Imagine walking into your
favourite bottle store and there’s
a selection of whisky that
you haven’t seen before. You
probably see a beautiful, young,
promotions woman on the corner
somewhere with disposable cups
filled with the product. And, you
know people with freebies, we
never pass up that free shot.
If we can help it, we talk our
way into getting another sip.
on cue, she will give you the jargon
about how the drinks came to be,
what they will taste like and maybe
a bit more about their origins.
But what if there is no
promotional young woman or any
of that? What if you could just flip
out your phone, scan the label and
voila, a whole world of information
comes out? Sounds like magic?
Well, it certainly feels like it.
Introducing Whizzky, the South
African app that will help whisky
lovers with all they need to know
about any bottle they may have in
The app uses optical character
recognition and pattern recognition
technology to get you the
“This is a one-of-its-kind app
which helps whisky lovers learn
more about any particular whisky
they come across,” says Emily
Stockden from Whizzky.
“With the use of their
smartphones, they can scan
the label and immediately learn
more about the product – from its
origins and the whisky-making
process to sometimes even the
expected flavours that come with
She says that although there are
some competitors who are trying
to be part of the app movement in
whisky, Whizzky is way ahead.
“We’re proud that this is a South
African product which is doing well
at home and on the international
“It’s is such a unique idea that
grows every so much; it has even
inspired some competition and
some imitators,” said Stockden.
While you will marvel at what
it has to give, Whizzky isn’t yet
making money for its developers
and partners in the deal.
“We don’t make money from the
app. Our plan is not to charge the
user for our services.
“We are looking at building
relationships with database
companies who provide the
information of the product and the
whisky makers themselves.
“The two parties benefit from
the service because it generates
interest for their business,” she
With that said, the app grows
with about 50 to 75 new users a day.
About 14 000 people are using it,
with more joining on weekends for
“The plan is to be the go-to place
for whisky lovers when it comes
to getting information on their
favourite drinks,” says Stockden.
Whisky-makers and distributors
will also benefit from the app, says
Whisky Live’s John Cook and
Ken Varejes the co-owner of
“Whisky Live has an incredible
category-wide whisky database
and the app has been developed
partly to leverage and enhance the
event but mostly to add value to the
whisky brands who exhibit with
us,” says Varejees.
“The app offers them the
opportunity to learn more about
their consumers and perhaps even
more importantly to engage with
them in more relevant ways based
on what they learn.”