Bushmills wants to get its 400-year-old brand back on people's radar

Bushmills re-educates Americans about St. Patrick's Day as brand looks to get 'back on people's radar'

The Bushmills name has been around since 1608. The company claims to be the world's oldest licensed whiskey distillery.

Even with all that history, the brand only holds a 6% share in the Irish whiskey category, according to Nielsen.

"We're not comfortable with our share," said Bushmills brand director Jeffrey Schiller. "We definitely want more of it. As Ireland's oldest whiskey distillery, there's something to say there."

With creative agency Virtue at its side, Bushmills kicked off its reinvigoration efforts in January with the launch of its 'Red. Set. Go.' campaign. Now it's taking on the responsibility of showing American's what a true Irish St. Patrick's Day is like.

Bushmills — again, partnering with Virtue — hosted a pre-St. Patrick's Day pop-up in an old-school Brooklyn bar with Irish rock band Kid Karate. The whiskey maker emplored guests to "leave your green shit at home."

Schiller said he hoped that putting good music, good food and loud music front-and-center would dispell any stereotypes about St. Patrick's Day or Bushmills.

"When people think of Ireland, you think rolling green hills and all the tropes and boring stereotypes of Ireland," said Schiller.

"It's people, it's food, it's music, it's drink. Being Irish, music is in our roots. What we want to do is show people a modern Irish sound... We want to reveal to people the depth of Irishness."

This is just the beginning of Bushmill's music-fueled enlightenment campaign. Schiller told The Drum that the company plans to bring Kid Karate back to the States later this year for a larger tour.

He added that these educational experiences, from the TV spot to rock concerts, are about "getting people to interact with a brand we think they're going to love once they learn a little bit more about it."

"This is about getting the brand back on people's radar. The brand has been around since 1608. What we're trying to do is get it top of mind," said Schiller.

This year, Bushmills will also invest over $77m in its Northern Ireland distillery to double capacity over the next five years.

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