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Top spirits marketing news in January 2019

Last month Sailor Jerry released limited edition guitars adorned with tattoo art, Edinburgh Gin offered multi-sensory gifts for Valentine’s Day and Talisker revealed the winner of its rowing challenge.

Sailor Jerry featured in our pick of top marketing campaigns last month

As Valentine’s Day approaches next week (14 February), a number of brands have launched gift packs for the occasion including colour-changing gin Old Curiosity and Edinburgh Gin.

Meanwhile, tonic producer Fever-Tree is supporting charity Malaria No More with a £1 million partnership and Diageo announces the winner of its rowing competition Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Over the following pages, we name our top marketing campaigns launched in January 2019.

Buffalo Trace

Kentucky’s Buffalo Trace Distillery welcomed more than 230,000 visitors in 2018 – a 345% increase since 2010. A record 231,523 people visited the National Historic Landmark distillery in the past 12 months – 15% more than 2017. A second expansion of the visitor centre is due to begin this autumn.

The Sazerac­-owned Bourbon brand is also hoping to bring more fans closer to its Kentucky distillery through a newly launched virtual tour.

Buffalo Trace collaborated with digital creative agency Bajibot to create the tour, which will change with the seasons so users can view the distillery in bloom or covered in snow.

Sailor Jerry

Spiced rum brand Sailor Jerry collaborated with guitar manufacturer CF Martin & Co to release two limited-­edition instruments adorned with imagery from tattooist Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins – priced at US$19,999 each.

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum is inspired by Collins, a navy veteran who built his reputation tattooing soldiers and sailors in Honolulu.

The Ink & Wood guitar series pays homage to Collins and the founder of guitar manufacturer CF Martin & Co, Christian Frederick Martin.

It takes more than 50 hours to engrave each guitar, one of which is titled Homeward Bound and the other True Love.

Edinburgh Gin

Ian Macleod Distillers-­owned Edinburgh Gin has partnered with florist MUD Urban Flowers to create a “multi-­sensory” gift pack for Valentine’s Day.

The Edinburgh Gin Botanical Bouquet set features a 700ml bottle of Edinburgh Valentine’s Gin encased in a bouquet containing chamomile daisies, pink roses and lavender.

David Wilkinson, Edinburgh Gin head distiller, said: “At Edinburgh Gin we’re exploring new and exciting ways to enhance the gin­-drinking experience. There’s definite synergy between floristry and distilling, with a love of botanicals at their core.

“Collaborating with MUD, we’ve been able to create a limited-edition release, Botanical Bouquets, that offers a multi­-sensory Valentine’s gift.” The gin bouquets are now available to buy in the UK.

Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands

Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands (BBFB) will host the final event in its Jigger Beaker Glass 2.0 on-­trade programme this month.

Following a UK-­wide tour that included events in Manchester and Edinburgh, the series of talks and workshops will travel to Bristol on 19 February before coming to end in Leeds on 26 March.

The series has included events titled The Future of Mixed Drinks, The Science of Flavour, and Sustainability; Cut the Crap.

Speakers throughout the series have included Super Lyan and Dandelyan owner Ryan Chetiyawardana and drinks writer Simon Difford, who discussed the small steps the on­-trade can take to make significant changes within the industry.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) celebrated its 35th anniversary last year, when it welcomed a “staggering” number of new members.

The international members’ club organised celebrations around the world, including Scotland, the US, Australia and Asia.

In its 35th year, the SMWS also hosted its first online whisky tasting, which aimed to bring together international whisky fans.

The SMWS will host its first event at The Vaults in Leith, Edinburgh, when founder Pip Hills will share his memories of launching the SMWS.

The event will also see the SMWS open a bottle of its 1.1 expression, which was the first cask of whisky bottled by the society.

The SMWS is also offering two membership and bottle offers to The Spirits Business’ readers, one targeted towards peat lovers, the second for those who prefer “sweeter and mellower” whiskies.

Bottle 53.277 – Yeast Feast is said to be a “classic Islay” dram, with notes of ash, lemon and a “delectable briny vigour”.

Meanwhile, bottle 64.92 – Ginger Squiggle on a Fruity Canvas is said to have an aroma of “fruit salad and flowers in a theatre dressing room”, leading to tropical fruits, perfume and spice on the palate.

Readers can access the membership bottles online, here.


Leading tonic water producer Fever-­Tree has agreed a £1 million (US$1.3m) partnership with charity Malaria No More.

The money raised from the deal will be used to support Malaria No More’s global campaign to fight the disease.

Tim Warrillow, CEO of Fever-­Tree, said: “Tonic water’s origins lie in mankind’s centuries-­old fight against malaria, with quinine being given to British soldiers in India in the 19th century to ward off the disease.

“Many of the communities where we source our ingredients experience the devastating effects of malaria, and I have seen first hand the amazing work that [Malaria No More does]. I am hopeful one day we will be able to raise a glass to the global eradication of this disease.”


Naud Distilled Gin, produced by French spirits company Famille Naud, has been named gin of the month by subscription service the Craft Gin Club.

The French gin is featured in the Craft Gin Club’s February box, which has a Valentine’s Day focus.

Inspired by ancient family recipes, Naud Distilled Gin is said to be “distinctive and seductive”, and is led by flavours of juniper and bergamot.

The distillery said: “We see this partnership as an important step to build our brand in the UK, by getting the bottles into consumers’ homes.”

Each month, the gin subscription service delivers a bottle of gin, mixers, a magazine, snack and a selection of cocktail ingredients to its subscribers.

Soggy Dollar

Caribbean rum brand Soggy Dollar is sponsoring the 25­-date Hit Makers & Rum Chasers songwriters tour in the US.

The brand’s partnership with the tour, which kicked off on 29 January in Nashville, hopes to “authenticate the off-­the-­grid island vibe” associated with Soggy Dollar.

A selection of Soggy Dollar signature serves will be available during each date of the tour, and events will also include a silent auction and an island­-inspired dinner menu created by Mat Vacharat, owner and head chef at Lucky Chops, based in St John in the US Virgin Islands.

All proceeds from the tour will support music and arts initiatives for school children in the US and US Virgin Islands.

Old Curiosity

Edinburgh-based The Old Curiosity Distillery has launched a Valentine’s Day-themed gift pack for its colour-­changing Apothecary Rose gin.

Available until the end of March, the gift set comes with a bag of hand­picked pink rose petals that can be used as a garnish.

The Valentine’s Day pack will be available from The Old Curiosity website, as well as specialist retailers and Harvey Nichols stores in Scotland.

Old Curiosity Apothecary Rose launched in February 2018, and changes from gold to pink when mixed with tonic water. It has been bottled at 39% abv and is priced at £42 (US$54) per 500ml bottle.


The Dutch Atlantic Four has become the first team from The Netherlands to triumph in the annual Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

The competition sees teams of rowers race across the Atlantic Ocean from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to English Harbour in Antigua.

The Dutch Atlantic Four completed the 3,000-­mile race in 34 days, 12 hours and nine minutes.

Marcel Ates, Erik Koning, Bart Adema and David de Bruijn arrived in Antigua to be greeted by family, friends and locals of the small Caribbean island.

Ates said: “The row challenged us more than we could have imagined, but we faced the elements and came out the other side of this journey together as a team with a new­found respect for the ocean, which was like a dance-floor where our little boat was dancing on the waves.”

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