In a state that's synonymous with lobsters and L.L. Bean, Paul Coulombe presides over White Rock Distilleries, a family business that markets 300 liquor brands including knockoffs of such bar staples as Kahlua and Baileys Irish Cream from its base in Lewiston, Maine.
"Been here since I was 18 years old," says Mr. Coulombe, chief executive of the 30-year-old company. "This is the only thing I've ever known."
Two years ago, Mr. Coulombe set out to cash in on the growing popularity among women for flavored vodkas and rums. Convinced that a line of sweet, tropical rums would appeal to female drinkers between the ages of 21 and 35, he turned to Swardlick Marketing Group in nearby Portland, to create a name and brand identity for six fruity rums. After mulling qualities that described White Rock's concept -- fun, tropical, playful -- two people at the ad agency suggested calling the line Cabana Boy.
"It just clicked," says Jane O'Halloran, Swardlick's vice president. "I could envision sitting on a beach with this guy serving me a drink." Exotic flavors such as wild cherry and pineapple-coconut were blended. Models were hired. Cabana Boy was born.