Beam Suntory has launched Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged Bourbon at DFS stores at New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) and Los Angeles International (LAX) Airports. The annual limited release will then make its debut at Sydney International Airport in December.
Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged Bourbon — a marriage of 11- and 12-year-old bourbon — is the distillery’s oldest release. To craft this bourbon, Maker’s Mark asked the question: What if age isn’t just about time, but instead about how you use that time to evolve, develop and mature?
Since its founding in 1953, Maker’s Mark has aged its whisky to taste – not time. Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged stays true to this philosophy, delivering a richer, deeper and more complex older bourbon, free from the harsher tannic effects commonly found in extra-aged American whiskies, says the company.
To become Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged, barrels of the distillery’s classic distillate first spend approximately six years ageing in traditional bourbon warehouses. Barrels are then moved into the distillery’s proprietary whisky cellar for an additional five to six years of ageing before being blended to taste and bottled.
Cellar Aged will be an annual, limited release available in specific markets around the world. The unique maturation approach of Cellar Aged will be consistent every year, but the specific blend of aged bourbon will vary based on which barrels are ready, by taste. The inaugural release of Cellar Aged is a marriage of 12-year-old and 11-year-old whisky – 87% and 13%, respectively – bottled at cask strength (115.7 proof), with a RRSP domestic price point of US$150.
The travel retail roll-out
The travel retail introduction of Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged Bourbon will begin in the US in November, at New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) and Los Angeles International (LAX) Airports, followed by Sydney International Airport in December.
In New York JFK, the travel retail launch will be supported by an innovative digital advertising campaign, in partnership with Uber. This campaign is designed to drive footfall to the JFK Terminal 4 DFS store, where the new Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged Bourbon is being showcased.
From November 9, 2023 until January 15, 2024, Legal Drinking Age (LDA)-compliant travelers who book an Uber transfer to the terminal will have access to curated visuals, info and click-through options via the Uber app at all key touchpoints on their journey. This campaign will be complemented by exclusive in-store Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged tastings at the airport, conducted by specialist Brand Ambassadors.
In Sydney International Airport, the travel retail introduction of Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged Bourbon will be supported by a high-profile pop-up activation, which will run from December through January 2024. This immersive engagement space will incorporate Taste and Scent experiences, interactive digital activities, exclusive travel-themed GWPs, and customized gift wrap that is unique to the airport location.
“We continue to drive our premiumization strategy across our portfolio,” noted Beam Suntory Brand Marketing Director Global Travel Retail Manuel Gonzalez. “The American whisky category is experiencing rapid growth within the ultra-premium price segment, and Maker’s Mark will further support this.
“This new release is truly a milestone for Maker’s Mark – a product set to become the pinnacle of the brand, while staying close to its roots. To make it even more special, we will be offering annual limited-edition batches, with very selective GTR distribution, to amplify its global reach. We are confident this new introduction from Maker’s Mark will further raise the profile of our bourbon offer.”
He added: “Today’s international whisky consumers have high expectations whenever they travel. We are committed to creating enticing products, supported by impactful advertising campaigns and airport activations, to create memorable experiences, enhance our brand storytelling – and further drive sales and trade-up.”