World first: Jack’s Bar & Grill officially opens in Dubai

UAE. Jack’s Bar & Grill – the world’s first bar and restaurant dedicated to the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey brand – was officially opened at Dubai International Concourse A on Thursday.

The new 272sq m concept was developed by ELR with sister company Maritime Mercantile International (MMI) in collaboration with Jack Daniel’s brand owner Brown-Forman. The concept is managed and operated by ELR.

Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jeff Arnett, ELR & MMI Group CEO Andrew Day, US Consul General Rob Waller and Brown-Forman Area Manager Middle East & Africa Tony McIver officially open the first ever Jack’s Bar & Grill

Speaking at the opening, Brown-Forman Area Director Middle East & North Africa Tony McIver hailed a first for the brand owner and a first for Dubai. He saluted the partnership with ELR, with Dubai Airports and with Dubai Duty Free – which is the single biggest retail partner for the Jack Daniel’s brand anywhere in the world.

Tony McIver: Paid tribute to the project partners

He noted the Jack Daniel’s brand’s diversification outside its home market of the US as a factor in choosing Dubai for the project. “When I joined Brown-Forman 17 years ago, the vast majority of sales were in the US. Now it’s very different. Dubai is the centre of the world for aviation and our biggest customer is Dubai Duty Free. Many of the passengers are coming from markets that we see as the future for Jack Daniel’s – so it is a great fit for many reasons.”

On the style of the unit, he added: “The restaurant fits the brand very well; it’s contemporary but traditional, with elements of the production process around Jack Daniel’s incorporated into the design.

“Plus we’re able to offer the newly launched Sinatra Select version of Jack Daniel’s, which is available in only seven airports worldwide. It is here in Dubai too and it’s doing very well.”

Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths, Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman Colm McLoughlin and Brown-Forman Area Manager Tony McIver at the opening; Dubai Duty Free is Jack Daniel’s biggest customer worldwide

John Hayes, Senior Vice President and Global Brand Director for Jack Daniel’s, noted: “The establishment of the first Jack’s Bar & Grill in Dubai International Airport is both a tribute to the universal acceptance of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and a recognition and appreciation for it craftsmanship, authenticity and exceptionally high quality as well as a reflection on the vibrancy, sophistication and hospitality of the business climate in Dubai.”

Brown-Forman Managing Director, Global Travel Retail, India, Middle East & Africa Jim Perry added: “Brown-Forman Global Travel Retail is excited to bring the first Jack’s Bar & Grill to the world’s travelling consumers and opening it in Dubai International Airport in partnership with Emirates Leisure Retail and MMI.

“We look forward to welcoming the millions of travellers who will pass through the new Terminal 3, Concourse A. Jack’s Bar & Grill represents the next step in Brown-Forman’s campaign to ensure that the Jack Daniel’s experience is available to travelling consumers around the world.”

MMI and ELR Group CEO Andrew J Day told guests: “It’s a great privilege for us to be part of this project, which was – fittingly – conceived during a drive between Lynchburg and Louisville, in Jack Daniel’s territory.

“It is a great addition to Dubai, which is a fantastic travel destination. And we see three world firsts here: the opening of the A380-dedicated Concourse A, the first Jack’s Bar & Grill, and the launch of Sinatra Select.

US Consul General Rob Waller called the opening a “historic moment”, while Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jeff Arnett said the unit was “a great representation of our whiskey” and hoped it could be the first of many such units that would help to spread the brand’s message around the world.

(From left) Master Distiller Jeff Arnett, US Consul General Rob Waller and Tony McIver with a special Jack Daniel’s cake to mark the unveiling
MMI and ELR Group CEO Andrew J Day: “A privilege to be involved”

The restaurant’s drinks list showcases the Jack Daniel’s family of fine whiskies; apart from Sinatra Select, unique features include limited and special editions otherwise available only at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg.

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Personalisation of Jack Daniel’s bottles purchased at Dubai Duty Free is a special option for travelling customers at the outlet, alongside the Jack’s Bar & Grill range of merchandise, also unique to Dubai.

The new outlet offers a Tennessee-style menu featuring steaks, Cajun dusted wings, JD Grill Sliders (burgers), JD style meatloaf, and some creative fusions and interpretations, such as Cajun Jambalaya. Dessert options include Mississippi Mud Pie and the outlet serves breakfast 24 hours a day.

The airport view
Speaking to The Moodie Report about the unveiling, Dubai Airports Senior Vice President Commercial Eugene Barry said: “Our aspiration from the beginning of planning Concourse A was to match the experience of the passenger onboard the A380 and somehow map that on the ground, especially food & beverage.

Dubai Airports Senior Vice President Commercial Eugene Barry, Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jeff Arnett and Brown-Forman Area Director Middle East & North Africa Tony McIver salute the opening of Jack’s Bar & Grill at Dubai International

“We wanted to do something different with our bars and we had a good partnership with ELR. We had some common aspirations, and once the Jack Daniel’s idea was suggested, we jumped at the chance.

“We were able to create a destination in itself. It’s the first in the word, it has strong links to travel retail with great adjacencies to Dubai Duty Free, so it creates a joined up experience between F&B and retail. Plus it is a great platform for the brand to do different things at the airport with this experience.”

Barry noted that Concourse A provided a big opportunity to take F&B to a new, improved level of service and professionalism at the airport. “We began the planning very early and we were able to influence the space for F&B, which has not happened until now. We have strong international brands, a local feel and it ticks many boxes.”

On Dubai’s selection as the location for the first such unit, Barry added: “We are now the custodians of this concept. That means we have to support it and create new opportunities for it to develop.”

Concourse A will be the platform for a new approach to F&B in Dubai, starting with the new Concourse D.

Barry said: “We will start with the selection of operators for Concourse D in the coming months, and having these outlets open helps show what our aspirations are as an airport. It makes our job easier when talking to potential partners. We can communicate the standards we require, and we can capture feedback on the performance here to help that.”

Jeff Arnett: The outlet is “a great representation of our whiskey”
Jack’s Bar & Grill: modern design blended with tradition