For nearly a decade, HAI has worked closely with several liquor brands and distributors to unearth and tap into their histories. From in-depth archival research to storyline development, we have helped brands engage with new and existing customers through historical insights and compelling narratives.
Historic Brand Research
HAI has conducted in-depth historical studies of three major, confidential liquor brands—developing chronologies, uncovering brand anecdotes and popular culture references, and collecting primary sources that have enhanced the understanding of each brand’s history and informed marketing campaigns.
To complete this work, our team conducted hundreds of hours of primary and secondary source research in archives, libraries, and online databases, visiting repositories across the country to review their holdings. We collected historical product images, magazine advertisements, trade catalog listings, historical annual reports, press releases, newspaper articles, and trade literature that demonstrated how these brands grew and evolved over time. In addition to delivering these primary source materials, we developed reports that transformed this information into a cohesive narrative. We focused on highlighting especially important or interesting moments in the brand’s history.
Brands and distributors have used our research findings in multiple ways. Some have transformed our research into compelling marketing campaigns and advertisements that connect consumers to the brand’s story—whether through famous fans of the brand, appearances in books, film, and television, or moments of intrigue, adversity, or growth. Others have used our research to support and understand longstanding claims that they and their competitors have made. Whatever the use case, our historical research helps companies explore and leverage the past, illuminating a brand’s history, character, and heritage.
Exhibit and Book Content Development
We also transform documentary research into tangible experiences for stakeholders, employees, and customers. We recently wrote a history book in honor of the 200th anniversary of a celebrated New York City wine shop and auction house, tracing its growth from a small family-run grocery store into an internationally acclaimed company. In addition to writing the book, HAI’s team carried out more than 400 hours of archival research, conducted seven oral histories with key players, and identified and licensed historical imagery to bring the narrative to life through compliant acquisition.
In 2019, we toasted the opening of Sazerac House in New Orleans. Our researchers, interpretive planners, and storytellers helped the Sazerac Company realize its ambitious vision of creating a public museum and tasting room that celebrated not only their company’s history but also the lively cocktail culture in New Orleans and the United States.
HAI provided research, scriptwriting, and image acquisition for the exhibit experience, which includes an entire floor focusing on the Sazerac company’s most famous brands. Our researchers turned to state and local libraries, university collections, media outlets, art galleries, historical societies, government agencies, national archives, and private citizens to bring the story to life in the museum’s galleries. Combining historical fact with local legend, the team wove together hundreds of years of cocktail history in exhibit panels, image captions, and artifact labels. Each of Sazerac’s brands had its own history, so the team combed through primary and secondary sources to find compelling stories that would draw visitor interest and help them understand the process involved to create each product. This collaboration with the Sazerac Company and its partners created a memorable destination that educates and connects visitors with the unique historical and cultural character of New Orleans.