5 very cool examples of drink experiential events

Having worked with some of the biggest drink brands for years, we know a thing or two about what experiences work, what draws people in, and how to nail them every time. We’ve all seen the standard drinks giveaways, and promotional stands in stores, but drinks brands have become a little more sophisticated when promoting their products.

Here we’ve picked 5 examples of experiential drink events we’ve delivered, and for differing reasons have given people an amazing experience to take away. 

#1 Size matters

Client: Hendrick’s 

What is was: Hendrick’s Gin wanted to further develop the ‘Tini Martini’ concept with trade press and industry influencers. We created a Tini Martini Hendrick’s Gin ‘brand world’, where the miniature was magnified running alongside London Cocktail Week. From micro pianists and tini artists to a whole host of infinitesimally small delights. It finished off with a deeply floral Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice experience unlike any other.

Why it worked: It was a clever use of space. The Townhouse consisted of 3 floors to showcase the brand worlds from the SKU’s: Hendrick’s Original, Hendrick’s Orbium and Hendrick’s Midsummer Soltice. Using it as a feature and reducing smaller dimensions entirely changed the atmosphere of a venue and facilitated greater attendee engagement. By making the size a feature, it titillated the audiences senses giving them a new experience of all things ‘tini’. 

#2 Challenge the convention

Client: Monkey Shoulder

What it was: Inspired by wrinkled tights, squeaky wheels and over-brewed tea served from trolleys in offices at 5pm, The Monkey Shoulder version did away with all that and replaced them with a playlist of hip hop, funk and pre-batched drinks. It started in the UK, but is a blueprint across the globe for other markets to use with trolleys in France, Turkey, Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Mexico, India and Australia. 

Oh, and it’s award winning.

Why it worked: It broke the dull and conventional. Monkey Shoulder doesn’t do things by halves. If it’s on, it’s always on. That’s the secret behind the Monkey Shoulder Drinks Trolley. This ‘always-on’ campaign challenged the norm of standalone calendar events like whisky fairs. We wanted sampling that would get to the people we needed to appeal to in a more intimate way – and that’s exactly what the tea trolley allowed us to do. We hit the London coffee festival, office happy hours, wine festivals, retail launches and more around the UK before taking it global.

#3 Sensory experience

Client: Zubrowka | Festival activation

What it was: We created a multi-sensory ‘Immersive Bar’ activation like no other for Zubrowka that was taken to a number of festivals. We worked with the brand team to design modular bar units, a mobile cart, bespoke serves and a sensory experience for consumer to engage with. Guests wore headsets to be transported to the Bialowieza Forest via a tree-bark footpath.

Why it worked: The experience enhanced the senses by allowing the guests to escape the festival. Guests were encouraged to get creative and use their imagination by covering their sight, playing sounds of the forest and indulging in edible perfumes to heightened the taste of the cocktail.

Adding to the sensory experience, we deconstructed the Zubrowka Signature Serve – Apple Zu. Hosted by actors who educated the guests on what Zubrowka is, the history of the brand, the flavour profiles of Zubrowka Bison Grass and executed the tasting.

#4 Camp Monkey

Client: Monkey Shoulder

What is was: Camp Monkey was a 3 day event for over 30 bartenders in Italy. It was hosted in the medieval village of Seminar, near Pavia with incredible panoramic views. There were some awesome activities laid on for the group from build your own trolley to a Monkeymisu cooking class.

Why it worked: Monkey Shoulder has been steering the rising cocktail culture by continued investment in bartender initiatives. As part of a series of on-trade engagement activations, this was an exclusive trip balancing fun, adventure and education. Over the course of 3 days there were also seminars on bar photography, drink like you care, and herbs & spices to sharpen the bartenders skills.

Give people something worthwhile to share and they’ll do it. The location meant there were a lot of photo opportunities and other shareable content was given to guests so they could promote Camp Monkey.

#5 Immerse yourself

Client: Hendrick’s

What is was: A two-week twilight-inspired experience for Hendrick’s to celebrate the launch of its Lunar Gin, the second innovative release from the super-premium gin’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Guests were invited to take a journey to a secret twilight garden, with cosmic astrologers and cocktails savoured under the bewitching light of the moon.

Why it worked: It gave people a feeling of being involved, emotionally connected, and absorbed in the experience. By using the Lunar Gin story of night-sipping, moon-gazing and other sensible modes of contemplation, we were able to bring these feelings to life. Guests were greeted by a cosmic astrologer in the garden and invited to try two “magical” cocktails under the bewitching light of the moon, which was the focal point of the room and shines on to a mirrored lake. By making guests become actively involved with the event, we laid on an experience they couldn’t get anywhere else.

Key takeaways

As you can see there are a number of ways to achieve your objectives. Here’s a quick summary of why they worked.

Appeal to your senses. We think Charles Spence, Oxford University professor and gastrophysicist sums it up rather well. “The pleasures of the table reside in the mind, not in the mouth.”

Think of size. Scale and unique dimensions make people think differently. Whether we’re talking sheer size & scale, or small and quirky. It makes people notice and draws them in.

Breaking convention. Giving people something they wouldn’t expect, challenging the norms, and breaking typical approaches. However, it’s so important it works for your brand and matches its values. It has to offer the right experience for your consumers and make sense.

A joined experience. Exclusivity can really work. By inviting a small group of people you can create hype and excitement before the event takes place. Smaller numbers of people allow them to experience something together which can be more memorable. It can also create some amazing shareable content for social media.

Time scales. Think beyond a one-off experience. There is an opportunity to think large-scale and longer running activity. If executed properly, this can really capture the attention of consumers.