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Top drinks industry marketing campaigns and news: September-October

Italian fizz boss works the crowd at the Emmy Awards

Matteo Lunelli, the gregarious president of Italian sparkling wine producer Ferrari Trento, was seen working the crowd at the 71st annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles last month.

Lunelli, whose family has run Ferrari since 1952, posed for photos with Last Week Tonight presenter John Oliver, Euphoria actress Zendaya Coleman, and Henry Winkler – better known as Arthur ‘The Fonz’ Fonzarelli, the breakout character of the 1970s American sitcom Happy Days – as the wine label supplied fizz throughout the evening. Ferrari recently renewed its sparkling wine partnership with the Emmy Awards for a fifth consecutive year.

Guests at the Governors Ball were offered the Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2007, and could make use of a Ferrari ‘Vcanter’ pouring device for large format bottles, while the brand also put together bespoke labels dedicated to the stars who were nominated.

The brand also created a dedicated Ferrari Villa experience in Beverly Hills to host guests from the wine and entertainment worlds. Diageo-owned vodka Ketel One also renewed its partnership with the Emmy Awards, providing the base for a cocktail menu devised by mixologist and entrepreneur Charles Joly.

The still wines were supplied by Napa Valley’s Sterling Vineyards. The wines included Sterling’s 2017 Napa Valley Chardonnay, 2017 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and the 2016 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

‘World’s first’ glacier bar opens in Iceland


Thrill-seekers are being offered a chance to visit a pop-up bar in the middle of a glacier in the Arctic Circle – if they can find it.

Located at the Langjökull Glacier in Iceland, the bar has been set up by Reyka Vodka, which has uploaded co-ordinates to its website to help intrepid drinkers navigate their way to the pop-up when it opens this month.

Vodka fans who want to visit the bar can sign up through Reyka Vodka’s website to be entered into a prize draw for the chance to win a trip to Iceland to scale the glacier and hit the bar when it opens between 16 and 20 October. If you’re feeling adventurous enough, you can make your own way there using the co-ordinates available online.

Fabiano Latham, Reyka Vodka brand ambassador said: “Reyka Vodka is not just made in Iceland, it’s made of Iceland – so where better to host our Reyka Bar than at the very source.”

Langjökull, the nearest glacier to the capital city of Reykjavik, is the second-largest ice cap in Iceland, at 935 sq km. At its highest point it sits 1,450m above sea level.

A number of drinks brands have launched adventurous pop-ups this year….

Brewdog’s spirits company builds secret gin bar in Scotland

Brewdog Distilling Co, the spirits arm of craft beer giant Brewdog, led consumers to a secret bar in a remote part of Scotland last month by giving away clues to its location on its social media channels.

The Lonewolf gin bar was set up in a “remote Scottish location,” according to the brand, between the 19 and 20 September, created in partnership with the private Portnellan Estate.

Daily clues as to the bars whereabouts were revealed on Lonewolf’s Instagram and Twitter feeds, using the hashtag #wheresthewolf.

In addition, the first five people to find the bar were offered a year’s supply of Lonewolf gin.

The scavenger hunt is similar to a stunt AB InBev-owned Busch Lager pulled in july. Busch opened a pop-up store in the middle of a national forest in the US, offering hikers who successfully tracked down the activation the chance to win a lifetime supply of beer.

David Gates, the MD of the LoneWolf brand, said Brewdog Distilling Co’s marketing team “wanted to take the idea of a pop up and turn it on its head, using it as an opportunity to take visitors on a journey of discovery, through piecing the clues together, and the event we will be hosting at the other end.”

He added that the bar itself is “rooted in the nature that has so inspired LoneWolf, giving us the unique opportunity to combine our inspiration with our product.

“We’re looking forward to taking everyone who finds us on the journey from grain to glass.”

Bacardi makes ASMR video with instrumental barware

Spirits label Bacardí has mixed together sounds from cocktail preparation to create a new music video that takes cues from autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR).

ASMR is characterised by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck, which is triggered by hearing rustling, tapping or whispering.

Videos of the practice are incredibly popular on YouTube, with films frequently getting millions of views and their creators gaining huge subscriber numbers off the back of them. The spirit label teamed up with producer and rapper Swizz Beatz on the track to “shine a spotlight on local bartending talent”.

In the music video posted to YouTube last month, the sound of bottles clinking in a case of Bacardi rum launches the track as the camera cuts to a bar, showing customers dancing to the newly created beat.

There’s also “rhythmically chopped” tropical fruit, well-timed bottles being opened, and cameos from leading bartenders around the world, including Lawrence Gregory, senior bartender at London’s Curtain Hotel, and Nicole Fas, one of the global finalists in Bacardi’s Legacy Global cocktail competition this year.

Tucker Bliss, who directed the track, said the team took inspiration from the “ASMR world, focusing on the instantly recognisable and familiar sounds of the bar”.

Brewdog launches another protest beer

Brewdog launched a beer to protest almost everything about the UK’s political climate.

The brewer also offers UK MPs free bottles of the beer it launched to protest Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament.

A statement from the company said it “cannot ferment beers and design labels quick enough to keep up with the chaos”.

“BrewDog is today announcing the launch of new protest beer, ’Hello My Name Is (Unelected) Boris’,” it said, adding that it had initially designed the beer to protest Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament.

With the beer launching today (5 September), Brewdog is also offering MPs who “find themselves without an office” a free bottle of the new 5.2% ABV hazy IPA.

James Watt, CEO and founder of Brewdog, said: “We know the best way to bring people together in uncertain times is with incredible craft beer. So instead of a placard, we’ve put our passion for craft into making this iconic beer for us all to drink while we wait for democracy to turn up again. Cheers.”

Fleabag stars team up with M&S to hand out tinnies

Fleabag stars Phoeber Waller-Bridge and Andrew Scott plied theatre-goers with tinnies from Marks & Spencer during the one-woman play’s final week in London.

M&S provided the actors with its own-label canned gin and tonic RTDs for the stunt before Waller-Bridge took to the stage for her Fleabag performance on 7 September.

Scott, better known as the ‘hot priest’ in the BBC series, headed to the Wyndham’s theatre to support Waller-Bridge, who had reprised the stage version of her show for a limited run after the show ended this year.

While there, the pair paid tribute to the show by handing out cans of M&S gin and tonic to audience members queuing outside. Awaiting theatregoers were thrilled when the two actors came out carrying trays of G&Ts, chatting to fans and thanking them for waiting. The tinnies played a pivotal role in the second series.

The ‘hot priest’ kept a secret stash of the RTDs at his parish, and Waller-Bridge’s character falls for him when they bond over a few cans.

“Do you want a proper drink?” Scott’s character asks Fleabag during one episode. “I’ve got cans of G&T from M&S.”

The retailer even reported a 24% spike in sales of mixed drinks after the episode aired in April. M&S told the drinks business the green tinnies will “forever be known as the ‘Hot Priest’ tipple”.

Cava regulator plots to premiumise Spanish fizz

The governing body of Spain’s Cava producers has launched a campaign to improve the reputation of the much-maligned Spanish fizz.

“Our main challenge is to get Cava into the spotlight as a versatile and quality sparkling wine. Not just bubbles,” Javier Pagés (pictured), president of Consejo Regulador Cava, said at the launch of the campaign last month.

The promotion, which forms part of the Consejo Regulador’s Strategic Plan for 2019-2020, will focus clearer segmentation for both quality and regional origin for Cava, stricter quality control measures for producers, and will launch an extensive marketing campaign in five countries.

The Consejo Regulador will also aim to educate professionals in the wine industry about Cava’s terroirs, native grape varieties, traditional winemaking process, how it is aged and where it is produced. Pagés added: “We are a very young DO, only just 30, and in the past few years we have started to integrate the different realities and territories that make up the DO.

“Now it is the time to focus on the intrinsic aspects that make our product so special, and present them to our consumers and critics in an understandable way that allows them to choose between the different categories of Cava, thus expanding the vision about Cava with a clear premium proposal.”

Licor 43 launches €6 million ad campaign

Spanish drinks giant Zamora has spent €6 million on a new advertising campaign for its liqueur brand Licor 43.

Called ‘Tastes Better Together’, the billboard, digital, and TV ad campaign is designed to “emphasise the 70-year-old secret family recipe of 43 natural ingredients that are expertly blended to create Licor 43.”

The ads will also feature the brand’s recent range extensions Licor 43 Baristo and Licor 43 Orochata, both fusions of Licor 43 Original with coffee and tiger nut milk respectively.

Zamora Company, which also owns Martin Miller’s Gin and Rioja producer Ramón Bilbao, has invested €6 million (£5.43 million) in the campaign, which will run in print and digital media across its key markets including Spain and Mexico, and Germany and the Netherlands, where TV adverts will also be screened.

The group said it hopes the campaign will “bolster the brand’s position as the fastest growing premium liqueur in the world.”

“Millennial foodies account for 2.3 billion people worldwide and will be 75% of the global workforce in 2025,” Julian Fernandez, global marketing director of spirits at Zamora, said.

Fernandez said milennial consumers are attracted to branding that highlights the provenance behind and ingredients in a product, “so it’s important we position ourselves as the product we are: an on-trend liqueur with a long, strong heritage that has always, and will always, be a fusion of natural ingredients.”

Gin advert banned for linking alcohol and mountain climbing

An advert for a Scottish gin brand has been banned by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority for linking alcohol consumption with mountain climbing.

The advert for Trossachs Distillery’s McQueen Gin was broadcast on 19 June this year, and featured three people walking in the Scottish Highlands.

A wetsuit-clad member of the group was then shown diving into a loch, while another scene showed the trio helping each other to reach the top of a crag. It finished with a shot of a bottle with the Scottish Highlands in the background, with the text “McQUEEN – Adventurous Scottish Spirit ‒ #distilledtobedifferent”.

The advert was accompanied by a voice-over, stating: “Choose to explore; choose diving into something new; choose taking a different direction; choose nature and its elements; choose bringing your friends to the top; choose a drink full of adventure; choose McQueen Gin, adventurous Scottish spirit.”

Defending its decision to air the ad, Trossachs Distillery said it was “fully aware” of its responsibilities as an alcohol company, and had sought guidance from Clearcast, an organisation which vets adverts before they are broadcast to the public.

Clearcast had stated that the advert had abided by the advertising code of practice and Trossachs added that it did not believe the ad to be irresponsible.

In its ruling, Clearcast had said that the advert portrayed “stylised activities that tied in with the brand’s identity, ingredients and product rather than any significant feats”.

The organisation added that the people where shown walking up a gentle incline along a marked hiking trail, while the swimmer was depicted “diving safely”.

db celebrates Japan week with masterclass

db hosted a Japanese wine and food pairing masterclass on 30 September at Asia House in the capital.

Taking place at 3pm in the heart of London, the event is designed to show how flagship Japanese wine grape Koshu pairs with a broad range of Japanese foods, from the raw-fish based dishes that the country is so famous for to others, such as teriyaki chicken.

Also, to prove the versatility of Koshu, which can be made into many different styles, from sparkling to skin-contact ‘orange’ wines, the masterclass will also feature some European foods, such as fish and chips, along with Caspian Caviar.

Designed to celebrate the thriving Japanese food and drink scene in London, Foodism launched Japan Week for the first time in the city, with JFOODO as the headline sponsor.

Food minister Michael Creed bets on Irish whiskey to boost tourist economy

Ireland’s drinks trade body has launched a new initiative to make the country the number one destination for whiskey tourism over the US and Scotland.

A new IrishWhiskey360° brand, website and social media platform were launched on Tuesday 10 September by minister for agriculture, food and the marine, Michael Creed, at whiskey maker Jameson’s visitor centre in Dublin.

William Lavelle, the head of the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA), said that the trade body hopes to attract 1.7 million visitors to distilleries and visitor centres over the next five years, while visitor count is expected to break the one million mark by the end of 2019.

The IrishWhiskey360° launch coincides with the Taste the Island campaign already being coordinated by Fáilte Ireland. It also forms part of the Food Wise 2025 strategy, encouraging industry and state agencies to create an Irish whiskey and food-pairing trail as part of a “major tourist attraction”.

Creed, said whiskey is “one of the real success stories of the Irish food and drink industry, competing on the world stage with sales in over 135 markets. The industry has grown from just four distilleries in 2013 to 26 operational distilleries in 2019.”

In 2018 there were 923,000 visitors to Irish whiskey distilleries, up 13% compared to 2017 and up 41% compared to 2015. The majority (45%) of visitors came from North America, followed by Great Britain (14%), Ireland (12%), Germany (8%) and France (7%).

Creed said the industry’s contribution to Ireland’s economy has been “huge”.

“Almost one million visitors to 17 Irish whiskey distillery visitor centres and brand homes all over the country,” he said.

“I am delighted to launch IrishWhiskey360° as it has massive potential to bring more visitors and more jobs to cities, towns and rural communities right across Ireland.”

IrishWhiskey360° will coordinate over 30 events and promotions in distilleries and visitor centres between 10 and 13 October this year – such as free or discounted tours, open days, whiskey tastings and food pairings, cooperage demonstrations, meet the distillers talks – working in conjunction with local bars and restaurants.

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