- 5 Tweet Tuesday
- 💎 How 1 Man Made $2B off Vodka
💎 How 1 Man Made $2B off Vodka
Dear friends, founders, and people who remember their best friend’s AIM screen name,
Kick back and relax, because from this point forward we’re gonna get your juices flowing with 1 epic story a day.
Today’s story is about a guy who made billions inventing alcohol brands like Jager & Grey Goose.
He’s special because he…
Got rich off the drink that defined my 20s (Jagerbombs)
Launched a startup at the age of SEVENTY and sold it for $2B
Gave his secretary a $23M BONUS
Smoked the longest cigars the world has ever seen (see below)
Now that I have your attention, meet Sidney Frank.
Sidney grew up poor and was forced to drop out of college at Brown because he couldn’t afford tuition.
Then luck hit and he married a girl named Louise. Her dad was the head honcho at a spirits company called Schenley Distilleries.
(Sidney would later say, “It’s easier to marry a million dollars than to earn it.” Wise man)
Once he was in the family, he started working in the family alcohol business, but there was a Jerry-Springer-style dispute, and he got kicked out.
At this point, he had two choices:
Go back to his father-in-law & beg to get back in
Take his learnings and start his own alcohol biz
He chose path 2 aka revenge.
Now he just needed an idea.
To find it, he walked around NYC at night looking for inspiration.
Then one night he got it. He saw a group of German immigrants drinking a liquor called Jägermeister.
While Jager tasted a bit like cough syrup (and Germans used it for medicinal purposes), Frank thought it was a unique product, and had potential in the US market.
So he brought it to the US market and made it explode with his marketing genius.
He created 3 marketing stunts that really helped:
Someone reviewed Jager and said it was an aphrodisiac (increased sex drive). Not true…but Sidney printed hundreds of copies of the newspaper article and handed it to every bar owner in town
He hired women and called them “Jagerettes” (aka, any father’s worst nightmare). The women would dress up as sexy nurses & doctors and walk around bars spraying Jager into guys' mouths.
He created a cold-tap machine that would keep Jager at the bar at 5 degrees Fahrenheit to make drinking it taste less bad
Those 3 things really really worked.
Jager went from selling 500 cases a year in the US when Frank first bought it, to over 7M+ cases by 2016.
(That’s 14,000x growth in 40 years)
But wait…there’s more.
Even though Frank was now RICH, over the age of 70, and his kids’ kids never needed to work again…he decided to start a new company.
This time, he decided to go into the Vodka business (shooters gonna shoot).
At the time, the only premium vodka on the market was Absolut which sold for $17. So, Frank gathered his most trusted advisors and told them to go to France and come back with the best vodka they could find.
Why France? Because it sounds fancy. That’s why.
He called it Grey Goose and hired famous artists to design the bottle and packaging.
And he packaged it well by nailing these six things:
He priced it 2X more expensive than the previous “premium” vodka bottle (Absolut)
Spent his full first-year profit ($3M) on ads, sponsoring things like high-end charity events and Hollywood award afterparties
Packaged it in wooden crates like fine wine
Explained that the vodka was filtered through champagne limestone in the French Springs (I don’t know what this means, but I’m f*cking IN)
Created ads explaining it was the first vodka from France instead of dirty old Russia
Designed a unique smoky glass bottle that was impossible to forget
Seven years later, Bacardi bought Grey Goose from the Sidney Frank Importing Co. for $2 Billion.
2 exits in and over $2B made meant it was time for him to spend his money.
He hired a financial advisor to “teach him how to spend money.” He had 4 full-time chefs, and traveled in a private jet with 20 people everywhere he went.
He loved playing golf and played all the time until he got too old and couldn’t play...so he hired 4 golf pros to play golf for him for his amusement while he just sat in the golf cart eating and drinking.
When your father-in-law boots you out of the business… Go big. Get revenge. Become a billionaire. And then give back & ball out.
P.S. RIP Sidney Frank, who died in 2006.
P.P.S. Before he died, he was working on a new Irish whiskey, and an energy drink called Crunk. His motto was “Stay busy or die.”
P.P.P.S. If you wanna go down the Sidney Frank rabbithole, Check out this video of Sidney being carried from his house into his armored Maybach to play golf with Donald Trump.
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