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UK: Penderyn distiller sets sights on vodka, gin

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UK independent distiller The Welsh Whisky Company is looking to make serious inroads in vodka, gin and cream liqueurs, its managing director Stephen Davies said today (26 October).

The company, famous for its Welsh single malt whisky Penderyn, has relaunched a vodka and a gin brand and revamped the packaging for its cream liqueur Merlyn.

The Welsh Whisky Company first launched vodka brand Brecon Five and Brecon Special Reserve gin in 2000 to boost earnings when it was laying down stocks for Penderyn.

However, Davies said the company's white spirits offering needed "rebranding" for them to succeed outside Wales. The company appointed the agency behind Penderyn, London-based Enterprise IG, to relaunch the brands.

"The brands had quite a strong following in Wales but the packaging was not strong enough for them to do anything internationally or for them to even get over the Severn Bridge," Davies told just-drinks.

Penderyn is sold in 18 countries around the world, including in the US through its distributor Sazerac, as well as in France, Italy and South Africa. Davies said, however, that the company wants to first establish the vodka and gin in Wales before looking to roll them out into the UK and Europe.

Davies said: "We did the same thing with Penderyn and although we have already had interest for the vodka and gin from abroad, we'll look to establish very good distribution in Wales first."

The spirit used to produce Penderyn is also used in the company's Merlyn cream liqueur. Davies said the company would look to "leverage" Penderyn's success internationally to boost sales of Merlyn.

The price of the three products would be at a "slight premium" to rival brands in their respective categories, Davies said. Brecon Five vodka and Brecon Special Reserve gin would sell at around GBP13.50 (US$25.48) in the UK, while Merlyn would retail at around GBP11.49.

"We're not looking to compete on price as we don't think our products deserve that kind of treatment. We're a small, boutique-style distillery and we don't have an endless supply of product - our best marketing tool is getting people to actually taste our products."

Last week, The Welsh Whisky Company secured a UK-wide distribution deal for its Penderyn brand with listings at Tesco and Threshers.


Sectors: Spirits

Companies: Sazerac Co

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