Interview: How The Macallan Markets to Millennials

What do Millennials know about scotch?

Probably that their dad and grandfather drink it. But do they know the difference between a single malt and a blend? Islay versus a Speyside? Are all scotches smoky? Do they all come from Scotland?

These may be simple questions for seasoned scotch drinkers. But Millennials have just now gotten into whiskey. After they drink their way through bourbon, and maybe rye, they need a new taste.

Enter scotch. Which is why The Macallan has ramped up marketing for Millennials. The time seems right for this generation to hop into scotch.

We recently spoke with The Macallan Brand Manager Samantha Leotta (pictured atop) about how this nearly 200-year-old scotch brand is connecting with some of the world’s youngest legal-age drinkers:

BD: How do you market scotch to Millennials?

image001SL: We have found that there is a really big demand among Millennials for whiskey knowledge. It’s a social currency. So we decided that the best way to reach Millennials was with this knowledge, and on a medium that they are already consuming. And that is Instagram. (View The Macallan’s Instagram here.)

Instagram is such a social medium. And it’s visual and quick. Millennials can be so jaded towards traditional marketing. On social media, they can learn about our brand on their own terms. And it allows for many different creative kinds of content, including videos, pictures, and links.

BD: What has worked well?

SL: We launched a video series about our rare-cask bottles. We created video profiles explaining each of the flavors, so that people can learn more about them. We’ve also done a lot of gifs. Video content has garnered some of the highest customer engagement.

We’ve also tried to be part of the social conversation. We’ve had The Macallan comment on the Oscars, Star Wars, the World Series. It’s all about bringing a unique point of view to that conversation. We’ve also had success including links to gift guides around the holidays.

BD: Craft spirits like The Macallan play into the interest Millennials have for knowing the backgrounds of whatever they consume.

SL: For sure. There is a big trend right now for meaningful luxury. People want to connect with a brand and learn about its substance, about what makes it meaningful.

The Macallan has a unique story. For example, our wood-management is unparalleled in the world. And our whiskeys are 100% natural color, so that the only color comes from the wood. Millennials are also interested in our ancestral home [the Easter Elchies House] which we put on our bottles.

BD: What is the general understanding of scotch?

SL: It’s funny. Even people who call themselves whiskey connoisseurs can lack basic knowledge. For instance, a lot of people are surprised to hear that whiskey is completely clear before it goes into a cask.

So we did a whole series with our brand ambassadors, across all our social media, called “Did You Know?” People wrote in with their questions and we’d reply in a timely fashion. It was great engagement.

BD: What’s the goal with social-media marketing for The Macallan?

SL: Everything we do across all our social-media initiatives is all about the experience. Millennials want to learn about scotch and we want to bring it into their every-day lives.

We show them how you taste it, drink it, pair food with it, and how you entertain with it. It’s not about telling them how we’re ‘the best’, or screaming at them that they should buy our brand. No. We want to bring them into the conversation, be ingrained into their every-day lives, and show them how to live The Macallan lifestyle.

Kyle Swartz is the associate editor of Beverage Dynamics Magazine. Reach him at



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here