Grace O'Malley whiskey heads to the UK
Award-winning Irish whiskey brand Grace O’Malley - named after the 16th century Irish pirate queen - is now available in the UK market. The whiskey has one of the highest malt contents in the blended whiskey category at 46% and combines whiskeys with age statements that range from three to 10 years old. Each batch is matured in a range of barrels, including French oak, ex bourbon, and ex rum casks with the resulting blend having notes of fruit and spices and a smooth toasted finish. “We are very excited to share the story of Grace O’Malley with the UK market through our premium whiskeys. Far from ordinary like the whiskey itself, Grace O’Malley was a fearless seafarer who broke with the conventions of her time,” says Stephen Cope, founder and managing Director of Grace O’Malley Spirits.
Britvic's elderflower tonic
Drinks company Britvic has created its first flavoured tonic water. Developed exclusively for the on trade, its elderflower tonic taps into the popularity of elderflower, particularly as gin and flavoured tonic is the number one spirit and mixer combination for consumers, it says. The launch has been timed to coincide with the reopening of pubs and restaurants and will encourage people to widen their tonic choices, according to Britvic.
Portobello Road’s antidote to flavoured and sweet gins
Portobello Road Distillery has launched a new gin that’s designed as a counterpoint to the recent trend for sugar-loaded, fruity and ‘pink flavoured’ numbers. The sevenths gin in the London-based distiller’s core collection, Savoury is made using Mediterranean botanicals such as bergamot peel, green Gordal olives, rosemary, and a pinch of Mediterranean sea salt. Weighing in at 42% ABV, the result is billed as a complex and characterful spirit has been specifically designed to enjoy around the dinner table as a refreshing aperitif or to be paired with dishes as an alternative to wine. “We don’t want to stomp on sweet gins, there is clearly a market for them and many are very tasty indeed, and of course, the addition of sugar or fruit to gin is nothing new - indeed throughout history gin was a sweeter product for far longer than it has been a dry product,” says Portobello Road Gin co-founder Jake F. Burger.
The Fabulous Thai Rum company looks to spice up category
The Fabulous Thai Rum Company has launched in the UK, with an initial range of three rum liqueurs: Lychee, Kiwi & Thai Basil; Ginger, Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime; and Pisang Banana, Cinnamon and Nutmeg. Inspired by the street-side cocktail bars found in Bangkok which have ‘inspired bartenders all around the world’, the rums are designed to tap into the fast-growing flavoured rum category. For the on-trade, the focus will specifically be on bars as well as Thai and Eastern Asian specialist restaurants; the first listing is already in place at The Ivy Asia, which will feature the Pisang Banana, Cinnamon & Nutmeg variant on its cocktail menu in time for its re-opening on 17 May. The rum liqueurs are a blend of aged, pot and column still rums including those from the Pathum Thani province, just north of Bangkok. They are molasses-based, from locally-grown sugar cane, and are aged in Bourbon barrels and then infused with natural flavours. Bottling takes place in the U.K. and the ABV is 28%. The Fabulous Thai Rum Company has been created by Carl Stephenson, Founder of The Bloomsbury Club UK, and will be distributed via Craftwork. Specialist drinks wholesaler, Champers, will distribute to the London-based on-trade.
Beavertown creates its first radler
Tottenham-based craft beer brewer Beavertown has entered the radler category with Luchanaut. Billed as a crisp, refreshing lager with added lime, the 4.4% ABV 330ml can features Beavertown’s signature skull head adorned with a Mexican wrestling mask. “Being a lager with added lime, Luchanaut is very much Central America-inspired, and we wanted to reflect that in the design - that’s why we went for the lucha libre style imagery. What’s more, this beer is all about spending time in the sunshine with our mates, which is why the character is in space. After all, what’s more outdoors than space?” Luchanaut joins Beavertown’s limited edition specials range alongside beers including Low-Cal Hazy Pale Ale, Space-Born and Double Chin, a double IPA.
Daddy Rack makes a smooth UK entry
A Tennessee whiskey that is renowned for being one of the smoothest on the market has made its debut into the UK. Daddy Rack Tennessee straight small batch whiskey is made from corn that is milled with rye and malted barley and undergoes a 72-hour sour mash and lightly rectified copper double distillation. It is then filtered using the Lincoln County Maple Charcoal slow filtration process, which filters the whiskey through a dense layer of sugar maple charcoal, before being matured in new, charred American oak barrels. Twenty barrels are then selected with the whiskey going through a light second maple charcoal filtration to add a final smoothness. The barrels are then batch blended using an original recipe, with no colouring, caramel or additional flavours added. The result is an ultra-smooth whiskey with a sweet toffee, maple, banana and vanilla flavour profile that will appeal to first-time whiskey drinkers as well as more seasoned whiskey lovers.
Twisted Cocktails puts spin on the classics
Food and drink brand Twisted has released a range of pre-mixed cocktails that are twists on classic recipes. The four-strong range features a Smoked Nouveau Negroni, Blood Moon Sour, Black Forest Gateau Espresso Martini and a Blackberry Sidecar. The Smoked Nouveau Negroni blends Carpano bitters, Punt e Mes red vermouth and Brooklyn Gin; the Blood Moon Sour is made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Angostura bitters, blood orange extract, tangerine syrup and lemon juice; while the Black Forest Gateau Espresso Martini comprises Wheatley vodka, Caffe Borghetti, fresh espresso, cherry syrup and chocolate liqueur. The final cocktail in the range, the Blackberry Sidecar, is made using Seignette cognac, creme de mure, Cointreau and lemon, and is designed to be served with frozen blackberries. The launch of Twisted Cocktails follows the success of Twisted London, a delivery-only restaurant born from social media which is now available in almost 50 locations across the UK.
Hush Heath enters the beer world
The Hush Heath wine estate in Kent has launched a duo of craft beers in cans and keg - a lager and an IPA. The new beers form part of the Jake’s drink range, joining Jake’s Kentish Cider, Jake’s Orchard Cider and Jake’s Tree Apple Juice. Jake’s Lager is made from the Kentish hop Ernest and the American hop stirling, resulting in a bright Pilsner-style lager with a fresh caramel aroma followed by a taste of lemon rind and hints of sweetness from the malts. Jake’s IPA is billed as a dark amber IPA with a delicate creamy head and smooth nutty flavours.
Belu mixes things up
Ethical drinks brand Belu has entered into the tonics and mixers category with an extensive product range. Drinks include a Classic Tonic Water, a Light Tonic Water, a Garden Tonic Water flavoured with citrus, rosemary and lavender, a Fiery Ginger Beer made with ginger, cayenne pepper, lime leaf and lemongrass, and a Glorious Ginger Ale made with ginger, bitter orange, cayenne pepper and lemongrass. Other drinks in the range are its Lively Lemonade, and Sunny Soda Water. Belu champions a circular economy and ending water poverty and to date has donated more than £5m to WaterAid to bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to everyone.
Cotswolds' Pineau de Charentes Cask whisky
Cotswolds Distillery has released its second Heart and Crafts expression, a single malt whisky aged in Pineau de Charentes casks. Cotswolds Hearts and Crafts Pineau de Charentes Cask has been aged in the white grape Pineau casks, which the distiller says imparts a slightly more bitter and tannic note than the American oak used by the distillery for aging its whisky. Pineau de Charentes is made from fresh grape juice, which is blended with cognac and left to age in oak barrels and is typically drunk as an aperitif. The 55.2% abv whisky is described as having flavour notes of raisins, brazil nuts, toffee, fudge and dried orange peel with a warm and long finish with hints of white pepper and almonds. A 700ml bottle is pried at £74.95.
Signature gluten-free pale ale
Breer Signature Brew has put its expertise into creating a gluten free India pale lager that is not compromised on taste. Called Rewind, the 4.7% abv beer is made by reversing the brewing process to remove the gluten without changing the flavour and has strong pine and citrus notes and clean and refreshing finish. Signature has also relaunched its seasonal fruited gose sour Pink Vinyl, a 4.6% abv beer that has black cherry and raspberry flavours finished off with a hit of hibiscus.
Umami gin launches with infusions of parmesan and capers
Audemus Spirits is making its Umami Gin to the UK following overwhelming success in French and Australian markets. The gin’s base flavour comes from Sicilian capers, distilled under vacuum at 45 degrees and after which they are combined with an infusion of Parmigiano-Reggiano, Italian parmesan cheese, which is glutamate-rich - the molecule which is responsible for the tongues’ ability to taste umami. The liquid is then combined with bergamot and juniper distillates and the blend is then left to rest in an old cognac barrel for several months, giving it a unique, fresh and lightly savoury quality with an ‘entirely unique flavour profile’. Audemus Spirits suggests pairing Umami Gin with Fever Tree Classic or Mediterranean Tonic or using it as part of a Gibson or Bloody Mary.
Fentimans swaps 125ml for 200ml
Soft drinks specialist Fentimans is moving away from 125ml bottled in recognition of the trend for longer mixed drinks served in goblet glasses. The new 200ml mixer range includes the whole of Fentimans’ range, including classics such as Ginger Beer, Tonic Water and Rose Lemonade alongside the brand’s more recent creation, which include Tropical Soda and Pink Rhubarb Tonic Water. “As more and more consumers continue to enjoy longer serves, and experiment with a range of mixers to pair with their personal spirit repertoires, it’s important that Fentimans creates a serve size that meets the needs of our consumers, whilst providing the best drinking experience,” says Fentimans marketing director Andre Jackson. “With the launch of our new 200ml pack format, we have responded to the ever-evolving needs of our customers and the growing number of people who enjoy Fentimans drinks.” The 125ml format is set to be gradually phased out.
Stella Artois experiments with NFTs
Stella Artois is entering the brave new world of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) in a claimed first for the beer industry. The beer brand will use the blockchain-based technology to create an ‘endless tip’ designed to generate income for UK hospitality workers. Available to bid on at NFT auction website Rarible, the tokens will open at £1 to dovetail with Stella Artois’ current Stella Tips campaign, which is tipping £1 to bar staff tips for every pint of Stella Artois served until May 9. The tips won’t be usable in hospitality venues: on first purchase 100% of the £1 will go a fund for hospitality workers, and thereafter 10% of each sale will go into the fund as the tokens are traded, hence the concept of the endless tip.