One off Glenlivet whisky cocktail 'pods' cause storm online dividing drinks fans

Marketing ploy, whisky "tidepods" or fun, edible capsules - the internet can't seem to make its mind up on Glenlivet's latest one-off release for the London Cocktail Week. 

Published 7th Oct 2019
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

Created for London Cocktail Week in partnership with cocktail legend Alex Kratena, the Glenlivet ‘Capsule Collection’ is a limited edition offering of whisky cocktails served in a seaweed-extract casing – one of nature’s most renewable resources.

The edible 'glassless cocktails' are 23ml in size, described as fully biodegradable and provide what Glenlivet call the “perfect flavour-explosion” experience.

At the time of the launch,  Miriam Eceolaza, director of The Glenlivet, stated that the ‘Capsule Collection’ embodies The Glenlivet’s new global campaign – Original By Tradition, adding that they are "always looking to break the conventions that have determined how single malt Scotch has historically been enjoyed".

Accompanying a short clip about the capsules on the The Glenlivet Twitter account, a post read: "No ice. No stirrer. No glass. We're redefining how whisky can be enjoyed."

However, the video seemed to cause confusion online as people took the post at face value and assumed that the capsules were going to be available on a permanent basis, leading to a large group of whisky purists taking to platforms like Twitter to blast the new innovation.

• READ MORE: The Glenlivet unveil innovative ‘Capsule Collection’ of glassless cocktails

Accusations ranged from pointing out that Glenlivet could accidentally be targeting children with them, through to purists commenting that it was a quick way for a classic Scotch to cheapen what is perceived as a high value product.

Immediately likening them to "Tidepods", many American commenters weren't happy with what they perceived as a nod to the Tidepod culture which recently dominated so much of US media.

Glenlivet whisky pods

Perhaps most disturbingly, many people on Twitter quickly began to assert that people would be using them as suppositories, leading comedian Karen Kilgariff to joke: "Everyone went from learning the Glenlivet tide pods existed to talking about sticking them in their ass - there was no middle ground."

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Speaking about the devaluing of Glenlivet's products, one Twitter user added: "Of all the spirits I would think to associate with tide pod shots, this would not be one.

"And I like Glenlivet! It's good for relaxing and sipping. Not taking shots. So dumb."

Journalist Julia Macfarlane went as far as to describe them as an "abomination" and even called upon Nicola Sturgeon to do something about them.

The biggest reaction was caused by noted whisky blogger @SpiritAndWood who challenged all of those deriding the product to actually understand that they were cocktails for a festival and not an ongoing part of the Glenlivet range, he wrote: "The people sneering at this would do well to try some research first - these are cocktail capsules in a bio-degradable capsule.

"Aimed at an entirely different kind of drinker than the whisky snob, so no need for you to worry."

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The post received over 370 replies with most people being outraged at being called "whisky snobs" and being further angered by support of a product that they perceive as an offence to whisky drinkers in general.

Whisky writer Justine Hazlehurst was more concerned about responsible drinking and the lack of transparency around the final ABV of the 23ml capsules which drinkers would have to ingest "all at once".

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Not everyone disliked the idea, @sidravitale wrote: "Edible cocktail capsules. Holding aside all the jokes, this is fascinating - the sustainable bio-degradable 'packaging' of the capsule itself - & the fact that they're marketing cocktails rather than whisky. We can now drink in space, folks! I approve!"

A spokesperson for the owners of the Speyside-based Glenlivet brand, Pernod Ricard, said: "'The Glenlivet Capsule Collection is a limited release and only available at tayer + elementary from 4th-13th October 2019.

"The collection has been launched in celebration of London Cocktail Week to highlight the future of cocktail innovation, and explore new ways in which single malt Scotch whisky can be enjoyed by those of legal drinking age. The Glenlivet only promotes responsible drinking, and the capsules are designed to be enjoyed in moderation by adults in a regulated and licensed environment."

The Glenlivet unveil innovative ‘Capsule Collection’ of glassless cocktails





Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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