The Campari Group marks its territory with the Montego Bay Appleton Rum Boutique

Campari Group has made its largest-ever financial commitment to the travel retail channel with the opening of a major boutique for Appleton Estate rum brand at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Milan-based Campari did not disclose the value of the investment for the permanent shop-in-shop, but the mere location within the Dufry-operated walk-in duty-free store is indicative of the cost.

The boutique, which all passengers – 4.4 million in 2022 – have to walk past to get to their gate is located near the entrance of the Dufry store. More importantly, it sits further in front of a vast, circular, multi-brand rum area, giving Appleton a distinct selling advantage over home-grown Jamaican and other in-store competitor rums.

To slow passengers down and potentially convert them into buyers, there’s a welcome bar with dedicated brand ambassadors for cocktail demos, as well as guided tastings and a large video wall. Beautifully spaced eye-level bottle displays feature digital/QR code activations, allowing passengers to take a self-guided tour of the brand’s permanent portfolio of age-rated rums and the winery’s history, dating back to 1749. You can also meet (virtually) Appleton Estate’s celebrated Master Blender, Joy Spence, the first woman to be appointed to this key role in the global spirits industry.

Biggest investment ever”

Marco Cavagnera, Managing Director of Global Strategic Travel Retail at Campari Group, commented: “This is our largest investment in the distribution channel to date. It signals our strong belief in the rum category and that Appleton Estate can play a key role in our journey to premiumization. As one of the oldest rums in the Caribbean, the brand has all the prerequisites for this.”

The omnichannel boutique makes a major statement of intent from Campari. In addition to accelerating Appleton’s positioning in premium rum, it crystallizes the premiumization agenda of the broader group, both in travel retail and other channels.

Campari already has a brand enhancement strategy across all categories, led since February 2022 by Jean Jacques Dubau, Director Group Brand Premiumization. The company has identified travel retail as one of the best ways to create omnichannel connections with consumers, and at a high level.

Dubau said: “Travel retail is a place where we can present our products in a very special way. This is the start of a very important year.” He added, “We want to create that collectible aspect of a series. And we are also working on the experience.”

For example, the group’s French cognac liqueur, Grand Marnier, recently had a release called Grande Cuvée Quintessence in a custom Baccarat carafe with a $3,500 price tag on Reserve Bar. Dubau said, “Now we’re working on a special way, it to serve to create a multi-sensory experience. You can no longer offer a product like this on your own.”

A less extravagant manifestation of this move toward upscale amenities, Appleton Estate’s Ruby Anniversary Edition is on display at the new airport boutique. It is a limited-time blend of five rare rums, each aged for a minimum of 35 years, with a special allocation for the airport. The blend was selected from the finest stocks at Appleton’s Distillery, located just 40km away in the lush Nassau Valley. In the US, a 750ml bottle costs $700.

Campari, which owns global brands such as Aperol and Wild Turkey, has built a strong portfolio through acquisitions that now spans several decades. Last year, however, saw two major acquisitions and a key minority stake: Picon, the French bittersweet aperitif bought by Diageo; Kentucky’s Wilderness Trail Distillery; and a 15 percent interest in another Kentucky bourbon, Howler Head. Among them, Wilderness Train is also scheduled for premiumization.

Campari Group revenue was 2.7 billion euros ($2.9 billion) in FY2022 (up 16% YoY), while global travel retail business grew 81% on a tourism recovery. The company now has over 50 premium and super-premium names, of which the global priority brands are Aperol, Appleton Estate (and other Jamaican rums), Campari, Grand Marnier and SKYY
Vodka and Wild Turkey, which accounted for 1.55 billion euros of total sales last year.

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