IMAGINE a distilled spirit with a cause of elevating Tiki Drinks from campy to classy and in the process modernizing and protecting the brand of Hawaii. This is the goal of Shaka™ Spirits, a premium distilled spirit formulated as a topper to raise the bar on tropical drinks and pair with local Hawaii Regional Cuisine.
We are targeting young, hip, clubbing millennials interested in Hawaii culture including Mainland US and Japan. We desire to present well at bars, restaurants and clubs/ultra lounge table service.
Our product is rough and ready MOONSHINE by farm workers. We need to look potent (bold), gregarious, brave, manly. This beverage is 88 proof. It's meant to burn your insides. Millennials want a tough, rough, hardcore drink that stands up to Caribbean pirate rums. We want HAWAII PLANTATION INDUSTRIAL / MACHINE / AGRICULTURAL / MOONSHINE but also have to be modern, chic, sophisticated and hip rendition for a club setting. But we also want our own twist of easy-going, happy-go-lucky, a bit wise ass, in that face of great danger.
On plantation theme, be aware that our story is from the farm work's perspective making moonshine, it's NOT the haoli's (white person's) perspective as the plantation owner. That said, Victorian/white domination is a no-no while industrial / agricultural / moonshine is a yes-yes. Do a google search for cane sugar machinery: you'll see a lot of large fly wheels, cast iron parts, very heavy stuff...
Shaka also moved into the surf community in later years, but be aware that we DO NOT want California surfer style... again, white dominance is a no-no while local style surf is a yes-yes. For local style surf, see "Eddie Would Go!" style... it's hard-hitting and bold, not flowery/hippy.
Also be aware that the idea of Shaka "Just Go For It!" is different than Nike's "Just Do It." Nike is more, grind it out, commit, be persistent and grit your teeth. Shaka is more of an easy-going, even happy-go-lucky attitude in the face of a dangerous situation. It's a combination of light attitude and hard-hitting manliness.
STYLE TARGETS: Industrial / agricultural plantation, moonshine, happy-go-lucky, bold, risk-taking, dangerous, nostalgic, modern, chic, sophisticated, confident, sense of humor, light attitude, hard-hitting.
NO-NO WARNING: We are NOT interested in goofy, themey palm trees, shaka signs, tiki heads, flowers or waves. Most of the time these are used as icons that end up looking like caricatures of Hawaii... this is NOT stupid touristy crap, so if you use any of these icons, you better end up with a sophisticated play.
TITLING: It's really important that the logo easily reads "SHAKA" and also communicates the product type "PLANTATION RUM" and location "HAWAII." These are essential to consumers understanding what we're selling and why it's cool. Optionally, one of the taglines can be used: "Life's a beach... with a shot of Shaka!", "Go for it!" or "The Spirit of Shaka."
The Shaka™ Spirits formulation derives from Awamori, Okinawa’s version of distilled rice spirits. In the early 1900s, Hawaiian plantation workers from Okinawa localized awamori by blending sugar cane spirits (rum) with rice spirits (awamori). The result is a unique tropical spirit that’s perfect for Hawaii’s modern version of paradise.
Historically, “Shaka” is a hand gesture synonymous with Hawaii and surfing culture. Hawaii’s use of the word Shaka dates back to 1958 at Laie, Oahu where a plantation worker named Hamana Kalili, suffered an accident at the sugarcane mill. Upon recovery, Hamana was reassigned as a security guard on the company train. In the years that followed, kids illegally hopping the train took to signaling each other with an all-clear "go for it" gesture, mimicking the three fingers Hamana had lost in the accident. The gesture was later adopted by Hawaii residents and surfers as a universal “go for it” gesture.
Even before Hawaii, the word “Shaka” finds roots dating back to when Buddhism was first introduced to Japan (circa 600 AD) with the Indian Siddhartha Buddha becoming known as Shakamuni aka Shaka Buddha (recognized by a raised left hand with two middle fingers tucked in). Later, In 1609, Japan conquered and assimilated the Ryukyu Kingdom of Okinawa. By then, the Japanese word “Shaka” had evolved to mean "it’s good" or “it’s all right.” In the early 1900s, Okinawan plantation workers brought the word “Shaka” to Hawaii.
From the Shaka Buddha in Japan, to Okinawa, to Hawaii, to a plantation worker’s lost fingers, to kids jumping on trains and surfers jumping on waves, comes the "go for it" Spirit of Shaka.
We seek to be perceived as a middle to high-end, small batch, handcrafted producer. The overall goal of the Shaka formulation is to paint a picture of Hawaii plantation life and Shaka paradise in the minds of patrons. This target will be pre-described by the brand story and bottle descriptions so as to suggest target flavor profiles for patrons to imagine/taste intended flavor notes. The concept of Shaka Just Go For It! may include notes like: fresh, dangerous, tropical, sweet, happy-go-lucky, sense of humor, friendly, romantic, nostalgic plantation, maternal, surfer, a bikini, sunny palm trees, beach, aqua, plumeria, hibiscus, stephanotis, ginger, lilikoi, mac nuts, coffee, vanilla, pomegranate, Hawaiian paradise with an Asian twist. Fruits like pineapple are unnecessary as they are already Tiki Drink ingredients and would be too cliche/obvious ~ mystery and not being able to quite put a finger on a delightful flavor results in more sipping/sales. Our primary formulations:
1. Shaka “Tiki” Dark Rum: a spiced rum/awamori formulated to be the winning topper for all Tiki Drinks. As a topper, it will offset and add complexity to a sweet fruit drink and not fill up customers with too much sugar or umami. The formulation will suggest hints of Hawaii/Shaka as noted above. Working against sweetness, it will feature: Spice: (many rums are spiced to work against sugar)
Bitters/Toasting: (possibly barrel aged or roasted mac nuts for bitters, also to work against sugar); Acid: (citrus, pineapple or passion fruit on the acidic side without adding more sugar). Note that acids are good as they dissipate flavor/sugar, leaving the patron wanting more as they can’t quite put a definition on what that unique flavor is (keeps the surprise and mystique alive while raising consumption: e.g. Hypnotic). Also note that because this topper will be engineered to be the signature ingredient to offset sweet fruit juices, it will likely NOT aspire to be a great sipping drink, hence the “Tiki” label.
2. Shaka “Pau Hana” Gold Rum: an amber rum/awamori formulated to be smooth and a great sipping rum/awamori as well as be useful in some Tiki Drinks. Targeted to Hawaii Locals and those who wish to live the “Pau Hana” or after work life of Hawaii.
3. Shaka “Kai” White Rum: a clear, clean refreshing rum/soju formulated to be neutral and light for use as a working horse spirit (lower layers of Tiki Drinks).
"BEACH HEAD" PROMOTIONAL STRATEGY
We will seek to own the idea of Tiki Drinks... made with a shot of Shaka. Winning bar locations on Oahu will authenticate the brand and support our distributor’s goal of embedding Shaka™ Spirits into bar backs across the country. Milestones include: Win Waikiki Bars: Become the leader in Tiki Drink spirits in Waikiki. Gain Made in Hawaii (MIH) Designation: Gain approval to market as an MIH product (allows for direct to consumer sales in phase 3 below). Open Tasting Room & Shaka™ Museum: Open tourist attraction and sell direct to consumer at high margin while building brand. Create Shaka™ Awards: elevate the art of the sophisticated Tiki Drink through a mixologist contest featuring large cash purses and high social value.
Tiki Drinks... made with a shot of Shaka!
Just go for it!
Life's a Beach... with a Shot of Shaka
The Spirit of Shaka
BOTTLES & LABELING
We will initially package in a generic exiting bottle design rather than have a custom one made. Graphic applications can be either by applied labels or printed directly onto bottles. Simplicity, possibly a bit nostalgic, yet modern, sophisticated balance is desired. A fresh plantation-suggestive approach is likely the best initial solution. Bottles will be sourced from one of these companies: AAC Spirits Catalog http://accspirits.com, OI Spirits Catalog http://o-i.com.