Tuesday, September 04 11:19:03
Beam, the owners of the Kilbeggan Distillery, is investing in both marketing support and site infrastructure at the Westmeath distillery to capitalise on the increasing popularity of Irish whiskey overseas and make it a top tourism attraction, it said today.
In September 2011, Kilbeggan welcomed its 1 millionth visitor and visitor numbers to the world's oldest distillery are currently up 40pc on this time last year. Beam had originally targeted a 25pc increase in visitor numbers by the end of 2012.
In April 2012, Beam announced a E70,000 investment in a project to restore the distillery's ancient waterwheel.
The waterwheel is an iconic Westmeath landmark and a favourite among visitors to the distillery. The restoration project was completed this week and the refurbished waterwheel was unveiled at a public ceremony on the grounds of the distillery.
Significant investment is being made in promoting and improving the Kilbeggan Distillery Experience, Beam said.
New marketing positions have been created in Kilbeggan with Rachel Quinn appointed as Brand Experience Marketing Manager and Beam's Senior Global Brand Manager, Irish Whiskey Stephen Teeling leading the project.
The distillery's bar licence has been extended to allow product to be sold from the gift shop and plans are being advanced to redesign the Gift Shop and Tasting Bar areas to further enhance the visitor experience. This work is planned to commence in Q3 2012.
UK based digital agency, VPH are creating a new Kilbeggan Distillery website that will facilitate online sales, the broadcast of live distillery footage and the hosting of digital tours. Kilbeggan Distillery's bespoke limited edition whiskey products are currently only available for purchase on the distillery's grounds; Beam intends to make these products available for purchase online via the new website. The distillery's new web assets will be supported with a weighty international digital marketing campaign and will also be activated through social media. Beam has increased spend in marketing support for the distillery fivefold since taking over in January.
Stephen Teeling, Senior Global Brand Manager, Irish Whiskey at Beam, commented, "Beam's international reach is exposing an increasing number of consumers overseas to our portfolio of whiskey brands and to the heritage of the Kilbeggan Distillery. A lot of work has been done recently to enhance the visitor experience and the local and international marketing support being put behind this venture will enable Kilbeggan to capitalise on the growing popularity of Irish whiskey worldwide."
"We are investing in our people, providing product and brand training and working with Failte Ireland to establish recognised best practices in visitor engagement. All of this activity will enable us to build a platform from which we can develop Kilbeggan as a top tourist destination."