December 29, 2006

blogging delivers five-fold increase in stormhoek sales in less than two years?


It's been a busy year for Stormhoek.

December 29th, 2005 [one year ago exactly]: "Blogging Doubled Stormhoek Sales In Less Than Twelve Months."

When I first started working with Stormhoek in May, 2005, they were tracking about 50,000 cases sold per year. By year's end that figure had doubled to 100,000. Right now we've doubled again, to just over 200,000 cases a year. By Second Quarter 2007 we're on schedule to be tracking around 250,000 cases shipped per year.

So that's looking like a five-fold increase in sales in less than two years. And it wouldn't have happened without the blogosphere, which is at the very epicenter of everything we do. Thanks, Everybody!

And on to 2006:

January 10th: "So what comes after The Cluetrain? Companies gladly and willingly allowing themselves to be actually changed by The Cluetrain. But don't hold your breath."

January 17th: Decanter Magazine picks up on the "Blogging Doubles Sales" story.

January 28th: An exec at one of our largest customers, a supermarket chain, refers to all this blogging stuff as "Chatroom Rubbish". I believe he's modified his opinions since then. Just a tad.

February 11th: Stormhoek launches the "100 Dinners" idea. Basically, we convince people to throw their own geek dinners all around the United States, and blog about it. Stormhoek supplied the wine. Though the story never really broke into the mainstream media [that would've been nice], it got a lot of attention within the US wine trade, which was very good for us.

February 26th: The Stormhoek blogging story makes it into The Daily Telegraph, one of the big national UK papers.

April 10th: I launch the gapingvoid widget, bandwidth sponsored by Stormhoek.

April 29: I announce the first Stormhoek cartoon labels, to be drawn by myself. You can see the results of my efforts here.

May 1st. The very first US Stormhoek Geek Dinner is held in San Antonio. I design my first set of limited edition prints for the occasion.

May 16th: Stormhoek gets a really nice write-up in, a very influential website in in the South African wine world.

May 17th: Stormhoek wins its first major trade award. The Drinks Business' "Best Consumer Campaign 2006".

June 5th: Spent the day in London, signing the first batch of Stormhoek "puppy" lithographs, which went on to become a very successful series.

June 27th: "The Stormhoek Guide to Wine Blogging". This got printed up as wee booklets, as trade press inserts. I loved this project.

June 29th: Stormhoek has become "The Official Wine of Silicon Valley Alcoholics", according to Valleywag.

July 7th: Jason and I make our first attempt at video podcasting, with a little help from Johnnie Moore and Lloyd Davis.

July 7th: Stormhoek makes a big appearance in Chicago.

July 19th: Stormhoek discovers "Ooze" aka "Objects of Sociability".

July 25th. Rob Lane writes "The Stormhoek Song".

August 5th: I publish my very first Stormhoek cartoon label.

August 10th: I sign my first batch of Techcrunch party lithographs.

August 15th: "It isn't just about the marketing." Stormhoek Pinotage wins a seriously major wine award.

August 18th: The lithographs make a huge splash at the big Techcrunch Party in Silicon Valley.

August 25th: Stormhoek is now available in SF and Silicon Valley.

August 31st:
The Techcrunch prints start appearing on e-Bay. Prices start exceeding $175. Yowza.

September 27th: Stormhoek launches the "Siren" series, our more upmarket wine, conceived by crowdsourcing the blogosphere.

October 6th: Stormhoek Siren sponsors the Hallam Foe bloggers' dinner. My favorite UK bloggers got see a rough cut of the movie and meet the director, my old pal, David Mackenzie.

October 18th: 1,000 lithographs were made for the Techcrunch UK launch party.

October 26th: Tom Raftery asks me all about Stormhoek, for the it@cork podcast.

October 30th: I create the "Blue Monster" design for Microsoft. This is probably my favorite Stormhoek project so far, especially as it seems to have gotten a lot of traction internally in Redmond.

November 17th: Stormhoek and myself make it on to's "Marketing 50". I know industry awards are usually a bit suspect, but this one meant the world to me.

November 24th: Stormhoek creates "The Thresher Virus". Within a week it has made the national news.

December 13th: The Microsoft "Blue Monster" lithographs arrive. Microsoft's Steve Clayton was well pleased.

[Update:] This post got a mention on Techmeme. Interesting...

Posted by hugh macleod at December 29, 2006 3:23 PM | TrackBack

You might want to check this out. This site is "hotlinking" your picture cartoon about wine. If it were me, I'd replace the picture using the same name saying "hotlinking other sites pictures is not nice".

Posted by: at December 30, 2006 2:39 PM

Congratulations Hugh - having set the bar, how much higher can it realistically go using blogpower as the driver? At what point do you need to invest in more traditional forms of marketing or have you changed your mind on that one over the last year? In short, what can you share going into 2007 please?

Posted by: Dennis Howlett at December 30, 2006 6:39 PM

Depends what you mean by "traditional forms of marketing", Dennis.

Right now I don't see the need to give the Saatchi brothers a call ;-)

Posted by: hugh macleod at December 31, 2006 2:50 AM

Thats great news Hugh! May the coming year be full of interesting manifestos, inspiring toons, exciting blogging, more of Hughtrain and more sales for Stormhoek!

Rock on. Happy New Year! :)

Posted by: Saurabh Kulkarni at December 31, 2006 5:20 AM

If it gets too crazy you might have to dilute it with water and call it "Grapeingvoid"

Posted by: john at December 31, 2006 7:08 AM

I certainly want to join with other GV readers and wish Hugh's wee wine brand all the best for the next 12 months; The journey so far has been a great example of engaging, and better understanding, an important group of consumers plus a whole lot of other things that have happened off the back of this.

It might sound way off topic but I am thinking also of the success of the snorting Kate Moss brand. After the corporate sponsors panicked with the news she'd been partying hard and thought she'd loose her sponsors favour - she has proved them so totally wrong and is now three times bigger than before. Some people are bad at reading the market and understanding a younger crowd - all those self righteous traditional journos got her story so wrong.

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Posted by: davobobby at January 25, 2007 1:22 PM

Hi Hugh, I met you at a Web 2.0 conference in London last year and took a lot away from your presentation about English Cut. To hear you're doing the same thing with Stormhoek as well is staggering.

I tried to convince one of my clients to jump aboard the blog train, but couldn't sell the idea well enough. Good job the off-line marketing is working well enough for now.

Keep us posted on your progress. I'll be looking out for Stormhoek progress to use as a case study.

All the best!

Posted by: Andrew Bargery at April 5, 2007 5:41 PM

Reading the blog, I'd tend to put a lot of their success down to the wine shows etc they the blog trackable as to its influence?

Posted by: matt at June 11, 2007 1:08 PM

At last...

Posted by: Celestria_au at June 13, 2007 11:05 AM