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Top 10 marketing moves from March

From drinks dispensers to double-decker bus tours, you can’t say that spirits brands weren’t creative with their marketing moves in March.

Jameson’s St Patrick’s Day bus tour featuring brand ambassador Aisling Bea was a highlight of the month

Jameson harnessed the full spirit of St Patrick’s Day with a bus tour around London’s Irish bars, while Cointreau partnered with EcoSpirits to create branded dispensing systems.

Meanwhile, Double Dutch followed the French orange liqueur on the eco-friendly front, gaining B Corp status. Pernod Ricard, too, oversaw sustainability campaigns focused on water, and Drinksology was busy pushing the message of its Ukiyo and Born Irish brands. And, of course, there was a celebrity appearance (cheers, RZA – the hip-hop legend made a whisky with Ballantine’s).

Keep scrolling down for the list of top marketing moves in March.

Curious to see who was making moves in previous months? See our marketing round-ups for January and February.

Double Dutch sets a sustainable example


UK-based Double Dutch secured B Corp status, making it the first major mixer producer to achieve the certification.

The founders, Dutch twins Raissa and Joyce de Haas, said: “We hope that together with the other brilliant beverage brands that have been awarded this prestigious status, we can help the industry to make easy and sustainable choices with a great range of high-­quality products without compromise.”

To gain the accreditation, businesses must hit a certain standard of social and environmental performance, public transparency and accountability. In the UK, 120 drinks businesses have B Corp status.

Ballantine’s and RZA don’t miss a beat


Scotch brand Ballantine’s furthered its partnership with RZA by collaborating on a limited­-edition whisky with the Wu­-Tang Clan frontman.

The bottle is inspired by a poem RZA, leader of the hip-­hop group, wrote during a visit to the home of Ballantine’s in Scotland, which he then left in the library of the brand’s founder, George Ballantine. The bottle’s label is adorned with a pattern created from RZA’s handwritten words, complete with the iconic Wu­-Tang Clan hands image. The liquid, Ballantine’s 7 American Barrel, is aged for seven years, and finished in American oak barrels.

RZA said: “This is a true representation of my entire journey with Ballantine’s. To see this come to life through the bottle design is a true coming­together of our cultures.” Ballantine’s 7 American Barrel x RZA Limited Edition is available for £37.95 (US$48).

Born Irish campaign casts a dark shadow

Belfast-based Born Irish, the stout­-finished spirit drink from Drinksology Kirker Greer, launched a campaign called ‘Defiantly Dark, Deliciously Smooth’.

The campaign looks to encourage consumers to “forget everything they know about Irish whiskey”, and instead focus on the brand’s tagline of being a “brave new take on the traditional”. Made from Irish whiskey aged in ex­-Bourbon casks, the spirit celebrates Ireland’s two greatest exports, Irish whiskey and stout, and features a unique dark colour thanks to its finish in stout casks.

Ali Pickering, chief marketing officer at Drinksology Kirker Greer, said: “Our ‘Defiantly Dark, Deliciously Smooth’ key visual is bold and direct, with a straight-talking attitude.”

Pernod campaign highlights hydration


Pernod Ricard launched phase two of its Drink More Water campaign, which is designed to promote responsible drinking.

The campaign was launched in 2021, and takes a direct and disruptive approach with its message: to encourage people to enjoy their nights out without getting too carried away, by discouraging binge-­drinking alcohol. The company believes water is vital in breaking down the consumed alcohol in the body while revitalising cognitive function, and also wants water to be more readily available at events to reduce harm.

The campaign’s mission is garnering a huge online following of 400 million people on social media platforms Instagram and Facebook.

Salitos Tequila switches in Poland

MBG Global Brands-­owned Salitos Tequila named CEDC International its new distributor in Poland.

CEDC International takes over from Stock Spirits. MBG Global Brands said that while the old partnership with Stock Spirits was “fruitful”, recent developments such as the distributor’s move to buy Sierra Tequila led to “ambiguity” in regard to its position with Salitos.

Nina Albers, head of sales and marketing at MBG Global Brands, said of partnering with CEDC: “Its proven track record and deep understanding of the Polish market make it an ideal partner for us. We are confident that together, we will unlock new opportunities and deliver exceptional value to our customers and consumers.”

Salitos has three expressions in its range: Tequila Gold, Tequila Silver, and Tropical Chili.

Cointreau debuts dispensers

French orange liqueur Cointreau partnered with EcoSpirits to create branded dispensing systems.

The SmartPour and EcoTote systems are forecast to remove 3,532kg of packaging waste over the next 12 months, and are part of Cointreau’s sustainability plan, which was put in place in 2023 to reduce glass bottle usage.

Augustin Depardon, managing director of Rémy Cointreau UK & Ireland, said: “Cointreau is an essential brand, and a staple cocktail ingredient for our on­trade partners in the UK. This is a significant step in helping them reduce overall waste and promote the commitment to sustainability and eco­conscious practices.”

The systems will launch in The Alchemist’s London sites over the next few months, and will be available in all 23 UK venues by December.

Jameson paints London green


Jameson Irish whiskey took its St Patrick’s Day celebrations to a double-­decker bus that toured east London’s Irish bars on Saturday 16 March, just ahead of the big day.

Brand ambassador Aisling Bea welcomed passengers on board, and gave a safety briefing before the bus stopped by venues such The Auld Shillelagh in Stoke Newington and Swift Shoreditch – with passengers enjoying Jameson, ginger, and lime cocktails in between – before finishing up at Boxpark Shoreditch for a party.

Before the event, Josh McCarthy, brand director for Jameson UK, said: “The attention to detail inside the bus has to be seen to be believed. We can’t wait for as many people as possible to come and join us, raise a glass for the maiden voyage of our Jameson bus.”

Highclere makes a Breakthru in the US

Highclere Castle Gin’s new distributor partnerships resulted in its US sales rising ‘well above national norms’, the brand said.

Highclere recently partnered with Connecticut Distributors Inc, a division of Breakthru Beverage, and saw sales up by 36% from projections. Ohio sales were 65% more than expected while the Maryland/DC market was up by 150%. The gin brand is also working with Green Light Distribution in Texas and Florida, and has been approved for a listing in 100 Virginia stores. The US is Highclere’s largest market for the English gin brand. It is available in 28 US markets.

The brand will also produce a 50ml miniature for US hotels in the second quarter of the year.

Chivas Brothers launches river protection project

Marketing Moves

Pernod Ricard-­owned Chivas Brothers partnered with three local environmental charities to restore water quality in the north-east of Scotland.

Named the River Within, the long­-term programme will see the brand provide financial support to The Deveron, Bogie and Isla Rivers Charitable Trust, Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Rivers Trust, and the Spey Catchment Initiative – which will carry out conservation work in their combined catchment areas, totalling 5,566 square kilometres. The rivers in the area flow through Chivas Brothers­-owned land.

Julie Gallacher, head of sustainability and responsibility at Chivas Brothers, said: “Just as we rely on the rivers, the rivers rely on us. The art of whisky making is a delicate balance, so too is the Scottish landscape in which we craft it.”

Ukiyo senses success with blossoms push

Drinksology Kirker Greer­-owned Ukiyo Spirits has launched a marketing campaign called Stir the Senses.

The campaign was launched in time for Japan’s cherry blossom season, and depicts the brand’s gins and vodka in a scene of nature alongside cherry blossoms (also known as sakura flowers). The expressions – made in Chiba, east of Tokyo, with Japanese ingredients such as rice, yuzu, and cherry blossom – are said to ‘stir the senses’ with each sip.

Ali Pickering, chief marketing officer at Drinksology Kirker Greer, said: “Our campaign visual invites consumers to embark on a journey into the enchanting world of Ukiyo and how with the gentle embrace of an ancient land, each droplet of Ukiyo carries the weight of centuries.”

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