We’ve been fortunate to be the retained PR agency for Westward Whiskey – America’s highest rated Single Malt Whiskey – for over two years now.

With such an innovative brand, there is never a lack of news to share, and the last few months have seen us return to in-person events after two years of virtual activations.

Recently we worked with the Westward team to announce that the Westward Whiskey Cask Strength was coming to Australia, and as it had recently won a double gold award at the San Francisco Spirits Competition, it was a significant PR launch for our market. As such, we were tasked with creating an intimate yet unforgettable event that garnered not only attendance from top tier media and influencers, but generated key coverage.

To achieve this, we partnered with the award-winning nel. restaurant in Sydney’s CBD to create a series of cocktails that accentuated the Westward Whiskey flavour profile, as well as crafting a bespoke menu to pair perfectly with the range.

As the Distilling team is based in Portland (Oregon) we held a short, guided tasting during the event, where attendees sampled the Cask Strength for the first time, and asked questions about the release, process, and brand story in general.

The event proved to be a huge success, with zero dropouts on the night (even though it was pouring rain!) and 22 people in attendance. Guests included the likes of Man of Many, Gourmet Traveller, Concrete Playground, D’Marge as well as key whisky influencers such as The Whisky List, Mr Whiskyfy, and Ross Johnson. Since the event, over 20 articles have been published, and another shipment of the product has been expedited due to the high demand generated.

After events, it’s important that public relations agencies sit down and talk through key learnings, to make sure the next PR event is even better. A few lessons from this event in particular – in case they help you and your brand with any activations or events coming up – are:

  • For launches of a premium product or brand, make sure you partner with a venue that reflects this. Working with nel. was incredible, as their whole team are absolute professionals and our PR team could focus on speaking with the attendees on the night, knowing the service side was completely under control.
  • No matter where in the world your spokesperson is, it’s always best for media and influencers to hear about the brand from a Founder, Owner, or key spokesperson. While PR agencies do a great job at communicating brand stories, no one knows the brand or product better than the people who created it in the first place. Doing this (event though it was virtually) added a special sentiment to the event, with attendees honoured they were able to hear directly from the Co-Founder.
  • Be very clear on who you want to attend the event, and why. For events it can be very easy to fill seats, however for intimate events, it’s crucial to be extremely targeted and know that every person who is there serves a purpose, and is genuinely there to connect with the brand and product. Events aren’t cheap, so making every cent count, goes a long way!

Straight off the back of the Cask Strength launch, Master Distiller of Westward Whiskey – Miles Munroe – visited Australia for the first time since the pandemic for Whisk(E)y On The Rocks. Westward partnered with renowned whiskey venue The Doss House to put on a series of intimate masterclasses presented by Miles, and this also acted as  the launch of their limited-edition Westward American Single Malt Belgian Ardennes.

While time consuming, events are undoubtedly one of the best ways to engage with media, influencers, and consumers – especially for product launches or new releases. In fact, off the back of these events, Westward has had their strongest media push to date, garnering 35 live articles in six weeks!

For other examples of how we execute successful PR events at Agent99, click here.

If you’re interested in seeing how a PR event could elevate your brand, get in touch with us today: https://agent99pr.com/contact/

Agent Nic