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Top 10 marketing moves from October

From films celebrating whisky heritage to a world-renowned distillery reopening, marketing moves in October saw spirits brands ramp up their creativity to draw customers in.

Hayman’s took over the London Underground with its London Dry

While some went big on out-of-home advertising, others invited consumers into their homelands and headquarters.

Meanwhile, one brand said ‘out with the old’ with a full rebrand, while another turned its hand to conservation efforts.

Read on to find out the top 10 marketing moves in October.

And for the previous round-up, these were our top 10 marketing moves in September.

VK ready to party with students

VK Freshers Week campaign

To celebrate freshers week, ready-to-drink brand VK embarked on a late-night tour of 27 NUS sites in the UK.

The tour was part of the brand’s #WEARETHEBEAT freshers marketing campaign that also includes daytime pop-up events at VK campuses, which challenge students to ‘Guess the Beat’ to win VK merchandise.

Daniella Mulvey, brand manager at VK, enthused: “We are thrilled to launch our 2023 freshers tour, connecting with students through fantastic events across the month, while celebrating 10 years of being the top choice for students.”

Actor Gwendoline Christie is game to explore Highland Park

Credit: Annabel Elston

Highland Park linked up with actor Gwendoline Christie to produce a short film that celebrates the Orkney whisky distillery’s 225th anniversary.

In the film, Christie, known for her roles in Game of Thrones and Star Wars, is shown learning about Highland Park’s heritage, and touring Hobbister Moor – the hills of heather moorland that infuse the peat below with a floral character.

Christie said: “Orkney has a stunning landscape, which I’ve been able to explore first-hand to see how the environment and communities influence the heritage, flavour and spirit of Highland Park whisky.”

English whisky at the heart of Cotswolds

Cotswolds Distillery whisky advert – text reads ‘English for Whisky’

The Cotswolds Distillery has launched its first whisky marketing campaign, designed ­to reach a younger generation of drinkers, and showcase its single malt.

Brandishing the tagline English for Whisky, the advert presents people gathered together around a firepit enjoying the brand’s whisky.

Dan Szor, founder of The Cotswolds Distillery, created the advert alongside marketing director Kate Harrison. Szor said: “We believe we have created something that really captures the essence of our brand: English whisky being enjoyed in the English countryside, seizing that magic whisky moment, and making it special.” The campaign combines national and London out-of-home placements alongside assets for social media platforms and print publications.

Hayman’s goes underground


English producer Hayman’s ‘The Original Gin’ campaign came back this month.

Launched in spring, the adverts can be seen on the London Underground, with posters in tube stations promoting the gin as “a cut above the rest”, also telling the story of its distinctive taste.

Jono Holt, founder of Otherway, the design agency behind the advert, said: “It’s nice to write some proper adverts for a proper gin. Hayman’s has a rich and long history, and we felt such a quality product deserved some quality advertising.”

James Hayman, co-owner and fifth-generation family member of Hayman’s, added: “The campaign simply communicates our unique story and role in the history of London gin.”

Hayman’s is made using a 160-year-old family recipe.

Suntory gives visitors a taste of Yamazaki

Yamazaki Distillery revamp

Suntory Spirits reopened its renovated Yamazaki Distillery to the public in November, with two new tasting tours planned for visitors.

Located on the outskirts of Kyoto, Yamazaki Distillery was the first malt whisky distillery in Japan. Its reopening is part of Suntory’s 100th whisky-making anniversary celebrations, in which the company announced it would invest 10 billion JPY (US$77 million) into its Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries.

The renewed facilities include a new entrance, transformed into a ‘forest’; a new reception at the Whisky Museum; an entrance gate made from reused copper from pot stills; a tasting lounge for sampling whiskies; and an enhanced interior.

TS Spirits renames gin Capjari

TS Spirits

Italian producer TS Spirits has rebranded its gin range, giving it a new name: Capjari Gin.

The gin launched in 2021, originally under Electra Gin. It is additive-free, and made using an infusion of 11 botanicals.

The rebranded line has two expressions: the Capjari Double Distilled Premium Gin, which previously existed under the Electra name, and a new addition, the Capjari Gold Organic Premium Gin. The latter sports a yellow colour that changes over time due to the natural way the botanicals in the bottle have been matured. Both expressions sit at 41.5% ABV and have an RRP of €44 (US$46).

Mataroa targets Italy


Greek brand Mataroa Mediterranean Dry Gin has widened its influence in the Italian market, now partnering with Onestigroup, one of the country’s largest alcohol distributors.

The partnership will see Mataroa’s products – including both its London Dry and pink gins – sold in Italy exclusively by the distributor.

Mataroa co-owner Nopi Romanidou said that Onestigroup “understands the quality of our brand”, and that “Mataroa products will take the place they deserve in the Italian market, enabling as many Italian consumers as possible to enjoy them”.

Created in the Melissanidi Distillery in northern Greece, Mataroa claims to be the number-one-selling Greek premium gin brand in its home country.

The Famous Grouse has character

Famous Grouse marketing campaign with text 'Always a hit'

In a bid to introduce the next generation of whisky drinkers to its whisky and demonstrate that it’s perfect for any occasion, The Famous Grouse is launching a global advertising campaign: Full of Character. The animated advert depicts Gilbert, the brand’s ‘Famous Grouse’, making sure everything is in order before he hosts a dinner party.

The blended Scotch brand premiered the advert during ITV’s coverage of the Rugby World Cup. It will roll out in 30 countries, including the brand’s key markets.

Joakim Leijon, global brand director for The Famous Grouse, said the ad would “spotlight the mixability of the liquid for the first time to encourage a new audience to try it”.

Redbreast case goes to seed

Redbreast bird feed bottle

Irish Distillers-owned Redbreast has joined forces with BirdLife International for a bird feeder edition of its 12-year-old whiskey. The bottle is presented in a forest-green casing that can be filled with bird feed. Part of the proceeds from sales will go to the charity to help its work in bird conservation.

Irish Distillers’ master blender, Billy Leighton, said that the bottles play “an essential role in providing vital protection and nourishment to birds, ensuring their wellbeing, particularly during the colder months.”

Last year’s release raised €70,000 (US$74,000). The special packaging is available to purchase in nine markets for an RRP of €78 (US$82).

Cambridge Distillery exchanges one city for another in pop-up

English gin producer Cambridge Distillery will be hosting a laboratory and shop at The Royal Exchange in London this month. The pop-up will run from 29 November to 16 December, bringing together gin enthusiasts and novices alike to “delve into the artistry of gin making”.

Visitors can design gin blends at a Make-It Class, then take home a bottle of their creation, along with a personalised label. The space can also be hired privately for groups of up to 16 people.

Kai Reeves, managing director at Cambridge Distillery, said: “We have exciting new products to share, and invite attendees to forge memories in our gin lab with friends and family.”

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