The whisky world has adapted to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic in several ways, many of them virtual. Distilleries are offering virtual tours, and Scotland’s Islay Festival, though canceled IRL, nevertheless went on via digital platforms. Now, Jim Beam is offering whiskey lovers a way to virtually toast a friend through augmented reality (AR). Buy them a bottle of Jim Beam White Label ($18), and you can personalize an AR message for them to discover.
The AR option can be enabled through the Jim Beam Augmented Reality app, which is available for free on the app store for both iOS and Android devices. The pre-set message will come to life when the bottle’s recipient scans their phone over the label. While this AR experience works best for the 750 ml and 1.75 liter White Label, it works on any White Label bottle, including the new Jim Beam White Label 225th Anniversary bottle.
A MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE
“As we wait for the hospitality industry to reopen, what better way for our fans to celebrate special moments—like a birthday or graduation—with their friends and family than by adding their names and messages to our iconic Jim Beam bottle, sending a literal ‘message in a bottle?’” says Matt Plumb, senior director of marketing at Jim Beam North America. He adds that as far as they know at Jim Beam, this is the first time a spirits brand has utilized AR technology for customizable packaging, though wine brands like 19 Crimes and The Walking Dead wine have been doing it for a few years.
Speaking of waiting for the hospitality industry to reopen, Jim Beam is donating $5 for every custom AR message sent to Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation (RWCF) Relief Fund, with a maximum donation of $50,000. “We chose our friends at RWCF because they do such incredible work by providing financial aid and other resources to workers impacted by bar and restaurant closures during this pandemic,” Plumb says.
This new technology offers an alternative to the fancy wrapping paper you may otherwise spring for when gifting a bottle, and it provides a new way to bond with loved ones while social distancing—say, for Father’s Day, which is a few weeks away.