Hendrick's Gin, a division of London-based William Grant & Sons, Ltd., launched a major rebranding last year featuring whimsical, steam-punk creative, mystical, odd pastoral creatures, events, and ads that aimed to defenestrate the image of gin as the drink of crusty men in grey tweed who were born perhaps when Britain was an empire; men who might be found sipping that juniper-infused drink while smoking a Meerschaum in the Explorer's Club, and reading Churchill's histories of the English-speaking peoples.
Come to think of it, that kind of image might make for a fine contrarian campaign for a gin, and there is some of that Victorian imagery in Hendrick's campaign.
The latest in the effort is an experiential program comprising a year-long series of "Voyages Into the Unusual." The program starts with a three-night program in Houston. The "voyages," which use Arcadian themes, include Hendrick's-inspired cocktails, and costumed J.R.R.Tolkien-esque characters intended to give a new spin to gin.
The events will also come to San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City.
They will -- speaking of the above-referenced Explorer's Club -- include a faux Explorer's Lounge, a botanist's den and according to the company, a full-scale apothecary. It should probably be noted that apothecaries are also making something of an ersatz comeback. There's one in New York’s Chinatown, where actor Adrien Grenier unveiled his new Churchkey flat-top beer.
The first night of the event will be by invitation-only, the second will be open, and the third will involve a relationship with Thrillist. Joanne Birkitt, Hendrick's Gin senior brand manager, said in a statement that the point is to give consumers -- "travelers" in the brand lingo -- a look at the history of Hendrick's, a taste of it in concoctions, and entertainment from -- for lack of a better expression -- some "differently talented" people.
Hendrick's, as a side note, got the retro-graphic look of the brand materials -- everything from diminutive cocktail recipe books, a brand history and a Hendrick's-branded deck of playing cars -- via artists like Dan Hillier who worked with StudioBaum in London.