In the course of any successful start-up business, there comes a time where the actual measure of time becomes the stuff of legend.
Ask anyone who started from scratch and made a decent living out of it and you will inevitably hear years tossed out like Tic Tac’s.
Statements like “Well, for the first five years I lived in a closet eating peanut butter and jelly" are not at all uncommon. It's hard work. The goal is to find a passion, because then it feels less like work. Even though it most definitely is.
When we came up with a plan in the summer of 2010 to create what would eventually become Savannah/Hilton Head Island's highest rated local television show, we thought it would work. You know what, I'm lying. We knew it would work. Nothing about it would be easy, but we knew we had something different in this area. Dare I say, revolutionary. If we could stick to it and be patient, we could see this through. With help from the right people, of course. None of this has been done in a vacuum.
In the summer of 2011, my business partner Senea Crystal and I were called to a chat at the Cafe in Forsyth Park. I'm guessing it was early summer because I don't remember my face melting off while sitting outside. Waiting for us at the park was Melody Johnson, a friend of Senea's who had done some graphic work for her once upon a moon.
Melody knew what the mission was with this new toy we were messing with. We, like so many others, wanted to get a show on national television. Our angle was a Hispanic journalist from Miami traveling through the Deep South learning about Southern food. That is different. That is unique. When packaged the right way, that has a chance.
Melody opened up her laptop and explained to me that branding was all about consistency.
"If you want to be on Bravo, then you should model what you do with a similar network look,” she said. She then showed us a series of 'looks' of shows that were already successful at the network level. "You want to be here,” she said.
You've undoubtedly seen our logo 10 million times. Eight years later, it holds up and remains perfect for us.
Not long after, Melody said, "Then, when you are ready, this becomes expandable, but within the brand. You can build on it with extensions like ‘Drink It and Like It,’ ‘Bake It and Like It,’ ‘Grill It and Like It’ and so on,” she said. "It sets you up perfectly later for something like a cook book." She had prepared a similar logo for each one.
I was floored. Senea was floored. Frankly, it was all pretty bad ass. "Drink It and Like It." I'm kind of digging that, I thought at the time. You need to remember, we didn't even have a television show, yet. Just a blog at eatitandlikeit.com. The television show premiered about four months later on a Saturday morning on WJCL-TV. Melody Johnson has been our creative brand manager ever since.
I always thought "Drink It and Like It" could ultimately end up more popular than "Eat It and Like It." Eight years later, that seems pretty ridiculous to say, but I continue to believe that to be true. Meh, whatever. Time will prove me right or wrong.
I always thought the key was to wait until we were in a position to do it well. Not do it for the sake of doing it because we love our beverages in the South.
So here we are.
Eight Summers after that chat in the park, I think I'm ready for a drink. Maybe a cool, refreshing milkshake. Boozy milkshake of course, right? Not necessarily. We cannot stress it enough, "Drink It and Like It" is not exclusively about alcohol. "Drink It and Like It" is just that. A search for interesting people doing interesting things with something you can drink.
It might be gin, bourbon or vodka, sure. But, it also might be coffee. It might be tea. It might be cider. It might be a coffee roaster, a distillery or a brewery. From our seat, it is all fair game. Why? Because the name of the show is "Drink It and Like It." Not "Get Blasted and Like It."
We have plans for no less than four episodes about beverages in the South. Those episodes will air in the same time slot as "Eat It and Like It." We are just mixing it up. Right now there is no separate series. Just a few drinks in between all of the eating. Similarly, we've already started the process of hiring a couple of writers. We are using this opportunity to expand our digital presence, as well. You’re going to see a lot more content on the website and on social media.
We are also going to make as grand an entrance as the budget will allow.
Our launch party is a partnership with our friends at Southbound Brewing Co. How that came about is a story for another time. Suffice to say, we are making four specialty beers this fall. Those four beers will be the foundation for our "Drink It and Like It" Beers & Bites Launch Party.
We are pairing the beers with beef dishes prepared by some of the area's best chefs and having a huge party. It will be Oct. 23 and, yes, you are invited. Our chef lineup to date includes Michael Gottlieb, Brandon Carter of Farm Bluffton, Kyle Jacovino and Josh Thomas.
The entire process and launch party is being documented for television. It will be one episode of "Drink It and Like It" later this year. We want all of you to celebrate with us. It's only fitting that some of you might end up on television with us.
Thrilled as hell, if you can't tell, that it is finally here.
See you on TV