Japanese gin brand 135°EAST joins Marussia portfolio

30 September, 2020

Japanese gin brand 135°EAST is targeting export growth after joining the Marussia Beverages portfolio.

The brand will launch in seven international markets this month: the UK, the US, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ukraine and Russia.

Master distiller and blender Kimio Yonezawa produces the “hydro” gin in small batches at his family-owned Kaikyo Distillery in Hyogo Prefecture.

He blends classic London Dry gin with Japanese botanicals and finishes it off with some of his distilled Junmai sake.

The brand is named after the 135th meridian east, a line of longitude chosen in 1888 to mark Japan’s official standard time.

“I wanted to make a gin with a strong personality that would surprise gin lovers with new taste sensations,” said Yonezawa. “Following extensive research into over 50 different options, I selected five new Japanese botanicals like yuzu and sansho pepper to bring a distinctive Oriental flavour to 135°EAST.

“I also decided to add a touch of my Junmai sake to the blend as not only is rice at the heart of Japan’s cuisine and history, but Junmai sake is made from Yamadanishki rice, known as the king of rice.

“Once distilled, it has a typical soft sweetness which gently envelops and complements the Japanese botanicals.”

Marussia was founded in 2004 and it now has subsidiaries in 12 countries, with a turnover of more than €250 million last year.

Its brands include Mamont vodka, Mozart liqueurs, Austrian Schlumberger sparkling wines, Château Mukhrani, Tamada and Visimino from Georgian wines, Scotch brands Mossburn and Torabhaig Scottish, Mezan rum, Akashi-Tai sake and Hatozaki Japanese whisky.

Sarah Gandy, head of marketing for Marussia Beverages UK, said “We’re really excited to launch 135°EAST as part of our Japanese spirits portfolio, it will sit alongside our existing artisan sake brand, Aksahi-Tai.

“135°EAST is a unique and unconventional style of gin, which will give the brand much needed stand out in the crowded UK gin market.”

It has an rrp of £35 in the UK for a 70cl bottle, with online retailers and independents a key focus.

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