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Irish whiskey: in-person shopping ‘paramount’ in GTR

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.

Irish whiskey travel
Physical shopping is still more important than e-commerce for Irish whiskey in GTR, according to an analyst

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.

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