Northern Ireland’s unique Dram in a Can Irish Whiskey in Mid East success

Dram in a Can from Two Stacks Whiskey in Northern Ireland is among 12 high-class finalists named for The QDF Factor, an extraordinary industry competition to encourage innovation and creativity among brands which will offer the winner a six-month listing at Qatar Duty Free’s award-winning retail offer at Hamad International Airport in Doha.

The winner will also win a free six-month US$50,000 multi-media advertising campaign with The Moodie Davitt Report, an influential business to business publication and digital information channel with a global readership.

Dram in Can by Two Stacks was selected by the expert judges as “a young company, determined to lead the new renaissance revival of Irish whiskey. Dram in a Can is an intriguingly disruptive new product”. Launched in the US in March, Dram in a Can is the first Irish whiskey in a can. It uses 86-proof whiskey produced by Killowen Distillery in the picturesque Mourne Mountains near Newry in county Down. The whiskey is described as “a complex blend of light and dark grain, pot still whiskey, and peated malt”.

The competition is a joint initiative between Qatar Duty Free and The Moodie Davitt Report, which attracted a rich and diverse array of entries, saw the short-list was announced at the Virtual Travel Retail Expo, in advance of a ceremony on Friday that will reveal the ultimate winner.

Qatar Duty Free vice president Operations Thabet Musleh and The Moodie Davitt founder and chairman Martin Moodie announced the 12 exceptional brands and concepts during the final Knowledge Hub session at the Virtual Expo.

Shane McCarthy, managing director of Two Stacks, says: “We are excited to have made the shortlist with Dram in a Can in such a prestigious competition in the Middle East, highlighting innovation and creativity in the international travel retail space. It will help to increase awareness of the unique product and our range of whiskeys,” he adds.

Other listed products include premium tea, a single malt Scotch whiskey, gin, skincare, Belgian premium chocolate, fine wines

Commenting, Martin Moodie said that he and Thabet Musleh were delighted with the number and quality of The QDF Factor entrants.

“A common theme,” he added, “was Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), in particular around sustainability and giving back to society and we were very encouraged by that.

“Our final line-up stood out by the way they specifically addressed the judging criteria, tailored their entries to the needs of Qatar Duty Free, and for their overall quality, point of difference and commercial viability in what is a unique travel retail location.”

The Moodie Davitt Report has introduced complementary advertising and editorial exposure for every nominee, another important boost for Dram in a Can.

Thabet Musleh also noted the great number of entries across a range of categories. “Once again we have been really impressed with the quality and innovation of all the concepts that have been submitted,” he said.

“This year the entries have reflected the increased focus in travel retail on CSR at the moment with many products being vegan, sustainably sourced or supporting charitable causes and the environment. We had a very tough time shortlisting our finalists.”

The QDF Factor was first hosted in 2020 at the Virtual Travel Retail Expo. It is open to all brands, both within and outside the travel retail channel.

The entrants were assessed on a series of qualitative criteria, including:

  • Innovation: What does this product or concept offer that is unique, stands out from its competitors, and creates a talking point for retailer and consumer alike? What is its USP?
  • CSR: What additional social credentials does the product offer?
  • Presentation: What is compelling about the packaging? What makes it stand out on shelf? What consideration has been given to people and the planet?
  • Commercial viability: Who the product is targeted at? What makes it a winner? What is the pricing policy and (going forward) marketing approach?
  • Overall quality: Information about the R&D that went into the product, the quality of its ingredients/components.