Driving through a tree-lined street in the busy Dona Paula area of North Goa, you suddenly come across a beautiful mural in shades of blue and orange on what looks like an iron shed. It’s been around for a little more than a month but is already very popular as a selfie backdrop. The ‘Goa Glitch’, painted by renowned street artist Hanif Kureshi, refers to the shades of the ocean and Goa’s magical sunsets.

The mural is part of premium gin brand Bombay Sapphire’s mission to “Stir Creativity”, a campaign that was launched in 2018 with the aim to promote self-expression and unlock people’s creative potential.

For this mural, the brand collaborated with Serendipity Arts Festival and the Corporation of the City of Panaji. The shed the mural is painted on is a waste sorting centre and hence the collaboration also builds awareness for environmental sustainability.

Collaborations between artists and alcohol companies are common the world over. Premium spirits and champagne houses have always gravitated towards leading artists.

While in the past artists had often been commissioned to do wine labels—Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso designed Château Mouton Rothschild labels—the trend can probably trace its modern origins to a print ad collaboration between pop-art icon Andy Warhol and Absolut Vodka in the mid-1980s. The ad titled the “Absolut Warhol,” was the beginning of an ongoing relationship between the Swedish vodka brand and high-profile artists, including American graffiti prodigy Jean-Michel Basquiat, pop artist Keith Haring and British artist Damien Hirst. Absolut eventually expanded to include collaborations with filmmakers, photographers, and even musicians such as Lady Gaga.

On its part, Bombay Sapphire has globally run the Artisan Series for the past eight years. It is an art competition created by the brand to provide emerging artists with an international platform. The brand has also partnered with well-known artists and creators such as British artist Tracey Emin, English designer Thomas Heatherwick, and British furniture designer Tom Dixon for the Bombay Sapphire Designer Glassware Competition.

As part of its ‘Stir Creativity’ platform in India, the brand has in the past collaborated with No. 3 Clive Road—a luxury Indian brand specialising in exquisite hand-blended teas—for a special festive gin and tea pack (giving the traditional G&T a whole new meaning), along with visual artists Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra. It also collaborated with new-age artist Param Sahib to design limited edition Bombay Sapphire Stir Creativity coasters.

In July 2019, Bombay Sapphire collaborated with Klove, an avant-garde lighting design studio based in Delhi and created The Sapphire Supernova—a 10-ft. tall installation made of over 120 discarded Bombay Sapphire bottles.

A limited edition Bombay Sapphire Stir Creativity coaster designed by Param Sahib.
A limited edition Bombay Sapphire Stir Creativity coaster designed by Param Sahib.
Image : By special arrangement

“Bombay Sapphire aims to celebrate, inspire, and ignite creative self-expression among consumers through its Stir Creativity platform. We want to encourage consumers to sustainably manifest their inner artist on any canvas that fits them best,” says Aastha Gupta, brand manager, premium white spirits (India and Southeast Asia), Bacardi India Private Ltd. According to her, the platform helps the brand to connect with its consumers through creativity and the power of self-expression. The brand's balanced flavour profile makes it a creative canvas for innovative cocktails, whether it is a combination of gin with summer citrus flavours or gin infused with winter spices like cinnamon.

The Indian gin market was estimated to be around $266.2 million in terms of value in 2018 and is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 5% during 2019-2027. “Premiumisation remains strong within the market and we are seeing customers trading up, which is a key opportunity for Bombay Sapphire. We have a very unique offering with this brand—it is a liquid crafted using 10 exceptional and hand-picked botanicals from around the world, infused to create a bright, vibrant flavour that complements any cocktail,” says Gupta.

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