How Bombay Sapphire Is Getting Consumers to Unleash Their Cocktail Creativity

The British gin brand is inviting consumers to get creative with their cocktails at an interactive pop-up bar in Toronto.

By Ian Zelaya November 14, 2018, 7:16 AM EST

The spritz station also features a custom mural, which guests can color in with Bombay Sapphire's signature blue and teal hues.

Photo: Vito Amati

Bombay Sapphire Canvas Bar
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Liquor brands are constantly experimenting with new ways to engage consumers through events. For Bombay Sapphire’s newest pop-up series, the Bacardi-owned gin brand is aiming to spark consumer creativity by having them become the mixologists.  

Canvas Bar, the experiential side of Bombay Sapphire’s Stir Creativity campaign, which launched in July, opened in Toronto on November 1. The monthlong pop-up, which is located at a vacant space at 950 Queen Street West at Shaw Street, houses an interactive cocktail bar where guests can customize their own gin cocktails. The pop-up is the brand's first North American stop after traveling to cities including Brussels and London.

“Canvas Bar represents a fusion between art and mixology. We’re giving guests the freedom to experiment and stir creativity,” said Ridley Doolittle, senior brand manager at Bombay Sapphire Canada. “This is an opportunity for people to reimagine their favorite gin in a creative way, and hopefully discover something new in the process.”

The brand partnered with Community Agency to produce and develop the designs for the space. For their “canvas,” guests are given an empty gin glass and can purchase Bombay Sapphire gin on ice as the base. From there, guests can choose an infused tonic at a mixing station, four spritzes at a spritzing station, and, lastly, a variety of garnishes including watermelon radishes, cinnamon sticks, and lemons and limes.

For guests who simply want a drink made by an expert, the pop-up is hosting a rotating roster of bartenders from across North America who have concocted custom cocktails for the event. Bartenders include Austin Millspaugh, the 2018 global finalist of the United States’ Bartender Guild’s Bombay Sapphire’s Most Imaginative Bartender Competition. Other mixologists hail from bars such as Westlight in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; the Standard Pour in Dallas; Broken Shaker in Miami; Drake Mini Bar in Toronto; and Perles & Paddock in Montreal.

While the D.I.Y. drinks are the main draw for consumers, the pop-up also invites guests to contribute to a communal mural that will be colored in throughout the month. Additionally, there are multiple social media-friendly photo ops for guests.

Canvas Bar is open to the public Thursdays through Sundays until November 25.

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