Edinburgh-based tourist attraction, Scotch Whisky Experience, has opened the doors to a new whisky shop, following a £1m refurbishment.
The new facility is forecast to increase the attraction’s retail revenue by 15% in 2012, adding to the 55% growth in this area over the last three years.
The new shop is the latest stage in the attraction’s multi-million pound overhaul and marks the most significant development since the unveiling of the Diageo Claive Vidiz Scotch Whisky Collection – the largest of its kind – in 2009, the company said.
Susan Morrison, director and general manager of the Scotch Whisky Experience, said she is determined to blow away the myths and stereotypes surrounding whisky and make it easier for people to find their ideal dram.
“Recognising the importance of retail to our business, we have invested in our shop to create an interactive, customer-friendly environment with a quality of experience which leaves a lasting impression.
“With many of our visitors coming from abroad, our shop plays an important role in promoting whisky and educating people about the industry following the experience of the tour. We find our visitors respond well to the use of flavours in choosing their whisky, encouraging diversity in choice as well as using the traditional methods of geography or well loved brands.
“We have aligned the shop with our tour, which already introduces people to whisky using flavours and scents, while simplifying and explaining the drink. The new development has made our shop both more accessible and welcoming, with the design and creative touches such as using recycled wood from cask ends for our counter tops, giving visitors a modern and lively environment. “
Key features of the new shop include an interactive flavour map and touch-screen distillery guide, which will enable customers to discover new options at the tap of a button, based on brands or flavours with which they are already familiar. The flavour map has been created with the help of the Scotch Whisky Research Institute and involved an evaluation of Scotland’s single malts to plot their individual characteristics.
The Experience said whisky connoisseurs will also be able to enjoy a new VIP area in which to browse the premium collection on a tailor made iPad application.
New touch screens can be accessed in 20 individual languages including Arabic, Korean, Chinese, Russian and Brazilian – reflecting the importance of emerging markets for the Scotch whisky industry.
Scotch whisky exports are now worth over £4.5bn annually, and while the USA continues to dominate in terms of overall spend, demand from Asian and South American markets is increasing rapidly. In line with these trends, 80% of visitors to the Scotch Whisky Experience in 2011 were from overseas, with significant growth in the number of visitors from China and Brazil, the centre said.
The Scotch Whisky Experience is open daily, from 10am until 6pm. For further information contact 0131 220 0441 or visit www.scotchwhiskyexperience.co.