Beam and Suntory prepare to fully integrate

By Charlotte Turner |

TRBusiness was invited to Frankfurt Airport for the official global travel retail launch of new small batch bourbon, Jim Beam Signature Craft 12-Year (RRP €34), which is exclusively available with travel retailer Heinemann for the month of August.


The new product launch – from Beam Suntory and Maxxium Travel Retail (MTR) – is supported by a number of major activations taking place throughout the German hub airport, which kicked off last week. The launch will be rolled out to other European retailers later this year.


The product launch is timely, seeing as bourbon appears to be experiencing a boom in European travel retail in the last couple of years – up 24%, as a category in 2013 in Germany and +22% in Europe.


As Jim Beam’s largest market, Germany is the first European travel retail market to feature this craft bourbon, which is also running the brand’s global ‘Make history’ campaign.


As previously reported, Maxxium Travel Retail’s new Jim Beam Bourbon global campaign is targeting 14 European airports reach an estimated 2m travellers.


Members of the Jim Beam portfolio available for tasting at Frankfurt Airport.



The company says that this is its first global campaign ‘for the world’s number one bourbon’ which features actress Mila Kunis and encourages consumers to leave their own mark on history – ‘just as Jim Beam has for more than 200 years’.


Maxxium Travel Retail Managing Director, Glen Williams told TRBusiness in Frankfurt yesterday that 86% of Jim Beam’s growth was driven by NPD (new product development) and innovation, last year: “Bourbon as a category grew by 24% in German duty free and travel retail last year,” he added.


Airports will carry travel retail exclusive 1 litre bottles of Signature, however, 70cl bottle variants have been available on the German domestic market since September last year.


On the topic of the Beam and Suntory merge in 2014 – which saw the bourbon distillers join forces with the pioneering Japanese whisky company Suntory – Williams told TRBusiness that Beam will be managing the integration progress although there is no date of completion set in place.



BOURBON +22% IN 2013

“As Germany is a leading market for Jim Beam within Europe, we are excited to have Jim Beam Signature Craft 12-Year available in Heinemann Duty Free shops,” says Williams. “Maxxium Travel Retail and Heinemann have a long-standing relationship, which we are building on with tailored activations that drive consumer engagement in-store and support our growing Jim Beam portfolio.


Glen Williams, Maxxium Travel Retail Managing Director.


“This exceptional liquid is expected to generate heightened interest at a time when we are seeing strong growth for bourbon, resulting in increased brand awareness and sales.”


Williams told TRBusiness that blended whisky was down by -1% in European Travel Retail last year and malt whisky only reported +2% growth. Apparently, bourbon was up by 22% in 2013, but Jim Beam managed to outperform the double-digit growth, posting a staggering +28% last year.


The airport activations for Signature Craft feature an interactive out-of-store installation, displays within the Heinemann Duty Free Shops at T1 B East Schengen and T1 B Schengen and a social media driven consumer competition all designed to drive high impact visibility around Jim Beam Signature Craft 12-Year and other premium expressions, including Jim Beam Black and Jim Beam Devil’s Cut.



There will be additional support for Jim Beam’s Red Stag and Honey variations too.


“Travellers will have the rare opportunity to sample Jim Beam Signature Craft 12-Year [pictured right[ at a branded tasting bar and stage to learn how this new expression is produced through detailed displays showcasing the grain mixture of corn, rye and barley malt; mini copper stills; and quarter casks representing the new American white oak barrels that ages the product for 12 years,” says the brand.


“Travellers can also engage with the brand out-of-store at a promotional area where they will be invited to ‘be the story others tell’ in line with the Make History campaign. There, consumers can learn about the brand’s history and engage in the campaign by sharing personal historic moments in a Facebook competition.”


Ten winners will receive big prizes including a Nidecker snowboard, a branded Jim Beam guitar and premium Jim Beam bourbons, Jim Beam Signature Craft 12-year and Jim Beam Devil’s Cut.2



A social media tool, which is a first for MTR, is being used to photograph contestants in the airport in front of a green screen allowing them to choose their own Jim Beam branded background that will be uploaded on a 100-inch LED screen within the installation to ultimately create a collage of all of the contestants.


It is also the first time that consumers are able to post their pictures on Heinemann’s dedicated Facebook page. Lara Vitzthum, Head of Corporate Communications at Gebr Heinemann, told TRBusiness that already 100 passengers have posted their pictures on to the Heinemann Facebook page and this number continues to grow.


Main Jim Beam ‘Make History’ and Signature Craft activation in Terminal 1’s Hall B.


“Consumers will be able to print their photos and use it as a voucher in Heinemann stores to receive a free gift,” adds Jim Beam. There will also be a gift with purchase of Jim Beam Signature Craft 12-Year for shoppers who will receive a Jim Beam tumbler.


Purchase Director for Liquor, Tobacco & Confectionery at Gebr Heinemann, Rüdiger Stelkens says: “Jim Beam Signature Craft 12-Year is an exceptional product that we are proud to provide to our customers. This new product strengthens our Jim Beam offering and generates excitement around the category while solidifying Jim Beam as a leading bourbon.”

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