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In the Welsh Wind is a small distillery in West Wales. It is a wonderful example of the way the internet can enable hyperlocal values with global reach. Like the fashion envisionment, the use of digital technology is quite limited, mostly simple web delivery. However, the way the distillery operates embodies aspects of digital thinking.
At its heart Welsh Wind is a local company deliberately sourcing materials from Wales including the barley used in its whisky and establishing the first malting house in Wales in a hundred years. There are many such craft producers, which often make the majority of their sales through local shops and craft markets. However, Welsh Winds have embraced patterns of marketing and production which are very much 21st century.
Like many companies, it has a strong web presence, but crucially it makes use of membership models that have a Kickstarter-like feel, as does its pre-selling of small casks of a new Whisky line. Many of the big brand distilleries have such membership clubs and at times you have been able to have your own square foot of Islay peatland. However, doing this for small brands with personal stories is an internet-age phenomenon.
Personalisation – The growth of gin sales globally has been consistent over a number of years, crucially with double digit growth in premium products. Many manufacturers have addressed this by producing many different styles in order to meet the collector instinct. However Welsh Wind have gone a stage further allowing purchasers to create a totally individual gin through a simple web interface.
Platform – As well as allowing customers to create custom gins, Welsh Wind have a service to help others create their own custom gin brands. Welsh Wind provide consultancy and production while the third-party company can design its own special blends and sell these under their own label. On the Welsh Wind website they showcase “Welsh Sisters“, two sisters who created their own gin brand using the service of Wales Wind. Welsh Sisters is also a very personal brand based on the sisters’ own family story and highlighting iconic women of Wales.
In both these ways In the Welsh Wind embody long-tail thinking, a critical feature of Web2.0. Old economy mass production focuses on a small humber of high volume products. Instead Welsh Wind enables a larger number of lower volume products.