Cruising in NÜTRL

This podcast was recorded pre-covid and at the base of the Canadian Rockies in Banff Canada with Paul Meehan, Creator, Owner & Brand Manager, NÜTRL Vodka Soda right after a little company named Anheuser-Busch acquired him. You can hear the pep in Paul's step during this Cult Brand podcast.


Enjoy this Symphony Talent joint, SmashflyX style :)

PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:

Disability Solutions helps companies find talent in the largest minority community in the world – people with disabilities.


Intro: Hide your kids, lock the doors, you're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls, it's time for The Chad and Cheese Podcast.

Joel: Oh, yeah.

Chad: It is beautiful here.

Joel: What's up snow bunnies? It's The Chad and Cheese Podcast.

Chad: This is just gorgeous.

Joel: I'm your co-host, Joel Cheesman.

Chad: And this is Chad, I'm mad I'm not skiing, Sowash.

Joel: And we are recording today from Banff Canada at the Cult Gathering Event, the number one marketing conference in the world. And what better first interview for us to have-

Chad: Oh, the first. Jeez. Sorry.

Joel: ... At the event, than the founder of a distillery here in Canada.

Chad: Yes.

Joel: I can't think of any better guests.

Chad: Yes.

Joel: So please welcome Paul Meehan. Paul is the president and founder at Goodridge & Williams. Paul, welcome to the podcast.

Paul: Thanks guys. I'm completely honored to be in a bar, on day one, just post noon chatting with you guys. Strong start. Strong start.

Chad: It's a strong start.

Chad: By the way we get introduced a lot at this conference.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: I'm going to come out swinging here a little bit. Your LinkedIn resume says you did some time at Guinness Canada.

Paul: I sure did. Yeah.

Chad: Tell me about that.

Joel: So, is is it true that the Guinness really is better at the source in Ireland.

Paul: Well, let me tell you a quick story. So when I was a younger man, I was in sales and I was at Guinness. And one of the first things I had to do was go out to all my accounts and tell them that the price of Guinness was going up $20 a keg. And I'm not going to swear on your podcast, that's not allowed.

Joel: That's okay.

Chad: Yeah. This is explicit.

Paul: Okay. Good. So most people are, "Who the fuck are you and why are you doing this?"

Joel: And when this?

Paul: It was 20 years ago. 20, well, 25 years ago, probably. No, its about about 20. This will answer the question at some point though, about 24 years ago. So the price was going up $20 a keg. And the reason why, was the average age of a keg, could be anywhere from three months to nine months old. And my boss is smarter people than me, said, "Well, let's do this. Let's bring the frequency of orders up and the shipment size down, so the beer is fresher." And main reason the beer wasn't as good in Canada and the USA at the time was it could have been-

Chad: Fresh.

Paul: Yeah, it wasn't fresh.

Chad: Fresher.

Paul: Yeah. It wasn't guaranteed to be fresh.

Chad: Right.

Paul: And also wasn't on draft gas. So what we did is, we went around ... And this is when, I remember people used to say to me, "Paul, no one's going to spend six bucks for a pint of Guinness," which is hilarious because probably Guiness could be 15 bucks at this hotel-

Joel: Yeah.

Paul: ... But people want to have good things. And I said, "Just charge another dollar. Charge more," and ended up being just kind of at the beginning of premiumization of a beer. But to answer your question more succinctly, it's the same beer, it's just fresher. I've actually had it in Brazen Head in Dublin, which is like literally, the rumor's there's a hard pipe from the brewery to the bar. They physically could have one, I don't know if it's fact, but it certainly tastes like that. So yeah. Freshness, we need freshness.

Chad: We were lucky enough to be in Ireland together, not the entire time for a week, and we did nothing but drink Guinness pretty much the entire time we were there. It was delicious. It did taste different. It was totally fresh.

Joel: Little snow hangover, which-

Chad: Yeah. And that was the big ...

Joel: I don't know if that was just ...

Chad: What was that about?

Paul: That's just good living. That's just good luck. I think that's good things happen to good people. I'll tell you, there's two different stories about that. Well, I'll just tell you the most boring one. Again, I'm not the tallest guy in the world. I grew up from two directions, my face down and my belly up. But when I was working at Guiness, I was always remarking how many pints I could put down, and I put on weight, but nobody noticed, I didn't really have a lot of mirrors around the house. But I did go to Dublin on a trip once they came back eight pounds heavier.

Chad: Oh. Damn.

Paul: Now, that is not to do with the Guinness, so much will have to do with all the various foods and the lack of sleep.

Chad: Oh, yeah.

Paul: But a pint of Guinness has got 191 calories in it. So whereas like a pint of a light beer would have pretty much the same, it's 4.1% alcohol, so it's not any worse for you than like a Bud Light or something like that.

Joel: Very thirsty all of a sudden.

Paul: Yeah. We should actually have pints here.

Chad: We should. Yeah.

Paul: I can make that happen.

Chad: Hello. Bartender. So why break out and search your own thing? What was the whole reason behind that? What was in your brain to say, "I gotta do this"?

Paul: Well, you only have a couple of minutes in the podcast here, but I've been in the industry for a long time. And I'm glad you pulled out that, for me, I'm very proud of my time at Guinness, which is something I think of often, lessons learned there. But actually, post that I worked for many other companies, Mark Anthony Group, which is a Canadian business here, it's actually now around the world. And I worked at Sleeman and which is the third largest brewery in Canada. But what I figured out at one point was that, what I was best at was the brand marketing part of it and everything else was babysitting. And my wife will tell you, any employee who I've worked with will tell you I'm not a great people manager. It's not that I don't like people, I still don't really want to listen to them tons, they have all sorts of needs and demands.

Chad: So many needs and excuses.

Joel: Business would be great, except for the people.

Paul: Well, As you know, I have three kids, I'm legally required to take care of them, everybody else I don't need to. But, long story short, I figured out that I could do the best parts of my job in the structural strategic side. So I opened up a company, an agency, about 14 years ago called Me&Ideas. And we've done work for, you name it, tons of different businesses with a heavy bias towards beverage alcohol. We did all the marketing for the world for SAB Miller's flagship brand, Miller Genuine Draft, Miller High Life, Miller Lite.

Chad: Yeah? No shit.

Paul: So I've been all around the world selling American beer. So that's a Canadian selling American beer around the world.

Joel: Love it. So I want to dig into that a little bit. Your background is marketing, and so when you started your own distillery, was it you just had a passion for liquor and wanted to make it?

Paul: Sure.

Joel: Or did you have a passion for making liquor and then creating a brand that would then stand the test of time or in this case be bought by Anheuser-Busch?