Too much experience

“Experiential” is the hot word in booze right now. It’s not enough to let Milennials taste a liquor brand, they need to be immersed in its “story”.

There’s even a whole category for it at the upcoming Golden Target Awards – the public relations industry’s longest running awards night: Experiential Campaign of the Year.

Two wine brands are among the finalists, including Taylors Wines, which served up a very glamorous World’s First Wine Cellar At Sea recently.

According to a report called “Consumer Centric: From Idle to Agile”, by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, “the relationship with consumers is becoming more relationship based than transaction based, and Gen Z and Millennials require personal tailored marketing as opposed to the mass traditional model.”

Meanwhile, the Global Consumer Executive Top of Mind survey, No Normal is the New Normal, conducted by KPMG International and the CGF, noted that CEOs need to listen to the market, look outward and focus on changing their businesses.

Willy Kruh, KPMG Global Chair, Consumer & Retail, said: “Those companies that cannot authentically connect to customers will get left behind”.

The same goes for bars. The head of Campari UK reckons: “Overall experience remains vitally important, as consumers now not only expect a great tasting, well-made drink or cocktail, but an experiential element when they go out to a bar.”

When it comes to wine, analyst Sandy Hathaway spoke to 3AW following the release of a survey into the success of cellar doors about how wineries are tailoring the experience to consumers.

“What the survey showed was that the cellar door is not just a counter where you get to try a free sample before you buy, it’s a whole complex and high value experience which is all about building the brand.”

I must be old-fashioned because as long as the person behind the counter is friendly and the wine tastes nice I’m happy.

Anyways … spirits are taking things to a whole different level.

One brand invited me – and a gaggle of keen consumers – to go camping recently to celebrate “real food and the real outdoors” to “reconnect with yourself and the wilderness”.

It included a masterclass with a farm-to-table chef where I’d learn to cook one of his infamous dishes using locally foraged herbs and spices from the surrounding area.

Utilising the same foraged herbs and spices, the brand promised I’d also learn how to make an authentic camping cocktail with a leading bartender in a second masterclass.

The last place I want to drink a cocktail is beside a campfire. I’d much prefer a harbour view if I’m investing in a fancy drink.

Actually, I’m pretty much anti-camping full stop. Unless it’s on Wilson Island in one of these glamping tents. Even then I’m a bit iffy on the shared bathroom idea.



So I sent one of my (much, much) younger colleagues camping in my place and he had a bulk fun time.

This week I was invited to go on an edible adventure – starting a Tempe train station – with a “renowned forager and environmental educator”, a “foodie and weeds convert” and a gin brand.

The aim? A “forage to feast” experience.

I felt like replying to the PR person “I can’t think of anything worse than foraging for my cocktails … just hand them to me, love”.

I didn’t think that was a very polite thing to say, so I’m just ignoring the problem for now.

Forage for my own cocktail? Puhlease, no.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s an admirable concept, very environmentally friendly and all that I’m sure, but it ain’t what this 51-year-old fancies doing at 11.30am on a Tuesday.

Millennials can have that experience all to themselves.


On the subject of being handed cocktails, I quite enjoyed sipping this one at The Avalon at sunset last night. Cheers to my last child-free Thursday night before skipping pick-up recommences next week.

Have a great weekend!

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