As bourbon consumption continues to boom in the U.S., Beam Suntory has been busy infusing consumers with its passion for the spirit and educating them on the nuances of the category. The brand recently wrapped Bourbon Legends, a pop-up at Terminal 4 in John F. Kennedy International Airport that aimed to provide travelers with an unforgettable Kentucky bourbon experience.
The pop-up served as the second iteration of the Bourbon Legends program, which debuted at JFK last fall and highlights Beam Suntory’s array of bourbon offerings, including Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark. The sampling campaign was rebooted for the month of August—just in time to reach the record number of domestic and international travelers who passed through Terminal 4 over the 2016 summer travel season.
“A lot of times, people get to the airport and they’re tired from getting through security. But once they get there, there’s an opportunity to shop and explore brands. With an airport space, you have more dedicated time,” says Andrew Meeks, marketing manager-global travel retail at Beam Suntory.
Aged barrels, earthy hues and wood paneling throughout the pop-up gave the space a rustic vibe while hanging artwork showcased Beam Suntory’s 221-year history along with the key ingredients used in its collection of bourbons. But the heart of the experience centered on the Bourbon Legends barkeeps who customized each consumer’s tasting experience and provided in-depth, one-on-one bourbon education that Meeks describes as “mini master classes.” And for those who couldn’t spend ample time in the space, the brand gave away Bourbon Legends pocket handbooks filled with tasting notes, product information and stories of the bourbon.
To provide extra incentive to purchase its bourbons, Beam Suntory offered a gift with purchase (a leather bottle protector) for consumers who spent more than $75 on its products at the terminal’s duty free shop, ultimately earning a 26 percent week-over-week sales increase on Beam products.
“As this renaissance of building and creating and having pride [returns], I think it’s the same sort of thing for us. This is an authentic product that’s been made the same way and we’ve never changed the recipe. To me, it’s as American as Levi’s or John Deere. When people are traveling and they say ‘Hey, we want to experience something that’s truly American,’ I don’t see anything more American than bourbon. It’s only made here—and that’s the sale.” (Agencies: PGXM, Aurora, CO; Synergy Marketing Partners, Naperville, IL.)