Beam Suntory in “acceleration mode” with travel retail a key growth engine

By Faye Bartle |

Beam Suntory interview Cannes 2023

TRBusinesss’ Faye Bartle with Manuel González.

Beam Suntory is in “acceleration mode”, following the pandemic, and global travel retail (GTR) is playing an important role as “one of the growth engines” of the company, according to Brand Marketing Director GTR Manuel González.

In this video interview, filmed during the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes earlier this month, González, brings us update to date with all that’s happening in the channel, which (alongside Spain, Oceania and India) delivered an ‘exceptional’ performance in 2022 with ‘very strong double-digit growth’, supporting the organisation’s 10.5% net sales uplift for the year.

Last year also saw premium-plus spirits accounting for more than half of full bottle sales for the first time. In this interview, González talks us through some of the premium innovations released in GTR in the run-up to Cannes, including the Bowmore Lovers Transformed collaboration with Frank Quitely and the new House of Suntory limited edition Legent Yamazaki Cask Finish Blend.

Another hot topic for discussion is the elevating impact of the high-profile centenary celebrations for the House of Suntory, including the recent airport activation at Singapore’s Changi Airport with Lotte Duty Free.

Beam Suntory is vocal about its sustainability journey, and achieved five-star TR Sustainability Hero 2023 status in the TR Sustainability Week Sustainability Pitch programme.

Striving to be more planet friendly is something the company “lives on a daily basis” and, as part of this exclusive discussion, González shares an insight into where the company’s Proof Positive roadmap will take the company next, including how the messaging is becoming more consumer facing. We hope you enjoy the video.

Post Cannes, key new launches are the Hibiki 21-Year-Old and a limited-edition bottle design of Hibiki Japanese Harmony Master’s Select (a traveller’s exclusive) – the latest in the centennial whisky offerings from the House of Suntory.

The Hibiki 21-Year-Old will be available in five key strategic locations in travel retail – Singapore, London, Hainan, Dubai and Frankfurt – as well as globally in select markets with an RRSP of US$6,321.50.

Throughout October, the release will be featured in Changi Airport’s World of Wines & Spirits (WOWS) showcase, in partnership with Lotte Duty Free, before a hero activation at London Heathrow T5, in partnership with Avolta, goes live next month.

Also in November, it will be showcased at the House of Suntory’s shop-in-shop retail space in CDF Sanya International Duty Free Complex, Haitang Bay.

This will be followed by the debut House of Suntory’s shop-in-shop boutique concept at Singapore Changi Airport, in T3 departures, which is scheduled to go live by the end of December.

In the same month, the special edition will be highlighted at a high-profile pop-up at Frankfurt Airport, in partnership with Gebr. Heinemann, which has been created especially to mark the House’s 100th anniversary.

There are two centennial limited-edition bottle designs for the Hibiki Japanese Harmony Master’s Select whisky – one of which is dedicated to the travel retail channel.

With an RRSP of US$115.50 (700ml), the GTR version is is available in all existing Hibiki Harmony Master’s Select locations.

Hibiki 21-Year-Old

The Hibiki 21-Year-Old will be available in five key strategic locations in travel retail.

“Our travel retail partners have played an invaluable role in helping us bring this year’s centennial celebrations to life, and we appreciate all the opportunities we have been given to mark this accomplishment,” said Gonzalez.

“As the pioneer of Japanese whisky, the House of Suntory has redefined the elevated craftsmanship and attention to detail that is necessary to create such an exceptional portfolio.

“These two very special collectible whiskies epitomise the house’s relentless pursuit of quality, blending tradition and innovation to create two limited-edition bottlings that are sure to appeal to travelling connoisseurs, and drive interest and engagement within the wider luxury whisky category.”

Earlier this year, the House unveiled its centennial edition Yamazaki 18 Year Old Mizunara and Hakushu 18 Year Old Peated Malt whiskies. Limited 100th anniversary labels for the flagship Yamazaki 12 Year Old and Hakushu 12 Year Old were also released for the centennial. All four are available in select markets around the world.

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