Pernod Ricard makes ‘significant investment’ in Japan’s Ki No Bi gin

French drinks group Pernod Ricard has made a “significant investment” in Japan’s Kyoto Distillery, the producer of Ki No Bi gin.

Pernod Ricard said the investment, which forms part of its ‘transform and accelerate’ strategic plan, will be used to build a new distillery for the Japanese spirits producer in order to satisfy “growing demand” for its gin.

In a statement, the French firm said it would continue to work closely with founders of the gin brand David Croll, Noriko Kakuda Croll and Marcin Miller. Pernod Ricard stated that they would remain “fully invested in the business” and work to develop distribution channels worldwide.

Built in 2014, the Kyoto Distillery released Japan’s first gin in 2016 called Ki No Bi. The rice-based spirit is in infused with Japanese botanicals including yuzu, lemon, sansho pepper, ginger and gyokuro tea.

In 2017, Kyoto began shipping its gin overseas. It has since launched other expressions including a Champagne cask-aged gin called Ki No Bi Edition G and a higher-ABV version known as Ki No Bi Sei. Last year, it announced the launch of the new Kyoto Gin Series, with the release of ultra-premium expression Ki No Jyu Gin Series 1 Gyokuro, which is made with Okuno Yama tea and retails for ¥50,000 (£386.)

Marcin Miller, chairman of The Kyoto Distillery, said: “Having been fortunate enough to work with Pernod Ricard in the past, I am extremely enthusiastic about the wealth of expertise and experience that will ensure this strategic partnership will deliver great success for Ki No Bi.”

The Kyoto Distillery will join the Pernod Ricard Gin Hub and the group’s existing gin portfolio which includes Beefeater, Plymouth, Malfy and Monkey 47.

Along with Monkey 47, Ki No Bi gin will be part of Pernod Ricard’s speciality and prestige portfolio, which has been growing at a double-digit rate year-on-year.

David Croll, CEO of the Kyoto Distillery, added: “We are delighted that Pernod Ricard appreciates the unique qualities of Japan’s first ultra-premium gin which we have created with the support and cooperation of Kyoto’s cultural and agricultural communities.”

Alexandre Ricard, chairman and chief executive officer of Pernod Ricard, said: “We are thrilled to welcome this one-of-a-kind brand to our portfolio. Ki No Bi’s unique origins and taste profile make it a perfect complement to The Gin Hub’s extensive stable of brands. I am excited for Pernod Ricard to be part of its ongoing development.”

The financial terms of the deal, as well as the percentage of Pernod Ricard’s stake in the business, have not been disclosed.

The Kyoto Distillery will be opening its first brand home on 28 March, based in a traditional 100-year-old ‘machiya’ townhouse which was formerly a timber mill.

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