Immersive experiences all the rage for bourbon industry

by Guy Frum

An immersive experience for an alcohol company seems like the setup for a joke with a lot of punchlines, but it’s part of the bourbon industry’s suddenly high-octane race to make customer experiences part of the lure of investing in the hard alcoholic drink.
The immersive leader in this field is Lost Spirits, headquartered in Los Angeles and due to reopen on New Year’s Eve 2021. Lost Spirits got its start more than a decade ago, founded by Bryan Davis and Joanne Haruta. 
After winning several awards, Davis unleashed a new technology that used analytical chemistry to replicate the 20-year aging process of whiskey in less than a week’s time.
After trademarking the technology and starting to sell it, Davis and Haruta began a partnership with a Los Angeles investor named Dr. Wynn Sanders and built a thematic distillery in the Arts District of Los Angeles.

It combines a boat-ride design like Disneyworld’s Pirates of the Caribbean, themed rooms, and a massive immersive theater.
The tour includes a computer-generated voice named TESSA that serves as a guide, flashing lights, smoke machines, circus carousels, and everything else necessary to get you in the mood to try a distinctive flavor of alcohol purported to be like anything else in the world.

Other distilleries are stepping up to do battle with Lost Spirit, such as Log Still Distillery, a bourbon maker in Kentucky that has a 2,000-person amphitheater fondly called the Amp which hosts limited music concerts.

Immersive Factory Tours

The distillery is hardly the first country to come up with the idea for a virtual factory tour Even before COVID-19 made hanging out remotely the cat’s meow, companies like Virtually Anywhere were marketing walkthrough technology that allowed companies in a business-to-business (B2B) environment to tour a factory, headquarters, or potential purchasing space through any sort of Internet-capable device, complete with Google Analytics technology to see how well it was being received.
The best part of immersive experiences is that they can transport people, whether it’s through a screen to another location, or by using a combination of practical effects and cutting-edge technology to create an in-person sensation. 

Speaking of the cat’s meow, sometimes immersive tech is being used solely for the whimsical purpose, such as in the case of Japanese artis Shu Yamamoto, who deals solely in Cat Art and has brought his collection to the world of VR in an exhibit on the HTC website lasting from September 17, 2021 to March 31, 202. This online gallery will showcase such legendary works as “The Hisstine Chapel” which is actually 124 different murals. There is a free-roam locomotion feature inside the VR gallery which lets the cross-platform experience be viewed from mobile, PC, or VR.
The characters aren’t just recreations of classic art work, they feature dynamic movement, audio, and interactive elements such as yawning, licking their paws, and doing few other cat-like activities.