Photos and Video Credit: Hendrick’s Gin
Emirates and Etihad: move over with your first-class suites. Air Force One? You, too, have been one-upped. Unrivalled luxury in the air now has reached new heights with a flying machine that is daring (and cheeky) enough to make the Wright Brothers cheer “Huzzah!”
It’s a blimp. A 130-foot long green dirigible, to be precise. It’s a huge balloon shaped like a cucumber and is so exclusive that not even a Dreamliner filled with gold doubloons can buy a seat.
The Flying Cucumber Airship is the whimsical creation of the eccentrics behind Hendrick’s “most unusual” premium gin. It zooms at the whiplash speed of 35 mph and a dizzying altitude of 1,000 feet as it visits gin-loving city after city. As you might expect, the botanically-inspired aerial transport took roughly forever for it to make its latest coast-to-coast crossing, but that didn’t bother the masses as it was eccentrically-built to carry only one or two passengers at a time.
Why? To celebrate the majesty of the lowly cucumber, an unusual fruit (not a vegetable – Google it) that happens to be a key component (along with rose) and favored garnish of Hendrick’s small-batch gin. The Scottish distiller built the airship after declaring its whimsical takeover of National Cucumber Day, which was on June 14, and has gone the extra mile to invent an entire cucumber celebration season. “This is not a hostile takeover,” stated Hendrick’s Gin National Ambassador, Jim Ryan. “In fact, the term takeover may be overstated, since no one seemed to be looking after the holiday to begin with.”
Courtesy of Hendrick’s Gin
The hoopla climaxed this month with The Cucumber Festival of Wonder, held in New York City. Hendrick’s botanically-inspired aerial transport floated overhead while imbibing and silliness ensued on the ground with party entertainment including roaming cocktail contraptions, and a penny farthing cycling concourse.
“The era of people thinking of the cucumber as an innocuous salad ingredient has ended,” says Ryan. “More than the core infusion of our liquid, the cucumber is central to our worldview as a most unusual gin. We believed in the cucumber garnish back in the dark days when people thought it was inferior to the lime, and we will always stand behind it.” He notes that Hendrick’s gin is prepared to jovially flip the bird to competitors. “We fully expect pushback from the arugula and parsnip lobbies,” he winks, “but they don’t have an airship.”
About that airship? Not just anyone can hitch a ride. The vessel will sail above San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, South Florida, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Ann Arbor, Indianapolis and Chicago from now until August. So, if you happen to spot a giant cucumber soaring over your city, post it on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #HendricksGin and #CucumberChallenge and you could win a chance to ride off into the sunset on this cucumber-shaped blimp.