London Cocktail Week returned to Old Spitalfields Market in London for its third year – we paid a visit to discover all that this year’s 30+ brands had to offer. There was everything from pop up cocktail bars, immersive experiences, cocktail masterclasses and all things in between.
Schweppes ‘Secrets of Alchemy’ a two-tiered interactive bar took you on a flavour trail through time and Fever-Tree’s Mix in the Dark, inspired by the Crystal Maze but with the bonus of cocktails were just a couple that stood out for us. In contrast to the digital focus we experienced last year, we found this year there was a clear shift towards experiential led pop ups, with a focus on sensory experiences.
After weaving our way through the maze of bars we reached the Havana 7 ‘Black Box’. The Pernod Ricard owned brand created an immersive experience, transporting you to a Cuban bar in the heart of Havana. Each station introduced a different cocktail specially created to bring the four main flavour profiles and essences of Havana 7 to life; island fruits, coffee, aromatic leaf and honey. The whole experience was an amazing treat for the senses, the combination of the tropical environment, flavours and aromas transported you to Havana. It was the perfect introduction to the dark rum, both its heritage and flavours, it also gave Havana 7 fans a fresh perspective on the multiple layers that come together to create the Cuban rum, and the various ways that this spirit comes to life.
The activity at LCW this year has shown us that when it comes to drinks and cocktails in particular you can’t beat a real-life experience, it is something you simply can’t replicate digitally. Immersive brand experiences create first-hand interactions with your audience and provides them with that feel-good moment enabling you to build a meaningful relationship. In the case of Havana 7, it enabled them to showcase their spirit and deliver their brand story exactly as they wanted to and in a much more compelling way than can be achieved through traditional and digital methods. These experiences also enable a brand to be in direct contact with consumers for a prolonged period of time, it isn’t purely a transactional moment that is over within a matter of seconds. It is an unparalleled opportunity to connect with consumers in a more direct way.
Immersive experiences allow brands to create that Instagrammable moment that will last. You are creating an emotional connection and lasting memory that consumers can share with their friends and family and take home with them, amplifying the reach beyond the experience itself.