Beam Suntory / Bowmore

From Islays edge to a global position.

Beam Suntory commissioned us to develop Bowmore’s strategic communications and packaging in October 2015. We ended up overhauling the global brand position and identity of one of the world’s most desirable whiskies, including the luxury packaging of the fifth and final release of the legendary Black Bowmore and global brand guidelines.

The challenge

A true original, Bowmore is the first Islay malt but there’s more to Bowmore than its location.

Our challenge was to unearth Bowmore’s unique story and create a platform that allows it to reach beyond the Islay peated category to become a credible, mainstream drinks cabinet staple. The new positioning had to be reflected on pack and in strategic communications, re-energising the brand and motivating the trade and consumers by giving them a clear reason to buy.

The solution

Bowmore is home to the world’s oldest Scotch maturation warehouse – The No.1 Vaults – a brand truth notable for being unsurpassable but also for the unique position of the vaults next to the Atlantic Ocean and, at high tide, below sea level.

This insight provided the nucleus of our new campaign positioning, which is as much about the drinker’s self-discovery on their whisky journey as it is about discovering the liquid. It also references both the layers and depth of flavour in the aged range as well as each liquid, while hinting at the depth of history and quality of the brand.

Global Travel Retail sales increased by 74% following our rebrand and repackaging.

Bowmore had a stellar first half in 2018 and strong results were seen for the 1964 Black Bowmore 42 years old (fourth release), which fetched £22,222 at Whisky Auctioneer in June, helping Black Bowmore's index rise 22.06% - more than any other single malt in the same period. We created the concept and designed all of the packaging for this limited edition luxury legend.

Hot on the heels of Black Bowmore, Bowmore 1966 50 years old was released in December 2017. Revisiting some of the themes of Black Bowmore, Glasstorm mouth-blew each of the 74 silver-inlaid crystal bottles. John Galvin hand-crafted bespoke cabinets in Scottish oak, inlaid with five silver ‘tree rings’ to represent each decade of maturation. Retailing at £20,000 per bottle, collectors are eager to lay their hands on this historical Bowmore experience.

In November 2018, Bowmore released just 235 bottles of its 52 years old single Oloroso sherry cask-matured 1965 expression. With a market value of £22,000, we designed and produced the packaging, again in collaboration with John Galvin and Glasstorm.

The Bowmore Vintner's Trilogy, which we named and packaged, is a grape-inspired series imbuing the signature Bowmore flavour with attributes of the finest ex wine, Port and sherry casks. With presentation boxes and bottles featuring hierarchical luxury cues including bespoke crests and illustrations, copper, white and clear foils, varnishes and embossing, this trio of expressions is a valuable addition to the Bowmore luxury range.

“Congratulations, the work on Bowmore is world-class!”

Albert Baladi, President, International, Beam Suntory

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More work

Tennent’s

Black Bowmore