Gettin’ Twisted

Originally Published In The May 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

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We decided when we heard the news that Twisted Tea was adding a ‘77 Shovelhead to their stable, we’d follow along as it was created. Tune in for the next couple issues to see how it comes along. “Well we didn’t plan on it, and it just kinda happened, but that’s how the best ideas come about— organically,” said Bill Grotto from Twisted Tea Brewing Company. “We had a ’69 Servi-Car that we bought and were going to re-do because adding another bike to the events and festivals’ promotion initiative would have doubled the amount of bars and locations that we can get to and interact with drinkers. So we brought the Servi to Vito Cataldo of Interstate V-Twin in Lake Park, FL to have a look and spin some wrenches. Vito is no stranger to vintage Harleys and has built quite a few through the years. He said to us, ‘I have something that you might need to see.’ So he walks us all the way to the back of his shop and under a dusty tarp he unveils a ‘77 FLH with a sidecar and says, ‘You can put the promo models in the sidecar.’

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Well that was about all I needed to hear so then it came down to the negotiations. We already had the Servi-Car so adding the FLH as a point of difference was a no-brainer. Vito, being a fan of vintage Harleys, didn’t have a Servi and was willing to trade so there you have it: voila! “And so the project began. Luckily for us, the FLH had pretty much been restored by Vito and just needed the Twisted Tea colors and branding. For us, branding motorcycles and pitching Twisted Tea to bikers is more than a gimmick or a marketing ploy. Being genuine and real is important to us not only because if you aren’t ‘real’ folks can smell it a mile away, but it’s also inherent to our brand. Twisted Tea is made from real brewed tea and then we add the alcohol to it. Much like Harley- Davidson, we have had our fair share of copycats over the years from other beverage companies trying to mask themselves as an alcoholic tea. What the imitators don’t get is that you can’t fake authenticity. You can’t add tea flavoring to something and expect drinkers to think it’s tea. That’s why time after time, round after round, we’ve survived and the imposters have folded.

“When it comes to Twisted Tea, the magic is in the liquid. We don’t have a fleet of Clydesdales, or a blimp, or commercials at the Super Bowl. What we do have is the product. So for us, getting people to taste Twisted Tea is priority one and that’s where the sampling initiative comes in. If we can get someone to try Twisted Tea and let them experience the brand, we win. Having the FLH helps get our foot in the door with bikers because much like many demographics, there are a lot of companies marketing to them. Guys and gals come up and check out the bike and then we start talking about motorcycles. While we are talking bikes, we hand them a sample of Twisted Tea–it’s pretty simple! The best part of the job is that it’s a winwin situation because we get to sample our product and build relationships with some really cool people at the events we hit all over the country.”

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