It's common enough to see concert series, entertainers and fashion shows sponsored by large spirits brands. But it seems as if lately, the brands are looking to expand their presence in a number of fields more dramatically, through innovative contests and partnerships.
On October 28, Russian Standard Vodka announced the winner of its "Incredible Pursuits" online contest. The nationwide event sought out innovators and entrepreneurs in any field and sought to reward "enterprising talent" with $10,000 and "mentoring sessions" with business leaders, according to an announcement from the company. Entrants into the Shark Tank-esque contest hailed from a range of (largely digital) activities, including a video game developer focused on mobile media platforms, a bikini model/designer, and a guy hoping to create a "global campus communication platform" (wasn't that called The Face Book?).
The winner of the contest, Amanda Curtis, is the CEO and co-founder of 19th Amendment, described as a "fashion kickstarter site," with tools for designers to showcase their work, receive feedback and sell their finished product (so, perhaps more Etsy than Kickstarter?). Among other elements of the site, the company works to promote a positive image, using models of diverse body types, and eschewing Photoshopped images. "Winning this competition reinforces my belief that passion and dedication to a craft are key ingredients in delivering something that is truly incredible," said Curtis in a statement from Russian Standard.
The Glenlivet Whisky, a single malt out of Speyside, Scotland, recently partnered with Brooklyn-based perfumists D.S. & Durga to craft "Spirit of the Glen," inspired by the whisky and the region from which it's derived. At a launch event at The Lamb's Club New York, guests were treated to a brief history of The Glenlivet and invited to sample from some of the brand's expressions. The stylish young couple behind D.S. & Durga explained their inspirations derived from the wide open Scottish countryside, and the oak, fruit and vanilla notes found in the whisky. Many of their existing scents bear unusual context-driven names as "Cowboy Grass," "Mississippi Medicine" and "Siberian Snow," so imagining the heather-drenched moors of Speyside in a bottle seems right up their alley. Since we've more than once applied whisky as cologne, and since the history of perfume and alcohol both involve similar tales of infusion and distillation, the collaboration makes sense.
Bombay Sapphire continues its ongoing foray into filmmaking with the second Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series, the goal being to find rising stars by offering up a short story outline, to be interpreted by aspiring filmmakers. On October 25, screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher ("Precious") announced four finalists, their films having had been selected by a panel of judges that included actor Adrien Brody and screenwriter Lucy Mulloy. Competitors entered short films based on Fletcher's script outline. Entries were shortlisted to nine, and four of five finalists were selected by the judges. The winners—London-based writers Anthony Khaseria and Chris Cornwell, Spanish bookseller and comedian Maite Fernandez, and NYC film student Kiara Jones—will have the opportunity to produce and direct their own films, to debut in 2014. A fifth winner of the contest will be selected by the public via Facebook. Enter your vote by November 14, 2013 and you'll have the chance to win a trip for two to New York City for a screening of the winning films.
Thirsty for more? Check out National Spirits Examiner or NY Drinks Examiner.
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FTC Disclaimer: The author sometimes receives product samples for review, which carry no cash value and cannot be re-sold, and sometimes attends press events such as lunches or cocktail parties, designed to promote a given product. The author is not paid by any alcohol manufacturer, retailer or distributor, or provided compensation apart from revenue from an assigning publishing company for editorial publication. Opinions are the author's own. By the way, you should be 21 or older to read this page. Author received no comps for this article, so he will go on dabbing a little whisky behind his ears.