Be it through partnerships with other luxury players, art institutions or simply through expressing the essence of a culture, many luxury brands in the food and beverage industry have done their best during the last 12 months to provide their customers with more than just taste.

Although the concept of experience has always been a vital part of the luxury industry, making it worth for customers to spend on high-value goods, its significance and importance in the food & beverage industry seems to have acquired a new and even stronger meaning during and after the pandemic. Customers look for a more spectacular opportunity, unique dishes or limited-availability items.

A strong influence of this need that luxury and high-end customers express can be seen in the ventures taken on by liquor and wine brands over the past 12 months. The number of houses who have embraced and tried to fulfill this demand has indeed grown after 2021, with some incredible examples of how a glass of liquor or champagne is never just that when talking about luxury.

A clear example of a unique and unexpected experience is the Casa Eminente, a pop-up Cuban home recreated in the heart of Paris by the Cuban rum producer Eminente, owned by LVMH. An art space, bar and restaurant which opened at the beginning of last month, customers who want to try the Cuban room will be welcomed in a typical Cuban-styled house leading to the restaurant. Not only will they be able to taste the luxurious rum and dishes, but during weekends they could take part in masterclasses on rum and cocktail making which Eminente has organized in partnership with the Parisian Les Raffineurs.

But brands are addressing customers worldwide: in order to celebrate the launch of its new coffee-inspired limited edition whisky, The Macallan launched in January a pop-up coffee shop, The Macallan Harmony Café, in Los Angeles. The immersive experience is the first place in which customers will be able to taste the Harmony limited collection, a limited annual release series, and is thought to enhance the exclusivity of the launch and the decisiveness of the whisky flavor.

On a different note, the champagne house Krug has developed its own sensory experience, focused on the interaction between their products and melodies. Embedded in the two-star Voyage Samaritaine Restaurant in the 1st arrondissement in Paris, the Krug Studio, as can be understood from the name, looks like a music studio. Here, guests can experience a tasting of the most prestigious cuvées of the house accompanied by perfect acoustics created by the company Devialet.

The clear message that these liquor- and wine-related examples put forward is that, when compared to other types of customers, luxury customers expect more not only from fashion or automotive, but also from drinks and culinary experiences and that high-level brands are ready to face this increasing trend, showcasing unique opportunities for growth in the sector.

Alessandra Cappelletti

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