Guest edited by Sarah Wildman-King, co-founder of specialist creative agency Wonderworks Communications.
Here’s part 2/8 of our Wonderworks series for International Women’s Day: Celebrating awesome women in drinks – with a new story being published each day this week. Read more about Wonderworks and their inspiration in part 1 here.
THE GLOBAL PLAYER
Marine Rozenfeld, Head of Innovation, Europe at Bacardi
Marine is the powerhouse that drives all of the mindful drinking and NoLo innovation developments at global drinks giant Bacardi. She oversees everything from product development to broader mindful drinking initiatives including training the sales force so they’re knowledgeable about the category and able to have valuable conversations with bartenders and consumers. Marine sees 2020 as being a game-changing year for the category.
Tell us how you got into this role
Innovation and product development led me to start my drinks journey. I’m passionate about understanding consumers and how to put new products they love into their hands, so having the opportunity to create new experiences in such an exciting environment is a privilege. I’m a true cocktail lover, I’ve been in the industry for six years now and I continue to be amazed by the possibilities this industry has to offer.
My expertise starts with the consumer and understanding the shifts and trends that impact their lives, so we can offer products that better meet their needs. The rise of mindful drinking is here to stay as physical and mental wellbeing becomes a priority for consumers. So naturally, it was a space Bacardi wanted to better understand and better serve. On a personal level, balance is a vital part of how I live my life, staying healthy whilst enjoying every bit life has to offer, so this space resonates strongly with me.
What’s the best bit about working in this industry?
The people. I started my career in the food industry and the biggest difference for me was the sense of community, friendship and fun I found in the drinks industry. People are passionate, kind and genuine: there is something special about this sector.
Then, of course, I can’t complain about the top end bars, fun nights out and delicious cocktails I get to enjoy from time to time! We recently held our ‘Back to the Bar’ event to mark our 158th anniversary. Every year, all 7,000 Bacardi employees visit their local bars, enjoy a cocktail together and chat to consumers and bartenders about the latest trends – it’s safe to say NoLo cocktails were a huge topic of conversation on the night and I was fascinated to see the learnings and insights coming in from across the world
What excites you about the No & Low category?
I think the possibilities are endless and there is an opportunity to shift the dial from an industry built around alcohol only to a world where we provide premium drink experiences, with or without the alcohol, for the moments that matter.
It’s a real thrill to be developing new products in a category that opens up the bar world to more people by giving more options to mindful drinkers.
Sustainability is also a huge part of the mindful drinking trend, and I’m really proud of the green credentials of the Bacardi portfolio – it’s not an optional extra for us, it’s doing the right thing, and we know how important it is for our consumers too.
It frustrates me when I see misunderstanding about the time and expertise that go into crafting a quality NoLo product. It takes time to get these liquids right – something I’ve seen first-hand when I’ve visited Pessione, the brand home for MARTINI for over 150 years, during the development of our exciting upcoming MARTINI NoLo innovation and the MARTINI Dolce Zero Sparkling Wine last year. Beppe Musso is our MARTINI Master Blender and I’m always so inspired by his wealth of knowledge and the craftsmanship that goes into creating our NoLo drinks.
What trends have you spotted coming through?
Recently I’ve tried a lot of impressive new non-alcoholic products, with more depth and complexity, dark liquids, new categories alternatives such as vermouth etc. Some mindful cocktails are exceptional, so it’s fantastic to see the quality of liquids and bartending skills improving rapidly. Lower ABV cocktails are also getting traction as the Aperitivo moment becomes bigger, for example, we recently launched MARTINI Fiero in the UK: the Fiero & Tonic is a beautiful and delicious cocktail under 1 unit of alcohol, with 100% natural flavours.
Who do you see as being responsible for bringing choice to the category?
Customers have a big role to play here and I think in the UK, grocers have been critical to driving the movement alongside other key bodies. But at the end of the day, it’s the bartender, their skills, belief and recommendations that will make the difference, so that everyone who walks into a bar can enjoy a fantastic drinking experience, whether they decide to drink alcohol or not.
Does being a female in the drinks business create barriers or opportunities?
My personal experience in the industry hasn’t been about being female or male, but I believe I’ve been lucky to work for two major players with a strong culture of inclusivity and diversity. At Bacardi, our Global Reflections initiative includes a fantastic Women in Leadership and mentoring program, which is all about unleashing the talent of women in our business.
What’s your Wonder Woman mantra? Or best piece of advice you have been given?
I have many in stock! But the one mantra that has helped me most in my career is to only put your energy into what you can control and not waste it on things you can’t. It helps to put many issues into perspective and forces you to play to your strengths. I’ve also been exposed to the ‘Growth Mindset’ principles early in my career – if you haven’t heard about it, check it out now!
What are your fears and limiting beliefs?
Speaking up and having a voice at the table has always been my biggest fear, I’m an introvert and a reflective thinker which can sometimes get in the way when you work for a large company. But life proved to me that nothing is insurmountable and with confidence comes more confidence!
Or secret powers?
Knowing yourself and having the courage to be yourself.
For a woman coming into the industry would you have any words of advice?
Ask yourself what makes you happy at work and why you are where you are, then make it a mantra and stick to it when you go through difficult times.
What are your plans for the next couple of years?
I like to think of my career as a collection of opportunities, not a planned journey. Bacardi is an exceptional place to work and leading category innovation is a lot of fun and full of possibilities. I think innovation will become a greater engine of growth for our industry as the pace of change in our lives accelerates, so I couldn’t be more excited about playing a central role in that story over the next couple of years and beyond.
And how can women in the industry help you?
I’ve come across many female role models in my drinks industry journey, both within Bacardi and the large industry players I’ve worked for and the partners I have worked with along the way. Having inspiring women to look up to is hugely powerful for me, then leading by example to help the next generation of incredible female talent grab opportunities and unleash their potential too – that’s what drives me.
Stay tuned for part 3 tomorrow!