The Macallan’s First Virtual Experience Takes Fans Behind the Scenes of Whiskey Making

Scotch experts lead digital event to celebrate the new double cask range

The Whisky Bench Experience celebrates the launch of the launch of the double cask range. The Macallan
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The Macallan scotch whiskey brand usually leverages experiential tactics to introduce new products to consumers, be it through immersive theater or mixed reality. With the Covid-19 pandemic limiting physical innovation, however, the U.K.-based alcoholic beverage brand was forced to get creative digitally for the public-facing launch of its newest edition.

To celebrate its new double cask range, the brand will host The Macallan Whisky Bench Experience: Discover the Double Cask Journey From Acorn to Glass on Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. ET. The brand’s first virtual event, which is free for consumers who register on the brand’s website, offers fans a behind-the-scenes look at the process of making three new single malt varieties.

The experience is led by the brand’s whiskey mastery team: lead whiskey maker Sarah Burgess, master of wood Stuart MacPherson and master whiskey maker Kirsteen Campbell. Hosted on a custom microsite, the event will use narration from the experts, distillery footage and animated graphics to offer insights into how the new editions were made. The event will also include a live tasting session and Q&A.

Three panels on a computer: left is a Q&A slot, middle are orange and apple slices falling in the air, and right is a woman sampling whiskey.
During a media preview, lead whiskey maker Sarah Burgess offered tasting notes for the new editions.The Macallan

The Macallan initially planned the experience as a traveling roadshow but decided to pivot digitally in May to safely reach consumers. Samantha Leotta, brand director at The Macallan Americas, said the virtual experience is designed to give consumers a glimpse at the production process of the new varieties in an educational and entertaining way.

“The premise of the experience is the same as the roadshow. We wanted to provide a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the creation process, which most people don’t get access to,” Leotta said. “The tasting and interactive Q&A element was important as well, which was meant to be part of the original experience. We kept the main components as we pivoted to the virtual experience.”

While viewing the experience with the actual product isn’t required, The Macallan is encouraging fans to purchase the new editions online to follow along with the tasting portions. In June, the brand partnered with ecommerce platform Thirstie Inc. to launch The Macallan E-Boutique, which allows U.S. consumers to purchase bottles directly from its website.

“Experiential has been an area of expertise for us, and not being able to do this in person was our main challenge because we want to create that connection with the whiskey mastery team,” Leotta added. “The Double Cask Range has such a unique story, and being able to hear about it straight from the source is quite unique. I think this will appeal to whiskey lovers and people experimenting with whiskey for the first time.” Ian Zelaya is an Adweek reporter covering how brands engage with consumers in the modern world, ranging from experiential marketing and social media to email marketing and customer experience.