There are many things that go into making any liquor brand a success, but no one can deny the influential and meaningful role of a Brand Ambassador. As the de facto spokesperson for the brand, the ambassador is responsible for spreading the word while making connections with industry folk at bars and restaurants around the globe.
One such rockstar Ambassador is Adriana Soley, the Area Manager Spirits USA at Torres. With an impressive portfolio of labels including various expressions of Torres brandy, Magdala and Pisco El Gobernador under her purview, Soley is not only unbelievably knowledgeable and informed about not only the Torres family of spirits but the industry at large.
We caught up with Adriana Soley to find out more about what really goes into her role and what she sees for the future of Torres.
State your name and title for the record.
Adriana Soley, Area Manager Spirits USA at Torres.
To those outside of the industry, it might look like you get paid to drink and attend parties. Let’s set the record straight: what do you actually do?
I wear many hats at my company. Torres is a well-respected, big global company, but we are still a small team in the USA and I like to keep myself busy! I’m the national sales manager for Torres Spirits, which means I work closely with my team in other regions of the country, work closely with distributors to educate them and implement programs with our portfolio, manage pricing, orders, make sure we have enough stock at the distributor warehouses, put together lots of reports, presentations and all that fun stuff.
At the same time, I also help on the educational ambassador area until we are ready to have a Brand Ambassador team. I genuinely enjoy trade marketing so I’m also in charge of all the national Spirits activations for trade and consumers in our top states in the country, create selling support materials, brand presentations, manage online media relationships.
What type of personality traits or characteristics are needed to be a successful Brand Ambassador?
You have to be passionate, genuinely nice and caring. People first have to see your passion, like you and see that you care for them, then they will like your brand. Other traits that help is to be a person of your word, be well educated on your brand expertise, be punctual, original and creative.
Tell us a little about your path to becoming a Brand Ambassador.
The first time I met a brand ambassador was in Madrid when I was working on my first bartending job. I really liked all the brand ambassadors that were coming to the bar; they seemed very happy with their jobs, always hanging out with friends, and bringing cool ideas and projects to do with us, bartenders. I guess I had the same view as everybody does of Brand Ambassadors! I decided I wanted to become a brand ambassador. I love bartending, the people, the creativity but I did not like to be in the same place every day. I thought that becoming a BA will allow me to keep working with the same people, fulfill my creative desires and allow me to travel around the city and later on around the country.
I set my mind to it in 2012 and by 2013 I moved to NYC without knowing anyone, found a sponsor and got a visa in only 3 months. While working at a bar in the UWS a brand ambassador came to my bar and, as I always do when a Brand Ambassador comes to my bar: I made him a cocktail with his brand. He was working for a cava company (sparkling wine from Spain) and he was so impressed by me making him a cocktail with cava that he asked me to have a meeting to do some cocktail videos for the brand. *Remember that wine companies are not used to cocktails, that’s why he was so impressed.* During these conversations, he asked me if I knew anyone that would be interested in becoming a brand ambassador for the cava brand and of course I said ME! The rest is history. I’ve worked as a Brand Ambassador from 2013 until 2017.
What are some of the best aspects that you enjoy about your job?
I love making my own schedule, working remotely but still being part of this amazing spirits and hospitality industry. I love working with creative people (bartenders, marketing agencies, influencers, media), and also create unique experiences for trade and consumers.
What are some of the biggest challenges about it?
Get people to answer emails! Haha, just kidding.
Making your own schedule can sometimes be dangerous because there’s always something to do. So you can be working 10-12 hours a day.
What do you think are some of the most blatant misconceptions about being a Brand Ambassador?
I would say that some people think that BA’s job is just, go out, make friends and attend/throw parties. They actually have to do a lot of office work to write reports for the company to understand and track the profitability and awareness that those activities are giving to the company. Because at the end, liquor companies cannot afford to just throw money out the window without getting anything in return. Brand Ambassadors also need to spend time preparing the meetings, educational talks and other activations they are doing.
Another misconception is that some people assume that Brand Ambassadors drink a lot. When you work with liquor, because you are going to see 8 bars doesn’t mean you need to finish the 8 drinks.
What are you most proud of about your company and their ethos?
Throughout the company, you can see that people are very passionate, genuinely nice, respectful, caring, hardworking and humble people, from the owners to the farmers. As a family-owned company that is Torres, all the employees are like a big family.
But I would say that one of the things I’m most proud of the company is that they really invest energy, time and resources in fighting climate change. They work with the land so they rapidly realized the effect that climate change is doing and decided to do something about it. So far they have reduced the carbon footprint by 27.6% since 2008 and have in place many more sustainable practices. Renewable energies, energy-efficient architecture, sustainable transportation, water management optimization, light-weight bottles, carbon sinks, waste management. Find out more of these activities here.
Torres also created Fundacion Familia Torres which helps communities around the world for children’s aid. Since 2001, the Foundation has set itself the priority goal of helping children in need and those who have been orphaned. For this reason, schools and foster homes have been built and equipped in several countries. Also women and families – empowerment of women, fighting against gender violence. We want mothers to be the true players in their lives, groups in need – to contribute to improvements in health, reducing inequalities in the health of a disadvantaged population, as well as culture and art: collaboration with cultural entities to bring culture and its benefits to the majority of the population. And natural disasters – [providing] humanitarian aid, prevention and reduction of disaster impact.
You can see more of these projects here.
Brand Ambassadors get to experience some really awesome experiences what is the coolest thing your position has allowed you to do?
I think the coolest thing of this job is that you get to travel either around a city, a country or the world and you get to taste the best spirits and cocktails, the best food and meet amazing humans on the way that you create memories with.
With Torres I get to travel all around the USA, sometimes to Mexico and Canada (when they need me) and Spain 2 to 3 times a year. Most of these trips we are either working the market, doing a unique event or entertaining clients so we go to the best cocktail bars and restaurants in each city.
What can we look forward to from you with Torres’ spirits portfolio f or this year?
If you are in New Orleans this July definitely make sure to come to our event with barmini by Jose Andrés at the Napoleon House (RSVP here) where we are creating a unique experience for our guests with Torres Brandies, live music and the hospitality and delicious cocktails of the barmini by Jose Andrés team.
Who is a brand ambassador or someone in the industry who you respect?
Juan Coronado, he was one of the first people I’ve met when I came to NY 6 years ago and since then we’ve become family, every time I see him giving a talk or presentation I’m amazed, how natural he is, how well he moves, speaks, dresses, all the knowledge he has, I would say he is the perfect Brand ambassador. He is also a gentleman who will open the door for you, always has a smile in his face, very passionate, knows everybody in this industry, has inspired and mentored many of us and is very humble. If you don’t know him yet, just google him, get to know him!
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