The Whisky Tasting Club

Distillery online clubs

we were recently asked to promote Balvenie’s online “club” Warehouse 24 and it got me (Tony) thinking about other clubs. Distilleries are playing catch up with online marketing and there are often benefits of membership. So my advice to you would be to set up a new googlemail dedicated to these and get joining. These are the ones I am a member of. Please add to the list or comment on your experiences of these clubs. I would like to know of any good uns I’ve missed.

1 Warehouse 24 Given they inspired the blog, they go first. On joining you get sent a pack of tasting notes (only just joined myself so not seen what these are like), and you are entered into several competitions on joining. They let you enter your whiskies and score them, which is a nice feature, but there doesn’t seem to be any communication/forum mechanism, which is a shame. Very professional looking site though.

2. Friends of Laphroaig. As a FoL you get 10% discount from their online shop which increases to 20% on your birthday. You also get given a notional square metre of land in the field opposite the distillery, and if you visit can claim your ground rent of a minature and if you wish plant a little flag on your plot. They also instigated the Gathering in 2010. Michelle and I went and blogged about it here. They don’t seem to mailshot at all. They have a FoL log in area and have experimented with interactivity and messaging between FoL, but I think they got hit by spam bots so turned it off. There are over 400,000 FoL and 130000 of them are in the UK! They should all buy our Laphroaig tasting, but unfortunately they wont let me spam them all :) Website is functional but not flash like. Log on to the members area and watch a video of Dominic, filmed by our friend Deanna in the Whisky Shop Norwich.  Go on, watch it! They have a Laphroaig TV area with various slide shows and movies.

3. Ardberg Committee Membership of the committee gives the occasional chance to buy a limited releases, although they have not done this since the Rollercoaster release crashed their servers. They post you a nice pack on joining and send you an annual update and info on special releases. At the 2010 festival they were giving away baseball caps and free drink coupons to committee members (they checked against a print out of names and there are 50k+ members!). Website has a login for committee members, but there isnt much on it. Stylish though.

4. Bladnoch Forum. Bladnoch have a fairly active forum and membership gives you a 10% off Bladnoch Single Malt Whisky and the opportunity to buy their “Bladnoch Forum” Bottles, wide range of choice of their own independent bottlings at reasonable prices. I bought a Caol Ila 25 year old for about £50, and very nice it was too.

5. Glenlivet. I joined the Taste the Glenlivet club when they offered me a free minature 12 year old for doing so. What’s better is they then offered me a free minature 18 year old for recommending someone! So Pat joined too :) As far as I can tell there is no log on area, I’ve had a few emails since joining but thats it.

6. Makers Mark Ambassador Scheme . Sign up to this and they send you a large pack and apparently other freebees, but we have had nothing after a year. They also put your name on a barrel, which is pretty cool.

Thats all I know about. So what other clubs are there?

Tony

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