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Spirits in Travel Retail

Travel retail is a fundamental pillar in building brand equity and value across the globe, but in order to remain relevant to travellers, brands need to constantly elevate the experience and surprise them with something they’ve never seen before. We had a look at what spirit brands are doing to attract custom in duty free – their exclusive packaging and activations that give travellers a brand experience that they can take home with them to their domestic marketplaces.


The focus for Hendricks in travel retail centres on the “sublimely abnormal” and includes show-stopping promotions, fun packaging, elaborate POS and quirky theatre that is surprising and intelligently unusual.


To introduce the ‘Time For Tea’ gift set that is exclusive to travel retail the brand created this theatrical bathtub display and packaging design that featured travel-themed graphics in the brand’s quirky signature style.


Johnnie Walker

One of only two in the world, this multi-sensory Johnnie Walker Blue Label boutique was available to passengers travelling through the Terminal 2 Departures concourse of Taoyuan Airport, Taipe. The space was filled with honey and citrus fruit scents and brand ambassadors were available to guide travellers through the flavours at the tasting bar.

Luxury blends on display in the Johnnie Walker Blue Label boutique

The walls were used to tell the brand story and craftsmanship of the product and at the centre of the installation there was a video animation. As a lasting souvenir, any bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label could be engraved with a personal message, free of charge.


Bombay Sapphire

Bombay Sapphire created a special Global Travel Retail pack that lit up whenever someone touched it. A battery was hidden in the bottom of the packaging, then when it was picked up off the shelf a hidden mechanical switch triggered the electrical current.

The luminescent packaging literally glows on the shelves and grabs the attention of shoppers!


Clearly meeting the travel retail passenger’s thirst for exclusives, Beefeater gin hosted a pop-up at London Gatwick to promote their limited edition Beefeater London Sounds bottle, which was available to purchase.


Fusing the two symbols of the British capital – music and London Dry Gin, the pop up involved an interactive stage which allowed travellers to star in their own music band with their friends. Photographs tagged with #BeefeaterLDNSounds and shared on Instagram or Twitter appeared on the Beefeater ‘insta-wall of fame’ behind the Beefeater band set.


To complete the experience the pop up served up three cocktails to foster the festival spirit: Beefeater Lemonade,Beefeater Dry & Tonic, and Grapefruit Fizz.

Beefeater London Sounds - Shelving displays


To drive consumer awareness of Malibu Black -exclusively sold in travel retail within Europe, the brand created this Malibu Beach Party’ activation. At the beach party-themed space within the World Duty Free Group store, passengers could sample one of three summery cocktails: Lick of Sunshine, Simply Pink and Black Light. Passengers were able to take a ‘selfie’ in-store and share it on Facebook or Instagram, geo-tagging their location as “World Duty Free at Gatwick South Terminal”.

Malibu_Bar_x2_600 Malibu_Site_600


The Dewar’s Gold Rush promotion, at Dubai International Airport Terminal 3, emphasises the association between Dubai and gold with the line extension presented in an ornately embossed golden gift tin – a travel retail exclusive.


Customers received a scratch card that gave them the chance to win a measure of gold, with one top prize of a 100g gold bar and 30 bars of 5g. And any customer than spent overUS$95 on Dewar’s was given a premium trolley case.


Plymouth Gin

Travellers at London Gatwick South could immerse themselves into Plymouth Gin’s maritime heritage with replica installations of its famous original Victorian copper still with portholes containing each Plymouth Gin botanical.


Afterwards they are invited to enjoy one of Plymouth Gin’s favourite cocktails, the Gimlet Martini or Marguerite Martini, at the bar

We’ve got lots of other cool TR examples on our pin-board which you can find HERE !