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Top marketing moves in December 2021

From Aviation Gin’s partnership with Virgin Voyages to 818 Tequila’s fundraiser through merch, these are the spirits marketing campaigns that made waves in December.

Kendall Jenner unveiled her 818 Tequila clothing range, donating the proceeds to Sacred Agave

As 2021 drew to a close, several spirits brands saw the year through with big advertising pushes, creative promotional strategies and charitable partnerships.

Halewood Artisanal Spirits kept its momentum going with a new campaign for its Whitley Neill Gin, raising the profile of the brand through transport ads.

Meanwhile, the Bourbon Women Association promoted its new non-profit foundation, which will raise funds to provide educational opportunities for women in the industry. 818 Tequila, the brand founded by reality TV star Kendall Jenner, also looked to a good cause, donating the proceeds from its new range of merchandise to non-profit Sacred Agave.

Keep reading to discover our pick of the top marketing moves from last month – and for more spirits advertising strategies, check out our round-up from November.

Hooghoudt hits US

US-based spirits importer 375 Park Avenue partnered with Hooghoudt to bring the Netherlands-based distillery’s genever to the States.

375 Park Avenue Spirits is a division of the Sazerac Company, and has entered a distribution agreement with family distillery Hoodhoudt, giving 375 Spirit’s Bond & Royal craft division responsibility for the sales and marketing of the genever export portfolio.

“Few people today know the story of genever and its place in history,” said Jason Schladenhauffen, president and CEO of 375 Park Avenue Spirits.

Hooghoudt’s international portfolio comprises Holland Gin, Aged Genever, Sweet‐Spiced Genever and Zero Zero 24, a non‐alcoholic spirit.

Whitley Neill reveals Aussie ads

Halewood Artisanal Spirits rolled out a AU$1 million (US$711,080) Whitley Neill Gin campaign in Australia.

Whitley Neill launched its gin range in the country in 2019. Its core range comprises London Dry, Rhubarb & Ginger, Raspberry, and Blood Orange. The new campaign will reach a potential 5.5m people, and will include print, display and transport advertising.

Kelly Coughlan, international marketing manager, Halewood Artisanal Spirits, Australia, said: “We’ve already had an amazing reaction to the launch of the Whitley Neill Gin range here in Australia, and now that we’re approaching the summer period with far fewer restrictions than last year, we see a huge opportunity for our delicious range of flavoured gins here.”

Sales of Whitley Neill gin increased by 73% in Australia for the year to 24 September 2021, according to Simtac data cited by Halewood. The campaign will run until March 2022.

818 dresses for success

Keeping Up with the Kardashians star Kendall Jenner created a clothing line for her 818 Tequila brand, with sales ‘helping to support sustainability efforts’.

The clothing range was released in November 2021 to mark Giving Tuesday, with profits going towards industry non‐profit Sacred Agave. Sacred is an organisation that gives back to the rural Mexican communities that produce agave spirits.

The merchandise includes T‐shirts, hats, sweatshirts, sweatpants and more, with prices ranging from US$29.99‐US$99.99. Some items in the range are made from organic cotton, which the brand said it chose to help ‘minimise environmental impact’ and ‘reflect [its] commitment to the Earth and the 818 community’.

SMWS sniffs out a partnership

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) teamed up with fragrance house Kingdom Scotland to pair its whiskies with the company’s perfumes.

Kingdom Scotland, which claims to be the country’s first fragrance house, has paired two single cask SMWS whiskies with two of its perfumes to ‘ignite senses’ at SMWS venues across the UK. Kingdom scents Metamorphic and Portal have been paired with SMWS’ Peat Fire Tales on Orkney and Summer Garden Curiosity bottlings, respectively. The pairings are on offer at SMWS venues in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Imogen Russon‐Taylor (pictured), founder of Kingdom Scotland, said: “I’m very confident these pairings will inspire new conversations on appreciating fine spirits.”

31 Dover becomes Spirit.ed

UK-based drinks company 31 Dover changed its name to Spirit.ed to emphasise its focus on premium products.

The retailer, which was founded in 2012, has also revamped its website as part of the refresh.

“We are updating our website, including new imagery, so that the drinks‐buying experience can be as enjoyable as other aspirational consumer categories such as fashion and homeware,” explained CEO Charlotte Jefferies.

The firm’s online retail platform features about 300 drinks available for next‐day delivery, and won The Spirits Business’ Retailer of the Year award in 2021 and 2020. The company worked with branding agency Household to come up with the new name.

Reynolds enters Virgin territory

Ryan Reynolds Richard Branson Aviation Gin

Actor Ryan Reynolds and billionaire Richard Branson created a short video to mark the launch of Aviation Gin on board Virgin Voyages.

Travellers will be able to enjoy Aviation Gin in cocktails on Branson’s cruises. The gin brand, which is co‐owned by Deadpool star Reynolds, is already available on Virgin Atlantic, Branson’s airline.

When guests purchase a bar tab, they’ll be able to choose from a selection of Aviation Gin‐based cocktails, including a riff on the classic French 75.

Virgin Voyages collaborated with bartenders from Bar Lab and the Cocktail Cartel, as well as leading industry professionals such as Charles Joly and Julia Momose, to make the serves

Reynolds said: “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I’d be successful enough to have my own gin brand score a recurring role on a ship this deliriously luxurious and child‐free. Only Richard Branson could make this type of magic happen.”

Ginato gets in festive spirit

Ginato Gin

Italian gin brand Ginato unveiled its global Christmas marketing campaign in December 2021, which was rolled out through social media and online advertising.

The campaign was inspired by an Italian Christmas, set to Christmas‐themed piano music. It presented images and videos of Ginato gin cocktails, including the Pomegranate Gin and Tonic, the Pinot Grigio Festive Fizz, the Melograno Gin and Tonic and the Clementine Orange Gin Spritz. Cocktail recipes were also shared, to allow consumers to craft the Ginato drinks at home.

The Ginato gin range uses a base spirit made from Pinot Grigio grapes. It comprises Melograno, flavoured with Barbera grapes and Sicilian pomegranate; orange‐flavoured Clementino; pink grapefruit‐infused Pompelmo; and lemon‐flavoured Pinot Grigio. Each bottling clocks in at 43% ABV.

Bourbon foundation will help women

Bourbon whiskey ice

The Bourbon Women Association launched a non‐profit foundation to fund educational opportunities for women in the Bourbon industry.

The Bourbon Women Education Foundation will raise and disperse funds for opportunities such as the Amber Circle training and leadership cohort programme. It will also support other educational resources that back women and people from diverse backgrounds in the alcohol industry.

Rebecca Quick donated the seed money to start the foundation in memory of her daughter, Dr Rhonda Quick of Tucson, Arizona, US, who died in 2019, and was a supporter of the association.

Whistlepig gets global push

Rye whiskey producer Whistlepig has expanded its global presence with LVMH‐owned Moët Hennessy.

Vermont‐based Whistlepig is embarking on a marketing drive in the UK and Europe, with large‐scale activity and on‐ and off‐trade activations planned for 2022.

In 2020, Moët Hennessy acquired a minority stake in the American whiskey maker, with the aim of helping the brand expand outside of North America. The expansion will focus on Whistlepig’s core range of whiskeys, with limited edition releases in the UK and European markets. The core range includes Whistlepig Rye Whiskey Aged 10 Years, Old World Rye Aged 12 Years and Estate Oak Rye Aged 15 Years. The bottlings can be purchased through from £80 (US$105.94).

Dead Man’s Fingers’ gig chance

Dead Man's Fingers

Halewood Artisanal Spirits teamed up with music magazine Kerrang! to supply Dead Man’s Fingers rum cocktails at live gigs.

The K! Pit is a series of shows launched by Kerrang! in 2018, involving bands playing live for 50 ticket holders. Six cameras record the event, which is streamed on Facebook and YouTube to a combined audience of more than 1.3 million. For the latest season of K! Pit, Dead Man’s Fingers is serving cocktails and giving away goodie bags, which include a branded skull glass.

The rum brand’s global marketing manager, Rachel Adams, said: “As the non‐conformist rum of choice, we naturally love what Kerrang! represents in terms of alternative culture. Dead Man’s Fingers drinkers are adventure seekers who thrive on the unconventional so it’s a natural fit for both brands.”

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