Aftermath - when the boys came home

Saturday 11 June 2011

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from Manchester Evening News 2 August 2002

Tommies' tipple back in vogueThe Tommies' tipple is back in vogue

A MARKETING offensive has reinforced the spirit of a liqueur first savoured by Lancashire soldiers during the First World War.

Benedictine, favourite tipple of the East Lancashire Regiment, has enjoyed a 50 per cent sales boost in the region following a campaign by Manchesterís MC2 marketing agency. Since appointment last September, MC2 has undertaken a number of activities including the sponsorship of the annual Burnley Bonfire, sampling at golf clubs throughout Lancashire, supporting the Accrington Fun Day with the Benedictine Balloon Race and attending the Northern Food, Drink & Wine Show in Manchester.

The marketing communications agency even placed a "First World War Soldier" on the X43 bus running from Manchester City Centre through to the Benedictine heartland of Burnley, Colne and Nelson, to sample a traditional "Bene 'n' hot" ó Benedictine mixed with hot water.

When the Benedictine brand owner visited the region from Fecamp in France in April, the MC2 team secured him a live interview on Radio Lancashire as well as a prime slot for Benedictine on BBC North West, which appeared on the lunchtime,teatime and night-time news.

And just 10 months into MC2ís "grass roots" PR campaign, drinks industry figures reveal a marked rise in consumption.

Mike Perls, managing director of MC2, said: "Because of its historic connection with the region, more Benedictine is drunk in East Lancashire than anywhere else in the country outside London.

"In fact, the Burnley Minersí Clubsells more Benedictine than any other outlet in the world. This is such a fantastic achievement for us as it has been done without any other marketing activity."

Jonathan Kirkham, brand manager at Benedictine, said: "MC2 has executed a fantastic PR campaign, adding incremental value and volume to the Benedictine brand.

"I have never encountered such a 'hands-on', enthusiastic agency who understands what we are trying to achieve and consistently strives to go the extra mile.

"Such is the commitment, drive and creativity of MC2, we were left with no choice but to involve them in the future strategy plans for our brand. A real 'team' who do it all because they enjoy it."

Benedictine liqueur has strong connections with the region dating back to World War I. The East Lancashire 11th Bn was based in Fecamp in Normandy, where Benedictine is produced, during the winter of 1918-19. It was here that the British soldiers first developed a taste for Benedictine, drinking the liqueur mixed with hot water.

This favourite drink, which was rumoured to have healing effects for various illnesses, soon became known affectionately as a "Bene 'n' Hot".

The soldiers discovered that a "Bene 'n' Hot" was just as effective at warding off the chill of the Lancashire winters back home and they demanded that Benedictine be provided for their local taverns.

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