The Times launches whisky club in “perfect storm”

The Times newspaper group is launching a whisky club this weekend in collaboration with Master of Malt.

The Whisky Club from The Times and The Sunday Times will go live with a major spirits focus in the paper’s Sunday Style supplement.

This will be supported by a website, which will act as a shop front for more than 4,000 products. While whisky provides the main focus, a wide variety of other spirits and liqueurs will also be available.

In addition, the club will organise a series of “exclusive competitions”, with the first offering a VIP trip to Ardbeg, and a collection of special bottlings is due to appear over the next few months.

Ben Ellefsen, sales director at Master of Malt, described the arrangement as “basically an updated version of the more established format”, such as The Sunday Times Wine Club, which the paper first launched in the 1970s and runs through Direct Wines.

“It’s not actually a ‘membership club’ per se,” Ellefsen explained, “as the feeling was that we didn’t want to put up any barriers to people being able to access the fantastic range of whiskies we’re going to be stocking.”

Instead, he summed up the core concept as “people being able to buy instantly online and, importantly, being given all the information they need to make their buying decision.”

As for the timing of this launch, Ellefsen pointed to “a perfect storm” which has meant “the demand for good whisky, and spirits of all sorts has never been so high.”

He attributed this popularity to “the combination of stay-at-home culture, the trend towards ‘less and better’ when making buying decisions, and the never-ending increase in the knowledge of the average consumer, spurred on no doubt by the increased quality of information available online”.

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