With the Blue Man

The Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ambassador is Jonathan Driver.

Blue Label. Nice job.

Met up with him when he hit town recently – he was around to launch the brand new Blue Label bottle. He’s a travelling man, on da road for most of the year.

Jonathan sure loves his job. His enthusiasm when talking about his job and product is real obvious.

Can u blame him?

The man enjoying his product

He introduces the new bottle, saying that “the Blue Label bottle aesthetics is definitely younger. It would fit in nicely at a nightclub, it would fit in a restaurant.”
I was a fan of the previous bottle; classic style. But the new bottle? Refreshing, trendy and classy at the same time. A beautiful piece, so it’s time I upgrade mine!

Ta daa!

Although Jonathan himself represents the Blue Label, it’s not a drink he consumes daily. “I do enjoy Tanqueray and tonic.” He also enjoys Black Label over ice. And a cup of tea!

Amazingly, he’s a qualified and certified sake brewer, after having spent some years in Japan. “Part of the training included spending a week brewing sake during winter in a temple in the mountains!” Obviously he’s a big sake fan, adding that he’s amazed by the sophistication of sake.

Jonathan showing us the origins of Scotch on his pimped map

He’s been on the job now with Johnnie Walker for 18 years. “These days, I’ve become more than a travelling showman, I also help develop the liquid, and work with the master blender.”

Envious? Good.


Dewar’s 12 Years gets a makeover

The Dewar’s 12 Years Old Scotch is one i always enjoy drinking. Good-tasting stuff. Well-balanced, lively, clean easy-drinking whisky. I remember we (+ the cousins n uncles) polished 20 bottles of this before my brother’s wedding-lunch, at like 11am.

Insanity? Nope. Biasa.

The 12 is not seen very often here, but i feel it’s got potential to do better.

The White. Classic

In fact, the standard Dewar’s, the White Label, is decent stuff as well (with over 100 awards). Can be enjoyed with water. The White is also the number one-selling Scotch in the US. (The top-selling whiskies featured here before).

In the ‘Fields (Brickfields), its only 70 bucks a litre. I usually keep one handy in my room.


It’s come a good way since John Dewar’s small wine and spirits store in 1846 in Perth. But it was his son Tommy that travelled the world by sea to market it. Like he said way back then – “If you don’t advertise, you fossilize.” He created the first alcohol cinema ad – in 1898!


Anyway, Dewar’s of Aberfeldy decided to give its bottles a new, contemporary look. The event was cool – at the Turf Club in Sg Besi.


My first visit there. Its huge. It happened in the corporate box overlooking the track. Fat cat, with it’s own bar n shit.


My brunch

After some bubbly, we got down to the real stuff. I enjoyed mine with water & ice. Sometimes soda.

The new design incorporates a wave in the glass, symbolizing the well-rounded whiskies that Dewar’s creates.


There are 40 whiskies from all over Scotland that go into each bottle of Dewar’s. And the unique feature is that although the whiskies that go into the blend are already aged, the blend is then aged again in oak casks, before being bottled.

Makes the drink smoother, creamier, with a lingering finish. It’s called double-aged, obviously. Dewar’s has been doing this for over 100 years.


The main flavour found in Dewar’s is honey, which comes from Dewar’s own distillery, the Aberfeldy (which is also sold as a single malt).

The current master blender is a chick! That’s a first!

Full gallop

Made bets on the race. Win some, lose some

Party warmin up

This is where we bet

This where the cheap seats bet

The door gift? The best gift at such events. My very own Dewar’s 12 Years. The new design of course.

It’s lookin at me right now…


Brain damage: 7/10



Carlsberg brand refreshes

There was a worldwide event last week that was kinda held simultaneously in many countries – the global relaunch of the Carlsberg lager brand, on April 6, 2011, after a two-year process.

Slightly changed logo

To relaunch an established brand is a major and uncommon step. The Carlsberg Group saw it necessary to reposition and elevate their image. The all-malt lager’s sales was said to not always measure up to its brand recognition.

It felt the brand is undervalued, and there’s a new, standardized tagline now in all 140 markets (except Sweden) – “That calls for a Carlsberg.”

Out goes “Probably the best beer in the world.” This is the first global marketing campaign by a brewer.

Not sure how a global, uniform look and image will pan out if it’s not localized for cultural variances. Surprisingly, Carlsberg lager accounts for only 10% of Carlsberg group’s sales, with most sales coming from local brews that it owns.

However, this is not the case in Malaysia as there’re very few local beers. In most countries, local brands dominate, like Laos, where Beer Lao holds a 99% share!

Global brewers face several marketing issues, the main one being their same beer brand having different images in different countries.

Simpler & vertical

The relaunch in Malaysia took place at Carlsberg Brewery, Shah Alam. The visual identity has only been slightly altered. No change in the Carlsberg wordmark itself, but the logo (crown) now has an embossed look.

The small bottle and newish cans are maintained, the large bottle is significantly changed, following the more modern look of the small bottle.

The delivery trucks have a new look too

It comes at a good time for Carlsberg Malaysia, whose local revenue growth here has not been as impressive as competitor Guinness Anchor Bhd, GAB.

I guess the brewery rivalry i posted about’s gonna get more interesting.

No doubt, Carlsberg’s trying to look and feel younger and more relevant. With the number of beer brands and styles out there, consumers are more exposed and have many choices. And alcohol consumers now are gettin more adventurous, and choosy as well.

Also the staple income from being one of the ‘default’ beers at pubs and bars is not guaranteed anymore. Thus, the need for stronger branding. However, this needs to be balanced for the small town drinkers, coffee-shop dudes, and JB-type hill-billies, who are a significant market.

Chicks at Carlsberg's lounge. It's a real cool spot. O yea, that's the new large bottle

Will the tagline catch? Sounds kinda long.

This also means the end of Carlsberg’s “Nice One” campaign. Carlsberg Malaysia’s MD Soren Ravn says “This is the most ambitious re-launch in the Carlsberg Group history. We have high expectations on the outcome.”

Soren of Carlsberg Malaysia

“We have a strong belief that the brand has the potential to grow to a lot more than what it is today.”

Carlsberg global, the fourth largest brewer in the world, is pretty ambitious – it plans to double revenue within 4 years. I hope its not done primarily via ‘premiumization’.

I wish them all d best.


Tiger Beer gets a makeover

Spotted what looks like a radical change in the look of Tiger.

The new & the old

The almost all-blue can is now  mix of blue and silver. The gold is gone. Officially the can is called Tiger Platinum.

Definitely less flashy now, but i feel it looks a lil more stylish. Blue and silver has always been a good mix for me. The ZXR 750 i used to ride had that skin.

The medals in the front are clearer n larger, and dont look like gold coins anymore. The brand’s ‘badge’ effect on the front of the previous can has been watered down.

Thankfully the tiger chillin beneath the coconut tree remains the same.

Tiger is doing real well, as evidenced in this report.

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