Top marketing moves in January 2022By Alice Brooker
From Patrón Tequila’s flashy NFT to singer Katy Perry’s foray into non-alcoholic apéritifs, brands made bold moves in the world of marketing last month.
Spirits brands hit the ground running in the first month of 2022, rolling out a multitude of timely ad campaigns, partnerships and strategic releases.
Johnnie Walker tapped into the spirit of Chinese New Year through a collaboration with artist Shan Jiang; 1800 Tequila celebrated American football season with a partnership with the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders; and Flecha Azul Tequila harnessed the power of a famous face by bringing in a new investor, actor Mark Wahlberg.
Read on to discover our pick of 10 marketing moves that made waves last month – and for more top advertising campaigns, check out our list from December.
Johnnie Walker celebrates Chinese New Year
Diageo-owned Johnnie Walker has teamed up with Chinese artist Shan Jiang to launch a limited edition Blue Label bottle for Chinese New Year.
The new label welcomes the Year of the Tiger, with the design paying homage to the animal as a symbol of strength and progress.
Jiang said: “In the past two years we’ve triumphed over tremendous challenges. I used that thought to look to the year ahead with positivity, and use Chinese mythology and the idea of progress, of always moving forward, to inspire my designs and discover ideas from my culture that resonate with Johnnie Walker.”
The bottlings will be available for purchase this month from select markets globally.
Wahlberg wades into Tequila
Actor Mark Wahlberg has ventured into the spirits industry by buying a stake in Flecha Azul Tequila.
The Ted actor is the latest celebrity to jump on the Tequila bandwagon, following the likes of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Kendall Jenner and Eva Longoria.
Flecha Azul was co‐founded in 2017. It was brought to market in 2020 by Mexican PGA golfer Abraham Ancer and Mexican entrepreneur Aron Marquez. Ancer and Marquez approached Wahlberg to join the team.
Wahlberg said: “The Tequila is made in Jalisco, Mexico, from 100% estate‐grown Blue Weber agave. It is created by a multi‐generational, family‐owned‐and‐operated distillery whose legacy can be traced back to 1840.”
Maker’s Mark goes green with B Corp status
Beam Suntory‐owned Maker’s Mark Bourbon has become a certified B Corporation, and claims to be the largest distillery in the world to achieve the title.
The B Corp certification is awarded to companies that meet high standards of inclusivity and sustainability. Maker’s Mark said it had secured the B Corp status by exceeding the benchmarks set in the following categories: Community, Customers, Environment, Governance and Workers. The company promotes a mission to ‘Make Your Mark. Leave No Trace’, and is responsible for implementing environment‐focused programmes, such as a zero-landfill initiative at its distillery at Star Hill Farm, Kentucky, an on‐site recycling programme and creating a natural water sanctuary.
The Bourbon producer has also invested millions of dollars in hospitality. During the pandemic, Maker’s Mark and trade charity The Lee Initiative worked together to feed more than 1.5m hospitality workers.
Heaven Hill gets into golf
US distiller Heaven Hill has teamed up with professional golfer Max Homa to make its Elijah Craig brand the ‘official Bourbon of Max Homa’.
The marketing collaboration takes the form of a multi‐year sponsorship deal between Elijah Craig Bourbon and the three‐time PGA Tour winner.
“I’m excited to join the Elijah Craig team as their first-ever golf brand ambassador,” said Homa. “Elijah Craig is made for those who strive for the best – in their game and in their glass. And from what I’ve tasted so far, their commitment to excellence is obvious. We’ve got lots of exciting things planned in the coming months, and I’m looking forward to sharing many memories at the 19th hole with them and golf fans everywhere.”
Katy Perry launches De Soi
American singer Katy Perry has partnered with spirits producer Amass to create a range of non‐alcoholic ready‐to‐drink apéritifs.
The Roar singer has launched the De Soi range in three flavours: Golden Hour, a ‘mood‐boosting blend’; Champignon Dreams, a ‘fresh and fruity’ mix; and Purple Lune, which is described as a ‘full‐bodied’ apéritif.
The new line is made with ‘natural’ adaptogens to allow drinkers to ‘indulge sensibly’. To create the adaptogenic drinks, Perry and Amass master distiller Morgan McLachlan combined ethnobotany and ‘natural’ distilling methods that deliver a relaxing effect and ‘sophisticated flavour profiles’.
The collection is priced at US$25 for a 750ml bottle or a four‐pack of eight‐ounce (237ml) cans.
Patrón enters NFT market
Tequila brand Patrón has launched 150 bottles of its ‘one‐of‐a‐kind’ Chairman’s Reserve featuring the brand’s first NFT.
The Bacardi‐owned brand has partnered with NFT marketplace Block Bar to offer a blend of its añejo Tequila to consumers. Chairman’s Reserve was aged in a combination of Sauternes (80%), French limousin and new American oak barrels. The Tequila offers flavours of honey, butter and caramel, followed by ‘citrus touches of orange and tangerine’.
Buyers of the NFT will have access to a digital certificate of ownership. The buyer can choose to either redeem the physical product and have it delivered by Block Bar, trade its NFT version within Block Bar’s online marketplace, keep it in Block Bar’s virtual bar or gift it through the platform.
The Patrón NFT is available to buy on Block Bar’s website, priced at 1.5 ethereum (approximately US$4,500).
Nemiroff launches Moon variant
Ukrainian vodka Nemiroff has paid tribute to space travel with its latest limited edition bottling.
Nemiroff Moon Edition was created to mark Ukrainian satellite Sich‐2‐30’s launch into orbit, after it set off on the Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket. The vodka clocks in at 40% ABV, and will retail for approximately RRP £25 (US$34), depending on the market. It is made with an extra 12th filtration stage, added to celebrate the 12 pioneers who have walked the moon.
Yuriy Sorochynskiy, CEO of Nemiroff, said: “A new era of space exploration is beginning – tourists discover space in rockets, and Ukraine is on the way to restore its status as a space state.
“Ambitious and courageous pioneers – scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs – are those who inspired us to create a new product, the first galactic vodka Nemiroff Moon Edition.”
Third Eye takes the low-carbon route
Stranger and Sons owner Third Eye Distillery has joined forces with Ecospirits to bring environmentally‐conscious spirits packaging technology to India.
Ecospirits is a spirits distribution system, and will help the gin producer launch a closed‐loop service in India this year by introducing low‐carbon and low‐waste spirits packaging technology to the country. The rollout will begin in Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka this month.
Rahul Mehra, co‐founder of Third Eye Distillery, said: “We believe Ecospirits will be a game changer in moving the Indian spirits market towards a zero net carbon trajectory and helping the country achieve its sustainability goals. We are thrilled to work with brands to make this closed‐loop distribution model accessible to all.”
1800 Tequila raids the NFL
Becle-owned 1800 Tequila has teamed up with National Football League (NFL) team the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Tequila brand is aiming to support the Raiders and the Hispanic community in Las Vegas and California by bringing two branded cocktails to Allegiant Stadium in Nevada.
The 1800 Mexican Mule Rusher, made up of 1800 Blanco, fresh lime juice, bitters and ginger beer, is on offer to consumers, plus the 1800 Pirate Paloma, consisting of 1800 Cristalino, light agave, grapefruit bitters and soda water. Lander Otegui, senior vice‐president of marketing, Proximo Spirits, said: “Raider Nation is a diverse and ardent fan base, which reflects 1800 Tequila’s values of authenticity and community. We raise a glass of 1800 Pirate Paloma to celebrate our partnership.”
Bacardí’s night on the tiles
Rum brand Bacardí has released limited edition domino sets crafted from upcycled rum barrels.
The Bacardí Reserva Ocho Domino Set is engraved and made from reclaimed oak barrels that were previously used to age Bacardí rum. Each set comes with a 700ml bottle of Bacardí Reserva Ocho, which has been aged for eight years.
Each box has been intricately engraved with a design by Caribbean artist Popcaribe, who has taken inspiration from the ‘vibrancy of Caribbean culture’ to inspire these bespoke designs. “Working on this project with Bacard. has not only allowed me to really embrace my Caribbean heritage and roots, but also bring something personal to the artwork,” said Popcaribe.