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The NOW Gen


The NOW Gen, Craft Spirits, and Personalization

The exponential growth the spirit industry experienced after the pandemic has made brands like Eastside Distilling innovate and grow into spaces they never thought of reaching. Their Chief Branding Officer, Janet Oak, talked to our host about the challenges, innovation, sustainability, and the e-commerce frenzy in this episode. Her experience and passions show throughout this interview, just like it does in her brand. Helping the world become a better place is one of her biggest passions. Listen to Janet’s expertise in cultivating loyalty and finding sustainable options to improve a brand’s products. Changing the market for spirits and revolutionizing the way we drink by offering constantly evolving personalized experiences.


Janet Oak


  • From trend hunter to chief brand officer.
  • Becoming an unapologetically original brand.
  • The pandemic drove the distillery market to become a ready-to-drink market.
  • Sustainable and “on the spot” innovation.
  • E-Commerce challenges on distilleries.
  • Building brand loyalty on shared values.
  • Mentoring as a passionate leader


“We know that the market is crowded. And so we need to do things to stand out, to find white space opportunities, but we also know that consumers are demanding unique experiences and need products that they can’t get anywhere else.”

“So we did quite a bit of work around what makes Portland Oregon unique because really that is where we were grown and that’s where we are. And we landed on the idea that actually Portland is unapologetically original. And so that is the way that we think about all of our products and brands.”

“So, especially during the pandemic when the bars were closed and consumers needed drinks that were convenient, a drink that’s premade in a can is highly convenient and that’s what drove that trend. But now spirit-based ready to drink are overtaking sort of those malt-based ready to drink. So people want the full spirit experience in a can.”

“Direct-to-consumer has grown quite significantly in the spirits business, but e-commerce is quite challenging because it is a three tier distribution system.”

“Well, I mean, as you said, this is a generation that’s very fickle, they’re onto the next thing. You know, first everything it’s explosive growth and then they’re onto the next thing.”

“So a way that we see building loyalty with consumers is to build them on shared values. We know that this generation votes with their dollars, they stay away from companies that don’t support the things they believe in.”

“That’s why things like sustainability are really important. It’s a value that we know people care about. And it’s something that we’re very passionate about. I personally am very passionate. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how we can spend corporate dollars to make the world a better place and also share returns and drive business results.”

“Be authentic, because people can see through it, and you know, don’t cause-slap or greenwash is what people call it, like really authentically commit to the causes that you care about and make sure that those causes are aligned with the single most important thing you want to say about your a brand.”

“We used to say in the advertising business, you know, if you try to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing to nobody.”