Did You Know?
- Drambuie Part 2 - 100 Years of Selling Drambuie
100 Years of Selling Drambuie
Careful marketing and imaginative advertising has always been at the heart of the success of Drambuie. Even back in the dark days of the First World War, Malcolm was quick to find lucrative sales such as supplying Macbeths whisky and Drambuie to the House of Lords. The Drambuie label was then adapted to include the House of Lords emblem, signifying a product of distinction and the choice of the aristocracy. Serious investment was given to advertising in such prestigious publications as The Times, The Tatler, and Punch. The story of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the 1745 was the promotional image against a backdrop of Highland scenery. In contrast, advertisements in the American press avoided unfamiliar Scottish history and used cartoon humour to suggest Drambuie as the ideal after dinner dram.
Throughout the 20th century advertising moved with the times but never completely abandoning the sense of tradition and history implied in the name. Instead a contemporary image of a luxurious lifestyle and glamour, the world of James Bond, cocktails and islands in the sun became a trademark. Television adverts portrayed a dinner party with the butler presenting a bottle of Drambuie on a silver salver which had been brought especially by helicopter from Scotland. Sophistication and quality has continued to be the by-word and today a colour advertisement will show a simple image of a beautiful hummingbird about to taste a drop of Drambuie, with only one word, 'Nectar'.
The familiar, distinctive square bottle, the red cap, ribbon and family crest, the style of label and graphic lettering has barely changed in 90 years. The saying is so true, "If it aint broke, don't fix it".
Sports, Leisure and the Arts
Marketing has also been developed through innovative sponsorship partnerships which enhance the glamourous, jetsetting lifestyle with which the Drambuie name has been associated. Under Calum and Duncan's influence the company has pursued key sporting events through which to develop international recognition and television coverage. Their father Norman was a keen motor-boat enthusiast and a member of the Cramond Boat Club in Edinburgh for many years and this passion has been passed on to his sons. There are three company speed boats, Tantalus, Challenger and Drambuie-on-ice, which have set new world records over recent years at various US championships in the Great Lakes and Florida. There is also a Round Britain power boat race with the Norman MacKinnon trophy awarded to the winner.
One of the most exciting sponsorship deals is the Drambuie World Ice Golf Championships in Greenland. The location is about 400 miles north of the Arctic Circle. This unique event began in 1998 and attracts golfers from Europe, the USA, and South Africa. It is open to everyone with a handicap of under 36 and there is a limit of 48 players.
The design of the nine hole course obviously alters each year depending on the freezing formation of the ice-field and the whole setting is a magnificent white landscape of glaciers around the fjord. Ice golf is described as being similar to ordinary golf except the "green" is white and the ball is pink. As previous competitors have commented:"This is a fantastic experience to play golf on top of the world"
"The scenery is so amazing and beautiful."
"Going to Greenland to play Ice Golf the second time in 2001 was every bit as fantastic as the first time. The people, the locals, the organisers, the sponsors and the golfers make this an incredible adventure."
In 2001 it was televised in 130 countries and is now a recognised world sporting event. The Drambuie World Ice Golf Championships takes place at Uummannaq, Greenland from 17 to 22 March, 2002.
The championship winner for the last two years was Annika Ostberg from Denmark who will be returning this year to defend her title.
The Drambuie Collection
The MacKinnon family is also very aware of preserving the valuable link with Prince Charles Edward Stuart and Scottish heritage in general. Over several years the Drambuie company has invested in purchasing selected works of art and other valuable mementos with a particular significance to Jacobite history. There is a superb collection of around 350 paintings including important Scottish portraits, 19th century landscapes and the works of the famous Scottish Colourists, Peploe and Hunter.
There are also fine examples of furniture, sculpture and ceramics and Jacobite wine and liqueur glasses. Pride of place is a rare set of Prince Charles glasses featuring his portrait. The Drambuie Collection also purchases important Jacobite memorabilia, medals, maps and manuscripts and therefore of great historical and scholarly importance.
This is a private collection and not on permanent public view, but there are plans for a selection of paintings and artefacts to be taken on a tour to a number of venues across the United States over the next year.
Drambuie in the 21st Century
The desire to protect the tradition and reputation of Drambuie has led to very careful brand development over recent years. Today it is vital to maintain the old, familiar style and also attract younger drinkers. As well as being promoted as an after-dinner liqueur, the modern way is Drambuie on Ice to be enjoyed at any time.
The most recent brand development is the new Drambuie Cream liqueur, to compete in a market of other cream-based drinks, such as Baileys. As a separate drink for a separate market, there is a new website Chilled Fusion to introduce it to a new generation of liqueur drinkers. This Flash site is like a style magazine, promoting the brand in a subtle way, as well as giving advice on the best places to drink and eat in the world's best cities.
In addition there is the exclusive Drambuie Black Ribbon, for connoisseurs, based on the finest Fifteen Year old Scotch Malt whisky.
There are numerous cocktail recipes such as the famous Rusty Nail (an equal blend of Scotch and Drambuie), Ecstasy (Drambuie, cognac and French Vermouth), or the Isle of Skye (Drambuie, gin and lemon juice) - and dozens more according to the Webtender website.
You can purchase Drambuie flavoured marmalade and chocolates, products which Drambuie must oversee to ensure the quality of flavour. In many restaurants today you will be very likely to come across a plethora of puddings and other dishes which feature Drambuie - all adding to the wide marketing of the name. I have seen a menu featuring Prawns with a Drambuie sauce. At the award-winning Three Chimneys Restaurant on the Isle of Skye you can enjoy Drambuie Custard, served with hot puddings or in a trifle and there is Drambuie ice-cream. And at the peak of its popularity, the Shandon Buttery restaurant in Glasgow served a very tasty haggis and Drambuie.
In this fast moving, technological age of the media, television and internet and an extremely competitive drinks market, Drambuie is still there in its familiar bottle on the bar shelf. Prince Charles Edward's liqueur today is big business and smoothly blends together both a classic image of Scottish Highland tradition together with an international image of contemporary style and sophistication.
Useful Websites for More InformationDrambuie Liqueur Company
Drambuie World Ice Golf Championships
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