Steven Grasse is not bashful about plugging his agency: “I know more about the spirits industry than any single one of my clients.”
The founder of Philadelphia-based Quaker City Mercantile is able to easily back up his claim, citing decades of experience of not just creating alcohol ads, but building liquor brands from scratch, such as Hendrick’s Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum and a bevy of craft booze brands including strange concoctions such as Eau de Musc, a whiskey that uses oil extracted from beaver butts.
Unlike most agencies that balance accounts across multiple industries, Quaker City focuses only on alcohol—but it does nearly everything, from liquid development and packaging to point-of-sale marketing and advertising. Grasse describes the shop as a “Swiss army knife for the drinks industry.”
He details the approach on the latest edition of the Marketer's Brief podcast, including delving into topics explored in his new book, “Brand Mysticism: Cultivate Creativity & Intoxicate Your Audience.” It recounts how he built the booze-only agency after an earlier career working on accounts running from Puma to R.J. Reynolds, for which Grasse in 1996 revived an old brand called Red Kamel when his agency was known as Gyro Worldwide.