[Indie Interview] Jeremy Mitchell of 8Track Rum
This week, we talk to hot new indie brand co-founder Jeremy Mitchell about 8Track Rum.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I was born and grew up in Cornwall where my parents and grandparents were publicans. Being a child of the 1970s and early 80s, the pub juke box was a focal point in my life with its ever-changing collection of rock, pop, soul and disco hits, each played on 45rpm 7 inch singles. I used to look forward to Wednesdays when the juke box maintenance man who would remove the least played singles and replace them with new chart topping discs. My dad used to buy the discarded records for me and my brother and, over the years we gathered an extensive and eclectic collection of tunes which we would play for hours on my parents’ record player. This collection was inspiration for my love of music and, since then, the different genres of contemporary music have provided the soundtrack to key events and life experiences through the decades.
Before co-founding 8Track, I led the marketing team at 16 years for St Austell Brewery, an independent brewer, pub company and wholesale wines and spirits merchant based in Cornwall. During my time there, I learned the ins and outs of the drinks and hospitality industry and developed a fascination for the spirits brands and rum in particular. I also had chance to work with music festivals -eg set up The Cornish Arms at Glastonbury Festival.
As keen followers of music, my wife and I encouraged our sons to learn piano, guitar and drums as they were growing up. My wife and I were delighted when 2 of our sons, Toby and Louis carried on their love of music into their adult careers. They are both members of the Velvet Hands, a four piece indie band – Toby as lead singer and songwriter and Louis is the drummer. It’s a tough and competitive industry but I am proud they are following their dreams.
When I left St Austell Brewery during COVID, I took the time to research, seek advice and pull together ideas to create a new spirits brand. I met up with Matt and together we created the idea for 8Track Spiced Rum. We both wanted to create something we believed in and, when, during the pandemic, Rishi Sunak advised young people working in music and performing arts to retrain into new roles, it was an easy decision to create a new spiced rum brand that would celebrate and support independent music, good times together and doing things better for people and the planet.
What does your company do? / What is your USP?
Upbeat Spirits is an independent company. 8Track Spiced Rum is our first brand and we plan to launch new drinks brands over time.
8Track is different from other spiced rums in its ethos to celebrate and support independent music, good times together and doing things better for people and the planet.
The rum itself is a unique recipe – we take a pumping bassline of two year old Guyanese rum and blend it with an 8 year old Bajan rum and fuse the rums with Seville oranges, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves.
We are also proud of the distinctive brand and packaging which celebrates musical references and good times
Who are your customers?
8Track appeals to consumers who are independent minded, enjoy music, socialising and travel. Interestingly we have found 8Track is attracting new consumers who may not have considered spiced rum before.
Our recommended serve of 8Track with tonic (Night Fever) appeals to many gin drinkers looking to liven up their repertoire.
What challenges and opportunities do you see in UK retail for 2023?
We are all suffering the effects and uncertainty of reduced disposable incomes due to high inflation. 2023 will undoubtedly be a tough year for UK retail but I believe consumers will still want an affordable treat and that music, good times together and doing things better for people and the planet are more important than ever.
How will you address these challenges and turn them into successes?
We will continue to focus on what’s important to our consumers. We will look for ways to reduce 8Track’s carbon footprint and to reduce our use of plastic in packaging. Already we use flexihex cardboard for packaging to fulfil online orders from8trackrum.com
Also in 2022 we switched from single use plastic to plant based seals for 8Track bottles. We will also work to support and celebrate unsigned musicians and DJs giving them a platform to develop their careers.
What is on the horizon for you as a company?
In 2023 8Track will bring the 8Track US School bus to grass roots music festivals across Britain. We will run 8Track presents gigs at festivals and in pubs and music venues providing new and unsigned artists the opportunity to perform. We are also planning to sponsor the Velvet Hands on their UK tour in the Spring.
It’s great to meet new indies, especially when they are so passionate about what they do – it’s infectious. Check out 8Track Rum (or as we might call it, 8Track Yum!).
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