Jackson Hole, Wyo.-based Dust Cutter Beverage Co. -- which this month is rolling out tests of its line of all-natural, Western-style lemonades in select markets, as well as making them available for sale on DustCutter.com -- believes it's coming out of the gate with all of those elements.
The new brand can certainly claim the "authentic" origins that seem to resonate with today's consumers. Growing up, the company's founder and president, Eric Green, saw his grandparents -- who owned the Warm Springs Ranch in Jackson Hole -- serve their original-recipe lemonade-and-whiskey "Dust Cutters" to parched guests coming off the trails of the dude ranch.
The ranch is now gone (the property was sold in the 60's, to become part of Grand Teton National Park), but Green copyrighted the Dust Cutter name, secured investors about two years ago, and set about developing spirits-free lemonades that would do justice to the fresh-squeezed, somewhat tart flavor of the original. (A bonus of the low sugar content: just 80 calories per 16 ounces.)
The brand offers three flavors -- lemonade, iced tea lemonade and huckleberry lemonade (all with ginseng and vitamins), with the last so far being the most popular flavor in limited sales efforts to date, reports Green.
The beverages come in recloseable, bottle-shaped 16-ounce aluminum (Alumi-Tek) cans that let active consumers carry them anywhere, including venues where standard glass tea and juice bottles are unwelcome, like pools and golf courses -- a marketing advantage, Green believes. (A 12-pack goes for $20, although the drinks can also be purchased individually at retailers.)
Denver-based agency Cultivator Advertising & Design developed the packaging design, as well as the brand's positioning and marketing materials.
Dust Cutter's brand personifier is a "Lemon Cowboy": an illustration of a cowboy atop a fresh, bucking lemon.
That image, with "Wet Your Whistle" and "All Natural...Giddy Up" taglines, is being featured on 11" X 18" posters in natural grocers, convenience stores and select QSRs and bars (Dust Cutter is a great mixer, according to Green) in the test markets: Wyoming, Salt Lake City and college-oriented accounts in Austin, Tex. and Oklahoma City, Okla.
The branding is also being featured on in-store cooler clings and on the trucks being used for sampling events at retailers that are carrying Dust Cutter.
Those events -- where branded T-shirts and caps will also be dispensed (these can be purchased on the Web site, as well) -- are, along with the in-store marketing, a primary focus of the launch campaign, according to Green.
The brand will also be testing grocery circular advertising. And (perhaps speaking to its longer-term national ambitions), Dust Cutter has been seen on a billboard in Manhattan's Times Square.
In this early stage, says Green, Dust Cutter is handling its nascent presences on Facebook and Twitter internally, basically focusing on building awareness of the sampling events, the retailers where the beverages can be purchased, and the online store.