Text by Katia Ostapets.
Photos by Kareen Mallon.
The Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey launch party started early on Wednesday, Sept.28. Brown-Foreman representatives were excited to introduce their newest creation: the first honey-infused spirit of its kind to launch in Canada.
Outside the event space, called the Andrew Richard Designs Building at 571A Adelaide East, a black carpet, bee-shaped light projection on the outside wall and the very knowledgeable bee keeper, Tibor Szabo, instantly set the mood for the night.
Inside the loft space, guests could find wooden bars, soft yellow lighting, promo models dressed in gold and an excessive amount of Jack Daniel’s (JD) Honey bottles displayed behind the bars. The overall feel was relaxed, but elaborate, with guests mingling busily like honey bees. All invitees were also able to enjoy themselves via a digital screen with a motion-capture camera, that allowed them to kick and play with digital bees.
The night began with a private tasting led by “master taster” Jeff Norman, whose family has been working for JD for generations. He expertly explained how the new liquor is made, mixing JD black label, molasses, and praline and caramel notes.
“We thought what better ingredient to match these sweet notes than honey,” said Norman, when asked about the idea for the new drink was born.
Even though it does taste sweeter than Old No. 7 (a JD staple), servers offered a variety of mixers, including ginger ale and lemonade in order to appeal to the drink’s intended demographic – the fun and flirty female.
The senior vice-president and global managing director at Brown-Forman, Maureen Brekka, said they were looking to make something that “delivered the image of Jack Daniels”, but was “a little bit easier to drink.”
Honey was launched in the U.S. in March 2011, with a big emphasis on digital and social media marketing. In fact, their Facebook page has attracted almost 500,000 fans as of October. Brekka is optimistic that the drink will be flying off the shelves in Canada as much as it has been south of the border.
During the launch party, the venue was full in a blink of an eye, with Toronto’s social butterflies and industry insiders. On one side of the room you may have bumped into the legendary Maclean’s photographer Peter Bregg, who looked dapper in his pin-striped jacket. By the bar, the popular Toronto blogger Casie Stewart was hanging out with her friend and singer Australian Sam (né Sam Leishman). Stewart wore a feminine pink floral dress and black cowboy boots.
Also in attendance were Yvonne Ng, event manager and cultural commissioner of The Society Toronto and the very colourfully dressed Serge Kerbel, creative director of Women of Influence Inc. & Argyle Magazine, who has also worked for the Russian Vogue.
When leaving, guests were treated with a bottle of peach-flavoured grilling sauce and limited edition wooden coasters that appropriately stated “Fry straight. Drink Responsibly.”