Research project for the Spirit of Whisky Events
The Spirit Whisky Events
Start Date
End Date

The supply chain of the worldwide whisky industry can be defined as follows:

Distillery (producer) --> official importer or free trader in a specific country or region --> retailer / retail organization --> consumer


The marketing and sales value chain in this process can be defined as follows:
The manager of the distillery that produces the whisky brand(s) --> the company that owns the brand (can be the distillery but that is not always the case) --> the international brand director --> the brand manager at the importer or trader --> the marketing and sales manager at the headquarters of the retail organization and the brand ambassador --> the final consumer (at the point of sales in the retail shop)

The research question can be formulated as follows:
“What is the influence of the distillery and the owner of the whisky brands on the local marketing strategy and operations of the country they are selling their products?”

Example about the whisky brand “The Glenlivet”
In the supply chain of The Glenlivet we see the following business partners that can influence the local marketing and operations strategy.

Distillery/producer - The Glenlivet Distillery in Speyside, Scotland
Brand owner The Glenlivet - Pernod Ricard Int. in Paris                                      
Importer brand - Pernod Ricard Ned. in Amsterdam
Distribution and points of sale - the independent liquor stores and the retail chains like Gall                  
The buyer of the whisky bottles - the final consumer, the customer 

The local marketing strategy and operations starts at Pernod Ricard Netherlands at Amsterdam.
The brand manager together with their (in most cases external) brand ambassador(s) decides whether they are present at a certain whisky event of festival in Holland and which whisky brands they would like to promote at the event. The business and personal relationship with these two decision makers is very important for the organiser of the whisky festival.

The research question is related to these two first elements of the supply chain, the distillery and the (international) owner of the whisky brands.
The management of the “The Spirit Whisky Events”, owner of  the international whisky festival “The Spirit of Amsterdam”,  has good relations with the importers in Holland of the whisky brands and with the major retail organizations and the liquor stores. However, we do not have these relations (yet) with the international owners of the whisky brands, the international headquarters and the distilleries worldwide. The major whisky producing countries are Scotland, Ireland, USA, Canada, Japan, India and Taiwan.

The structure of the proposed research project is as follows:
- Internet search and desk research (Malt Whisky Yearbook.
- Get the basic information of all headquarters of the owners of most whisky brands (company names, addresses, telephone, website url, e-mail address).
A list of all the whisky brands and expressions they are the owner of.
- Getting the names of the responsible export manager, marketing- and brand managers (through website search, the Malt Year Book, research by telephone and by e-mail) at the  owners of the brands. Telephone and e-mail research based on a script.
-After the introduction of The Spirit Whisky Events, a short questionnaire is send by e-mail to one or more of the identified managers of the two target groups (distilleries and the brand owners). This questionnaire must be designed yet.
- After this research project the obtained insights must be clearly reported  with a statement of conclusions and recommendations.


The research hypothesis
The hypothesis is that if we aim our marketing communications also at the right decision making unit (DMU) at the international brand owners companies and distilleries, they will be positive towards a participation of their brands at one of the The Spirit Whisky Events.
The second hypothesis is that the DMU will then advice their local offices and importers, traders positively that they should participate at one of the The Spirit Whisky Festivals. This marketing strategy is called “From push to pull”.
3. The third hypothesis would be the fact that after establishing a personal and positive contact  with the producers of the whisky brands they will decide to participate themselves at one of the The Spirit Whisky Events. See the recent e-mail correspondence with Emma Lin, the global business development manager of the Kavalan malt whisky brand at Taiwan. This could indicate that the third hypothesis can be a reality.




The student should have some personal interest in the world of whisky and content marketing communications.


Contact Person
Richard Nieuwenhoven
The Spirit Whisky Events