dan murphy’s

a world in one location

Over the years I have become more aware of ‘happenstance’ encounters including conversations as the source of new and interesting information, and, I have to say that I now pay more attention and I am more likely to develop happenstance conversations than when I was younger and less patient. On reflection being open and inquisitive has proven most rewarding.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the visit to Islay began as a happenstance conversation with a staff member – at my local Dan Murphy’s Liquor Merchants.
This Dan Murphy’s store had recently opened and I wandered in to explore their product range. I had no particular product in mind but  at the time I was a little bit of a bower-bird gathering snippets of information for my visit to Europe. As I wander around Dan Murphy’s I notice this store has an impressive range of products from around the world including a ‘whisky precinct’. I had been thinking of products and brands of Scotland and, perhaps, there is nothing more Scottish than Scotch whisky. I have always been interested in Scotland ads I was born in Scotland and came to Australia as a young child – and although my father was not a big drinker he liked to offer guests a ‘wee dram’ of whisky as part of his Scottish hospitality and loyal customers of our family business always received a special bottle of ‘Scotch’ at Christmas.
So I find myself in a slightly nostalgic mood as I scan the whisky precinct. The precinct is organized according to regions. One section of the whisky precinct is devoted to whisky from Islay and I have to admit, that, not being a whisky drinker, I had no brand awareness or brand recall of Islay whisky.

Unbeknown to me I have entered Justin’s favourite part of the shop and in relaxed manner he begins to chat and informs me that on a tour of Scotland he was fortunate to visit Islay, he says Islay is known around the world as ‘the whisky isle’ that the whisky has a distinct smoky character and that this distinctive flavour results from the peat, the water, the climate and the Islay brewing process. He tells me that Islay although a relatively small island, some 40 by 20 miles and only 3,000 people, has, amazingly, nine distilleries.

He then asks – Would you like to taste a whisky from Islay? And I taste my first my first whisky in 30 years.

Now, as a marketing practitioner and a marketing academic I recognise that Justin’s level of product knowledge and this commitment to customer education demonstrates a very proficient and highly involved salesperson; one who is gently but purposefully steering me along the first time time zone of the buyer decision process. I come clean, and state that I am prospecting for ideas, that I intend to visit Scotland and may explore whisky from a marketing perspective and in particular from the idea of product provenance. Then you need to visit Islay enthuses Justin and you must talk with the people at Kilchoman and Bruichladdich – they have really interesting stories.

After a little googling and a few emails I have committed to visit the whiskey isle of Islay and talk with the people at Kilchoman and Bruichladdich.

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