Unless you're either a true beer connoisseur or are well accustomed with Mexico, you may not yet realize that Indio beer is available in the U.S. — but that was kind of intentional. Indio, the fastest growing dark beer brewed and sold in Mexico since 1893, was introduced in an "analog, underground" manner to only eight markets beyond its homeland this summer, one of which is Austin.
Danielle Thomas of Big Green House Presents shaped Indio's non-traditional launch concept in Austin alongside Heineken's Raul Esquer. Rather than allowing social media to spread the word of Indio's arrival, she looked to Austin's party days of yore for unique inspiration. After all, she had heard about Indio from good friend David Ramos, which to her "carried way more weight than any ad campaign ever could."
"We wanted to help Heineken USA introduce Indio from the inside out since there were already so many amazing people in Austin who have loved it all of their adult lives," Thomas explains. "It really is the cherished beer of Mexico with a lot of street cred and urban influence."
To allow Indio's authentic reputation to reach across the border and into Texas unfettered, Thomas and Heineken looked towards already established friends of the brand to spread the word via a series of personalized parties: a private tasting event, two epic parties at notable Austinites' homes (David Ramos and Dean Fredrick) and a family-style dinner.
"We wanted to help Heineken USA introduce Indio from the inside out since there were already so many amazing people in Austin who have loved it all of their adult lives. It really is the cherished beer of Mexico with a lot of street cred and urban influence." - Danielle Thomas
"We decided to give those friends of the brand an opportunity to be part of its arrival in the U.S.," Thomas says. "Who better to spread the word than the people who already love the beer?"
From the get-go, each launch event served as a catalyst to talk about the next. Thomas hand delivered limited edition, screen-printed poster sets by artist Dan Grissom as personal invitations to Austin "influencers." Austin's best Latino DJs, including Manny, BigFace, Orion and Adrian Quesada were behind the turntables. Premier Mexican restaurants Takoba and Papi Tinos served as the anchors for the intimate tastings. Social media was nowhere to be seen, which ironically hyped the chance to be a part of the experience.
Now, the brand takes off on a private-party tour sponsored by non other than independent, spitfire media conglomerate VICE, which hits Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.
"[Austin] is a city that caters to Indio's key consumers who are confident, self-expressive and love being a part of new experiences — especially those that help them celebrate their individuality and their ability to blend the best of their cultures," Felix Palau, VP of marketing for Indio, says of Austin's importance.
VICE has designed each event to showcase the cross-influence of Mexican and American cultures in contemporary music and art. One buck at the door (to be donated to the National Museum of Mexican Art) gets you in to see performances from some of the top musicians based in the U.S. and Mexico.
The Austin party will take over Red 7 on Saturday, July 28 at 9 p.m., featuring Mexican hot shot Bufi (known for his remix of Little Dragon's Ritual Union), upcoming Austin-band Love Inks and DJ Orion.
Retailers are already having problems keeping Indio on the shelves, and after VICE's Saturday party, consider it liquid gold. A nod to the past might have been the most forward thinking tactic Indio could have taken in creating authentic hype around its U.S. launch.