I’m a big fan of whisky companies that work to get a younger or more diverse crowd involved in becoming whisky converts. After all, if you get people loving whisky in their early 20s, you’ve likely got a long, long time to have them as a consumer and it helps to spread the news that whisky is rather great.
As such, I’m always on the hunt for whisky companies doing something a bit different – without being cheesy or diminishing their product.
So, I was very excited to recently attend an event with Auchentoshan that was attempting to tap straight into that “younger” audience in a very funky way. Their Auchentoshan Switch programme – which saw cocktail masters from across the UK compete to make the best Auchentoshan drink and win a trip across the pond to New York for a 14-day stint at top bar, Apotheke – got a seriously crafty and quirky crowd involved. The event – housed in a chic Shoreditch warehouse called the Village Underground – was full to the brim with artsy, in-the-know 20- and 30-somethings. The company served up its classic and three-wood versions to eager patrons, while up and coming band, Russell Swallow and the Wolf entertained and a painter made a lovely piece of artwork to raffle off on the night.
The night was also about showcasing its Auchentoshan Presents project: this brings together anything unique – from bands to artists and chefs – and highlights what they are doing in a space where Auchentoshan is also served.
Hannah Fisher, the company’s brand manager, said the project is all about getting younger, fresher faces involved and interested in whisky.
“We want to challenge people’s perceptions about malt whisky. Fifteen to 20 years ago, the wine industry was doing the same thing,” she explained.
The project has also seen the whisky show up on tables at a Shacklewell Nights event. The hidden dining venture creates pop-up dinner events across London and has been incredibly successful. Auchentoshan pairing with this leader in the UK foodie world, to me, shows they’re on top of their game in attempting to access a new group of potential dramming converts.
Getting people to give it a go, says Fisher, is the key.
“We know that people will love it when they try it. But how do we reach that group? That’s the question,”she adds.
I’m excited by what they are doing because it is kind of what I’m after here at Miss Whisky – getting this lovely drink out to a wider, more diverse (and young) audience. I hope more will see the benefits in this and I’m eager to see what will follow…