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Cotswolds Distillery on its first whisky ad campaign

Kate Harrison, marketing director at the Cotswolds Distillery, speaks to us about the company’s first whisky advertising campaign and strengthening its status as England’s leading whisky producer.

Cotswolds Distillery
Kate Harrison, marketing director at the Cotswolds Distillery, project-managed the campaign

What is the story behind the campaign?

It’s the Cotswolds Distillery’s first advertising campaign for whisky. A couple of years ago, the brand worked on a cloudy gin campaign. With the gin market in the UK being impacted, this is an upweighted campaign to support the distillery’s expansion. We are the largest producer of English whisky in the UK, and we recently opened a second distillery on a 14-acre site.

We now want to target younger consumers. This campaign is all about encouraging a younger generation of whisky drinkers and being forward-thinking within the English whisky category. It’s a disruptive campaign.

What are you targeting with the campaign?

It’s a new platform and message for us. We want to maintain our position and also spearhead our status as the category grows. We also have an ambition to increase our share of world whisky. The category is unconstrained – more traditional whisky is defined by specific rules. New world whisky is imaginative and very exciting. We feel we have an opportunity to appeal to younger and – dare I say it – more adventurous whisky drinkers.

What’s the thinking behind the strapline ‘English for Whisky’?

We have leveraged the area of natural beauty where we are in the Cotswolds. The imagery, content and creative were made over two days with View Creative. We are really showing what we think is what makes our whisky so special. It’s all about a signature moment – the Cotswolds signature moment.

It’s about authenticity, a connection to nature and care for the world. We live and breathe the aspirational nature of the Cotswolds and this campaign is all about delivering magic moments through our relaxed, beautiful surroundings.

Cotswolds Distillery
The advert is looking to appeal to a younger generation of whisky drinkers

How are you ensuring that the campaign is diverse?

The advert features a diverse range of actors.

Women have made remarkable strides in the traditionally male-dominated world of whisky, bringing a tapestry of diversity to an industry steeped in tradition. We are very proud to have Alice Pearson as distillery manager, leading the whisky team. We are also very much looking forward to working with the OurWhisky Foundation, the non-profit organisation lifting women in the global whisky industry, and its founder Becky Paskin and head of content, Millie Milliken.

Are you rolling the campaign out to other markets?

We would love to – our key international markets are the US, Germany, France and China. We are available in 35 international markets. In the UK, we will run the ad until Christmas – next year, as we move into spring/summer, we will launch it in these markets.

In terms of growing our profile, we did Whisky Live Paris, the Whisky Exchange Whisky Show in London, and we were at Cannes [for TFWA] at the beginning of October. We’re also slightly less trade-focused and more towards the consumer, but we sponsor the Cheltenham Festival as well. We’ve got a huge amount of events and activations that will be happening. The media plan is an above-the-line investment with Meta, but there will also be some underground station takeovers in London, such as Bank. That one’s currently live until the 3 December.

How has the investment from Berry Bros benefited the distillery?

We have a number of key projects at the moment that we are working on and having that financial and strategic support from Berry Brothers is invaluable. They are a great partner to have and I’m really enjoying working with them. It’s all very exciting – there’s so much opportunity for the Cotswolds portfolio.

Do you have any future plans?

We will be coming up with a new campaign around March to April time to support our London Dry gin – it’s a fantastic liquid that goes cloudy when it goes into a gin and tonic. I’m also putting a lot of focus and attention on developing a signature serve strategy for cocktails alongside our whisky brands. That, in turn, opens us up to a larger audience.

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