Gin goes global in duty free

25 May, 2018

Says international commercial director William Ovens: “GTR has gone from being virtually nothing at all, just three ferry listings, to potentially our third-largest export market in just three years.” He recalls that listings in Europe with World Duty Free and Gebr Heinemann opened the door to further airport listings with the likes of Lagardère, Aer Rianta International, as well as ferry listings in Scandinavia with Tallink and Viking Line and inflight successes with carriers such as Lufthansa, SAS, Flybe and Easyjet.

Of the four gins, Quintessential currently has on sales in GTR (Greenall’s, Thomas Dakin, Bloom and Opihr), Ovens says it is Ophir which is currently selling best. “Consumers are drawn to it because it stands out. The whole proposition is about adventure, which fits well into travel retail.” He says the brand is even gaining traction in Asia Pacific and is set to go on shelf shortly at Hong Kong airport.


Next month, at selected WDF outlets Quintessential will be relaunching its ultra-premium Berkeley Square ahead of any other distribution channel, priced at about £75 per bottle. “While there have been a lot of great products [in the gin sector], we felt there was an opportunity for a brand with the right credentials in terms of quality, look and feel to own the ultra-premium, luxury positioning. That’s what we are endeavouring to do with Berkeley Square,” Ovens says.

“It really does stand apart from other gin brands,” he adds. “It is actually the first gin brand which is presented in a rigid box more normally associated with aged malts, 18 years-plus. It’s very giftable, and targeted at people who seek the finer things in life. It was voted the best gin in the world and has a unique, slow distillation process and a bouquet garni method of infusion.”

Whereas established brands once dominated the mix, craft gin brands are now a commonplace sight at European airport duty free stores. Caorunn gin was one of the first craft brands to make its presence felt in duty free, making breakthrough listings at key Scottish airports in 2011. Since then the brand’s footprint in the channel has grown rapidly to include Dubai, Delhi, Auckland and Bangkok airports.

Caorunn sales director for GTR, India and the Gulf, James Bateman, says: “The IWSR ranked Caorunn the number three brand for super-premium gin in UK travel retail, and Caorunn is available in more than 20 countries in travel retail outside of the UK,” he adds. “I am very pleased with the growing presence in the Nordic markets, new listings in Thailand, Malaysia, around the Gulf and, to our surprise, in Indian duty free at Delhi and Hyderabad in 2017, where we have maintained the brand’s premium [pricing].”

In July, Caorunn will unveil Caorunn Gin Master’s Cut, a higher-strength travel retail-exclusive variant, bottled at 48% abv rather than the original’s 41.8%, and priced at about £40. “It’s the first planned new expression for the brand and the flavours are amazing,” says Bateman. “[Parent company] International Beverage previewed it at TFWA Cannes in October 2017 and we hope it will be begin to reach travelling consumers in peak season.”


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