That sums up the new brand marketing strategy for a major distiller who is shifting the majority of its marketing mega-dollars to word of mouth.

What’s important to note is that the supremacy of WOM levels the playing field in that many of the tactics do not require — or are not even benfited by — massive ad buys. Among Beam Global’s approaches:

One is boutique bourbon Maker’s Mark’s brand-ambassador program, which cultivates brand fanaticism by identifying and rewarding so-called “brand evangelists” with invitations to VIP events, inside-the-distillery info and even a chance to get a bottle of bourbon from a personalized barrel. “They’re the best in class at cultivating brand fans,” Mr. Finlay said. “They’ve been able to get an incredibly high amount of talk.”

He also pointed to a Sauza tequila promotion in Canada that saw brand workers pull a 10-foot, lemon-lime-colored couch alongside lines of bored consumers waiting to get into crowded nightspots. Laphroaig whiskey has given each of it 250,000 brand ambassadors a square foot of Islay, the Scottish island where it’s distilled.