1/ In 2018, retired NHL'er Ryan Whitney says he loves vodka + pink lemonade on the Spittin' Chiclets podcast.

The drink mix goes viral.

In less than a year, Pink Whitney Vodka is in stores. It has now sold 15m+ bottles worth $100m+.

Amazingly, the story starts w/ a tweet🧵 Image
2/ After 11 years in the NHL, Ryan Whitney retires in 2015 and plots his post-playing career.

Interested in starting a hockey podcast, he tweets at another NHL player (Paul "BizNasty" Bissonnette) saying that he needs "a partner." Image
3/ Bissonnette is still playing professionally and can't commit.

So, Barstool Sports hockey blogger Brian McGonagle (AKA Read Admiral AKA RA) replies: "a partner, eh?".

In Oct 2016, Whitney starts going to RA's home in Boston to record the hockey pod -- "Spittin' Chiclets". Image
4/ After ~20 episodes, Barstool Sports picks up the show.

Producer Mike Grinnell joins shortly after. Bissonnette retires from hockey in 2017 and -- in April 2018 -- hops onto the podcast.

With 500k+ D/Ls per episode, Spittin' Chiclets is now the world's top hockey podcast. Image
5/ In October 2018, Spittin' Chiclets gets a new presenting sponsor: New Amsterdam Vodka.

The partnership is part of New Amsterdam's larger role as the NHL's official vodka.

Vodka is -- in fact -- America's top-selling spirit and New Amsterdam was targeting a different demo. Image
6/ For the initial podcast ad read, New Amsterdam gave the Spittin' Chiclets crew a simple prompt: "how do you drink you vodka?"

Whitney says he drinks vodka with “pink lemonade” and adds that anyone with “any brains” or “any balls” or “any sort of confidence” would understand.
7/ Whitney fully expects to get roasted for his vodka + pink lemonade concoction.

Instead, the fan response is nuts and people post pics of their home-made "Pink Whitney" drinks all over social.

Hilariously, #PinkWhitney starts to trend. Image
8/ The Spittin' Chiclets team hop into the social media frenzy and -- within weeks -- are in talks with Barstool Sports and New Amsterdam to make a product. Image
9/ Within a few months, New Amsterdam has created Pink Whitney Vodka (literally, pink lemonade + vodka).

The personality of Spittin' Chiclets is all over the label:

• Spittin' logo
• Barstool logo
• Whitney's jersey #
• 2 catch phrases: "not a bit deal", "what a legend" Image
10/ By September 2019 (11 months after the original podcast ad read), Pink Whitney is in stores.

In a savvy move, the product announcement coincides with the crew’s interview of NHL superstar Sidney Crosby (considered his generation’s best player + Whitney's former teammate). Image
11/ Whitney jokes about the drink debuting on the same day as Sidney Crosby's appearance:

“It’s very exciting to have Sidney Crosby, who made me millions, the same day we’re releasing a drink that could someday make me millions.”

(He wasn't wrong)
12/ Unsure of the demand, New Amsterdam produces 1m bottles of Pink Whitney -- this supply typically lasts 3-6 months.

The entire run sells out in 6 weeks.

In less than 2 years, Pink Whitney has sold 15m+ bottles ($100m+ in sales) and is North America's #1 flavored vodka. Image
13/ Pink Whitney has exploded in popularity outside of its traditional hockey fan bases.

2 of the 3 top Google search locations are Mississippi and Alabama...places w/ little hockey to speak of.

Next up: become America’s top shot brand, taking on Jägermeister. Image
14/ In sum: Whitney may have done the single most valuable podcast ad read ever.

For Barstool (America's 5th largest pod publisher), it's only a start.

It has America's #1 sports podcast (@PardonMyTake) and #1 female podcast (@callherdaddy).

More hit consumer products coming. ImageImage
15/ If you want more fire business story threads, smash that FOLLOW: @TrungTPhan.

Also, check out the full article where I was fortunate enough to speak with Barstool CEO (@EKANardini) and the Spittin' Chiclets team (@BizNasty2point0, @ryanwhitney6).


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