It’s Martini Time: An Interview With Elizabeth Costa de Rusch

by Josh Galyean

Today, we warmly welcome Elizabeth Costa de Rusch, the brand director for MARTINI & ROSSI USA, for a light-hearted interview with Dram Street. Even if you’re not familiar with her name, you’ll instantly recognize her work, being an essential team member for “The Most Interesting Man in the World” ad campaign, aka, the “I don’t always…” meme. Look it up, boomers!

MARTINI & ROSSI are holding a photo competition to celebrate friendship, slightly cooler weather and of course, drinks! It’s a partnership with celebrity photographer Greg Williams, and what a deal they have going on! Use the hashtag #martinimoments, follow @martini and automatically be entered in for a chance to be one of five grand prize winners to win a Leica camera and a virtual photoshoot with Greg himself!

Shall we begin?

DS: Winningly holding the title of “US brand director” of MARTINI & ROSSI while simultaneously balancing the full-time jobs of being a mom (mum for our British comrades) and wife must be quite a challenge. How did you come to accept the position, and how do you like your job?

Elizabeth: I started working in the beverage marketing industry in 2004 at Heineken as an Experiential Manager, where I was responsible for bringing their consumer experiential programming to life at major events like the Latin Grammys and Billboard Music awards. It was a dream job for a young girl in her twenties and it thrust me into this exciting category that I’ve never been able to leave. I’m inspired by the various worlds one enters when managing a brand. I’ve worked across Mexican, Scottish, French, Dutch and Italian brands…and with each role, I’ve immersed myself in the history and culture of that brand and had the opportunity to visit their homes all over the world. I feel so privileged to have landed on this career path, as it’s an extremely exciting and rich industry. I’m especially thrilled to be leading the Martini & Rossi brand in the US – such an iconic brand with so much rich heritage.

Having worked across three globally renowned, family-owned companies with long lasting heritage – from Heineken to William Grant & Sons and now Bacardi, a major aspect that has motivated my career is that these companies are filled with incredible stories of hard work, perseverance, grit, and, best of all, family values. All values that I hope to pass on to my own boys.

Finally, I’ve made phenomenal lifelong friendships along my career journey. All of these things make the challenges of work/life balance worthwhile.

DS: Can you tell us how this virtual photoshoot idea with Greg Williams, Leica and MARTINI & ROSSI was conceived? And how will Greg pull off those grand prize winner photoshoots virtually?

Elizabeth: Martini & Rossi is a brand rooted in friendship – it was founded by three friends over 150 years ago. As restrictions began to ease across the world, we wanted to inspire people to capture their own moments of reconnection at a time unlike no other. Once we had this idea, we

were looking for a photographer with an authentic style to spearhead this initiative focused on honoring social rituals and friendships, something we will never take for granted again. As someone who is known for his candid, reportage style portrait pictures – Greg could not have been a more perfect match!

As part of curating the digital gallery, Martini and Williams will be choosing four people to have a once in a lifetime opportunity to be photographed remotely with their friends by Williams himself, using emerging new technology. Greg used the app CLOS during lockdown to shoot people remotely so we will be using the same technology for the winner. The app allows Greg to take control of the winners’ phone and direct and shoot as if he is there.

DS: How do you personally recommend we use MARTINI & ROSSI when it’s January 12th (July 12th for our South American/Oceanin friends) we’re not in either Miami or the Bahamas and we don’t want those refreshing spritzers to remind us that we’re stuck in our cold, dreary world for another few months, just longing to lounge outside with friends, sipping on those refreshing and crisp drinks with the summery sound of ice clinking around in our glasses?

Elizabeth: Though Martini & Rossi’s family of products are perfect for light, fruity serves during warmer months, our line of vermouths also perform equally as well in cozy, wintertime cocktails such as negronis, americanos, martinis, manhattans, and more! For example, this holiday season, a few of our first new signature serves are the Pumpkin Spiced Vermouth Sour and Fig Negroni – perfect for getting cozy on a cold night in.

DS: If you could give our readers one tip to improve their photography to the point of winning these grand prizes, what would you say?

Elizabeth: Alongside this collaboration, Greg also created a mini master class of his best photography skills to help inspire people at home to take more meaningful pictures. I really enjoyed the tips Greg provided on how to be a better photographer – I think my favorite tip of his is that no one needs an expensive camera or fancy equipment to take a beautiful photo – your smartphone and personal creativity are enough to be a great photographer!

We sincerely thank Elizabeth for her informative and delightful responses to our rather unusual questions! Now get out there and start posting your outdoor, socially distant party pics!

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