Thursday, January 31, 2008

Aimed at younger drinkers with a penchant for customising their own cocktails, this concoction by an Anheuser-Busch subsidiary is just waiting to be slammed by those who are wary of unskilled tipplers. We've all been out on the town with someone whose personality changes after a snort or two, but actually calling a drink Jekyll & Hyde...?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

From cognac-world.

After spending 3 days in Cognac for the International Cocktail Summit, top bartenders and mixologists from around the world have created a new cocktail made with cane sugar, fresh ginger, lime, artisanal lemonade and cucumber. The cocktail has been imaginatively named "The summit".

The Bureau National Interprofessionnel Du Cognac site should have more details shortly.

Friday, January 25, 2008

All from The Scotch Blog back in October 2007. Not quite sure how I missed it?!

"Canadian Club, a product of Beam Global Spirits* is about to roll out a new ad campaign.

The concept of the campaign? Your Dad was much cooler than you are.

Yep that's right - they are saying it's cool to drink whisky BECAUSE your dad drank it, not despite it.

They are also saying that your Dad was probably more of a man than you are.

According to the press release:

The thought-provoking campaign challenges consumers to embrace their dads classic masculinity, most visibly expressed through their choice to drink Canadian Club whisky cocktails. In launching Damn Right, CC invited Beam Global employees to search through their photo albums to submit images that epitomize the campaign."

And here are some of the comments. It's certainly getting talked about. But for the right reasons? You decide.

"Bravo to Beam for missing two HUGE problems in one ad campaign!
The first, more obvious one, is that the modern drinker barely resembles the drinker of the 60s and that's a good thing. Today's drinking culture in the 25-40 range is way more realistic about how alcohol fits into their lives. My dad's generation of drinker drank for a lot of the wrong reasons and attempting to make nostalgia from that is, well, pathetic.

Second huge problem is further alienation of the female whiskey drinkers at all ages. How many women want to idolize their fathers when he was aimless and drunk? It's not so much that this ad campaign isn't tartgets towards women... that's 95% of all drinks advertising. It takes an extra special effort by a drinks company to insult female drinkers with an ad that's misogynistic today and nostalgic for more misogynistic times in the past.

Oh, and a small aside. What the hell is that lime wedge doing in that drink? Are they implying that drinkers from the 60s drank CC with a wedge of lime? Maybe Darcy from Art of Drink can help us figure that one out.

Posted by: Brian | October 25, 2007 at 08:29 AM

- Your Dad didn't hug you because he knew what a baby you'd grow up to be anyway

- Your Dad didn't have AAA

- Your Dad smoked while pumping gas

- If Dad was doing the dishes, it must have been Mother's Day

- Dad is the reason they call Vegas "Sin City" now.

Posted by: Rick | October 25, 2007 at 03:01 PM

Love this story, but the campaign is totally off the wall (even if I might get a little 'respect' from my kids!). What were the CC guys smoking when they signed this off?

And why does the ad only show the top half, and not the body copy when you click on it?

Posted by: Ian Buxton | October 25, 2007 at 04:31 PM

My Dad drank wine.

Posted by: Japanesewhisky | October 25, 2007 at 08:33 PM

"Your Dad wasn't your Mum's last."*

*A new neanderthal nostalgia styled Ad for white wine spritzers?

Posted by: Japanesewhisky | October 25, 2007 at 08:46 PM

If the expression "this is wrong in *so* many ways" didn't exist, it would have to be created for this ad.

Posted by: James Campbell Andrew | October 26, 2007 at 03:50 AM

How original. Another ad campaign that reinforces stupid ideas of masculinity and femininity. CC, it is disappointing that this is the "best" that you can come up with. Indeed, I have thought more about CC in the past 24 hours than ever before, but I will not be stopping for long, and, yes, I will be "drinking smart."

Ontario, Canada

Posted by: Wendy | October 26, 2007 at 09:12 AM

Your dad sometimes hit your mom.
Your mom was kinda slutty.
Your dad didn't cry at the end of grays anatomy.
Your dad did cry at the end of cheers.
Your dad was a homo.

Posted by: pat vipp | October 26, 2007 at 10:24 AM

Your dad's crewcut had your mother's blood in it.

Posted by: Bob | October 26, 2007 at 03:35 PM

Well, one thing's for sure: in advertising there's no such thing as negative publicity. The campaign hasn't even officially started, has it? Yet it is being blogged all over the place. They don't need to pay Playboy to run the ad, who will love it BTW, we're running it for them. The word of mouth of it will be great. The underage crowd, who are also a huge market for them, will eat this stuff up. Sure beats their pretend Russians ordering CC ad.

Will it make me buy CC? Um, no, not before and not now. Will it make me drink whisky cocktails? Um, no, not before and not now. Will it make me buy faux wood paneling for my basement? Well, actually I like faux wood paneling but that's beside the point. I don't want my old skinny leather tie back either... but it is an effective ad as it makes you think and Real Men(TM) are back for sure today. Tough is back. Will and Grace are off the air.

My real problem with the Canadian Whisky market today is that they are being rewarded for 'innovations' such as $150 no age Canadian Whisky. Crown Royal XR started it and now Wiser's Red Letter is next. I would never buy them even if they came with a coupon for fake wood paneling.

Posted by: Harry Pulley | October 27, 2007 at 07:12 PM

Ian- You have to change the zoom level to 50 or 75%.

Posted by: docholiday | October 28, 2007 at 11:41 AM

Thank you, docholiday. I found the little critter and now it works fine - you learn something new every day!
I've got real wood panelling in my study - well, traditional painted tongue and groove, but not as 'groovy' as the swinging cat in the ad.
And love that copper galleon - where can I get one of those?

Posted by: Ian Buxton | October 28, 2007 at 01:45 PM

Remember an ad is aimed at a target audience, they don't care about what anyone else outside the target audience thinks. Therefore, I think it's a successful campaign because the demographic they are aiming this campaign for is going to eat it up and love it.

Posted by: Rod | December 25, 2007 at 12:31 AM

Not sure I agree with your idea that ads like this are aimed at a target audience - as far as I can tell This ad was meant to be placed in a variety of periodicals (Not just "Guns & Ammo")

But even if it were a true statement, how can you measure the success of an ad like this? If self-proclaimed misogynists start buying more CC?

Posted by: Kevin Erskine | December 28, 2007 at 09:08 PM

Great advertising! Provocative, runs against standard PC, and brings all the 'hate-male'rs out in force! Sod 'em, I love it (but then, I liked my Dad, too).

Just needs a little more irony to be truly cool.

Posted by: Stuart Mackay (a Scot) | January 22, 2008 at 06:04 AM"

The advertising has tapped into something of a zeitgheist. Let's see what impact it has on sales and how it gets activated in bars and on the internet and outside of the USA etc.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

When we went to Wahaca in Covent Garden we filled our pockedts with what we thought were prettily coloured boxes of matches. But joy of joys they turned out to be little cardboard sticks with chile seeds attached to them.

I didn't take a picture of the seed book from Wahaca but I have found a website called Matchstick Garden which does them. They make a great alternative for restaurants and businesses instead of making boxes of matches.

So we planted our chile seeds about 2 weeks ago in some vague hope that they might sprout. And shock of shocks... they've only gone and sprouted! Our office is rapidly developing into a tropical garden with a bird of paradise, 2 Sauza agave plants, a small succulent and 8 nubile chile plants. In only a matter of months we'll be harvesting our crop of chiles!

Well done Wahaca. What a great example of new marketing. Essentially they have given away something surprising, interesting, relevant, good and talkworthy. On object of sociability that gives Wahaca a feeling of authenticity, goodness and engagement. Keep an eye out for updates on how the little chaps are getting on.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Conversations.... conversations... conversations...

Which is what Tony Blair said when he came into power in the late 90s... or was that something else?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Brilliant Gourmet TV site featuring enthusiastic Epicureans from whisky and tea lovers to people who rave about Tequila.

We ought to do a few pieces on here with our brands.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Introducing It's time to think of Sauza Gold & Blanco in a completely new way... Fresh and Unexpected.

And fresh and unexpected our new site certainly is. With a 3D animation navigation system, energetic and exciting movement through the site and featuring our over sized fresh new packaging, the site offers consumers a stimulating and refreshing adventure into the world of Sauza Gold & Blanco, providing them with a tequila experience unlike any other.

Learn more about the Sauza family and history, explore how Sauza Tequila is created, make your mouth water in Cocktails & Shots or check out the fun people are having at Sauza Gold & Blanco events that are happening all over the world.

This is one tequila experience that won't leave a bad taste in your mouth, go to and enter the refreshing and appetizing world of Sauza Gold & Blanco.

Welcome to the world of exhilarating pleasure that is Hornitos Tequila. The new, sleek site brings our premium brand to life online, offering consumers a smooth journey around the intruiging and stimulating world of Hornitos.

A major relaunch in July 2007 saw the introduction of new Hornitos packaging, a new brand positioning, new creative campaign and exciting new variants – Plata and Añejo – completing the offering of a family of 100% agave tequilas. These elements come together at where browsers are immersed in the brand and can explore areas such as the making of Hornitos, worldwide events and how to create the perfect Hornitos cocktail bursting with lively agave flavour.

An aesthetically appealing design, ease of navigation and extensive, engaging content make for a very enjoyable visit and a site we should all be proud of. Log onto and discover all the exhilarating pleasure Hornitos has to offer.

A nice piece of CRM from Patron. Members of the Patron Social Club receive monthly downloads to keep them up to date with the latest trends and current Patron activity.

In this months issue... Faking it: Urban dudes donning outdoor chic, Taxicab confessions, karaoke style, Patron Movie Events and ID your bottle.

Patrón, along with Landmark Theatres, has invited a number of Patrón Social Club members to be guests at exclusive movie events nationwide. The appropriately named series, Margaritas, Mojitos, and a Movie, invites guests to enjoy on-the-house Patrón cocktails, appetizers, and tickets to a movie of their choice.

In an attempt to develop stronger consumer relationships, Patron are using trend sharing and trend watching to their advantage. Members are invited to check out "The Latest" to find the latest and greatest trends and contribute to the mini blog to help up the social ante.

Standing by for next months installment, very handy for keeping an eye on the competition!

Hicklin Slade & Partners have created an online educational tool for their sales teams, called The Whisky Network.

The site condenses useful information about whisky into digestible and engaging content for a young audience, so that they can better promote Diageo brands around the world. Short film clips are used throughout the site to illustrate key points.

According to the Hicklin Slade & Partners website, The Whiskey Network has been a great success:

"The programme has delivered a 97% take up rate and have been described by the Vice President of Trade Marketing as the "best education programme" he has seen in a 25 year career in the drinks industry. "

Thursday, January 17, 2008

This embarassing story is from the just-drinks site:

"Diageo has been forced to apologise to the organisers of a Scotch whisky awards, for voting repeatedly for its own brands.

"Kevin Erskine, the owner of, noticed earlier this week that a raft of votes for the upcoming 'Drammies' had been sent from the same URL, at Diageo. Speaking to The Guardian, Erskine said: "I noticed some of the votes were coming in with the same format, the same two addresses and the same votes. They were clever enough to use different names each time, but the URL was the same."

"When contacted by just-drinks today (16 January), a spokesperson for Diageo said: "What we have here is an over-exuberant brand manager in the US who sent an ill-advised round-robin note to a number of his colleagues urging them to vote for our brands in the Drammies.

""We certainly don't condone this behaviour, and have apologised to the organisers of the Drammies."

"Diageo's Johnnie Walker Scotch brand has been nominated for a Drammie."

Thanks to Ian Buxton for this one. There is more information on the Drammies on inebrio.

This is an interesting idea from Johnnie Walker. As reported in Brand Strategy's blog, Jennie is a digital avatar that sits on your mobile and directs you to JW-partnered events, promos and bars, and will help you order a cab home.

More in Contagious.

This launched in Singapore. Agency: OgilvyOne

This is a few years old now, but really interesting.

The pictures are from the art exhibition of Marti Guixe for CASCO, in Utrech, 2004.

GAT FOG PARTY was essentially a room filled with Gin & Tonic fog.

According to CASCO's site:

"An artificial cloud of gin and tonic will pervade the Casco space, literally transgressing the distinction between looking and consuming. Martí Guixé, originally a product designer, dislikes objects and specialises in the unconventional design of the non-material. His point of departure is that everything is a form of consumerism: food, the city, landscapes, money, entertainment, communication. In his opinion, consuming has become first nature, so why not take this artificiality as an original source for new design?"

Presumably it would be possible to recreate the work with other spirits.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Back in August 2000, The Mauel Antonia Hotel in Costa Rica bought this 1954 Model US cargo plane, Fairchild C-123, for a bargain of $3,000. The plane has a fascinating history, having played a part in the Reagan administration's arms scandal of the 1980s [detailed on costaverde].

It is now a popular attraction in its new home, where it has been converted into a restaurant, bar and coffee shop - suitably named El Avion.

The world’s most expensive Christmas cocktail has been unveiled at Movida nightclub in London. The club's A-list regulars will be able to order "the Flawless" for £35,000 ($71,000) a glass.

The cocktail's ingredients are:

  • Large measure of Louis XII cognac
  • Half a bottle of Cristal Rose champagne
  • Brown sugar
  • Angostura bitters
  • Chips of 24-carat edible gold leaf.

In addition, there is an 11-carat white diamond ring at the bottom of the glass. Understandably, given the cost, two security guards overlook proceedings to make sure nothing goes awry.

Story from Elite Choice and The Telegraph...

Movida Club, London.

Dom Pérignon has unveiled a limited edition 1995 Vintage White Gold Jeroboam commemorative champagne for 2008.

From Elite Choice...

"Featured above is this exclusive gold-plated bubbly that was offered to the rich and renowned during their exploit and adventures on the periphery of the Côte d’Azur. It gained significant importance at the gala ceremony attended by superstars, models, and tycoons.

"Annotations of brioche and sugar, blended with fresh almond and apricot make for the deep, obscure aroma of the champagne. The recent drawing of the bottle has an etching of the Dom Pérignon crest, enfolded in a sheath casing of white gold. Counted 100 bottles are available globally with the jeroboams available at The Matsuzakaya Department Store in Nagoya’s Sakae-ku and is retailed at $11,005 a bottle. The sales are being embarked from Matsuzakaya and another 20 bottles are expected to be sold in Japan while remaining cost $40,000 plus in nightclubs in the U.S."

Hotel Byblos in St. Tropez has 10 bottles for sale. For a mere €12,000, the champagne will be brought out to the “James Bond” theme, accompanied by fire and sparklers. Just make sure you don't knock the bottle over!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Lifted directly from Church of the Consumer:

"What does a cult brand look like? Well, here's one example.

Westvleteren A religious order of silent monks in Belgium creates a cult beer. It's called Westvleteren. You must make an appointment to buy it. To make an appointment, you call the monks' Beer Phone. Yes, it's called the Beer Phone. The monks may talk while on the Beer Phone. You may buy only two cases at a time. The beer is sold once per month. The monks do not advertise, nor do they label the bottles. They make 60,000 cases per year; that's 5,000 cases per month, or 120,000 bottles. Texas Stadium probably sells 120,000 units of beer every Sunday. Tales abound of people driving 16 hours across parts of Europe for a beer run. Some experts call it the best in the world. The monks believe, truly, that they "sell beer to live, and not vice versa."

Besides being what people describe as an excellent beer, Westvleteren has developed into a cult brand based on its rituals. All of the items mentioned above are ritualistic. Make an appointment. Call the Beer Phone. Two-case limit. No label. A regular release schedule. A unifying belief system. However they're defined and practiced, rituals embody culture. They are symbolic expressions of a company's values.

For organizations not religiously grounded as Trappist monks, rituals can be simple, like consistently observing dates in company history or paying public homage to goals attained. More elaborate rituals may involve meeting or surpassing milestones focused on quality. No matter what, corner-cutting is heresy.

A cult brand like Westvleteren is created by people religiously devoted to their craft. The monks in Belgium are serious about their business, but they do not obsess over maximizing profit or monetizing eyeballs. They do not do brand extension. They embrace scarcity as a necessary component of quality, thereby ensuring future value. Just as the Wii is a cult hit because it is an excellent product that's not easy to buy, so too with an unlabeled beer that's been religiously produced for 170 years.

After all, cult is the root of culture. It is culture that creates a cult brand."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

From Luxist

"Earlier this week I came across the "80 things to watch in 2008" list from advertising agency JWT. It's is an interesting take on what might be hot next year. Some of the things make easy sense like actress Keira Knightley who is currently on the big screen in "Atonement," Beijing in 2008 (the upcoming Olympics will be held there), and various things eco (eco-fatigue, blue as the new green, green weddings and carbon tax) all made the list. For luxspotters, there are a couple interesting notes such as the rise of hot fashion names Phillip Lim and Vena Cava, the humbling of the hedge fund manager and skiing in unique spots like Kashmir, Japan and Greenland. As someone who follows the wine and spirits world I was struck by number 69 on the list: tequila is the new wine. It's an ambitious statement but I'm not sure I buy it. First of all, tequila production has grown but it is in no way poised to take wine which is produced all around the world. And while people are starting to have an increased appreciation for handcrafted and artisanal tequilas, it's nothing even close to the world of wine connoisseurship. Now, tequila is the new vodka, and that I'll believe."

Could be a great year for Sauza!

"The latest version of Martell Cognac was recently launched with a party at the Palace of Versailles. Why there? Because their latest limited edition is the Château de Versailles Exclusive Edition. The limited-edition VSOP will be sold in a bottle with the Versailles Sun King motif and comes in a box that opens out into the shape of a golden flower. It will first be sold exclusively by travel retailer DFS Group in the new Singapore Changi Terminal 3, which opens in January 2008 for $99 Singapore dollars. The Moodie Report has a lovely slideshow of the Versailles launch."

By Deidre Woollard on the luxist blog.

The launch event at King Louis XIV's palace featured a feast for 170 guests, including international media representatives. The food was created by Michelin-starred chef Alain Senderens.

"Hennessy's latest deluxe offering, the Beaute du Siecle, has been making rounds at luxury affairs lately. This impressive display was designed by French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel. Ten different artists collaborated on the chest which is made from melted aluminum and mirrored glass. It has a bronze key and at the press of a button the bottle rises up on a tray. The bottle is Baccarat crystal and set in a metal lattice designed by Guerlain. It contains the Beauté du Siècle Hennessy Cognac, a limited edition blend that was blended by cellar master Yann Fillioux from Hennessy reserves, which are up to 100 years old with the youngest being 47 years. One chest has already been presented to Killian Hennessy as a birthday present, and another was donated to Elizabeth Taylor's AIDS charity and auctioned for $200,000 earlier this year."

By Deidre Woollard on the luxist blog.

"Sure a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label is a significant and posh gift as it is ($200) but think of the additional impression it will leave if the recipient's name is engraved on the front of the bottle! This service is available for a limited time for FREE at various locations across the nation and through their consumer care line. Consider the possibilities for your signature bottle: "Not a breakfast beverage" or "Share only with the worthy"."

By Laura Malesich on the luxist blog.

Alcohol can be seen as a rather impersonal gift, so this is a great initiative. More and more brands are now offering personalised versions of their products for gifts or special events, such as weddings. Even M&Ms are in on the act.

From January 20th to 23rd 2008, the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) is holding the first International Cognac Summit.

Bartenders and cocktail experts will spend three days in Cognac, debating and taking part in workshops, lead by Fernando Castellon (author of the Larousse des Cocktails). The main aim is to create a Cognac-based short drink and long drink that will take cocktail-lovers everywhere by storm. Media gurus will also be attending.

The guest list includes:
  • Dale DeGroff, President of The Museum of the American Cocktail
  • Salvatore Calabrese, National President of the UK Bartenders’ Guild
  • Stefan Gabanyi, Head Barman at the Schumann’s, Munich
  • Colin Field, Head Barman at the Ritz Hemingway Bar, Paris

It will be interesting to see what they come up with, given the importance of cocktails to cognac brands throughout the world.

For full details, see the BNIC website (linked here).

The site also has a useful links section, which mentions other cognac sites.

Monday, January 07, 2008

A beer so exclusive it doesn't even have its own website and is almost impossible to find.... Carlsberg 900 is rare and very desirable.

From Trendwatching

"Carlsberg 900 (which doesn't have its own website) launched this summer in a very limited number of selected bars in Stockholm. Developed in collaboration with 12 top Swedish bartenders, Carlsberg 900 is “brewed from refined virgin hops and selected crystal malt, and triple filtered with a longer cooler fermentation process to ensure a pure, delicate taste.” Carlsberg 900 is priced at the premium end of the market, about the price of decent glass of champagne."

This is an example of premiumisation and is not out of place at all in the world of spirits.

Interesting use of the mobile internet in Japan to promote Kirin Beer. Linking in with GPS and mobile maps, Kirin delivered an ad message and flagged the nearest bars that stocked their product.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

This is a great idea from The Whisky Channel.

A place for whisky enthusiasts to share their thoughts, feelings, knowledge and passion for their favourite types of whisky.

Visit wiskipedia here.


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