Edrington celebrates Macallan and Highland Park shop-in-shop firsts

By Kristiane Sherry |

Edrington Macallan Highland Park SIS ribbon cutting

The Macallan and Highland Park shop-in-shop is officially open! The ribbon is cut by (L-R) Ruediger Stelkens, Gebr. Heinemann Director Purchasing LTC; Jeremy Speirs, Edrington Regional Managing Director – Global Travel Retail; Ceren Tonguç, Unifree Duty Free Chief Commercial Officer; and Aydin Celebi, Area Sales Manager for Gebr. Heinemann.

Edrington Global Travel Retail has partnered with Unifree and Gebr. Heinemann to open a “world-first” shop-in-shop at Istanbul Airport showcasing both its Macallan and Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky brands.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at the shop-in-shop on 24 April. TRBusiness was among selected media in attendance.

The near-43 sqm space is the first of its kind in Europe for The Macallan, while it represents Highland Park’s first steps in the channel at this scale. 

Interactive digital elements feature throughout, from a Macallan ‘Discover Your Expression’ tool to an interactive Highland Park counter where consumers are encouraged to move physical bottles across a screen to unlock further information. 

Aroma stations, designed to engage passengers’ senses ahead of sampling approval, include peat, smoke and heather samples for Highland Park.

Branding is front and centre, with The Macallan space showcasing its new distillery-inspired, red-centric identity. The Highland Park area, which accounts for around a third of the footprint, has a strong sense of place at its core.

Motion-picture footage from the Orkneys feature prominently and local heather, a crucial component in the peat used in malting, is referenced throughout the space. Highland Park’s floor maltings, unusual in Scotch, are depicted in the film.

The area also previews tweaks to the island single malt. It is expected that the full brand refresh will be unveiled in October 2024.

Shoppers on The Macallan side can make use of a prominent gifting station, where purchases can be personalised with bespoke wrapping. 

Macallan Highland Park SIS Istanbul

The new space stretches to almost 43sqm.

Both brand spaces feature a tightly curated offer. The Macallan centres on travel retail exclusives, including Colour Collection and Harmony Collection Green Meadow. These are accompanied by A Night on Earth The Journey and Classic Cut.

Prestige expressions on shelf include The Macallan M Decanter, M Black, M Copper and archived releases. Masters of Photography 7th Edition and Golden Age of Travel The Car are also listed, as well as Folio 7, the latest bottling in The Macallan archival series.

Meanwhile, the Highland Park GTR assortment includes Spirit of the Bear, Loyalty of the Wolf and Wings of the Eagle.

There is a marked return to age statements, with the 40YO and 54YO available, plus Highland Park Single Cask 20YO Istanbul Edition, exclusively available at the airport.

Heinemann on The Macallan: ‘More to come’

TRB's Kristiane Sherry with the team

On location: Speirs, Tonguç, Kristiane Sherry for TRBusiness, and Stelkens.

Jeremy Speirs, Edrington Regional Managing Director – Global Travel Retail, confirmed to TRBusiness that the shop-in-shop concept had taken around 18 months to develop.

“We liked the scale of the operation,” he added, commenting on the Istanbul location. “We saw the demographic of the travellers coming through and it resonated with us. This is somewhere we want to be.”

Istanbul Airport handled around 76 million passengers in 2023, with American, Russian, German, British and Saudi Arabian nationals key demographics, alongside Turkish travellers. 

“We have a very strong presence here domestically,” Spiers continued. “In a way, we’re happy following what they’re doing domestically, and it’s a natural fit. We’re excited about it. It’s a step change.”

The shop-in-shop has been in a soft-launch phase since 1 April, and early results suggest a “big win” for Edrington, Speirs added.

Ruediger Stelkens, Gebr. Heinemann Director Purchasing LTC, told TRBusiness that the space had already seen a “20-30% uplift” with the opening. 

He also pointed to Heinemann’s ongoing joint venture business model, citing it as a key success driver behind operations, including the shop-in-shop. Heinemann and Unifree hold the master concession at Istanbul.

“Especially in countries like here in Turkey,” Stelkens commented. “If you look at Saudi Arabia, and what we have in Jeddah now, it is almost a political partnership.”

He continued: “We need to have the local knowledge […] We have always shown good product management, but it’s always to see about the cultural aspect as well. And you need to have a local connection to the government.”

The Macallan bespoke wrapping counter

Customers can take advantage of bespoke, personalised wrapping in The Macallan shop-in-shop.

One challenge this way of working is helping to solve is around in-airport sampling – a complex set-up which requires products to first be imported domestically. This represents a particular challenge for travel retail exclusives, which feature prominently in the new space.

“We are very happy and super proud that we have The Macallan here now,” Stelkens added. ”This one is the largest shop-in-shop in Europe, and there is more to come. We are working to extend it in other airports.” He mentioned Frankfurt as a potential next location.

Whisky the ‘biggest single category’

He noted that whisky was now the single biggest category for Heinemann. It sold 15 million bottles across its B2B and B2C channels in 2023, totalling €350m in sales.

Details at the Highland Park side

The Highland Park space incorporates sensory activities and centres Orkney heather to bring a sense of place. 

Ceren Tonguç, Unifree Duty Free Chief Commercial Officer, also stressed the importance of the category. It now accounts for 40% of the liquor business at Istanbul Airport. In turn, liquor holds a 25% share of sales, ranking only behind fragrances at the location.

“Turkish customers really love single malt,” she detailed. Age statements have become an important part of this. “Even first-time whisky buyers ask, ‘what is the age?’

“We see a trend of premiumisation. Quality over quantity. I would say that is the trend. And that’s why we upgraded our whisky space to The Macallan.”

Earlier this month, Edrington GTR unveiled The Macallan Home Collection, River Spey, the second edition in a limited annual release series, inspired by the nature and surroundings of The Macallan Estate.

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