American Marketer


Krug Champagne redefines tasting notes with orchestra event

March 26, 2014


French Champagne house Krug is celebrating its annual Grande Cuvée blend with a live tasting event in London that marries the sound of Champagne bubbles and live orchestra music.

During April 7-11, Champagne and music lovers can join Krug in unveiling its latest recreation of its Grand Cuvée while enjoying the music of London’s Philharmonia Orchestra and tasting the 2014 vintage at The Loading Bay in Shoreditch, London. Creating interesting, culturally-relevant tasting events allows a brand to stay top of mind among new consumers.

“The sounds of Champagne and the sounds of an orchestra certainly complement each other,” said Al Ries, founder and chairman of Ries & Ries, a Roswell, GA-based marketing strategy consultancy. “Furthermore, both Champagne and classical music are enjoyed particularly by an upscale audience.

"This is positioning by association,” he said. “In other words, classical music lovers are mostly an upscale audience as is the target market for Champagne.”

Mr. Ries is not affiliated with Krug, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Krug did not respond by press deadline.

Bubbling sounds

Krug’s event will highlight the “parallels between conducting a symphony orchestra and composing Krug Grande Cuvée.” A promotional Facebook post includes a link for consumers to purchase tickets and find out more information about the event.

Krug's Grand Cuvée celebration Facebook post

Like the many members making up the various sections of an orchestra, Krug’s Grand Cuvée Champagne blend is made from 120 different wines. The wines are selected by Krug’s tasting committee in Reims, France.

During the four-day event, the London Philharmonia Orchestra will be performing at a Krug event for the first time. Albeit digitally, the Orchestra will play “The Rite of Spring” to celebrate this year’s Grand Cuvée blend of Krug Champagne.

Grande Cuvée slide on Krug's Web site

Once redirected to the Krug Web site, consumers can select between two ticket options. The first is $99 and includes two glasses of Krug Grande Cuvée, or half a bottle, and an hour and a half of music or for $330 the guest can receive the lower ticket option’s perks as well as full bottle of Krug Grand Cuvée delivered to the person’s home.

From here, the consumer can briefly discover more about the Krug Celebration on a dedicated section of the Champagne house’s Web site.

For example, the Web site introduces the consumer to Krug cellar master Eric Lebel and Finnish conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen, who is the acting conductor of the London Philharmonia Orchestra and behind the digital installation.

Other slides give a glimpse inside the digital installation, the different wines involved in creating Grande Cuvée and a reminder of when the event’s dates are. Below, the consumer can view a photograph of the London Philharmonia Orchestra involved with the event.

The London Philharmonia Orchestra

Krug has highlighted the sounds of Champagne before.

For instance, Krug Champagne enhanced the sensory experience of its enthusiasts with a shell-shaped listening device designed to amplify the sounds of the spirits’ bubbles to create a new sensation for drinkers.

To introduce the Krug Shell, envisioned by French designer Ionna Vautrin, the Champagne brand developed a Krug Sounds portion of its Web site that accompanies enthusiasts on a unique experience as they learn the concepts behind Ms. Vautrin’s design. Krug’s digital explanation of the Krug Shell will help consumers better understand the thought process and inspiration of the Krug Sounds campaign when using the listening device at home (see story).

Taste for tat
To cater to a specific demographic, spirits brands must create relevant tasting events that introduce the brand's lifestyle and products in a memorable way.

For example, Scottish whiskey distiller The Macallan aimed to capture the attention of up-and-coming technology entrepreneurs at the interactive aspect of Austin, TX’s South by Southwest festival March 7-11.

The Macallan held both physical tasting events and social events over the weekend portion of South by Southwest Interactive where many young upstarts networked and attended seminars and special events. Although SXSWi’s target demographic may not be seen as the traditional high-end whiskey drinker, The Macallan may spark a connection that grows as attendees rise in their careers (see story).

Although Krug’s orchestra event may not create many new consumers, it is likely to increase awareness.

“It will build some awareness, but probably not enough to justify the costs involved,” Mr. Ries said. “But the real benefit is the possible publicity the brand will generate by its association with the orchestra.”

Final Take
Jen King, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York