Women in Hospitality: Jean-Marie Heins

Be sure to view all of our previous entries in the Women in Hospitality series.

 

Jean-Marie Heins is the Chief Marketing Officer for Broken Shed Vodka, which recently entered into a national distribution agreement with Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits.

Heins has been in the distilled spirits industry for over 30 years, and she previously developed leading brands including Casamigos, Grey Goose, and Jägermeister. 

We spoke with Heins about vodka, bar and restaurant marketing, and more!

 

What separates Broken Shed from other vodka offerings?

Broken Shed Vodka was recently named the fastest-growing vodka in the U.S. for the third consecutive year – an accomplishment that we are incredibly proud of! We believe that our product’s consistent growth is built on the foundation of a unique origin story and supported by the quality of our New Zealand ingredients. Broken Shed is made with only three ingredients – and two of them are water. This sets us apart from other vodkas that rely on additives. Broken Shed Vodka is a vodka with character, made for today’s consumer.

 

What does the distribution deal with Southern Glazer’s mean for Broken Shed Vodka?

This distribution agreement means so much to me – I started with Broken Shed Vodka in 2018 during its very early stages. At that time, we were selling just under 2,000 cases a year, and it's incredible to think that we are projected to sell over 30,000 nine-liter cases this year. We’re really excited about this momentum and can’t wait to see how entering this national distribution agreement with Southern Glazer's – the world’s leading beverage distributor – will capitalize on that. Southern Glazer's extensive national presence, spanning 44 states, will expand Broken Shed Vodka’s current presence from 30 U.S. markets by introducing the brand to new markets and getting Broken Shed Vodka into the hands of untapped consumers.

We are thrilled about this agreement and [on October 1st we began] the process of entering 21 new U.S. markets, with plans for a nationwide expansion in the coming year.

 

What’s currently trending in vodka?

An overarching industry trend we continue to see is sustainability. Consumers are appreciating the subtle differences between vodkas and appreciate a clean product without additives. This shift has also increased brand loyalty as consumers reach for the vodka they know has environmentally friendly practices. Broken Shed Vodka is spearheading this trend by incorporating sustainably sourced whey, making it an excellent choice for consumers looking for pure and sustainable vodka.

As for current cocktail trends, the martini continues to reign supreme. Whether it's a simple, yet elegant, vodka martini, or the popular espresso martini that is now a staple at most restaurants and bars, you can’t deny vodka is in the spotlight right now. At Broken Shed Vodka, we love to use the pure taste of our vodka to create recipes that complement every season. That’s why we are so excited to see that a fall version of the espresso martini- the pumpkin spice espresso martini – seems to be sparking a trend on social media. The timelessness of vodka creates the perfect canvas for variations of martinis.

 

Do you have any marketing tips for bar and restaurant owners?

As a bar or restaurant owner, you have the unique opportunity to observe your customers and gauge their likes and dislikes. Perhaps my greatest piece of advice I have is to do your best to maintain a set of fresh eyes when observing how marketing strategies play out with customers. It's easy to let complacency set in over the years, but when this happens, businesses lose sight of customer needs and new and exciting trends. This industry is constantly changing and it's crucial to develop a team that is comfortable evolving with it.

On a more personal note, anyone looking to succeed in this industry must develop the mindset of a self-starter. Whether it's jumping in and teaching yourself a new skill or being willing to fail when facing a particularly difficult hurdle, perseverance and resilience are crucial to success!

 

What does it mean to you to be a female leader in the alcoholic beverage industry?

I feel immense pride to be a small part of an industry that is making such great strides toward gender representation and diversity. Now more than ever, industry professionals have come to expect women in leadership roles, craft positions, and entrepreneurial endeavors. At Broken Shed Vodka, we are grateful to be a corporate member of the Women of the Vine and Spirits (WOTVS), which does so much to promote women in the alcoholic beverage industry.

To me, being a female leader in this industry means I have a responsibility to uplift the stories of successful women in this trade and businesses supporting those women. I feel Broken Shed Vodka is a model of this behavior, and I am proud to represent the product.

 

Any advice for other women in the industry?

I give everyone the same piece of advice when they are entering or moving up in this industry: Nurture your work relationships and never stop fostering new ones. While it is always growing, this industry is small, so it is crucial to never burn bridges and keep positive relationships with everyone you come in contact with.

Women in the alcoholic beverage industry are noticing improvements in gender representation at all levels of leadership. As women and an industry as a whole, we need to support the women who have succeeded in their positions and encourage their pursuit of even larger goals. In my experience, building a network of like-minded women builds community and strengthens our presence in the alcoholic beverage industry.

 

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Plan to Attend or Participate in the 2024 Bar & Restaurant Expo, March 18-20, 2024

To learn about the latest trends, issues and hot topics, and to experience and taste the best products within the bar, restaurant and hospitality industry, plan to attend Bar & Restaurant Expo 2024 in Las Vegas. Early bird registration is now open!

To book your sponsorship or exhibit space at the 2024 Bar & Restaurant Expo, contact:

Veronica Gonnello ​(for companies A to G)​ e: [email protected]​ p: 212-895-8244

​Tim Schultz​ (for companies H to Q) ​e: [email protected]​ p: 917-258-8589

Fadi Alsayegh ​(for companies R to Z)​ e: [email protected] p: 917-258-5174​

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