True Scotch Barrel


A website visitor counter built into a real whiskey barrel.

For this brief, Mr. President asked us to create a greater connection between the incredible draftsman at Dewar’s Aberfeldy distillery and those who drink it. This campaign starts at purchase; customers who scan a unique number on the Dewar's bottle using their mobile phone are sent to a site that we built that takes them on a timelapsed journey from their current location through to the distillery.

The experience, in turn, triggers a physical installation piece situated in the heart of the Abelfeldy distillery. With every visitor to the site, brass cogs spin to form the iconic Dewar's logo, and the vintage lights display the latest tally of virtual visitors.

Our challenge with the installation was to bring something inherently modern and technical into a place that celebrates tradition and manual craft. Therefore, every aspect of the installation had to be designed to reflect the brand values and look at home in the Aberfeldy Distillery Visitor Centre.

The core of the installation was the digital display, which used Nixie tubes (manufactured in 1983) for a warm, analogue feel. Each tube was encased in a whiskey bottle, and the whole installation was mounted in a genuine Dewar's whiskey barrel.

We designed the cog system driving the animation of the Dewar's trefoil logo first on paper, then in Cinema 4D to ensure that it would work smoothly once assembled. The cogs themselves were 3D printed for a perfect fit, and then painted to match the brand materials used in the rest of the installation.

We started by designing the mechanic assembly in 3D.

We used a 3D printer to fabricate the mechanics.

A quick mechanics test.

The electronic system hidden in the installation regularly retrieves the latest visitor count using an internet connection and updates the display, using a stepper motor to drive the cog system and a custom circuit board powering the Nixie tubes. It also connects to a remote management system allowing us and the onsite staff to configure and update the installation without requiring physical access.

The finished product lived at Dewars' Aberfeldy Distillery.


Mr. President

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