Spirits maker Halewood set for ‘busiest’ year yet in global travel retail

By Kristiane Sherry |

Halewood in travel retail 2024

Spirits firm Halewood is expecting 2024 to be its busiest year yet in travel retail.

UK-based distiller Halewood is readying for its busiest year in global travel retail to date, with activations planned in Sydney and Johannesburg as well as across its key Europe region.

Brands in the Halewood portfolio include Whitley Neill Gin, Dead Man’s Fingers Rum, JJ Whitley Vodka, Aber Falls Whisky and Crabbie Whisky. 

Planned first-quarter activities include focuses at Birmingham, Glasgow, Stansted, Geneva, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich and Vienna airports. Johannesburg will host activations in January and March.

Tasting bars, digital screens and merchandising units promoting Whitley Neill and Dead Man’s Fingers have been developed in partnership with retail agency Kounter. 

The team is focusing on building bold, highly visible, engaging and fun spaces that attract travellers’ attention as they travel through the airport. 

Whitley Neil’s new Black Cherry edition, which launched into GTR at last year’s TFWA World Exhibition last year, is a key 2024 sampling focus. Given tasting notes include cherries, almonds and a hint of chocolate. 

Halewood said it also plans to build GTR distribution for its Aber Falls single malt. The distillery is one of just four making whisky in Wales, and the first in North Wales since the early 1900s. 

“We worked out very quickly that ‘me-too’ products wouldn’t work for us in travel retail markets and, while global brands are important, we know that travel retail shoppers are open to new and different brands that attract their attention,” said Eamon Prunty, Global Travel Retail Director. 

“It’s all about liquid on lips – try it and buy it. Last year saw Halewood’s largest-ever investment into supporting our brands on the shop floor and that paid huge dividends with our GTR seeing tangible growth. For our financial year ending June 23, GTR volumes have doubled versus the previous year.”

Halewood: Shelf space is ‘highly pressurised’ in travel retail

He continued: “It might sound a cliché, but the airport environment really does work as a showcase for our brands and provides a superb opportunity to introduce new products and build our customer base globally.

Halewood Whitley Neill Black Cherry

Halewood Whitley Neill Black Cherry is a key focus.

“We find promotions that cover both brands work particularly well – travellers familiar with one brand discovering the other, often resulting in both being purchased.

“Black Cherry was launched into the UK late 2022 as a new Christmas flavour and sold very well beyond the festive season.

“We like to ensure new flavours work sufficiently well on the domestic market before moving into GTR – shelf space is highly pressurised, so flavours need to be moving through at sufficient levels domestically to secure their spot in the GTR portfolio.

“Aber Falls has masses of potential in travel retail – it’s another example of a product that’s a little bit different from the run-of-the-mill and will attract customers through its traditional Welsh heritage and quality of liquid.

“It sits perfectly alongside our other GTR brands and enables us to offer a more rounded portfolio helping us to build distribution further afield, particularly within Asia.”

In 2022, Halewood struck up a distribution partnership with Actium and Wine Classics International, as well as bolstering its GTR team.

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