The latest launches in hybrid drinks

We round-up the latest cross-category drinks launches and pick out key trends that have inspired the release of the latest products.

Salcombe Phantom Gin

Hybrid drinks are not new. Scotch has long been aged in fortified wine barrels, and cask finishing is now commonplace. The practice of combining elements from different alcoholic drinks categories began cropping up elsewhere too.

db did its first round-up of hybrid drinks back in 2013. In recent years, releases have ramped up as markets have become more saturated and producers battle to stand out from the crowd.

Now, as belts are tightened during the coronavirus pandemic, could hybrid products present an efficient use of resources? With two production and sales teams involved, they have the potential to reach a larger audience.

We round-up a selection of the latest launches and pick out some key themes.

Two become one

Recently, we’ve seen a flurry of drinks hit the market that have been made by two high-profile producers. Examples include:

Hernö Sipping Gin #1.3 ex-Ardbeg Casks: Gin made by Swedish brand Hernö aged in ex-Ardbeg whisky casks. 

Don Julio Reposado Double Cask Lagavulin Aged Edition: A reposado Tequila produced by Don Julio finished in casks that previously held Lagavulin single malt whisky. Here both producers involved are owned by Diageo.

Salcombe Phantom Gin: Gin made by Salcombe Distillery in Devon finished in Sauternes barrels from Château Climens for eight months.

Samuel Gelston Irish Whiskey finished in Pinot Noir casks: A single pot still Irish whiskey made by Samuel Gelston finished in Pinot Noir casks used by actor Sam Neill at his Central Otago winery Two Paddocks. Sam Neill is the cousin of Gelston’s owner Johnny Neill.

Sustainable focus

Other launches have used waste products from winemaking, or other drinks manufacturing, to create an entirely new product. Examples include:

Bolney Estate Gin: A gin made by Bolney Wine Estate in West Sussex using grape distillate from press juice from winemaking.

Samuel Gelston Irish Whiskey finished in Pinot Noir casks

Archie Rose Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit: Australian distillery Archie Rose launched a Shiraz-based spirit distilled from smoke tainted grapes, which could not be used to make wine.

Mix and match

While many products achieve ‘hybrid-status’ by being aged in barrels which previously held another product, others actively mix two products together. Examples include:

Crystal Head Onyx: An agave-based vodka.

Renegade Bethnal Bubbles: A dry-hopped English sparkling wine.

Hawkes Graff: A co-fermented beer and cider hybrid.

Leftfield Wine Seltzer: Wine-based hard seltzer made by New Zealand’s Villa Maria Estate.

Echo Falls Fusions range: A range of products that combine wine with different spirits.

Two Roads Brewing Sauvignon Blanc Gose: Gose-style beer brewed with Sauvignon Blanc grapes.

GinKing: A range of RTDs that combine gin, wine, flavourings and sparkling water.

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