• Transform magazine
  • May 24, 2017

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Guinness is good for you

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With 17 years of experience running TripAdvisor’s top-10 ranked Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, and 83 years of storytelling through advertisements, Guinness has just opened its first travel retail experience. The new Guinness Export House, in Dublin Airport’s Terminal 2, includes a 20 minute, three beer tasting experience guided by brand ambassadors.

“The Guinness Export House represents a unique opportunity to tell the Guinness story through taste and experience,” Guinness’ global content creation and innovation director Gavin Krenski, says. He adds that the format has the potential to be expanded globally.

For alcohol brands, particularly beer and whisky purveyors, experience has been one of the primary means of differentiation. Tutored tastings, cocktail making classes, interactive distillery or brewery visits and brewpubs are merely some of the ways brands are telling their stories in a competitive market. Additionally, travel retail is becoming a particular focus for alcohol brands. Whisky has increased from selling £6bn at duty free outlets in 1985 to £60m in 2015. Heathrow Airport in London offered a month-long whisky festival in April 2016 which included tutored tastings and special offers.

For Diageo, which owns Guinness, and Aer Riante International – an airport retail management consultancy – the experience was intended to focus on Guinness’ story, credibility and unique nature. The duty free environment capitalises not only on the interest in alcohol among duty free shoppers, but also Guinness’ ties to Dublin tourism in general.

Bringing the experience to life was Hot Pickle, a London-based experiential agency. Rupert Pick, co-founder of Hot Pickle says the process of creating the new store was collaborative and allowed the agency to work on everything from the retail strategy and branding to product packaging and interactive content.

Along with the tasting bar, the Export House offers Guinness merchandise ranging from vintage advertisements to aprons and bottle openers.