From brands changing hands to portfolio additions new to the UK, here’s what’s happening in the world of your friendly neighbourhood spirits distributor
Emporia Brands launches Bränneri organic gin in UK
Stockholm-based organic gin brand Stockholms Bränneri has gained a foothold in the UK market with distribution through Emporia Brands. The distillery, which is based in an old Jaguar workshop on the island of Södermalm, produces small batches of spirit, infused with locally produced botanicals, such as heather and lingonberries.
The Stockholms Bränneri Dry Gin (40% abv) is described as a Nordic take on a traditional dry gin and offers a delicate floral taste from elderflower and rosemary botanicals, while its Oak Gin (45% abv) is distilled with orange peel then rested in bourbon barrels. The Stockholms Bränneri Pink Gin (40% abv) is infused with rhubarb and rose petals, while foraged lingonberries are steeped in the spirit after distillation to lend it its subtle pink shade and some fruitiness.
The latter two expressions were awarded Silver Outstanding medals at IWSC 2018, while the Dry Gin took Silver. The Oak Gin also won a Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition this year.
Mangrove takes on Brown-Forman’s trio of Scotch malts
Brown-Forman is looking to strengthen the position of its Scotch whisky brands in the UK on-trade by appointing Mangrove Global to distribute BenRiach, The GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh in this market.
To further support his ‘high ambitions’ for the brands, Danny Whelan is moving across from Brown-Forman’s Jack Daniels team to become its Scotch whisky business development manager for the UK on-trade. The former Kelvingrove Café bartender is tasked with forging relationships within the UK bar community.
The American-owned wine and spirits company re-entered the Scotch malt category in 2016, when it acquired the three distilleries in Speyside and the Scottish Highlands for a reported £285m.
Mangrove already represents Brown-Forman’s el Jimador and Herradura tequilas, Early Times and Old Forester Bourbons.
When We Are Giants adds Knappogue Irish Whiskey to varied portfolio
The deal includes Knappogue’s three single-malt expressions. One, Knappogue Castle 12yo, is matured in bourbon casks. The other two are special editions – Knappogue Castle Twin Wood 14yo and 16yo, both finished in oloroso sherry casks.
When We Are Giants already claims a varied portfolio of spirits brands, including Malfy Gin, Jawbox Gin, Spytail Rum and Pasote Tequila. It is distributing Knappogue to independent and national wholesalers and online retailers, effective immediately.
Kate Malczewski – 09.08.2018
Maverick looks to grow UK aquavit market with latest addition to portfolio
Set up in 2015, Oslo-based OHD produces distilled aquavits, gins and bitters using traditional Scandinavian distilling methods and locally foraged ingredients.
Its latest release, Fjæra Rosé Gin (43% abv), is made with Norwegian gin that’s been rested in Bordeaux wine barrels for six weeks. Made with 13 botanicals, including bog myrtle, rosehip, rhubarb root and a touch of raspberry, the nose has a pleasant perfumed character with fresh spice (pink peppercorn, pine, lemon, rosemary and eucalyptus).
‘In the short time that OHD’s spirits have been available in the UK market, they’ve already found their way into the hands of some of the country’s best bartenders,’ said Michael Vachon, Maverick’s head of brand development.
‘We see a lot of promise for the akevitt (otherwise known as aquavit) category and think the OHD craft spirits are well-positioned to lead that category.’
Miranda Fitzgerald – 06.08.2018
Indie Brands tasked with growing distribution of birch spirit Freya
Among the colourful variety of products at Imbibe Live was Freya, a birch spirit that Indie Brands is ushering into its portfolio.
‘[Freya] has created a whole new category within the drinks industry,’ said Indie’s brand manager Julia West.
Distilled from birch sap, Freya comes in two flavours: Birch Spirit, a light and aromatic alternative to gin and vodka, and Woodsmoke, a (wait for it) smokier expression with apple and chestnut.
The distributor is planning events and a social media campaign to educate the trade on Freya, while the spirit brand continues to crowdfund to promote its growth.
Kate Malczewski – 06.07.2018
Tortuga brings new Irish whiskey Lambay to market
Tortuga Brands is swiftly gaining momentum since its June launch, bulking up its craft whiskey portfolio with the UK release of a new brand, Lambay Irish Whiskey.
The distributor is taking the reins on two Lambay expressions, the Small Batch Blend and the Single Malt, after debuting them earlier this week at Imbibe Live.
Lambay is a collaboration between cognac producer Camus and the Baring Family Revelstoke Trust, so it should come as no surprise that the Irish whiskey is finished in cognac casks.
Tortuga is distributing Lambay to both independent and national wholesalers and online retailers in the UK.
Kate Malczewski – 06.07.2018