Bombay Sapphire’s App Makes Custom Tonics For Your Gin

Experiential marketing meets cocktail hour

As the popularity of celebrity mixologists and bespoke cocktails grows, Bombay Sapphire wants consumers to make the gin and tonic their drink of choice. To encourage more drinkers to pick the staple offering, it's created a custom tonic bar experience that lets people create their own tonics using an app.

"Gins are made purposefully different, but there is a base of what they should taste like," Steve Goldberg, executive creative director of the agency behind the project Overthinking, said. "This allows people to play with the flavor profile of a great brand."

Gin makers are hoping their beverage can experience a cultural renaissance with millennials, similar to whiskey and bourbon. Already, gin is showing an increase in popularity this year in the U.K., growing over 50 percent over the last two years and makes up a quarter of the market according to the BBC .

With the help of an app, drinkers go through a 45–minute questionnaire about their preferences, which range from whether they consider themselves an introvert or extrovert, to where they like to vacation. Then, they head to another station, where experts from flavor science house Bittercube will allow them to sample the flavors their quiz choices have selected for them. Three weeks later, the tonic is mixed up and shipped to the consumer's home.

The experience was made first for mixologists at top upscale cocktail bars in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and Las Vegas. Bombay Sapphire expanded the project to the public, debuting at the Tribeca Film Festival's Storyscapes in early April.

"We wanted to bridge the gap between cocktails and storytelling," Goldberg said. "Bartenders tell stories through their cocktails."

It hopes to widen the initiative to allow consumers to download the app and go through the process in their own homes, although admittedly the tasting portion will be less personalized.

"We're looking to scale something like this, maybe as part of a night where people go out for drinks," Gabe Sciallis, vp of strategy for Overthinking said. "People can build this experience together and share the output."