In this day and age, it is pretty normal to see celebrities, hip-hop moguls and public figures endorsing alcoholic beverages. Some of them are partial owners, and others may simply have money invested in the products, but very few have spent the time into creating and developing and the brand from conception to fruition. You know... all the difficult things that really go on in the wine and spirits industry. We were lucky enough to catch up with a young black entrepreneur from the Bay Area California who has done just that. Meet Marcus Goss, founder and CEO of Seven Cognac.
SFND MAG: First and foremost, Marcus we want to thank you for interviewing with So FN Dope Magazine. We are definitely glad to have you. How have you been?
MARCUS GOSS: Man, I appreciate the opportunity to share my story and brand in So FN Dope. I have been good, just working on getting this brand up and going as well as being a full time dad to my five year old boy.
SFND MAG: So you are from the Bay... What part are you from?
MARCUS GOSS: I am from Vallejo, USA Born and raised.
SFND MAG: Now, you currently reside in Dallas? Is that home base for Seven Cognac?
MARCUS GOSS: Yes, I moved to Dallas, TX in 2010, a few years after graduating from Langston University. Currently, it is a company based in Dallas, TX but is made in Chez Richon, France.
SFND MAG: You are one of the few black owned companies in this industry. Typically, we see black entrepreneurs invest in companies that are already established. What initially inspired you to get into the wine & spirits industry and to actually start it from the ground up?
MARCUS GOSS: I’ve always wanted to start my own liquor brand. I saw all of these Vodkas and I want to have a drink that not only I created but enjoyed drinking. So for me it was a “why not” moment more than anything. This was also a way that I could show the world that Black America is more than athletes, rappers, dancers, and lawyers, but we can also start a Cognac brand from the ground up.
SFND MAG: Seven Cognac is an interesting name. What is the story behind the name of your product?
MARCUS GOSS: The name Seven was actually one of three names that I came up with, but it was the name that represents family and business so it made it easy for me to go with that name. With me being one of seven boys that my dad has, also, the number seven being the number of perfection, it was just a perfect fit to a great taste.
SFND MAG: What are some of the challenges you have faced so far?
MARCUS GOSS: Surprisingly, I haven’t faced many challenges. I would have to say the one challenge and only challenge that I truly have faced is not being able to produce the bottle design that I wanted initially. The bottle that I wanted to create was a bottle shaped like a Cognac glass, but after talking with my manufacturing glass company, he told me that that bottle would not be able to support the weight of the liquor inside of it without breaking. So, I switched to the design that we have decided to go with currently.
SFND MAG: Why Cognac? MARCUS GOSS: Being from the Bay Area that’s just what we drink so I wanted to create something that my home could enjoy.
SFND MAG: Why not Vodka or Gin?
MARCUS GOSS: Again, I wanted to be true to myself and where I come from. So it was easy for me to pick it tasted I was there with and they would allow me to stay in my own lane. I knew the Cognac taste better than any other taste out there.
SFND MAG: Was it a personal preference or a strategic move?
MARCUS GOSS: It was both a personal and a strategic move honestly. I wanted to not only give the Cognac drinkers a new smooth taste but also become Cognac brand that took over the vodka market as well. Seven is a Cognac that is created with vodka drinkers in mind.
SFND MAG: Now from our limited knowledge of this subject. In order for it to be considered a true cognac, it has to actually be distilled in France right?
MARCUS GOSS: Yes that is correct, for it to be called a true Cognac it has to come from France.
SFND MAG: You must have done some serious networking to hook up with the right people.
MARCUS GOSS: Honestly, it was a blessing how I met my producer. We actually had a tour set up with another known Cognac brand but we when got ready to go on the tour our driver explained to us that nobody confirmed with him the tour and he couldn’t get the people that we talked on the phone that day. So, after telling him what we were out there to do he said he knew some producers that we could talk to. Once I got in front of my current producers we just sat down and made Seven go from a dream to a product. They are a small family business so it made it easy to connect with one another.
SFND MAG: With that being said, would you say this is a difficult industry to break into especially being African American?
MARCUS GOSS: It is a difficult industry to break into due to, if you have not made the right connection or do not have enough resources it can be a long battle on getting it off the ground and running. I would not say being an African American makes it harder to get into the industry, but it is just like any other industry just knowing the right people and being at the right place at the right time plays a big part in your success.
SFND MAG: How does Seven Cognac compare to other popular cognac brands, like Hennessy, Remy Martin, or Courvoisier?
MARCUS GOSS: I believe that we compare right there with them when it comes to taste.
SFND MAG: Where would you like to see Seven Cognac 3-5 years from now?
MARCUS GOSS: In 3-5 years I would love to see Seven being a recognized liquor brand that is standing out among the rest of the Cognacs.
SFND MAG: Do you plan to expand your brand to other spirits or alcoholic beverages as well?
MARCUS GOSS: I plan to stay in the Cognac space with Seven. If we expand the brand it will be in the levels of Cognac such as “VS”, “VSOP”, “Black Label” or flavors.
SFND MAG: What’s next for you?
MARCUS GOSS: What next for me is just getting Seven off the ground and running at a smooth pace before I break off into anything else at the moment.
SFND MAG: What can we expect from Seven Cognac in the very near future?
MARCUS GOSS: You can expect Seven to be the new face of the Cognac world.
SFND MAG: Where can people find out more about Seven Cognac?
MARCUS GOSS: They can go on our website at www.sevencognac.com or follow us on all social media @sevencognac.
SFND MAG: When and where can it be purchased? MARCUS GOSS: They can purchase through the website or look for it in stores or a near restaurant in 2019.
SFND MAG: Last question before we let you go. Could you name another entrepreneur that you feel is So FN Dope and why?
MARCUS GOSS: Yes, I would like to shine a light on my man Mr. Nicely Seasoned out of Vallejo CA. Mr. Nicely Seasoned catering is a premier BBQ and Seafood catering company. Whether you need to feed 10 people or 500, we can customize the perfect menu to accommodate your plate and budget. Without cook and delivery service, food is prepared at the Mr. Nicely Seasoned location, and delivered hot off the smoker to you in eco-friendly, recyclable containers. You can reach him at 707-332-4276 or www.mrnicelyseasonedcatering.co