Diageo to launch International Scotch Day

2nd February, 2017 by Kristiane Sherry

Diageo is to open its Scotland visitor centre distillery facilities to the public free of charge to mark the launch of International Scotch Day, which will be held for the first time on 10 February.

Talisker Distillery

Distilleries with visitor facilities, such as Talisker on the Isle of Skye, will be open to the public for free on International Scotch Day

The concept was introduced to “recruit and re-recruit” Scotch drinkers, with the latter the “lifeblood of the industry”, Dr Nick Morgan, head of whisky outreach at Diageo, told The Spirits Business.

As part of the celebrations, all Scotch distilleries with visitor centres will be open to the public for free.

In addition, Diageo is to open the doors of its archive, located in Menstrie, Scotland, for the first time, with members of the public able to pre-book visits.

The far-reaching strategy also includes social media engagement, building on the #LoveScotch initiative; on- and off-trade activations with key partners; and the mobilisation of Diageo’s 30,000-strong global workforce with education and outreach programmes.

Specialist bars and retail outlets are expected to join the campaign in the UK, Mexico, the Philippines and beyond, said Morgan.

“We’ve worked very closely with World Whisky Day, and have a close relationship with the company who bought it from Blair Bowman,” he said. “We also have category initiatives around Father’s Day. But this is our first category and recruitment drive.”

He says Diageo plans to repeat International Scotch Day on an annual basis, but the date may change year by year. “There’s a relatively short lead-in,” Morgan acknowledged. “Once we have shown we can do this, there will be a greater lead time.”

International Scotch Day is set to be the first initiative in a “year of Scotch” for Diageo, says Morgan. The launch follows full-year 2015/16 sales declines for the flagship Johnnie Walker blended Scotch brand, however malts portfolio sales climbed 6%.

Further details on specific activation activity is expected to follow.

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