This blog was written by D+P Intern Teagen Golden.
Many brands have pivoted to align with the new needs of society in response to the pandemic. I’ve read countless stories of companies around the country helping their communities. Walmart, for instance, initiated a senior shopping hour for their most valuable customers. Bauer, a hockey equipment company, shifted from making protective gear for the rink to producing medical face shields for hospitals. And some stories have been closer to home.
About an hour and a half north of Philadelphia in my small farm town of New Tripoli, a growing company also made a change; pivoting from liquor distillation to producing hand sanitizer. This charitable act in a fearful time led to widespread media attention and opened up the small business to the national spotlight.
Eight Oaks Farm Distillery is a veteran-owned, family-run, and farm-grown craft distillery. Owner Chad Butters, and his family, pride themselves with not only distilling high quality spirits, but fostering a sense of spirit in their community as well. When the pandemic first hit, hand sanitizers were in high demand, with reports of shortages and price gouging. Butters felt the onus was on Eight Oaks to use their production capabilities to provide hand sanitizer for those in need — and to do it for free.
I reached out to Carly Snyder, part-owner of Eight Oaks, to learn more about their efforts. “Our work on hand sanitizer certainly generated a lot of interest in Eight Oaks,” she said. “We received hundreds and hundreds of thank you notes that we will treasure. While the spirits industry overall continues to be hit hard during the pandemic, we’ve been fortunate enough to continue to expand our audience and increase interest in our spirits, and our distillery as a destination.”
The PR lesson here is when a company adapts, it gives itself the opportunity to tell a new story, one that shows consumers a side of the company they may have never seen before. Fortunately for Eight Oaks, it’s story was compelling enough that it garnered widespread media attention it otherwise may not have had, had it not put the public’s interest in front of its own and adapted to the new environment. This opportunity proved valuable enough to thrust their brand into the national spotlight, if only for a brief moment in a year plenty with newsworthy events.