BATTLEGROUND #2: Building passion brands

People today are eager for new and meaningful experiences that resonate with what’s important to them. By tapping into the unique qualities and distinctive personalities of our brands, we are innovating with new products, creative programmes and activations that help us develop deep and lasting connections with all our communities at every moment of consumption. One example is Jameson, which has been building an enthusiastic community of bartenders over the last decade through its Barrelmen’s Homecoming programme. 

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passion brands

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Jameson, the power of bartender advocacy 

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Creating meaningful connections is the secret behind every successful brand and a core Jameson value. A thriving and passionate bartender community has played a huge role in building Jameson Irish Whiskey into a top 10 premium spirit, by sharing with their customers what they know and love about the brand. Over the past ten years, Jameson has transformed its support for bartenders into a powerful strategic programme that connects the brand locally and globally with bartenders and consumers across the world. 

Jameson has long nurtured its relationship with bartenders through a network of 80 brand ambassadors, Jameson’s ‘feet on the street’. By initiating different grassroots initiatives, ranging from masterclasses to hero programmes, that bring together bartenders from all around the world, Jameson has built a platform focusing on connecting, engaging, empowering and rewarding bartenders throughout the years. 


Local inspiration 

The Jameson Barrelmen’s Homecoming is the heart of the brand’s bartender engagement programme. In FY19 Jameson introduced for the first time an overarching theme, ‘From Farm to Glass’ – a community-focused topic close to the hearts of bartenders, consumers and Pernod Ricard. ‘From Farm to Glass’ encouraged bartenders to collaborate with local producers and make use of ingredients unique to their local environment. For over nine months, a series of local events in over 20 countries brought together more than 2,500 people to explore the ‘From Farm to Glass’ ethos – through educational workshops, foraging sessions, talks with guest speakers and tastings. As part of the programme’s global cocktail competition, 700 bartenders took up the challenge of showing how their local cultures could inspire new Jameson cocktail serves. The collective buzz around these regional activations inspired an explosion of online conversations, with a social media reach of 14.2 million. 

"Bringing everyone to Jameson’s home is a great way to deepen people’s attachment to the brand and connect with bartenders from around the world who are passionate, curious and ready to share new ideas”

Simon Fay, Business Acceleration Director at Irish Distillers

Global acceleration 

In addition to connecting, engaging and empowering bartenders, the Jameson Barrelmen’s Homecoming also seeks to reward their passion and commitment, notably with the opportunity to join the pinnacle of the global programme: a four-day gathering in the heart and home of Jameson Irish Whiskey. In June, Jameson welcomed 120 guests from all corners of the globe for an immersive and inspiring programme, including the finale of the global cocktail competition. 

The global Barrelmen’s Homecoming gathering is seen by bartenders as an invaluable opportunity to take a deep dive into the brand while connecting with fellow Barrelmen and to meeting the wider family of people behind the brand. It affords the participants the chance to taste, see, touch, smell and interact with the brand in a variety of educational and convivial ways. From witnessing first-hand the brand experience at the Jameson Distillery Bow Street in Dublin, visiting the working Midleton Distillery in Cork or participating in a series of innovative workshops, the Barrelmen explored the different business aspects of the ‘From Farm to Glass’ theme – including urban farming, mixology, music and the different tools of the trade, such as glassware. 



countries organised events related to the overarching theme "From Farm to Glass"

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bartenders participated in the global cocktail competition

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Creative collaboration 

The Jameson Barrelmen’s Homecoming cocktail competition put the 26 local winners through three gruelling challenges. Following an initial speed round, 15 bartenders went on to showcase their ‘From Farm to Glass’ creations. For the final, five bartenders teamed up with colleagues from other countries to make an original cocktail menu using only their know-how and ingredients available in their immediate surroundings in Ireland. The collaborative and creative approach of Ania Kulak from Norway wowed the judges. In lieu of a cash prize, Jameson will fund and support Ania in developing a programme that benefits her local community. 

“We’re delighted to offer a programme that brings together all the excitement and interactivity of a global competition while showing our commitment to supporting bartender education, community collaboration and innovation,” adds Simon Fay, Business Acceleration Director at Irish Distillers. 

The Barrelmen’s Homecoming is engaging bartenders to continue pushing the boundaries of their craft, playing a key role in the renaissance of the whiskey category by sharing their passion for Jameson with consumers worldwide. 




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© Pernod Ricard 2020