are to make people more intentional when it comes to drinking and mindful of their alcohol consumption. 

We have three channels: D2C, retail stores, and bars/restaurants. We're a wine-based aperitif, and we intentionally chose wine as our base because wine has looser restrictions. Most alcohol brands including beer, seltzer, and spirits are not allowed to sell direct-to-consumer; however, wine or wine-based products can. D2C was our first distribution channel because it was easy and made sense.

What are some of the challenges of being in retail that D2C solves? 

Aperitifs are a pretty new thing to the American consumer, so there’s a big education component to it. This makes getting into retail trickier because we're not a traditional wine, beer, or seltzer that people can grab off the shelf and know exactly what they're drinking, so retail can be dangerous for us because we need the right collateral and people to educate consumers on aperitifs and how best to enjoy it.

At Veso, we’re very aware and mindful about how we educate consumers to ensure they have an incredible first experience. D2C is a key way to do this because we can really control consumers' experiences and how they perceive the brand. 

Tactically, how are you educating customers?  

It starts with knowing what customers don’t know, and you figure that out by talking directly to them. For D2C sales, we created this unique, unboxing experience to educate people and answer all those questions from how to drink it to what type of cocktail they can create with it. With this unboxing experience, we wanted to walk people through that first sip as if we were there with them pouring them a glass of Veso and discussing the product. 

One of the best things you can do for any product, especially one that requires a lot of education, is to talk one-on-one with the customer about it; however, that’s not scalable. The next best thing is to create a unique D2C program that is rooted in educating consumers.  We’re trying to do that with our unboxing.

How did you turn the unboxing experience from an idea into a reality? 

I worked with a branding agency on design and packaging. We wanted to make sure the unboxing experience was magic from a visual standpoint and also contained everything the consumer needed to know about Veso. 

When I think of Veso, I imagine building a modern winery. If you’ve ever been to a winery, it’s a magical experience. You can touch the grapes, drink the wine, see into the winemaking process, and hear from the winemakers. I wanted to somehow replicate this for our unboxing experience. We made cards that show customers the ingredients in our product and where they’re from, how to drink an aperitif, and other interesting ways to enjoy Veso. We also included a mini FAQ section that really walks people through aperitifs. 

One-by-one, the first version of the box came together. Then it’s testing it and that’s all trial-and-error. You need to take a step back and think like a customer who is opening the box for the first time. What caught your eye first? What did you look at second? What information is missing? What questions do I still have about the product? 

How do you envision your D2C channel scaling? 

D2C is a really important component because it lets us talk to our consumers directly. It's a much more branded experience that helps elevate and build the brand. Many people think of D2C as a purely online experience, but I think it can also be physical. Ideally, we'd love to have our own retail stores, wineries, and tasting rooms so people can come in and buy directly from us. It’s an important branding and marketing play.

What have been the best resources to build your brand?  

There’s a Slack group called Startup CPG and CPG House by Repeat. Also Conferences like Expo West, Expo East, BevNET Live, Fancy Food Show have been hugely helpful. And finally, there are also certain Twitter accounts that I follow that have been super helpful like Nik Sharma, Cody Plofker, Eli Weiss, Chase Dimond, and Taylor Lagace.

Thanks Chris, go Veso!