Selfridges launches new limited edition Rolling Stones gin

23rd November, 2020

Selfridges is launching a new limited edition Rolling Stones gin featuring the rock band’s iconic Hot Lips logo, which has been bottled in collaboration with Goldy Gin.

The launch, which is limited to 500 bottles, is the second collaboration between the retailer, Goldy Gin and the band following the first limited edition run in 2018, the “Yellow Tongue” bottling, which featured the Hot Lips logo in Selfridges’ iconic yellow livery.

It will be launched and sold exclusively online (RRP: £49.99) due to the retailer’s closure due to Covid-19 restrictions .

Speaking to the drinks business this morning, Goldy Gin’s founder Justin Oshea said that Selfridges strong online platform would ensure that the online launch was as  effective as the Yellow Tongue collaboration, which was initially launched in store, where it sold out in one day.

“We’re all about limited sales, limited editions, it’s about special products. And for a band that is as big as the Rolling Stones, the most iconic band which ships thousand of Tee shirts and things like that, it’s nice to be part of something they want to part of – something small, exclusive and limited,” he said.

“Seeing what’s gin’s been doing In the market over the last five year, everyone’s trying to make a gin that doesn’t taste like gin, they want to separate themselves by making a point of difference and moving the point away by adding botanicals and flavours, and saying “look at us we’re doing something completely different”. But I’m a purist, I don’t want gin  to taste like gin, not a pot pouri or vanilla  – that’s fine if by adding those infusions you doing what you love, but I wanted to produce a better version of what makes gin the best drink. So it’s like a déjà vu – you taste Goldy, and you recognise it but it’s different. That was the premise behind what I wanted to created with the brand.”

Selfridges spirit buyer Michael Monte said the team was delighted to partner with Goldy Gin to launch the newest Rolling Stones collaboration, adding that “there was no doubt the iconic bottle was going to be a huge hit with its customers”.

The classic gin – a signature blend heavy in juniper and citrus, is produced at the Thames Distillery,

The latest Rolling Stones collaboration follows in the footsteps of Goldy Gin’s limited edition collaborations with Guns and Roses and Queen.

US burger chain in trademark row with Devon pub

23rd November, 2020

US-based Smashburger has issued a pub in Devon with a cease and desist after the latter launched a new burger menu to boost takeaway trade.

A Smashburger restaurant in Indianapolis

Rob Naylor, manager of The Colebrook Inn in Plympton, told Plymouth Live that the pub had launched Howey’s Smashed Burgers a few months ago in an effort to adapt to the current climate.

The pub worked with local designers to create a logo and submitted a formal trademark application to the Intellectual Property Office in August, which was later published in October.

However, two months after waiting for official approval from the IPO, the pub received a letter from lawyers representing Colorado-based burger chain Smashburger.

Smashburger operates around 300 sites globally, including seven in the UK, with outlets in Bath, Brighton, Newcastle, Glasgow, Milton Keynes, Wednesbury and Dunfermline.

The chain accuses The Colebrook Inn of infringing on its trademarks and states that its new burger menu could cause customer confusion.

Naylor told Plymouth Live: “It’s frustrating because I’m not a global chain, [I’m] just trying to make a living and provide the local community with something different and keep staff employed. A smashed burger is a process of cooking, not a brand.”

The letter asks the pub to stop using the logo and remove the word ‘smashed’ from its brand name.

the drinks business has contacted Smashburger for comment.

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Emiliana expands with new Maule acquisition

23rd November, 2020

Chile’s largest organic wine producer, Emiliana, is set to expand following the acquisition of a new property in Maule.

The company has acquired a 292 hectare estate called El Trigal, which is located near the city of Constitución, between San Javier and the coast. Currently uncultivated, the company plans to start planting the land Cabernet Sauvignon next October and November as part of the first phase in three year planting scheme that will also see Syrah and Carmene planted on the site. The first harvest is slated to be in 2023, with grapes grown at El Trigal intended for the Adobe wine range which this year was revealed as the best-selling organic wine in Chile, with a 59.9% market share.

“Emiliana is currently in a growth period, thanks to the success we’ve had with our organic wines”, CEO Cristián Rodríguez said as he announced the acquisition. “The project will be a continuation of our innovativepractices that we’ve been developing over the years, using the organic and biodynamic agriculture we are known for.”

“El Trigal must be a model property, where we can apply everything we’ve learned over the years. The agricultural team is very excited and has high expectations for the

The company has around 800 hectares of certified vineyards including 600 hectares that have been certified as biodynamic and want s

According to Rodríguez, the new  estate has very good water capacity, good soils, low risk for frost, and a production capacity for very good quality red grapes, especially Cabernet Sauvignon.

Speaking to Spanish-speaking Chilean publication El Merucio Economia y Negocias Sabado earlier this month, Rodriguez said the move came on the back of positive sales for the company’s wines. ”We thought about it a lot and saw how the markets were reacting to our wines,” he told the paper, noting that sales in September rose 16% due the increased demand for organic wine and the exchagne rate. “We intend to grow a little more at the end of the year, in any case in double digits,” he is reported as saying.

Speaking to the drinks business in September, Emiliana’s winemaker Noelia Orts, who makes its well-known Coyam and Gê wines, said demand for organic wines had grown this year despite the global pandemic, with sales of biodynamic and organic brand Coyam up 5% this year.

However she argued that Chile needed to do more to embrace sustainability and green practises, and producers needed “a change of mentality” in order to take advantage of Chile’s natural resources and the various initiatives availble through Wines of Chile and its Sustainability Code, and the government’s CORFO agency which provides governement backed research funding.

The team is set to release three new wines in the Spring, a Provencal-style elegant premium rosé from a coastal vineyard in Casablanca, a Pinot Noir from Limarí and an “exciting” red blend from Maule, close to Cauquenes, Orts said.

The wines produced in the Adobe range include a Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec, rosé (made with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah), Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Gewürztraminer and a Pinot Noir.

Exports of Georgian wine to the UK have trebled

23rd November, 2020

Exports of Georgian wine to the UK have more than trebled in volume over the last year, while value sales have increased by 60%.

Year on year exports of Georgian wine to the UK have increased by 243% in volume and 60% in value

According to figures from the National Wine Agency of Georgia, exports of Georgian wine to the UK have increased by 243% in the year to October 2020. Over that period, 366,486 bottles of Georgian wine were imported into the UK, up from 106,855 bottles in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, value sales of Georgian wine to the UK over the same period totalled £802,640, up from £500,401 last year, representing a 60% rise.

“The National Wine Agency of Georgia has been investing in a UK promotional programme for three years and, despite a very challenging year, are reaping rewards,” Sarah Abbott MW, head of Wines of Georgia in the UK, said.

“Our activity has focussed on raising awareness of Georgia’s wine quality, heritage and appeal, and helping the trade to feel confident in adding Georgian wine to their portfolios and promoting it to their customers.

“There is still a lot of unsigned talent in Georgia, and we look forward to establishing the category even more strongly in the UK. Both qvevri and classically made wines are doing well in the UK.”, Abbott added.

In the last 12 months, four national agencies have added Georgian wines to their portfolio: Amathus with Dugladze, Berkmann with Tbilvino, Boutinot with Teliani, and Hallgarten with Vachnadziani, which has increased the availability of Georgian wines for a broader consumer base.

“Our sales of Georgian wine have been growing by the month, and we’re now selling double the amount we were six months ago. There’s a real curiosity among customers about the indigenous grape varieties and traditional production methods,” said Oxford Wine Company’s head of retail, Emily Silva.

“We’re delighted with the quality of the range we stock, and this has led to repeat purchases and some very loyal fans of Georgian wine in Oxford,” she added.

To increase awareness about Georgian wine among the UK trade and wine press, Abbott has run a number of virtual tastings and webinars on the topic this year.

“The appetite for learning about Georgian wine is huge. We ran two very successful virtual trips to Georgia last month, which allowed attendees to talk with winemakers, ‘tour’ their wineries, and taste their wines alongside Georgian snacks and music,” Abbott said.

Irish whiskey sets new record for a new release

23rd November, 2020

A bottle of Irish whiskey has set a new world record for the highest price achieved for a maiden bottling sold at auction, selling for US$60,000 at a charity sale in Texas.

The bottle of ‘The Devil’s Keep’ from the Craft Irish Whiskey Co. was sold to Jim Crane, owner of the Major Leage Baseball team the Houston Astros, for the record-setting price.

The whiskey will be officially launched on 30 November and will be the oldest triple distilled Irish single malt released with just 333 bottles available worldwide.

It also sets a new record for a brand new whisk(e)y offered at auction, realising US$60,000/£46,000.

In September 2018 Irish distillery Teeling set a record for a new whiskey, with a new malt selling for €10,000. In August of this year, however, Scottish distillery Nc’nean, smashed that record with a new malt selling for £41,004 via Whisky Auctioneer.

Jay Bradley, Founder of Craft Irish Whiskey Co. commented: “With more than two years of hard toil, countless revisions and changes to bring The Devil’s Keep to life, it was very fitting to donate our first bottle to a cause that is so close to my heart. We’re also thrilled to be celebrating Ireland’s whiskey resurgence by officially launching the Devil’s Keep at the end of this month, which has been a crusade sparing no expense to source the rarest whiskey and the finest tawny port and virgin Hungarian oak barrels, to give the most sublime flavours – it truly is the culmination of our devotion, passion and craft.”

The proceeds of the sale of the bottle will go to a charity that supports children affected by serious illnesses. The charity was founded by Houston Astros player Carlos Correa and his wife. The distillery donated bottle number 17 to the sale. The Astros dedicated the team number to a young fan called Cameron Gooch who died of cancer aged just 10.

Jay Bradley’s own daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when she was just five months old, recovered, went into remission when she was five but battled through and is now 18.

Pommery launches Apanage Blanc de Noirs

23rd November, 2020

Champagne Pommery has added a “fresh, delicate and ethereal” blanc de noirs to its Apanage range, made from a blend of Pinot Noir and Meunier.

Aiming to showcasing the “intensity and elegance” of Pinot Noir and the “fullness” of Meunier, Pommery Apanage Blanc de Noirs is “pale gold with amber reflections” and displays “very fine effervescence”.

According to the house, the nose reveals “subtle floral notes of acacia and peony enveloped by sugary sensations of mirabelle, crushed strawberry and frangipani”.

It also displays “nuances of vanilla and soft spices”. The Champagne’s floral notes are mirrored on the palate, along with flavours of “acacia honey, pear, blood orange, red fruits and spices”.

“The idea behind Pommery Apanage Blanc de Noirs was to continue in the footsteps of our Pommery Apanage Blanc de Blancs, which was released in 2019.

“In contrast to the structure of the Blanc de Blancs, the Blanc de Noirs is fresh, delicate and ethereal, rounding off the Pommery Apanage range perfectly,” Julien Lonneux, Vranken Pommery UK’s CEO, said.

Lonneux recommends enjoying Pommery Apanage Blanc de Noirs as an apéritif or with tapas, roast chicken, Japanese tempura, or a white truffle risotto.

Diageo targets zero carbon emissions by 2030

23rd November, 2020

The world’s largest spirits company is aiming to eliminate carbon emissions from its production over the next ten years.

Diageo, which makes Johnnie Walker Whisky and is the world’s largest spirits maker by volume, has outlined 25 goals in what it has called its “Society 2030: Spirit of Progress” plan to have a net-zero carbon output by 2030. This includes working with suppliers – many of which are small farmers – to reduce indirect carbon emissions by 50%, and reduce water usage by 30%. Two of its Scottish distilleries, Oban and Royal Lochnagar, will become carbon neutral by the end of this year, while the Diageo’s Indian business is aiming to achieve net zero emissions by 2025.

In addition, Diageo said on Monday (13 November) it would set aside funding to for and technology startups to help develop green innovations it can use across its global operations.

Chief executive Ivan Menezes said the company is “committed to playing our part to protect the future of our planet”, and will power all of its production facilities with 100% renewable energy by 2030.

This follows a 44.7% reduction of emissions across the business’ global operations between 2007 and 2019, according to data shared with non-profit organisation Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The company revealed in June this year that a Kentucky whiskey distillery currently under construction, which will distill Bulleit, is expected to be carbon neutral when it opens.

“I am immensely proud of Diageo’s sustainability and responsibility achievements to date, and this new, ambitious action plan will challenge us even further to deliver more over the critical decade to 2030.”

Diageo’s pledge comes after a number of major drinks companies have sought to clean up their operations this year. AB InBev, which makes Stella Artois, agreed a 10-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with Munich-based global renewable energy developer BayWa r.e in January to brew all beers made in Europe with solar power. The brewer said at the time it was the largest pan-European corporate solar power deal in history.

More recently, Dutch brewer Heineken has installed thousands of solar panels across its Tadcaster and Dutch breweries. Its Sol beer is now brewed exclusively with solar energy.

As most energy used for brewing and distilling comes from heat, Diageo said it is looking into solutions such as heat pumps and thermal energy storage to meet its targets.

Post-lockdown plans for restaurants to be revealed

23rd November, 2020

An extra hour to drink up after 10pm and more restrictions on hospitality in tiers two and three are part of post-lockdown plans in England expected to be announced by the Prime Minister today.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to make a statement in the House of Commons this afternoon, detailing plans for coronavirus restrictions in England after the lockdown is lifted on 2 December.

England will return to the three-tier system, with more areas set to be placed in the higher tiers (tiers two and three) in December, Downing Street has confirmed.

It is understood that the controversial 10pm curfew on hospitality will be amended. Outlets will be allowed to open until 11pm, with last orders at 10pm. This means customers will have an extra hour to drink up.

Newspaper reports have suggested that tier three, the highest alert level, will be strengthened. The Telegraph states that hospitality outlets in tier three will be forced to close and may only operate as takeaways. Previously, pubs and restaurants serving food were allowed to stay open. Outlets in tier two may only serve alcohol with a “substantial meal”, suggesting wet-let venues can now only operate in tier one areas.

The Telegraph also reported that Johnson is set to announce a relaxation of the rules between 22 and 28 December, allowing several households to come together as a bubble over Christmas.

Details of which tier regions will be placed into will be announced on Thursday (27 November).

Aside from hospitality, gyms, places of worship and non-essential retail are expected to be allowed to reopen across all tiers in England.

James Calder, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), called the new hospitality restrictions “unjustified and unsubstantiated” in light of plans in other sectors.

“[We] will be working with other trade body leaders this morning to co-ordinate response,” he said.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of industry body UKHospitality, said that pubs and restaurants are “paying the price” for tougher restrictions, and referred to the singling out of hospitality as “totally unacceptable”.

Bothy Vineyard to cease wine production

23rd November, 2020

Bothy Vineyard in Oxfordshire is to grub up its vines and cease wine production after 42 years due to ongoing issues with late spring frosts.

As reported by The Herald, Bothy Vineyard’s owners, Sian and Richard Liwicki, have decided to call time on their vineyard venture in Abingdon.

The Liwickis have been growing grapes at the vineyard, which was founded by Roger and Dorothea Fisher in 1978, for the last 18 years. According to The Herald, vines at the estate will be grubbed up in the coming months, and will be replaced with 850 oak and hazel trees.

“This year has been memorable for all the wrong reasons. Covid-19, political upheaval and the two nights of -5C frosts on May 11 and 13 devastated the flowering shoots of our vines.

Sian and Richard Liwicki are grubbing up their vines at Bothy Vineyard

“We have decided to grub up our vines. We are leaving just two long rows representing all the varieties that we have nurtured on site,” the couple told the paper.

They will continue to sell their bottled wines until they run out of stock. One of the key factors behind the decision was ongoing frost issues.

“Climate change has not been kind to us. Milder winters encourage early bud burst, but there has been no let-up in the short and hard frosts in May, which often disappear before most people have arisen.

“In the past 10 years we have had some degree of frost damage every year. Frost protection measures are expensive and often not very environmentally friendly. The whole block needs replacing, but this investment in a frost-prone site is just not sensible,” the Liwickis told The Herald.

The oak and hazel tree planting will begin early next year. The goal is to increase biodiversity at the estate and to help fight climate change.

HK steakhouse creates Irish whiskey pairing menu

23rd November, 2020

Henry, one of the most popular steakhouses in Hong Kong, has created a three-course pairing menu with Kinahan’s Irish Whiskey which will be available every Wednesday until the end of December.

Nestled in the Rosewood Hotel Hong Kong, Henry has launched a family style sharing menu that features pairings with the world’s first and only hybrid cask whiskey, Kinahan’s Kasc Project, which is launching exclusively at the restaurant in Hong Kong.

The Irish whiskey brand was founded in 1779 and it is one of the world’s oldest brands of whiskey, historically known as “the pioneer of Irish whiskey”. It has recently been lauded for its modern-day innovations within the category.

In 2019, the distillery released The Kasc Project Whiskey, the world’s first series of whiskeys made in hybrid casks. Each cask is individually constructed from a mix of five different types of wood, including unusual oak varieties and even chestnut.

Zak Og-anian, managing director of Kinahan’s commented: “Our team is extremely proud of this collaboration. A new partnership with Henry allows us to re-imagine both food and whiskey experiences. This is so much more than just a menu collaboration, this is a hybritasation of different ideas and cultural identities to create a new experience.”

The exclusive three-course Kinahan’s whiskey menu served in Henry’s every Wednesday begins with the restaurant favourites of salmon rillettes with cucumber dill and chicory, burrata with hazelnut pesto, pickled mushrooms and drizzles of aged Balsamic vinegar, and steak tartare with cold-smoked and hand-cut beef, egg yolk purée and rustic toast. The Kinahan’s pairing cocktail of choice is Kinahan’s Whiskey Sour, created with Kinahan’s Hybrid Cask Whiskey, egg whites, bitters and orange.

The main courses include a medley of bone-in ribeye of USDA prime Holstein from Brandt Ranch in California and a BBQ plate of seven pepper beef brisket and Snake River Farm BBQ pork belly, house bacon and andouille aausage.

These can be enjoyed with hearty Southern sides of mashed potatoes with burnt ends gravy, collard greens with pot liquor and Benton’s country ham, shiitake mushrooms with smoked soy sauce, and Charred Corn with Parmesan and harissa. The mains and sides are accompanied by a glass of Kinahan’s Hybrid Cask Whiskey and Kinahan’s Original Whiskey served neat.

For dessert, chocolate fondant with pretzel milk ice cream and cheesecake with roast figs and pistachio, washed down with a warm and heady concoction of Irish Coffee featuring Kinahan’s Whiskey, Kahlua and whipped cream.

The three-course menu is priced at HK$1,100 per guest, including the pairings with three Kinahan’s Kasc Project cocktails and whiskey.