Accessible Spirits: The Whisky Shop Flagship, London
The Whisky Shop, the UK’s largest whisky specialist, has given the ultra traditional, somewhat elitist world of fine spirits retailing a makeover with its new tech-enhanced flagship in London.
Designed by luxury retail design consultancy Gpstudio, the 1,076 sq ft store in the tourist-centric Piccadilly area is equipped with tablets and plasma screens, where customers can clue up on the whisky production processes and get advice on which blends to buy.
The store is split into three distinct sections: ‘Show me’, ‘Tell me’ and ‘Sell me’.
‘Show me’ showcases key whisky houses, distillers and product brands, such as Pernod Ricard and Royal Salute. The ‘Tell me’ room centres on education, explaining the process of making whisky and dispelling many of the common myths via interactive screens. ‘Sell me’ is a whisky library stocked with the most prestigious blends, used on occasion as a tasting area.
The timber, copper and glass used throughout the store’s interior is intended to create a contemporary look while also referencing the materials used in the distillation process.
Andrew Torrance, managing director of The Whisky Shop, explained the vision was to create a store experience that while being perceived as luxurious and accessible, would “tap into the heritage of whisky as a product whilst also challenging perceptions and ripping up the rule book of traditional whisky retailing”.
The Whisky Shop is one of a growing group of retailers breaking away from the traditional modes of fine wine and spirits retailing with modern store concepts – see also Etc Wine Shops, Hong Kong.
In addition, Rebranding Alcohol shows how some beverage brands are using packaging design to overhaul a conventional brand image.