in excellent stead – primarily because of its amazing adaptability in drinks recipes. LE: Whisky’s profile has risen as drinkers reacquaint themselves with spirits in general and traditional spirits within that. There is a greater desire for quality in all things and whisky is deeply associated with craft, character and quality. Whisky’s image as a drink for intelligent, discerning and confident people helps.KD: That’s true in the states too. The profile has risen, the image has improved and magazines that normally wouldn’t cover whisky are now highlighting new bottles for style and holiday gift guides. Q. Is whisky still an old man’s drink, or can it appeal to younger drinkers and women?LE: It can appeal to the latter but it needs to continue to stay fresh in a general sense.KD: I agree. It can appeal to the younger drinker and to women but I think it is still seen as an old man’s drink. You should see the look on the bartender’s face over here when a blonde 25 year old orders a single malt with no ice!KP: Yes, it can definitely appeal to all, and skilful marketing can help to spread the notion (and the reality) of wide varieties of taste and ways of drinking whisky.JT: It is changing, but slowly. I perceive a large number of people still feel whisky is enjoyed solely by old men in pubs. But the trends I outlined in point two mean new, younger people are beginning to experience whisky in drink formats that appeal to them, particularly for women. This can only be a good thing for the industry.Q. Are trends such as Frozen Serve Johnnie Walker Blue Label good for whisky in general?KD: Sure, because it allows the average drinker to introduce whisky in to their repertoire and then they can try the higher ranges of single malts and blends.LE: I’m not sure. Whisky should avoid faddishness for the sake of it. I don’t know whether FSJWBL is a fad, so I can’t comment specifically.JT: I’ve never been convinced by products which seem to have originated from the marketing department, rather than the soul. Passion and belief in something because of its quality has,
and always will be, the key to its success: although I haven’t tried this concept, I don’t think it’ll go too far out of its niche.Q. What more should whisky companies be doing to attract new drinkers?JT: Keep working with imaginative and visionary style bar owners, and be innovative. Perhaps come up with more promotional opportunities with real meaning, such as bespoke house/bar
blends in prestigious venues. Get in there early on and shape the venue. On a PR level, work really work hard on journalists outside the usual columns, and even try and reach women’s writers. In restaurant and food environments, push the diversity message, and try to bring whisky more into the menu. Work hard on developing the sexy image side of whisky, as bourbon has done, to create appeal, but always avoid gimmicks – all that needs doing is just to push that fabulous taste!KP: Much more funky, cutting-edge advertising. More strategic partnerships with non-spirits companies eg. associating with cool and happening hotels, shops, other businesses, other luxury businesses where applicable. Tastings ingroovy venues. Visibly associating with ‘safe drinking’ initiatives/promoting health benefits? Well-chosen sponsorship.LE: Bottle size is a concern. Anormal size bottle looks a lot but the smaller sizes look cheap and tacky and miniatures are a joke. New, unusual, rare or expensive whiskies could be packaged in ‘collections’ featuring smaller bottle sizes which consumers feel they can taste from.