ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – For all the mixing, bottling, and branding in the world, nothing quite gets the whiskey off the shelves for local shops, like these guys.
“He knows how to work the crowd,” owner John Curtin said.
“They have a 100 percent success ratio,” Yankee Distillers owner Matthew Jager said.
It might sound strange at first, but local distillers say the puppies and kitties concept really captures the “spirit” of their spirits.
Albany Distilling and Yankee Distillers are both still pretty new to the business, but the local whiskey and vodka makers say their products have taken off, in part, thanks to their furry employees.
If you’ve thumbed through the distilleries’ Instagram or Facebook pages, they might look familiar.
Aptly named, Cooper the Cat has quickly worked his way up in the ranks from the Chief of Security to Head of Marketing.
“He started off more or less a very utilitarian sort of necessity I wasn’t a huge cat person but we got all this grain to make whiskey and the grain attracted the other local residents,” Curtin said. “So we got Coop, and he settled in very quickly.”
Curtin quickly realized the rescue cat from Troy needed a promotion when he posted some photos of him hanging around the distillery.
“Just a casual scroll through our Facebook feed will show you picture of the Barrell’s picture of the product, 15 likes, maybe one or two comments, picture of the cat or both cats, hundreds of comments hundreds of likes dozens of shares. It’s really remarkable how much the internet just loves, loves cats.”
Yes, both cats. The distillery recently added a second to the roster named Montgomery. Cooper will tell you she’s still being trained.
The free posts are garnering far more attention than any other advertisement with more than 11,000 followers on Instagram.
Up the Northway, Yankee Distillers is seeing the same success with their pugs.
“I can’t say that the pugs have been a mouse deterrent, but they certainly have been a customer attractant,” Jager said.
Jager says tour groups will call ahead to make sure Barley and Basil are working before they arrive.
If you aren’t a fan of hard liquor, maybe this face will get you in the door.
“We’re kind of walking the fine line of exploiting our dogs for media purposes and just making it another part of our life that we share with the people who come here and the people who follow us on social media.”
“Why do you think the cats take the cake? Why cats instead of dogs? Why do they win? The thing that first comes to mind is their skill. They keep a close eye on all the grain. The other great thing about them is their independence.”
“If the puppy can accomplish the practical goals of the kitty that is keeping the pests out, then it’s really up to the individual to decide if you’re a puppy or kitty person. We’ve obviously cast our vote here.”
In the process of covering the story, NEWS10 ABC’s Noel McLaren also learned that dogs and cats aren’t the only animals in the game. There’s actually a popular scotch distillery in Scotland that has geese!