Dayton-based Buckeye Vodka takes ‘next step in our evolution’

Hometown spirit launches aggressive new branding campaign here before expanding footprint outside of Dayton

Dayton-based Buckeye Vodka has launched a brand-building advertising campaign in the Dayton area with an eye toward expanding the local distillery's footprint both inside and outside the state.

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Using the slogan, "Top shelf is never out of reach," the campaign is already appearing on five digital billboards and two traditional fixed billboards around the Dayton area, according to Gregory Sabatino, CEO of SabatinoWest, an advertising agency with offices in Los Angeles and Dayton . A larger-scale digital ad campaign will follow, as will an on-premise effort that will include bars and restaurants that serve Buckeye Vodka, Sabatino said.

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The local campaign will extend through the end of the year, Sabatino said. If it proves successful, the effort will be expanded to other Ohio cities, and then beyond the state’s borders.

The campaign’s slogan that emphasizes Buckeye Vodka’s value compared to some of its pricier peers — it sells for $15.99 per 750-ml “fifth” in all Ohio markets — was chosen after research suggested that would be a strong selling point, Sabatino said.

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Indeed, ever since the brand itself was launched in the spring of 2011, its founders have invited taste comparisons between their vodka and the more expensive brands.

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“We set out to make an ultra-premium vodka at an affordable price,” said Buckeye Vodka co-founder and CEO Jim Finke. The new ad campaign reflects the brand “getting back to its roots,” Finke said.

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“There are still people in Dayton who don’t know we’re around,” he said. “We want to build awareness, get the word out.”

“This is the next step in our evolution,” Finke said.

Buckeye Vodka has distribution throughout Ohio and Kentucky, and is also sold in Illinois.

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