Personally I’m a Friend of Laphroaig and Ardbeg Committee member. Of these two I find that Laphroaig are doing by far the best job, sending occasional newsletters with information, a Christmas greeting, not to mention a birthday e-card with an offer of discount on my birthday. (I know it’s pure marketing and sent out automatically, but it took me by surprise and I was genuinely happy, that they “remembered” me.)
In contrast, Ardbeg started out very nicely with a little welcome package and a few marketing messages since, but for the past many months; nothing. It irks me a little that I have to read about new bottlings elsewhere, I would kinda expect to receive some information from Ardbeg when they had something new for me to spend my money on.
What are your experiences?
I am a member of the following "societies":
Friends Of The Classic Malts
Friends Of Laphroaig
Glenmorangie Kindred Spirits
Isle Of Jura Club
I agree that Ardbeg started out with a riot. Over the first 1-2 years I received lots of promotional stuff and offers to buy exclusive bottlings and different invitations. But for the last two years I think I have received in total 2-3 letters from the Committee. I don't know whether this is due to lack of time or interest from the Ardbeg Committee Centre. It's really frustrating though. First they spoil you with newsletters etc. and then they fall asleep and forget you completely.
Glenmorangie sends out a newsletter once in awhile. Not too often and in comparison with Ardbeg or Laphroaig no special stuff for members.
Aberlour is pretty good. Plenty of information and regularly. Special invitations to Aberlour Dinners and tastings, Competitions etc.
From Scapa Crew I received a Certificate and so far (it's still a rather new Society) a couple of newsletters.
Isle Of Jura - So far only a couple of newsletters and the chance to win bottlings if you participate in their competitions.
Friends Of The Classic Malts - They, too started out with fantastic newsletters, invitations and the possibility to buy exclusive stuff for members only. But the last 2-3 years they have become a "Silent Still" too, just like Ardbeg.
It makes you wonder if they still exist!! They used to send mail regularly from each and every distillery, one at a time.
Laphroaig is the one to celebrate. They seem to "remember" you by sending out Distillery News, Christmas cards and Happy Birthday notifications. You also get the chance to buy special bottlings at a fair price and for members only. I came over a special 11 year old Laphroaig bottling this way. Exclusive to Friends Of Laphroaig to commemorate its 10th Anniversary and limited to only 750 signed (by Robin Shields) bottles. Now, that's classy!!! . Regularly you get the chance to buy limited bottlings like this.
I think many of the giants try to save money by reducing their postage fees and printing costs but that shouldn't keep them from sending you regular newsletters by E-mail.
I hope they read this and start spoiling us again...
Both Laphroaig and Aberlour have ALWAYS answered my emails, Aberlour regarding issues about product and Laphroaig was absolutely top flight when I bought a faked 30 year old off ebay (they gave me and all the other victims replacement 30's even though Laphroaig had nothing to do with the sale.)
I even met up with the fellow in charge of anti counterfeiting and he drove me to a meeting where I swore out a complaint against the seller. In any case this doesn't relate to the website directly except I initiated contact through the website.
When I visited Laphroaig last October I saw the patch of field where members place their flags. It must have been knee-deep with water. They have fun with it and offer rain boots for those who want to plant a flag during the watery times. They seemed to take pride in their members and in the little flag field.
Congrats on Gold Member status, Jan!
As far as the societies...I'm a member of many of them, and would have to rank Laphroaig as the most communicative, followed by Aberlour, Dalmore, and Jura. As far as the US distilleries go, Maker's Mark's Ambassadors program is the best of the bunch...with regular e-mails and the occasional goodie in the mail.
Now it is all electronic, but I suppose it is unrealistic to expect them to offer the same service for so many members. I suspect that all membership schemes start out with high ideals but soon get swamped by the numbers.
The 15yo, which I initially thought a little feeble is the one that grew on me.
I don't often speak of this as it would appear I'm very much out on a limb both with friends at home and friends on the forum
bamber wrote:Maybe I'll pick up another bottle of the 15yo when it is on special offer at the supermarket again.
Wahhhh, :cry: not fair!
I am pleased to be a FoL (Plot No: 258087) and someday hope to visit my piece of the land and collect my rent. Too bad it doesn't accrue from year to year. I too appreciate the fact that Laphroaig sends out updates by email. M.P.
Muskrat Portage wrote:...and someday hope to visit my piece of the land and collect my rent.
Yes me too, I plan to build a house there some day
Interesting feedback, all. Seems Laphroaig is just doing an outstanding job of it.
The FOL is by far better as it feels a more personal (birthday cards..) and more informative (newsletters).
Hopefully I will be able to stake my claim on my piece of Islay in the near future.
I'm actually a member of all of the groups listed in the poll, with the exception of Balvenie
It's hard to really fault or complain about these groups, given that there's no financial outlay on our part. If we paid joining fees or subscriptions, then you could understand, but since its free to sign on to these, we should be grateful for whatever info, newsletters and the occasional offer we get in return.
Notwithstanding that, I voted Laphroaig, and I agree with most of the other comments....they do seem to go the extra mile.
I could have sworn I'd joined the FOL at some point, but they had no record of it when I visited, and I haven't received any of the mentioned goodies, so I guess I was dreaming. I am an Ardbeg Committee member and a Friend of the Classic Malts. Get the odd mailing from them each now and then. No vote, I don't feel strongly about it, but I think I'd better take another shot at Laphroaig at some point.
Regarding Laphroaig, has anyone heard any more on this:
As a result, this year's festival offering will be a special 1994 distillery bottling at full cask strength (non chill filtered of course). The good news for those of you who cannot come to the island is that we will put aside some of these bottles so that you can buy them online. I will give you more details when we have bottled the nectar!
I recieved this in an email a while back, and I was wondering whatever happend to the offer.
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