What We Can Learn About Branding from Chile's Famous Pisco Sour


3 ounces Pisco

2 ounces lime juice 

1 tablespoon egg whites

1 1⁄2 ounces simple syrup

1⁄4 cup crushed ice

2 -3 drops Angostura bitters

  1. In a blender, combine lime juice and egg white.
  2. Add simple syrup, Pisco, and ice and blend until frothy.
  3. Pour into a sour glass, top with a few drops of bitters.

Let me start off by saying, if you have never had a FRESH Pisco Sour...get on that ASAP (unless you don't drink of course).

What does the Pisco Sour have to do with branding strategy?

The Pisco is a cultural favorite from South America. The Chileans claim it, the Peruvians claim it...but whoever it is maintains that there are a few essential ingredients that make it a Pisco Sour: Pisco, egg white, lime juice, and  (usually) simple syrup.

Where the fun begins...

...is in the variations. I traveled all over Chile and had many variations of this classic cocktail. In the Patagonian plains, one man had a family recipe that included mint, basil, and no bitters. on the beach of Vina del Mar, a cafe included a dash of Tabasco (see photo above) which added a fresh, spicy take on the old favorite. Some people swore by leaving the recipe basic like the one I gave you.

Chileans are very proud and VERY generous, inviting, and hospitable people. The maker of each drink assured me it was a Pisco and that it was the best one in Chile. Each maker knew that their variety was ever so slightly different from the basic recipe, but they wanted to stand out from the "standard" and were very confident that their take was the most unique among their cultural competitors.

See whee I'm going with this yet?...

All of these are technically the same drink but each individual put one or two tweaks on it to personalize it and make it different, then marketed it confidently as a family recipe, a regional favorite, as using ancient and VERY traditional Pisco methods (the purists), or just modernizing the drink.

Each drink has variations, I know. EVERY drink or food recipe can be altered in one way or another and called something new or a "new twist on an old favorite." 

But what makes the Pisco a great example is the mindset and PRIDE each maker instills on his/her recipe. Each one I ordered had a story or motivation behind wanting or needing it to stand out as the "best." Just like you when you're creating your brand, think of something as traditional as the Pisco and use these takaways:

  1. All these creators were simply "repackaging" an existing product/recipe. Do NOT try to re-invent the wheel. Most products/services/business models have been inventred already. Add a new twist to an old favorite or REPACKAGE the goods in a way that you personally identify with!
  2. Be proud of the value and uniqueness you add or repackage! If you are interested in what you are doing, someone else will be too (now you DO want to do a bit of homework to make sure there may actually be moo-lah in your idea or people are willing to PAY for it.). Your new take is adding value and creativeness to your industry, so think of it as creating your "regional favorite"
  3. Make sure you have a story. The Chileans (in my experience) cared about family, culture, and community. Even if you dont advertise it, tell a story! Whether it's on your website, your menu, your media kit, or just in your mind as you create your brand, you have to know where you come from and where you're going.
  4. Invite people to be part of your culture! Present yourself as proud but very welcoming and be inclusive and inviting to people to enjoy and benefit from your culture (ultimately turning them into loyal followers and clients/customers)

  Keep this in mind when building a brand around a product, a service, OR you as an individual. And if you need more detailed help on this, my new course "Landing Your First Sponsorship" goes into marketing YOU as an individual, whether you're an athlete or not!