Dayton-based Buckeye Vodka takes pivotal step toward national distribution

Dayton-based Buckeye Vodka has taken a pivotal step toward national distribution, although its founders say they won't let a higher profile and expanded footprint erode their loyalty to their hometown.

The distillery just south of downtown Dayton has hired a strategic alliance of SabatinoWest and Yeck Brothers Company as its advertising agency of record.

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Jim Finke, co-founder and CEO of Buckeye Vodka, told this news outlet that SabatinoWest CEO Gregory Sabatino “is very passionate about the Buckeye Vodka brand and believes that we really haven't even scratched the surface of its potential. We hired his firm, SabatinoWest, to handle our marketing efforts and view that as the next natural step in our brand’s development.”

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“We want to do the same thing with Buckeye Vodka, and that is going to take disciplined brand building," Finke said.

SabatinoWest, which has offices in Los Angeles and Dayton, has taken other Ohio-based beverage brands to national distribution in the beverage area. Dayton-based Yeck Brothers Company is a direct-mail marketing agency founded in 1938.

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In a release, Gregory Sabatino said his agency has been interested in Buckeye Vodka for some time.

“Buckeye Vodka is the kind of emerging brand that is a dream for agencies like ours,” Sabatino said. “They have solid statewide distribution already, a great tasting premium category vodka, beautiful label, bottle and packaging, and incredibly, a mid-range price. It has everything going for it.”

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Buckeye Vodka has distribution throughout Ohio, and is in the early stages of distribution in Chicago. Both Finke and Sabatino said the marketing efforts will focus first on boosting Buckeye Vodka’s sales and profile within Ohio before venturing outward.

The brand’s “Buckeye” name and implied affiliation to Ohio will not adversely hurt its chances to excel on the national stage, Sabatino told this news outlet in an interview.

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“In some respects, I think there’s a built-in audience outside the state,” Sabatino said.

Finke said Dayton “will continue to be the leading part of our marketing efforts. Not just because it is our home market, but because much of the brand research will be conducted here. We will then move to build our case sales in Ohio before doing anything nationally. This will obviously mean even more marketing in our biggest markets and, of course, Dayton is VERY important to us.”"

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