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Greg Benson: We at Bacardi are consistently introducing our bartenders and mixologists to digital platforms

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Greg Benson, India brand ambassador, DEWAR’S by Bacardi, speaks to Akshay Nayak about the brand’s dynamic engagement strategies to keep their consumers’ spirits high during these testing times

How has the current situation kept DEWAR’S connected with consumers by incorporating digital avenues and virtual brand collaboration opportunities?
The ongoing lockdown has definitely encouraged consumers to explore their culinary interests and experiment in their kitchens, and even have fun while they’re at it! Our Insta-feeds are full of pictures of people trying their hand at different dishes or some DIY cocktails. These first-time chefs and mixologists are looking nowhere else but the Internet and social media to help them build these skills.

With our experience with gourmet food and cocktails through our platforms like ‘You Got Chef’d!’, it was natural for DEWAR’S to bring some tricks of the trade to our consumers through our culinary experts and mixologists. To get things stirring, we’ve begun a digital DIY version of ‘The Doers Club’ with Chefs Ranveer Brar and Vicky Ratnani who whip up easy-to-cook gourmet food recipes paired with Highball cocktails.

We ambassadors and mixologists are also hosting digital Masterclasses on whisky tasting and curating easy, fun cocktails. Recently, I had a fun session with Barkha Singh where she created her favourite Indian snack to go with my classic Highball cocktail. These sessions double up on entertainment and some very useful culinary tips, so definitely watch out for more on my Instagram handle.

What changes in drinking patterns of the Indian whisky market which may likely remain moving forward in the post-COVID world?
I think it’s safe to assume that the post-COVID world will be a different one, not just for alco-beverage but for markets and professions across the spectrum. Overall, there may be a rise in the use of indigenous, locally available ingredients for mixology, with consumers more willing to experiment with different flavours. As well as this, I predict a rise in sustainability as bartenders try to use each ingredient to its maximum potential.

These times are challenging us to come up with new skills and with minimal resources at their beck and call, both mixologists and general consumers have come up with several innovations including some fun, quirky renditions like the Dalgona whisky.

The manner in which we cater to our consumers is also evolving. For instance, Bacardi has partnered with Delivaroo, a home delivery brand, to enable bars to deliver cocktails at home in UK and Ireland. Tipplers have definitely embraced the change and made the best out of it and I for one, can’t wait to see some more game-changing trends in the coming months.

How is DEWAR’S providing training and skilling to bartenders in the world through digital avenues?
At DEWAR’S, we believe that there is so much more to mixology than just bartending. Understanding the origins of the spirits you work with, engaging with consumers and marketing your personal brand are equally essential skills.

Early last year, we chose four upcoming bartenders from India, Phillipines, China and Lebanon for a hands-on learning experience at DEWAR’S Aberfeldy distillery. We doubled-up on their learning, by bringing some quirky social media influencers from each country, like Rannvijay Singha, to help these bartenders get digitally-savvy. Not only did they learn about whisky but they got their social media game on-point!

We’ve been consistently taking the time to introduce our bartenders and mixologists to digital platforms, a practice which is helping now more than ever before. As we continue to navigate the current situation, we plan to keep at it and continuously experiment with new content and formats in the coming weeks.

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