Campari, Dufry & Sangster Airport make history with Appleton Estate boutique

By Luke Barras-hill |

TRBusiness was on location at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica for the official opening of the world’s first Appleton Estate boutique on Wednesday 1 March.

Travellers to Sangster International Airport can indulge in a true taste of Jamaica courtesy of a new boutique from Appleton Estate Rum, located within Dufry’s newly renovated 1,300sq m walkthrough departures store.

TRBusiness and other trade media were on location in the Caribbean last week for the official unveiling of the multi-sensory and tech-laden permanent installation, which represents the largest investment in the brand by Italy’s Campari Group.

The alliance between the brand, Dufry and Sangster International Airport operator MBJ Airports Limited invites shoppers to explore a blend of physical and digital touchpoints that echo the authenticity, craft and expression of Jamaica’s famed rum.

The space forms part of Dufry’s redeveloped 4,000sq m departures area and accelerates Campari’s positioning in the premium rum segment.

Thoughtfully curated touchpoints

Five expressions from the permanent collection are available to purchase: Appleton Estate Signature, Appleton Estate 8 Year Old Reserve, Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rare Casks, Appleton Estate 15 Year Old Black River Casks and Appleton Estate 21 Year Old Nassau Valley Casks.

All carry a minimum age statement and are distinguished by the Jamaica Rum classification (GI), which guarantees that any bottle designated as ‘Jamaica Rum’ adheres to the highest production standard, including use of limestone-filtered water, no caramel additives in the liquid and all production and ageing taking place in Jamaica.

History is made as the world’s first Appleton Estate Rum boutique inaugurates at Sangster International Airport: (L-R) Jean-Jacques Dubau, Group Brand Premiumisation Managing Director, Campari Group; Shane Munroe, Chief Executive Officer, MBJ Airports Limited; Godfrey Dyer, Chairman, Jamaica’s Tourism Enhancement Fund; Dr Joy Spence, Master Blender, Appleton Estate; Odette Dyer, Director Jamaica Tourist Board; Janice Allen, Opposition Spokesperson on Tourism, Jamaica; Richard Vernon, Deputy Mayor Montego Bay; Enrique Urioste, President & CEO, Latam & Caribbean, Dufry; Marco Cavagnera, Managing Director, Global Strategic Travel Retail, Campari Group.

Designed to catch the eye as travellers meander through the central walkway is an imposing, modern, 3D copper sculpture at the heart of the boutique space that beckons consumers in to learn more about the brand’s roots, provenance and terroir.

The copper tones play through in the surrounding architecture of the store to symbolise Appleton Estate’s use of traditional copper pot stills in the distillation process.

Inside is an expansive digital screen, which brings to life the sights and sounds of each stage in the crafting of Appleton Estate against a backdrop of shimmering lighting and spatial surround sound that reverberates across the large circular ceiling to emphasise the digital-physical immersion.

Accenting the location is the Appleton Estate insignia comprised of five distinctive national symbols of Jamaica (Blue Mahoe, Jamaica flag, Doctor Birds, Buds of Ackee and Lignum Vitae) that characterise the Appleton Estate brand identity.

The physical-meets-digital experience allows the shopper to explore the Appleton Estate boutique freely while engaging with a number of interactive fixtures.

This illuminates the interactive journey for travellers who can tap a screen to trigger instant image recognition from their mobile device.

From here, they can scan the front label of any bottle in-store to peruse content on an expression’s age statement, craftsmanship and the aged rum’s profile and tasting notes, enhanced by a narrative from famed Appleton Estate Master Blender Dr Joy Spence.

The curated universe has been positioned by the Campari team to ensure visitors to the space can explore individual elements at their own pace, without necessarily engaging with the other aspects to understand the brand experience.

Personalisation options are available on selective bottlings that unlock an immersive brand universe.

The main area is flanked by an imposing, thoughtfully positioned bar.

Here, dedicated brand ambassadors bring to life the flair and vibrancy of the expressions with cocktail demonstrations and guided tastings.

To elevate their sipping, shoppers can make use of a personalised digital insignia guide on their mobile device to discover key serves and classic cocktails to make at home, which connects them to sign up to the Appleton Estate email newsletter.

Inspired to purchase, travellers can avail of a free gifting personalisation service for the Appleton Estate 15 Year Old and 21 Year Old: a special message composed via the digital platform and accessed via a QR-code enabled neck hanger on the purchased bottle allows gift recipients to learn more about their gift and share on social media.

In addition to the core portfolio, travellers will encounter the Appleton Estate Ruby Anniversary Edition rum.

As a key feature of the space, the limited time edition expression boasts a dedicated allocation comprising a blend of five rare rums, each aged for a minimum of 35 years and selected from the finest stock within Appleton Estate’s 200,000-plus barrels.

Marco Cavagnera, Managing Director of Global Strategic Travel Retail at Campari Group, said: “We are thrilled to open the Appleton Estate experience at Montego Bay Airport, just 50 miles from where our incredible rums are lovingly crafted.

“It’s a perfect premium location to engage shoppers by showcasing every facet of Appleton Estate; its rich history, passion for natural ingredients, local provenance, the skill of our Master Blender Dr Joy Spence and the versatility of the award-winning portfolio created under her guidance, ensuring there is an Appleton Estate rum for any elevated occasion, from premium cocktail-making to sipping rums.

“Our goal is to prioritise the consumer experience of Appleton Estate, inviting travellers to discover this beautiful rum’s story and craft in an evocative way. This omni-channel approach blends the right balance of technology and face-to-face interaction, creating a highly connected experience enabling us to track engagement and improve our understanding and relationship with our consumers.”

A voyage to the heart of rum

Appointed as Appleton Estate Rum Master Blender in 1997, Dr Joy Spence is the first female to hold the title in the spirits industry.

The unveiling of the new permanent Appleton Estate boutique at Sangster International Airport dovetailed with an immersive rum experience at the Appleton Estate Rum distillery nestled in Siloah, St. Elizabeth, approximately 60km southeast of Montego Bay.

Guests, including Campari and members of the press, were welcomed by Appleton Estate’s Master Blender Joy Spence for a personal guided tour as part of the aptly titled ‘The Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience’.

An overview of rum’s historic roots set the scene for a multi-sensory tasting journey led by Master Blender Spence – the first female to possess the title in the spirits industry – and her team.

This offered invaluable context on rum’s historic roots, as well as a history of the sprawling Appleton Estate as it stands today.

More commentary from Campari Group Global Travel Retail, Appleton Estate, Dufry and MBJ Airports to follow…

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