There was an exciting potential to get more people into whisky, but where were they meant to start? With so many new brands emerging onto the scene, whisky bars and their impressive gantries became intimidating. Whisky, for many, was out of budget, out of reach (literally), and for some, out of style.
We knew that it didn’t need to be that way. For us, it was an opportunity to create a space in which people could explore whisky without the need for big pockets or big knowledge. And, most importantly, to make that exploration fun.
Our mission set out to connect whisky with like-minded people by making our brand approachable. We vowed to only speak in plain language, began hosting accessible tasting events, and put Whisky Wednesday flash sales on our members’ favourite bottles. Seven years and over 5000 members later, we’re the biggest we’ve ever been. We are grateful for the opportunity to grow and to imagine what we can achieve in the world of whisky. We are equally thankful for The W Club community who continue to make this possible.
With expansion and change, we plan to be clear and transparent in communicating our plans to evolve The W Club. This year, we invested time into learning what our members wanted from their membership, and listened to what they had to say. We posted surveys, sent emails, made phone calls, and spoke to you at tastings (and possibly shared a dram or two!). It was thorough because The W Club’s raison d'etre is to always put its members first.
No matter how much we grow, The W Club remains all about the community that is at the heart of everything we do. The W Club is about the whisky enthusiast who was inspired by their gran’s ritualistic nightcap, and it’s also about the whisky novice who fell victim to the Mad Men Effect. Our mission itself remains unchanged, because we remember that we all started our whisky journey somewhere.
The W Club will now be £30 per annum*
In order to improve our membership across the board, we knew we had to increase our prices accordingly. We’re proud to say that we still offer the most wallet-friendly annual membership in the UK, and hope that our members continue to get the best value out of an extra tenner towards their membership.
*Disclaimer: All existing memberships will be honoured until their expiration. That means that you won’t have to pay anything extra until it’s time for renewal.
Exclusive access to members-only bottlings
Demand for single cask bottlings is at an all-time high, and this is no exception among our members. You’ve asked for more, and we’re going to give you more. For the third birthday of The W Club as it exists today, we’ve released an Old Pulteney 2006 Single Cask #1448, which is for members of The W Club only. We already have a few releases in the pipeline, and will be announcing the next single cask bottling very soon. Keep your eyes peeled!
Invitations to exclusive tastings and special discounts on the night
With our free events becoming massively oversubscribed, access to tastings was not universal, and too many members missed out. We want to ensure our members equal and better access, which is why we will be phasing out free tastings. Of course, we would offer free whisky tastings for life if we could! What could be better?
Tastings will now be tiered and ticketed, meaning that they will range from £10 to £30 per event. The new ticket prices allow The W Club to massively expand our list of whiskies for members to try, making room for a range of themed events and interactive masterclasses to be set up, and special discounts to be offered on the night.
Offers in-store and online, including Whisky Wednesday
Each month, we will continue to select different bottles to be discounted by 10% for our members only. These offers will be available online, and in-store offers will be unique to each branch of The Whisky Shop.
As for Whisky Wednesday flash sales, we’ve listened to your feedback and are taking the pain out of checkout problems, bottle repetition, and fast sell-outs. Whisky Wednesday will now be a monthly event, and will appear at 10am on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. There will be more bottles put on sale, with more availability, to improve each member’s chances of snapping up a fantastic deal.
Subscription to Whiskeria magazine, worth £20 annually
Released quarterly, Whiskeria magazine is your behind-the-scenes look into the world of whisky, with lashings of lifestyle content added for good measure. We’ll continue to post a free copy to all members of The W club, free of charge, so you and access interviews and expert reviews from the comfort of your home.
Priority notice of rare and limited releases
Our members will be the first to know when The Whisky Shop is about to release a new limited edition bottle. The early bird catches the worm or, in this case, the whisky!
Special members-only competitions
Throughout the year, we announce competitions where members can win an exclusive range of whisky prizes. Recent prizes have included a Highland Park The W Club Exclusive, and two anCnoc anniversary bottlings. It’s a unique way for members to interact, as our competitions encourage story-sharing on social media.
A free introductory tasting event
New members will be invited to book an induction into The W Club to set them off on their whisky journey. Inductions will be informal tasting events at each member’s local branch of The Whisky Shop. It’s a chance to get familiar with the shop’s layout, meet and chat to the staff, and discover upcoming events.
Advanced access and discounts on The Whisky Shop events
Members of The W Club will be the first to know, and the first to access, public events at The Whisky Shop. These events are typically brand ambassador-led and provide a more intimate experience. Members will receive £5 off their ticket and can also offer their discount to two guests per event.
Cask Committee opportunities – choose our next single cask!
We want our members to be hands-on with our cask selection process for members-only bottlings – after all, you’re choosing the whisky for yourselves! For each release, we’ll announce a ballot and invite a committee to taste and select The W Club bottling for that season.
0% seller’s commission and free registration on The Whisky Shop Auctions
The Whisky Shop Auctions launched in late summer 2019, we're giving our W Club members free registration and 0% seller's commission until December 31st 2019. View lots now and start building (or selling) your collection today for minimum charge!