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UK’s number one premium gin lands in Australia

Whitley Neill

The UK’s number one premium gin, Whitley Neill, has set its sights on Australia with six of the distillery’s key products to be available for venues around Australia from this month.

Speaking about the range, Whitley Neill Gin’s Global Ambassador, Devin Tomlinson told Bars and Clubs he is excited to be bringing the range to Australia, that he’s predicting big things for the summer and he’s really looking forward to what bartenders here do with the ‘bartender’s friend’ aka the Blood Orange gin.

“We’ve brought the original gin, which is in the black bottle that Johnny Neill designed and that’s the flagship brand. Then there is the biggest extension, which is the Rhubarb and Ginger and that’s the UK’s number one premium gin at the moment.

“Beyond that is our exotic Quince gin from Persia, that has an apple-pear profile and is almost like a liqueur in terms of taste but it’s still at 43 per cent, so it’s a high-strength gin. Then we have the Blood Orange and that is more of the bartender’s friend; it’s beautiful in Negronis and is pouring at some of the top-end on-trade in London.

“It’s really good in a Martinez, but just in general it works with any good vermouth or Amaro, it works in a Gin and Tonic or Gin and Soda, it really plays into the Aperitivo and Vermouth trend.”

Other SKUs coming to Australia include Raspberry and Pink Grapefruit and all come in the distinctive, brightly coloured bottles synonymous with the Whitley Neill range.

Looking in more detail at the Blood Orange gin, Tomlinson told Bars and Clubs: “The biggest thing for us is the gap between the straight gin and tonic and a cocktail. There’s not really anything in between. We call it a complex G&T, but we’re also seeing a lot of bars now doing some really cool things with vermouths, amaros, low ABV serves.

“One of the biggest trends is obviously the Aperol Spritz and we are trying to pull people into a slightly different space with a Blood Orange spritz for example. We’ve really focused on this globally with our Ginsecco trend and we can’t wait to bring this to Australia, because we think there is a huge opportunity here.

“It’s a drink that works perfectly with our Quince gin, that apple-pear profile and once you add the Prosecco it blends perfectly in terms of the molecular structure, and then garnished with some fresh apple, cucumber and you have a beautiful, every day, sipping Ginsecco.”

It is noticeable that the range has a focus on flavoured gins, and Tomlinson explained this is something that has been a positive for the brand, as people explore and understand the gin category.

“Something that I’ve seen globally, outside of the UK, is that people can actually have a bit of a negative palate towards London Dry Gin. That old school, juniper-forward, kind of sharp on the palate gin that’s not really a neat, sipping gin either.

“A lot of people were put off by that, not really understanding that that is effectively the Islay whisky of the gin category. Using that as a comparison when you start drinking whisky there are plenty of Bourbons, Irish and Scottish whiskies that you get to before you get to Islay and the palate has been built to understand that whisky.

“It’s the same with gin. We’ve got gin liqueurs, pink gins, half-strength flavoured gin there are multiple categories before someone can effectively move into a London Dry Gin.”

And while some bartenders and operators may be slightly dubious about flavoured gins, Tomlinson has a message for those.

“We’ve seen a lot of bartenders who were in the beginning against the idea of flavoured gin being in their bars. But one thing I’ve seen around the world is that consumers are looking for variation and are looking for a point of difference in their gin. Bartenders are intrinsically production focused when it comes to gin, different botanicals, different processes and this really lifts the whole flavoured gin category.

“These are really good base spirits for cocktails, a unique base for any good classic or signature cocktail and really building around that flavour instead of having to use a London Dry Gin base and having to work from scratch. We are seeing a lot of drinks being centred around the flavour profile that then sign through at the end with those classic compounds.”

The Whitley Neill range launches this month and will be available to select venues around the country.

Commenting on the launch, Marketing Manager at Halewood Australia, Kelly Coughlan said “There’s been a clear gin revival during the past few years and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down – there’s still room to play and grow as long as you’re being innovative, which makes this a very exciting time for us to launch.

“What sets us apart from other gin brands in the market is unique insight from a long line of family distillers, our flavour Ginnovation, extensive range of flavours and a fresh viewpoint on gin drinking.”

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