When Drink and Drive Does Work
At this weekend's Foster's British Grand Prix, the screeching became more squelching, for the spectators at least, and for those of us who had been kindly invited by William Grant & Sons (whose Grant's brand sponsors the Jaguar team) to watch the event, it gave us time to contemplate the somewhat unfair amount of opprobrium levelled against drink companies over the driving laws and Formula One sponsorship.
Scotch and hard liquor producers are the prime targets. Whisky is demonised as the lethal juice, easily attracting the drinker and sending him/her into a crazed frenzy beyond reason and logic. Young drinkers are the weakest and sexy F1 is the ultimate honey-pot.
Ironically, champagne and beer do not receive the same amounts of abuse. Well, the argument goes, drivers only throw the champagne over one another, they never actually drink it. And a nice, chilled bottle of beer is ideal for those balmy afternoons in front of the telly or on the terraces.
Glamour and high-octane lifestyles are synonymous with Grand Prix racing but when city boy Giles scores a five figure bonus, jumps into his Porsche Boxster, speeds off and wraps himself round a lamp-post at 150mph, it won't be a fine 30 year-old Scotch on his breath. More than likely he would have spent the afternoon quaffing champagne, a crate of premium lagers and a pitcher of "The Shambles" (vodka/red bull to the uninitiated).
William Grants' involvement in Grand Prix is not solely about selling bottles of Scotch whisky. The company decided to support the Stewart team last season because it saw a chance to help an exciting Scottish team, very much the underdogs, push back the boundaries in a major global sport. "We were in fact approached by Jackie Stewart to become a part of the team. We saw a great deal of synergy between Stewart and Grant's Grand Prix and an ideal opportunity to add excitement and dynamism to Grant's while associating the brand with another international, Scottish success story," said Heather Graham, William Grant's international marketing director.
Though now under the Jaguar badge, Jackie, and his son Paul, are quintessentially Scottish as William Wallace reciting Burns astride an Aberdeen Angus. It would seem ridiculous if a Scotch producer were not in some way linked to their team.
Televisions, Playstation consoles, and even satellites are becoming standard accessories in the domestic hatchback but only when the latest Ford or Nissan is equipped with a mahogany drinks cabinet and set of crystal tumblers should the real questions be asked.
Elliot Lane, Managing Editor, just-drinks.com
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