Irish whiskey: in-person shopping ‘paramount’ in GTRBy Melita Kiely
Physical shopping for Irish whiskey in global travel retail “remains paramount” as click-and-collect has largely not caught on, a market analyst has said.
As travel resumes after setbacks brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, Irish whiskey brands are looking to capitalise on the global travel retail (GTR) channel.
However, while the focus on e-commerce in GTR has increased over the last two years, it has not overtaken the importance of in-person purchasing opportunities.
Thorsten Harmann, an analyst at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, told The Spirits Business last month: “Largely normal patters (if not traffic as a whole) resume – general airside duty free, dedicated airside whisk(e)y shops, airside branded boutiques, ferry shops, cross-border shops, and shops on cruise liners are coming back to life, and Irish whiskey is no exception.
“By and large, click-and-collect has not caught on, so physical shopping remains paramount.”
Harmann also highlighted how a number of GTR operators remain reluctant to reinstate poured tastings in duty free outlets.
There is still some reluctance on the part of operators (or their landlords) to allow in-shop tastings – where these are once again allowed, they appear to have morphed from poured tastings to offering takeaway tasting minis, i.e. slightly reducing the opportunity for interaction.
“On-site brand ambassadors are also still few and far between. This means that travellers by and large deploy two techniques – informing themselves of spirits offerings (and their relative prices at points of departure, arrival and, indeed, landside duty-paid).
“Otherwise, it’s the usual browsing of shelves in captive time or, where available, enhanced engagement with brands where special displays and/or digitally interactive interfaces are being deployed.”
In March this year, Teeling released a limited edition single cask whiskey in travel retail via Aer Rianta International.