Skip to main content

21st Century Boozing: VR Integration and More

Image used with permission by copyright holder
If you’ve been to a whiskey festival in the past year or so, you may have seen something other than liquor adorning the tables of some spirits companies: virtual reality headsets.

These VR headsets transport you—usually—to where the spirit was made, allowing you to get a glimpse at the process that goes into what’s in your glass without ever leaving wherever you are.

Take Ardbeg, for example, who recently unveiled their “Untamed Islay Experience,” a virtual reality tour of Islay that also takes your palate on a tour of three of their releases, Ardbeg Ten Year Old, Corryvreckan, and Uigeadail. The video, which was directed by Imraan Ismail, an award winning writer, director, and visual artist, shows off the stunningly beautiful island while also giving a sense of the roughness that inspires the bold, peaty flavors of Ardbeg’s whiskies. The video turns the volume up to eleven for the Corryvreckan segment, which plunges you deep into the heart of the eponymous whirlpool.

A number of other companies including Jack Daniels, Patrón, Dewar’s, and Glenfiddich have all also embraced VR to show off the distillery or the process behind their spirits, but last year, Jim Beam took a different route while promoting their release Devil’s Cut. Instead of showing the facility itself, Jim Beam put the viewer in the perspective of the bourbon itself. If you ever wondered what it would be like to be made into bourbon and then consumed, this was your ticket, as the slightly unconventional approach to the VR literally gave you an inside look at their bourbon.

Johnnie Walker is also taking a different route into the future, creating a digital mentorship program that is intended to offer unparalleled access to information about and the history of Johnnie Walker, all accessible through your mobile device or through Amazon’s Echo devices.

For those that have access to Alexa, all you need to do is say, “Alexa, open Johnnie Walker” and Alexa is able to guide you through personalized tastings and palate recommendations while also dropping knowledge bombs about the history of Johnnie Walker and more.

To add to this, Johnnie Walker also developed a bot for Facebook Messenger, JohnnieWalkerUS, that you can ask many of the same things that you can of Alexa, just without the possibility that Alexa will confuse what you’re saying and offer you, say, the Baha Men’s greatest hits when you wanted Bob Marley (not that we know this from experience).

Not only do Johnnie Walker’s programs give you information, recipes, and the like, but if you’ve run out of Johnnie Walker, you can find a place to get some more with just a few clicks. This is, in our opinion, the best feature, as being without Scotch for too long is as terrible as watching your home team lose in Game 7 of the championship series.

Both of these approaches—virtual reality and tech integration—are great on the part of the companies who are doing them. Not only do you—in the case of Ardbeg and others—get to see a place that you might not ever get to visit in person—but you get to do it while indulging in the spirits themselves.

Basically, what we’re saying is if you can, go to a whiskey festival or spirits event and try these experiences out. They’re like the Imax movies of old, but better because there’s booze.

Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
Chenin Blanc is the summer white wine you’ve been waiting for
Chenin blanc wine guide
Chenin blanc wine


Chenin blanc has lurked in the shadows for some time. When it’s on the verge of a breakout, something else eclipses the trend, like funky orange wine a decade or so ago and chardonnay’s recent rebound.

Read more
Best Pit Boss Prime Day deals: Griddles, smokers, BBQ grills, more
The Pit Boss Navigator 5500 wood pellet grill cooks on a camping trip.

It's grilling time! At least, that's true if you have a grill. But if you need one, now's the time to shop! Prime Day deals galore mean you can get some sweet, sweet discounts on grills, flattops, and more. One of the more renowned brands in the grilling space is Pit Boss and you better believe there are some great Pit Boss Prime Day deals already available.  This trusted brand will help you cook for families that love barbecues and large gatherings that need a lot of food. There are a lot of Pit Boss Prime Day deals that are available, though, so if you need help deciding what to buy before the discounts expire, we've highlighted our favorite bargains below, as well as provided shopping advice on the Pit Boss grill deals that you should purchase for the shopping event.
Our top pick: Best Pit Boss grill Prime Day deal

Pit Boss Ultimate gas griddle --

Read more
Best Blackstone Prime Day deals
A man using the Blackstone 36-inch Gas Griddle Cooking Station in a yard.

If you're going to grill the steak of your dreams you're going to need the perfect grill, and Blackstone grills are offering up some savings among all of the Prime Day deals going on. We've made our selection for the best Prime Day Blackstone grill deal, and we've tracked down some other selections that offer some great savings. Read onward for a look at the best Prime Day Blackstone deals going on right now, and make a purchase quickly if you see something you like. Prime Day deals are known to end abruptly and inventories are likely starting to run low.
Best Blackstone grill Prime Day deal
Blackstone Adventure Ready 2-Burner 22-inch Propane Griddle -- $124, was $147

If you’re keen to cook outdoors more but you’re also planning on traveling a lot, you need the Blackstone Adventure Ready 2-Burner 22-inch Propane Griddle. It’ll work well in your yard, but it’s also portable enough that you can take it with you while you camp and travel on many different adventures, hence the name "adventure ready."

Read more