UAE. Diageo Global Travel & Middle East (GTME) this morning launched The John Walker in the Middle East in collaboration with DFS at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
The line made its debut at Terminal 3, which opened earlier this year and is dedicated to national carrier Etihad Airways.
The ultra-premium blended Scotch – described as “the pinnacle of the Johnnie Walker marque” is priced at US$3,000 in duty free.
The John Walker makes its Middle East debut at Abu Dhabi International Airport
The three generations of Johnnie Walker Blue (l-r): Blue Label, The John Walker, King George V ([Photo: Tim Rycroft]
DFS Chairman Ed Brennan and Diageo Global Travel & Middle East Managing Director Phil Humphreys
Abu Dhabi International Airport's spectacular new T3 was a suitable launchpad for The John Walker's Middle East debut
DFS's John Hoover: “This product represents all the promise that is travel retail today” [Photo: Tim Rycroft]
Click image to view 'Pride & Passion' – a special edition of The Moodie Report Digital Print Edition dedicated to Abu Dhabi International Airport T3
The first bottle to be offered from the limited-edition production – bottle number six – is being auctioned on behalf of children’s cleft charity The Smile Train (visit www.DFSGalleria.com for details and to table a bid).
The Abu Dhabi launch follows hot on the heels of the global unveiling of The John Walker at Singapore Changi Airport in late September and the North Asia launch with Tasa Meng at Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 2 in Taipei.
Diageo Global Travel & Middle East (GTME) Managing Director Phil Humphreys paid tribute to the work of both Abu Dhabi Airports Company and DFS, noting of DFS: “What we achieved at Changi Airport was pretty darn good. What we have achieved here, and in the days before, has been fantastic.”
He then invited DFS Chairman Ed Brennan to cut the official ribbon marking the launch of The John Walker in the region.
DFS Group Vice President Global Merchandise Manager, Liquor & Tobacco John Hoover complimented Abu Dhabi Airports Company and Diageo GTME. He told the audience: “This product represents all the promise that is travel retail today” before describing the strength of the channel as a launchpad for premium and luxury products.
Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) Vice President of Non-Aeronautical Revenues and Business Development Dan Cappell noted: “One of the objectives ADAC had for our partnership with DFS was to set new standards of retail excellence... we’ve gone a long way down that road.
“For Abu Dhabi to be able to have this fantastic product on an exclusive basis in the Middle East is a real honour. ADAC will be fully supportive of any initiatives that bring such great value for our customers and enhance the overall experience.”
The Moodie View sees Diageo launch The John Walker with DFS at Abu Dhabi
Dan Cappell, Vice President of Non-Aeronautical Revenues and Business Development, Abu Dhabi Airports Company: "The launch is a wonderful honour for Abu Dhabi International Airport to have, in terms of the exclusivity and being able to offer The John Walker to our consumers. But it has also shown the ‘Trinity’ really working together."
The Moodie Report Founder & Publisher Martin Moodie then spoke about the critical importance of all three industry stakeholders partnering in a 'Trinity' spirit of cooperation to grow footfall, penetration and overall spend and to delight the travelling consumer. He also talked about the work of The Smile Train cleft charity, noting that it was dedicated to eliminating the curse of cleft lips and palates among children the world over. Such donations as the one raised by the auction of bottle number six of The John Walker help profoundly transform children's lives, he said.
DFS Chairman Ed Brennan on why differentiation and partnership matter
Commenting on the launch, Ed Brennan told The Moodie Report: “This is very, very important to us. Our customer today is looking for differentiated product – something that is unique and not in the mass channel.
“To have a partnership like this with Diageo and Johnnie Walker and to launch this in the new airport is really important. Today was a great success.”
Diageo GTME Managing Director Phil Humphreys talks Trinity in Abu Dhabi
Dan Cappell told The Moodie Report: “The launch is a wonderful honour for Abu Dhabi to have, in terms of the exclusivity and being able to offer The John Walker to our consumers. But it has also shown the ‘Trinity’ really working together.
“You’ve got the relationship between Diageo and DFS and then in turn with the airport authority where all three parties have come together to add value to the overall launch – not just to The John Walker but to the [Johnnie Walker] F1 campaign that we’ve had in situ for the past month [the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix took place yesterday –Ed].”
We’ll bring you further details and images of this landmark launch soon.
DFS Chairman Ed Brennan cuts the ceremonial ribbon to mark the launch [Photo: Tim Rycroft, Diageo GTME]
(Left to right): Dan Cappell, Vice President of Non-Aeronautical Revenues and Business Development, Abu Dhabi Airports Company; Ed Brennan, Chairman, DFS; Phil Humphreys, Managing Director, Diageo Global Travel & Middle East; James McLean, Head of Retail, Abu Dhabi Airports Company; Craig McKenna, Managing Director South East Asia and the Middle East, DFS; Martin Moodie, Founder & Publisher, The Moodie Report, pictured at today's big launch