up to 10 million back in US. So he increased distilling from 1 to 3,6 million bottles per year. At the time the cost was a $1 per gallon and they sold it in States for $5. Frank became a star and Schenley eventually became one of the largest liquor companies in the United States. One of the “Big Four” including Seagram, National Distillers and Hiram Walker. Frank eventually rose to the company presidency but butted heads with his father-in-law, and finally started his own company in 1972. Sidney Frank Importing Company. “It was just me, my brother, and a secretary.” But it was no overnight success. Frank was forced to sell off personal assets to keep the company running and started out by supplying Gekkeikan Sake to sushi restaurants.
Jägermeister: Gorilla and Guerrilla Marketing
One of the things Frank has learned was to not build a distillery until there was enough money to do it properly and enough production to put in it, so he began looking for anything that had a niche to import.
During the tough times, he would stroll around New York neighborhoods to see who was drinking what in the bars. During a late night ride he saw German immigrants downing an odd-tasting herb liqueur from the Fatherland.
It tasted like licorice, root beer and cough syrup. But it was an interesting product and there were a lot of Germans in the country. However in a moment of epiphany Frank saw another niche: the hard-partying college kids. Why or how he never explained it but he decided to take Jägermeister from elderly blue-collar German immigrants and transform it into a hot student brand.
He sent a telegram to the president of Jägermeister in Germany and asked if he would meet him.
And so they went for dinner. “I’d like to have Jägermeister for the States.” Frank said. “We already have commitments for most of the country, but we still have Maryland to Florida left.” President said, “I’ll take it.”
Next year however the owner of Jäger flew to Florida and asked his West Coast importer to take him to Disneyland. They got lost, so he figured his importer didn’t know the territory and that’s how Frank got the whole country in 1973.