Monday, March 30, 2009

There seems to a trend in the drinks industry that disposes of our favoured medium, the written word, in favour of using imagery to conjure up the flavour of the drink.

Chateau Petrogasm's quirky concept has been around since the summer of 2007. It requires contributors to submit the name and price of a wine as well as a picture that they believe best represents the wine, however bizzare.

While some imply subtle notes of flavour such as this 2003 Kirralaa Bushvine Shiraz, Australia ($10)

Others however, such as the 2005, Osborne Solaz Shiraz/Tempranillo, Tierra De Castilla, $8.99, despite the blogs brief, leads one to think of the original words that popped into the contributors head.

This rather lovely idea is popping up elsewhere too. Firefly tonics, who go from strength to strength, are running a competition where contributors upload pictures that best represent the drink, whether it be wake up or chill out. The winners will have their entries on half a million firelfy bottles. Reward enough for some but they will chuck you some firefly bottles too. highlights how this idea can be taken into a more adult direction, Three Olives Vodka have launched a competition to 'See Your O-face'

Not a bad prize, $10,000 for the winner, but surely, like 'The Wicker Man' the original is the best.

A picture paints a thousand words, not a new concept, but one that can be taken on by Beam to build up a raft of expressions associated with their products.

'One last Drink' by erix!

Somewhat at odds with their cut backs the drinks giant Diageo has predicted a growth in the U.S spirits market in the forthcoming year. The expected growth, while small at 0-1 percent (sales volume) , in current conditions, is growth nonetheless.

Corroborating this blog's previous insight into the impressively robust performance of whisky's with with a following, such as Makers Mark and Jack Daniels, Ivan Menezes, Diageo's North American head, said in an interview on Tuesday during the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit in Chicago that "The consumer shift is toward strong brands with strong credentials and strong heritage,"

Good news, but not for the new boys.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I ventured out to Barts on Sloane Avenue having been tipped off by a friend at work. It claims in the same breath to be both "a new concept for eating and drinking" and London's worst kept secret.

I'm not going to give the game away and just leave this signs as clues for you...

Chelsea cloisters


We were greeted by a shifty looking chap in prohibition era get up who asked us for a password before letting us into the drinking den.

Barts bouncer

Once inside we were overwhelmed by the design. Its brilliant. Quirky. Inspiring. As if it has been curated by someone with far too much time on their hands. We loved the "computer says no" Mona Lisa and the luggage racks. It transforms a room in an apartment block into a speakeasy by paying attention to minute details.

Speakeasy decor 3

Sordid phone booth

A dressing up box encourages everyone to get stuck in too...

Dressing up box

... which was embraced wholeheartedly by the buzzing crowd.

Speakeasy scene 1

Thirst aid

The evening was sponsored by Glenmorangie who were launching their soda siphon (which we've covered before). Drinks such as Glen'Malone (whisky, ginger, lemon grass and soda) and Sweet as Candy (whisky, candied orange, rose cordial and soda water) initially put some of the girls off. But once they'd got past the idea of whisky there was no stopping them. Personally, I loved the gingery cocktail and thought the idea behind the event and its execution were fantastic.

Glenmorangie trio

Glenmorangie bar 2

It would be a great venue for a Le Nez event, or better still a whisky event or two. I'm quite keen to organise a party there soon. I just hope this article is enormously unpopular and no-one finds out where it is!

Barts sign

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

As far as I can make out, this was a Brazilian promotion that saw these disco kegs being sent to bloggers as a way of driving traffic to the Heineken Radio site.

From Brainstorm 9

Jameson's activity in Belfast focuses on their sponsorship of the Belfast Film Festival. The popcorn ad-shell injects some fun into the promotion and gives a nod towards the famous 3M busstop ad which is filled with money.

All material is from Chris Kileen's site who has also featured some interesting work for Stoli.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Fentiman's coasters encourage you to form a bottom shape with your fingers, thumbs and other flaps of skin to make them look like bottom cracks. The cut out in the coaster then acts as a "window" - a bit like seaside stocks.

These are some of the best coasters I've ever seen. Interactive. Playful. Brilliant. Whoever made these, hats off to you. You deserve all the awards in the world.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

From the Glasgow Evening Times:

"Around 650 workers at the Diageo Johnnie Walker factory in Kilmarnock will be sent home for a week in March and a week in April following an internal review. They will, however, continue to be paid while production is halted.

And Diageo today stressed that the hi-tech plant in Hill Street remained viable and had a long term future...

A company spokesman said: "In response to our current volume outlook we have decided to temporarily close our Kilmarnock packaging site for two weeks during which the employees affected will continue to be paid.

"We will continue to work closely with employee representatives during these difficult times - and ensure regular communications with all our employees.""

For more on this have a look at Luxist's article on Johnnie Walker and also a more detailed look into the Diageo restructure.

From the Say Fromage website:

"Sayfromage is an alternative way to record and present the people who attend events or parties.

Sayfromage provides a digital photobooth that people use to take pictures of themselves and their friends. The privacy provided by a small curtain allows people to relax and control the pictures taken.

The photographs can then be projected on to a wall or printed for people to take home.

Then the pictures are published on this website the next day for everyone to see and share.

High resolution prints are available to order, so everyone can have their favourite pictures."

It could be a really cool bit of kit to take to on trade events, especially for our tequila brands...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spotted this over on Alcademics. Looks a lot of fun. It's a mash up between Nike and 1800 Tequila that lets you splatter your trainers with their brands street artwork.

Have a look at GourmetKickz and Alcademics.

Very cool design for a range of Islay Elemental whiskies...

Designed by Speciality Drinks Ltd.

Spotted on Liqurious and showcased on Below the Clouds.

I like it. It's fresh and different. And the elemental aspect appeals to my nerdy instincts.

From Etsy via Liqurious.

I love these glasses. It would be awesome to partner with the designer to create a range for one of our brown spirit's brands using the wood the barrels are made from.

Really interesting observation from Alcademic's brilliant blog about the launch of Belvedere IX and their on premise strategy:

"It wasn't until the new Belvedere IX product launched that I noticed the marketing switcheroo happening with some ultra-premium vodkas. For a while, Belvedere has been running those Terry Richardson photos with Vincent Gallo portraying Belvedere as the vodka of choice for downtown young rich partiers. It was clear they were trying to modernize their image away from a stuffy, "important" vodka into a fun one.

Then they launched Belvedere IX, a product enhanced with ginseng, guarana, acai, and other herbal uppers. Not only is this clearly aimed at the nightclub market, the initial release was only in nightclubs. I love the bottle, but was surprised at the approach.

It finally occurred to me that the marketing strategy was to overtake Grey Goose as the club vodka of choice. I don't know the actual numbers, but Grey Goose is probably 90% of all bottle service sales. The Belvedere photo above looks more like it's taking place in a diner than the VIP booth at a club, but the parallels are there. And this product may be the first ultra-premium "enhanced" vodka, or at least the first one with a strong unflavored ultra-premium vodka behind it."

It's going to be fascinating to see if this catches on at. Grey Goose, as Alcademic's observes seem to have switched their focus to the off trade. Strategically this makes a lot of sense given that the recession is driving people out of bars and into at home parties.

I am still struggling to cope with the look of IX. Is it me or does it look hideously cheap and tacky? But then again when was I appointed arbiter of good taste?


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