Whisky Brand Home Retail Environments.

The task

For Diageo, whisky distillery experiences had been posing a problem. From the Four Corners of Scotland distilleries (Cardhu, Glenkinchie, Clynelish and Caol Ila), to independent malts Singleton and Talisker, these spaces were underutilised and uninspired, becoming detached from the vibrant directions their brands were moving in. CircleSquare were called in to help bridge the gap between these brands, and how they manifested within their brand homes.


Technical design




Circle Square brand device

For the Four Corners, we were able to adapt the brand concepts for each location. Sourcing beautiful local materials, we echoed the brand’s identity and flavour notes, as well as the distillery’s surroundings. Cardhu’s bright red and white washed oak represents the red flag its nationalist founder would wave to warn when the English were coming, whilst Glenkinchie’s brand home made use of modern, rustic elements. From dark, charred wood mirroring Caol Ila’s concentrated smokiness to Clynelish’s locally-sourced timber reflecting the whisky’s local ingredients, these spaces were carefully designed to honour each unique identity.

Singleton’s distillery in the heart of the Black Isle was similarly designed to honour its brand story, with a focus on creating meaningful memories for its visitors. Working in conjunction with the appointed architect and branding agency, our team brought the 1000sq ft retail space to life, combining traditional hand-crafted natural wood displays with premium stone surfaces to reflect the nature of the surrounding landscape and its impact on the product. Conversely, Talisker’s tagline of ‘Made by the Sea’ was the chief inspiration for the design of their Isle of Skye distillery. The nautical design incorporated dark metalwork with blue and white tiling, and lighter wood and stone elements.

Each brand home benefitted from this revamp of their relationship to the consumer. Rather than merely offering an off the shelf bottle or experiential tour they had just completed, consumers could now buy limited edition malts, merchandise, and even relax in bars and restaurants designed to encourage them to dwell.

With fill-your-own, engraving stations, personalised labels and gift wrap these spaces went from a transactional purchase to an involved and inimitable experience, cementing a unique bond and a memorable connection with the brand for every consumer.

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