Cheers to Christmas!
After two years of quieter celebrations during the pandemic, Christmas parties and impromptu get-togethers are back with a bang in 2022, and with it the need for your shoppers to get those drinks cabinets stocked up with choices to suit everyone’s tastes, writes Gillian Hamill
2 December 2022 | 0
The festive period provides ample opportunities for suppliers to promote their alcohol brands heavily with a view to enjoying more returns than at any other time of the year. Shopper data reveals that when buying alcoholic drinks for Christmas, promotions are extremely effective triggers: 40% of items are only purchased because they were on promotion. Shoppers also browse more during this period, which gives brands more opportunities to get attention.
Of course, festive favourites like mulled wine, cream liqueurs, champagne and premium quality wine will always be popular at this time of year, but consumers are also often tempted to try new and different drinks at Christmastime. With that in mind, here we outline all the best sellers and new innovations that are already catching shoppers’ attention, both as stress-free gift options and quality tipples that will impress family and friends – all the more important this year after a few quiet Covid Christmases, when all the usual festive parties and get-togethers were curtailed by the pandemic.
Bar-quality serves at home
Offering premium ready-to-shake cocktails built on 20 years of experience, the Cocktail Keg Company (CKC) has unrivalled flavour, premium ingredients and consistency delivered on every serve. The group sources only the highest quality spirits for bar-quality serves.
Unafraid to challenge category norms, CKC was founded in 2017 by two award-winning bar owners; whose creative flair, passion for their industry and sheer doggedness to be led by innovation with a planet-first mantra, has created a paradigm shift in cocktail consumption – allowing anyone to pour an award-winning, hand-crafted cocktail in their glass within 30 seconds. Originally designed for the on-trade, the brand quickly pivoted when the doors to hospitality closed in 2020, and CKC now offer their range of high-quality serves through retail, to recreate those on-trade experiences, at home.
CKC is now available to buy through Noreast.
Q&A with…Anthony Farrell and Paul Burns, founders, Cocktail Keg Company (CKC)
Q: When was Cocktail Keg Company established and what was the inspiration and ethos behind starting the business?
A: Founded by two award-winning bar owners with over 20 years’ experience of creating cocktail menus across Belfast, CKC was born in the on-trade. Wanting to challenge the industry norms of how everyone thought a cocktail should be made, CKC was created to help busy hospitality venues serve premium, handmade cocktails in a fast serve, high volume capacity. Following the global pandemic in 2020 which hit the hospitality industry hard, the brand pivoted to create a B2C extension and now offer their range of high-quality serves through retail, to recreate those on-trade experiences, at home.
From the beginning, the founders have been committed to creating innovative serves that not only taste great, but are also as sustainable as they can make them. And on top of that, they have a strict field to cup, ultra-premium fresh produce policy, and use no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
Perfecting the art of mixology takes years. The history, the skillset, the theatre. They’ve done all the hard work for you and put it in a bottle. Now all you have to do is, shake, garnish and serve. Simple.
Q: How does your portfolio stand out from other products currently available for these consumers?
A: The main ingredient in every cocktail sold globally is citrus – imported lemons and limes that have a huge carbon footprint. Unimpressed with that being the only solution available, in 2017, the founders developed their own citrus programme, ‘ANAM’.
Indigenous to Ireland, ANAM’s unique recipe, which is under patent review, allows the brand to cold-fill, unpasteurized, making CKC the only completely fresh batched cocktail in the market today.
With unrivalled flavour, premium ingredients and consistency delivered on every serve, CKC sources only the highest quality spirits, for bar-quality serves.
Q: How many retailers currently stock your range and what are your targets to grow this number further during 2022?
A: Following a hugely successful launch in Northern Ireland, delivered through a distribution agreement with Musgrave Group, CKC is currently selling through SuperValu, Centra, Mace, Musgrave MarketPlace as well as Drinks Inc.
The brand also recently announced its launch into the Republic of Ireland, in partnership with leading drinks distributor, Noreast. CKC co-founder Paul Burns says of the brand’s expansion plans: “We have ambitious numbers in the plan for this year, and with the right distribution partners to help us drive growth, we’re excited to see the brand appear on more shelves over the next six months, delivering more CKC moments for consumers across Ireland.”
Q: How important is sustainability for you as a group and how are you working to deliver results within this area?
A: Our planet is the core of our DNA,” says CKC co-founder Anthony Farrell. “That’s why we champion local provenance, and that’s why we’re passionate in our journey to become carbon neutral. For every bottle you buy online, we plant a tree. From the beginning, we’ve constantly challenged ourselves to do better, and that won’t stop as the brand grows – if anything, it becomes even more important.”
Q: How strongly have you invested in marketing the brand in 2022 and what will your marketing plans for the remainder of this year entail?
A: “We’ve just completed a substantial rebrand which rolled out late last year, and included a packaging and design overhaul, along with new website,” says Farrell. “Next up, we’ll be supporting our ROI launch with a significant digital and social campaign, alongside high impact retail visibility and consumer sampling,”
Outstanding quality and value
Feeling the pinch this Christmas? Ireland’s favourite wine brand, Santa Rita 120 delivers excellent value for money and outstanding quality. Try the crisp and zesty 120 Sauvignon Blanc with a smoked salmon starter, or the 120 Pinot Grigio is always a crowd pleaser. Or for those watching the calories or alcohol units, there’s the 120 Dealcoholised or De-Light range which includes both white and red wines including the lightly floral Moscato and fruity Cabernet Sauvignon.
Meanwhile, the Santa Rita Medalla Real Reserva is a great mid-range option, ideal to accompany turkey. Competitively priced around the €12-€15 mark, grape varieties in the range include a refreshing Casablanca Sauvignon, elegant Limari Chardonnay and Syrah and a plummy Maipo Cabernet Sauvignon.
For a fun and funky label on Christmas tables this Christmas, your shoppers can try the Frida Kahlo by Carmen range. Priced in the €10-€15 range, this quality Chilean wine includes a perfect for sipping Sauvignon Blanc, a vibrant Rosé and a soft, seductive Merlot.
Meanwhile, for those seeking the pleasure of a warming glass of red, the Doña Paula Estate Malbec from Argentina is a must. This elegant, refined yet very approachable Malbec is made by renowned winemaker and viticulturalist of the year Martin Kaiser using grapes grown at 1350 meters in the foothills of the Andes. The range also includes Doña Paula Estate Blue Velvet, an alluring blend of Malbec, Pinot Noir and Bonarda and the Estate Black Edition which is a complex and full-bodied blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. A single varietal Doña Paula Estate Sauvignon Blanc completes the line-up.
Barefoot, the number one USA wine brand in Ireland, has been rolling out its Barefoot Buttery Chardonnay in the Irish market since 26 October.
Creamy and smooth, Barefoot Buttery Chardonnay is bursting with pineapple aromas and layers of toasty oak that perfectly complement the smooth and delicious vanilla finish. It is a perfect accompaniment to an indulgent chicken in cream sauce, a cheeseboard or fresh crab, served with plenty of butter.
“Barefoot is all about creating wines that are fun, approachable and flavourful, and Barefoot Buttery Chardonnay ticks all those boxes, says Philip Lynch, country manager for Ireland at E&J Gallo Winery. “Buttery is an approachable and easy to understand term that nicely expresses the creamy notes of the wine and Barefoot Buttery Chardonnay’s success to date suggests that this is something that resonates with consumers on both sides of the Atlantic. We can’t wait to introduce this new style of Chardonnay to more consumers over the coming months.”
Since its launch in 2021, Barefoot Buttery Chardonnay continues to rapidly grow in the UK; up 220% over the last 52 weeks*, emulating the performance of the Buttery Chardonnay category Stateside, which has seen a 12% growth**.
Barefoot Buttery Chardonnay 750ml has an ABV of 13.5% and is now available from Tesco and wholesalers nationwide (RRP: €10, with a special introductory price of €9 at Tesco).
*(Source: IRI Total U.K. Off-Trade, 07.08.22 MAT, Total Still Wine)
**(Source: IRI TOTAL US MULO, 06.02.22 MAT, Total Still Wine)
The beer from ‘ah here’
“The beer from ‘ah here’” That’s how the hilarious new campaign for 5 Lamps describes the Dublin born-and-brewed beer.
Relaunching 5 Lamps, a Bulmers Ireland owned brand, the campaign champions the character of Dublin, its colourful people, their language and the city’s great public houses, where the great and the good all mix, sharing their stories, their banter and of course a few pints.
5 Lamps is a locally brewed beer, with roots planted firmly in a modern, contemporary, but authentic place – Dublin.
Just like the beer itself, the new campaign is made to be distinctive, so as to stand out in a very crowded category.
That sense of local is very important to an audience that increasingly seeks out local brands and supports local success stories. The last number of years have emphasised to many that it’s good to feel that a brand ‘gets’ them, and understands where they’re at, and what’s important to them. And the great thing is, in Dublin, everyone can feel like a local, no matter where they’re from. The ‘here’ of ‘ah here’ is an important part of the campaign.
The campaign is running on video-on-demand, social, radio, out-of-home, and in-store, as well as having a strong on-trade presence.
Cocktails for Christmas
Funkin Cocktails is on a mission to show that pre-mixed cocktails aren’t all cheap artificial liquids and that the same great taste, standard and texture of cocktails crafted at the bar can be achieved at home. The popularity of RTDs and cocktails in the off-trade is largely reflective of a trend for consumers to have more premium food and drink experiences at home and it’s important to ensure these experiences are accessible at a range of price points.
Consumers continue to look for high-quality drinks to enjoy without leaving the house, Funkin Cocktails has continued to grow its portfolio of RTDs with a range of options that are made from quality ingredients and guarantee a premium serve for minimum cost and effort. The Funkin Cocktails range, including Passion Fruit Martini, Strawberry Daquiri and Pina Colada, has experienced rapid success. Newly launched this summer is Funkin Cocktail 700ml. The format is ideal for those looking to pick up delicious cocktails to share with others. It’s currently available in two popular flavours; Passionfruit Martini & Strawberry Daiquiri. Funkin Cocktails caters for all taste profiles and is not just for the summer. This year, your shoppers can enjoy a festive Christmas with tasty and easy-to-drink cocktails.
Mulled cider perfection
Christmas is the time to spend together with family and friends; ‘Tis the Season When Time Bears Fruit”. Bulmers, Ireland’s number one cider is synonymous drinking occasions celebrated in summer, over ice. To capitalise on this brand strength and positive position, Bulmers will drive consumption moments and relevance in the winter period with a Bulmers Mulled Cider Christmas campaign.
The campaign will kick off in December with full through-the-line support. Bulmers’ heart-warming Christmas TV ad will be back on air ensuring the brand is top of mind and this will be amplified by a heavy weight social media and out-of-home (OOH) plan.
The Bulmers brand team recognise that consumers will be planning for hosting at home, seeking inspiration and easy ways to create special, seasonal experiences. With that in mind, Bulmers will be giving shoppers the chance to have the experience of hot Bulmers Mulled Cider at home. In selected outlets, shoppers will receive the gift of a Bulmers Mulled Cider kit, free with every purchase of selected Bulmers packs. The limited-edition gift with purchase will be available while stocks last and will be signposted in stores by disruptive point of sale.
Handmade with love
For the perfect holiday gift, your customers can never go wrong with craft vodka. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is America’s original craft vodka, and one of the fastest growing spirits brands in Ireland.
In 1995, sixth-generation Texan Bert “Tito” Beveridge obtained the first legal permit to distill in Texas and created Tito’s Handmade Vodka on a plot of land in rural Austin where he built a small shack, rigged a pot still with spare parts and batch distilled his corn-based, naturally gluten-free vodka.
Today, Tito’s Handmade Vodka is now available in over 140 markets including the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East, and is distilled and bottled by Fifth Generation Inc. in Austin, on the very same land where the whole thing started. Tito’s is also highly committed to community causes, charitable organizations, and disaster relief efforts across the world, through the brand’s “Love, Tito’s” initiatives, including especially pet welfare efforts.
In Ireland, Tito’s is represented by Comans Beverages Ltd.
Ireland’s favourite Asian beer
Asahi Super Dry was first launched in 1987 in Japan as the first dry beer with a crisp and refreshing taste. Having revolutionised the beer industry in Japan, it is now the number one beer in Japan and the number one Asian beer in the Irish market*.
Asahi Super Dry is brewed with precision to the highest quality standards, under the supervision of Japanese master brewers. The advanced brewing techniques deliver a dry, crisp taste and quick, clean finish. As such, Asahi Super Dry introduced an entirely new genre of beer to Japan and to the world.
The brand has announced its partnership with World Rugby as the Official beer for the Rugby World Cup 2023, which will kick off in September next year in France. Japan’s leading beer will be served at all venues for the tournament and will be showcased to a global audience of more than 800 million rugby fans. The partnership will drive mass awareness and trial of the brand globally. A shared passion for excellence and creating unforgettable moments unite both parties as does the desire to break from conventions and create a taste for the unexpected.
*(Source: Nielsen Off-Trade Lager Data 11.09.2022)
Refreshing Italian taste
Shoppers are trading up this Christmas, with ‘super premium lager’ growing ahead of the category at +16%. The super premium lager space is now comfortably bigger than standard lager, holding 18% of value share.
Peroni Nastro Azzurro has benefited from the ongoing trend towards premiumisation and has resonated with the Irish consumer with total Peroni volume up 65% year-to-date (YTD) versus 2019 and versus ‘total lager’ at +3%.
Peroni Nastro Azzurro has been brewing with Italian passion and flair since 1963 and this year launched Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% to cater for those looking for a non-alcoholic option. Mastering high quality taste with zero percent alcohol, Peroni’s brewing team have used innovative technology and the same premium ingredients as its alcohol beer to create Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0%. The range also includes Peroni Gluten Free, for those who are looking for gluten-free alternatives.
More recently, Peroni Nastro Azzurro launched 330ml slim can formats, available in a six-pack and 10-pack. The format has resonated with Irish consumers with the Peroni Nastro Azzurro can six-pack growing at +252% YTD vs 2021.
Peroni Nastro Azzurro is known as a major player within the super premium lager category, with 94% of Irish consumers aware of the brand. The brand is supported by its ‘Live Every Moment’ campaign inspired by its Italian style and heritage which has come to life on TV, OOH and online platforms. The campaign encourages consumers to elevate and experience every moment with true passion and style.
(Sources: Nielsen Off Trade Lager Data 11.09.2022 / Red C Brand Tracking ROI Q2 22)
No limits on enjoyment
New Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% offers the same superior taste experience of Peroni Nastro Azzurro, with a crisp and refreshing Italian taste and 0.0% alcohol.
Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% responds to consumer demand and aims to serve occasions and social moments where beer lovers are seeking a superior tasting alcohol-free beer with 0.0% alcohol.
Crafted with superior Italian ingredients including the signature Nostrano dell‘Isola maize – grown exclusively for Peroni Nastro Azzurro in the north of Italy – the same uplifting Italian taste has been created, with 0.0% alcohol. Consumer testing revealed that 90% of tasters felt the flavour matched that of Peroni Nastro Azzurro and its high-quality taste was noted by 92% of the panel*.
Peroni Nastro Azzurro has been brewed with Italian passion and flair since 1963. This new technology allows the same signature recipe as Peroni Nastro Azzurro to be used, and only after the characteristic aroma and taste profile of Peroni Nastro Azzurro is fully developed, is the alcohol gently removed to deliver the crisp and refreshing Italian taste.
The trend of drinking beer is changing. Thanks to its effervescent, refreshing taste and 0.0% alcohol, consumers can live every moment fully. This Christmas, whether meeting friends at a bar, or relishing time at home, there are no limits to when and where consumers can enjoy Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0%.
*(Source: Concept Product Research – MMR)
The perfect local gift
Gifting dilemmas abound at this time of year: Whether your customers are sick of getting siblings the same thing every year, want to impress their partner’s parents or avoid the overthinking that goes into getting their boss ‘a token’ every year, hunting for the perfect gifts can all add up to a stressful endeavour.
But fret not! Foxes Bow Whiskey has you covered. A brand-new Irish whiskey, inspired by modern, contemporary Ireland and the creativity alive and well here.
Foxes Bow is triple distilled and triple barrel finished, aged in bourbon barrels, and finished in Oloroso sherry and rye casks, an unusual mix of barrel finishes which makes for a layered, yet deliciously balanced, quality whiskey. That all sounds fancy, but the bottom line is that this is a gift that is sure to put everyone in the good books with any whiskey lover in their life.
Each bottle features limited edition artwork by Irish artist John Slade, adding an extra special touch to make for the perfect gift. Released by two proud, young Limerick co-founders, Foxes Bow Whiskey looks a million miles from the whiskey you might be used to seeing on off-license shelves. But it aims to bring something unique to the table that’s already receiving rave reviews from whiskey lovers.
At €39, it makes for a quality gift, without breaking the bank. Available now in SuperValu, O’Briens and Carry Out stores nationwide or online at irishmalts.com.
For more information, visit www.foxesbowwhiskey.com and Instagram: @foxesbowwhiskey.
The Foxes Bow coffee
A really easy cocktail to make at home with equal parts Foxes Bow Whiskey, coffee liqueur (e.g. Kahlua) and espresso coffee. All added to a shaker filled with ice and shaken for 10 seconds. Then strained into a martini glass and garnished with a coffee bean or shaving of chocolate if you’re feeling fancy.
The rye cask finish in Foxes Bow Whiskey makes a delicious addition to a coffee cocktail because of the slight spice it contributes. It’s fitting to use this Limerick based whiskey in coffee cocktails this Christmas since Limerick was the birthplace of the Irish coffee! So whether it’s in a traditional Irish coffee or the modern Foxes Bow coffee, this whiskey is definitely worth trying in cocktails this Christmas.
Gold for Gunpowder
PJ and Denise Rigney (founders and owners of The Shed Distillery and Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin) recently celebrated Gunpowder Gin winning the International Spirit Brand of the Year at the prestigious 2022 Wine Enthusiast Star Awards with staff at The Shed Distillery.
The Leitrim brand was the only Irish brand and one of just two European distilleries to make the shortlist.
The Shed Distillery was also the only fully family-owned company in the running, competing against Dwayne the Rock Johnson’s Teremana Tequila, Brown Foreman’s Woodford Reserve and Sazerac Buffalo Trace representing the USA and Moët Hennessy‘s Ardbeg representing Scotland.
The win was announced live on screen from the US on Thursday, 3 November to over 80 staff and local supporters gathered at The Shed Distillery in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim.
Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin with California Orange Citrus didn’t fail to surprise and delight at its launch in Nolita, Dublin on 27 September. Guests were thrilled to meet the world-famous mixology stars and Tik Tok sensations, Johnny Drinks, who flew in especially from New York for the occasion.
This new option is the result of the Curious Mind’s Journey through California and features exotic layers of fresh citrus, oriental botanicals and gunpowder tea with added subtle hints of California Orange citrus.
A masterful blend
Roe & Co is a premium blended Irish whiskey, named in honour of George Roe, a true pioneer of Irish whiskey. Refined, elegant, and with remarkable depth, this is a masterful blend of rich malt whiskey and the smoothest of grain whiskey aged in bourbon casks.
George Roe & Co helped build the golden era of Irish whiskey in the 19th century. The distillery at Thomas Street, Dublin extended over 17 acres and they were Ireland’s largest exporter of whiskey. As neighbours for hundreds of years, George Roe & Co and Guinness were the two biggest names at the heart of Dublin’s historic brewing and distilling quarter. Today, there is a resurgence of significance, and the Thomas Street area is once again becoming a vibrant hub of brewing and distilling.
Roe & Co has the signature smoothness of Irish whiskey with added layers of flavours. This Christmas, your shoppers can enjoy a Roe & Co-sy hot whiskey infused with winter spices or a traditional Roe & Co Irish coffee – the perfect serve to enjoy over the festive period.
With over 30 years of experience, Roe & Co’s master blender, Caroline Martin has created a luxuriously smooth blend that is aged in a high proportion of first-fill Bourbon barrels, giving this Irish whiskey its depth of flavour and is bottled at 45% ABV with smooth, non-chill filtration. This process enhances any serve, while retaining and releasing its full flavour.
Roe & Co from Diageo is available to purchase from www.roeandcowhiskey.com and across all grocery stores and off-licenses nationwide.
Achieving true quality
Ketel One Vodka is produced in Schiedam, Holland by the Nolet Family, who have been distilling fine spirits for 11 generations. At the Nolet Family Distillery, where Ketel One is produced, quality is worth going above and beyond for. It’s why bartenders across the world recommend Ketel One as their vodka of choice. The Nolets might work in unexpected ways, but they don’t do it just to be different. They do the unexpected because it’s how true quality is achieved. Using their extensive experience in distilling excellence, a Nolet family member approves every batch before it is allowed to leave the distillery to this day.
Featuring carefully selected European wheat and a combination of modern and traditional distilling techniques, Ketel One produces an exceptional product, both crisp and citrus to taste and soft and sophisticated on finish. Crafted from small batches, Ketel One Vodka is a crisp and sophisticated vodka that is best sipped pure ‘on the rocks’ or in festive favourite cocktails such as a Ketel One Espresso Martini, a Bloody Mary or a Fig Flip cocktail featuring fresh figs and Irish cream.
Ketel One from Diageo is stocked across all leading grocery retailers and off-licenses nationwide.
One of the world’s most awarded gins
Tanqueray London Dry Gin is one of the most awarded gins in the world and is still made today to the same classic recipe as when it was first created by Charles Tanqueray in 1830.
Tanqueray London Dry Gin is distilled four times and features a perfect balance of refreshing juniper, peppery coriander, aromatic angelica and sweet liquorice. Your customers can enjoy the unmistakable unique and classic taste of Tanqueray London Dry Gin mixed with a premium tonic water, plenty of ice and garnished with a wedge of fresh lime or as a great base for a wide range of cocktails.
The brand has won multiple awards including various accolades from the World’s Best Bars (Drinks International Brands Report 2020) and was judged to be the bestselling gin.
Tanqueray’s iconic bottle shape is inspired by a three-part cocktail shaker made famous during Prohibition’s classic cocktail movement in the ‘Roaring 1920s’. The pineapple fruit, which was once considered so exotic that it became the ultimate symbol of hospitality in 1830s England, featured in the Tanqueray family crest and it adorns every bottle from the Tanqueray Distilling Company.
This winter, your customers can make a Tanqueray Spiced Negroni their go-to festive serve or opt for a signature Tanqueray & Tonic infused with orange peel. Available from Diageo, it’s stocked nationally across all key grocery retailers and off-licenses nationwide.
The power of female collaboration
Since its launch in April, Istil 38 Superior Irish Vodka has been exceptionally well received by Ireland’s hospitality sector and drinks industry. Bars around the country have been mixing up all three of the brand’s flavours into classic cocktails and new delicious creations. And with two full time brand ambassadors, tastings in off-licenses have been happening everywhere. Both the feedback and sales have been extremely positive.
Istil 38’s creative director and co-owner Pippa O’Connor Ormond, has been particularly blown away by the level of support from other female entrepreneurs. From restaurant and shop owners to event producers, women-owned businesses have been especially helpful in growing Istil 38’s craft Irish vodka range so quickly.
To thank them for their backing, Pippa wants to establish “Istil 38 Collaborators”. A collective of Irish female entrepreneurs who Istil 38 can work together with in order to amplify all of their businesses. As Pippa herself explains: “Through my work with Istil 38 and my other businesses, I’ve been honoured to meet so many inspirational female entrepreneurs who have been instrumental in helping us grow our independent brands. I wanted to reach out to them and set up a project that will allow us to collaborate and support each other. The Istil 38 Collaborators acknowledges the female Irish entrepreneurs who have assisted me on our journey and whom we want to continually keep working with.”
All of the Istil 38 Collaborators are high achieving Irish female business owners and have worked with Istil 38 creating unique partnerships that promote both their company and Istil 38.
Alison is the third generation of her family to run the renowned Swords pub. Her grandfather Joe Kealy established the business in 1964 and Alison continues to maintain its stellar reputation among the community. In May of this year, Alison took on an additional role as chairwoman of the Licensed Vintners Association which has seen her work tirelessly representing Ireland’s hospitality sector. For her Istil 38 Collaborators promotion she will be selling the Istil 38 Espresso Martini for €10 in Kealy’s for the rest of the year.
Hailing from a small village in Co. Galway, Lorraine Heskin studied at the University of Limerick before heading off to New York for three years, working in a diverse range of food businesses. On returning to Dublin, she opened the first Gourmet Food Parlour restaurant in Dun Laoghaire in 2006. Since then, Gourmet Food Parlour has grown into a very successful business employing over 200 people across its numerous locations. Gourmet Gifts launched in 2020 to meet the growing need of corporate customers who wanted the expertise of Lorraine and her team. Lorraine launched the business to great success, far exceeding revenue targets in the first two years of business. The new Gourmet Gifts platform expands on the growth to date and offers something more evolved to loyal and new customers alike.
Lorraine is working with Istil 38 for her two businesses. In all the Gourmet Food Parlours, customers will be able to enjoy a unique cocktail, Istil Passionberry Martini for €10. And on www.GourmetGifts.ie, they will be featuring, “Istil Perfect Present,” a hamper consisting of 1 x bottle of Istil 38 Pot Still Vanilla Vodka, 1 x bottle of Istil 38 Pot still Pink Berries Vodka, 1 x Rose Gold Cocktail Shaker and Jigger, 2 x Copper Tumbler Mugs and an experience card with 2 cocktail recipes – all for €120.
Produced in Meath with grain spirit in a 500 litre copper pot still, Istil 38 is owned by Sugarloaf Beverages, a company comprised of drinks industry veterans and lifestyle businesswoman Pippa O’Connor Ormond.
With an ABV of 38% and RRP of €38, 5c from each bottle sold in Ireland will go towards Hometree for planting native Irish trees.
Available nationwide to the on-trade from distributors such as Classic Drinks, Comans, Gleeson, JJ Mahon’s, J&C Kenny, Barry Fitzwilliam, GH Lett’s and Slattery’s, Istil 38 is stocked by independent off-licenses, O’Brien’s and Dunnes stores. It is also available online with home delivery from www.istil38.com/shop/.
Exquisite artisan choice
Stonewell Cider, the exquisite craft cider conceived in the scenic Cork coastal village of Nohoval has been delighting lovers of artisanal beverages for more than a decade now. Its flavours, aromas and light carbonated textures have been gaining quite a following nationwide and abroad.
Stonewell’s uniqueness in the Irish market is said to be the product of the traditions of the finest French winemaking techniques, which it draws upon, and its impressive record of sourcing only the best Irish cider apples to juice in its main Carrigaline production plant and committing to never using concentrate or artificial ingredients. As the team say themselves, “it takes courage to make cider from fresh juice”. Daniel Emerson, a trained wine and cider maker and his French wife Geraldine from a wine producing family in the Loire Valley hatched the plan upon their return to Daniel’s native village around 2010.
Stonewell Cider has since gone from strength to strength, surmounting all the challenges which one could imagine upon carving out a new niche. However, fortunately for the team and for the cider loving population of this isle, they have succeeded. Succeeded not just in business but in managing an amazing consistency in quality and production that just keeps loyal customers coming back, with customer numbers increasing year-on-year. They themselves don’t claim to know the precise reason for the upsurge although one would suspect that the growing popularity of gluten free and natural products makes it a perfectly poised concept whose time has simply arrived.
The growing demand for Stonewell Cider has been almost universal throughout the country, resulting in more and more stockists springing up. Classic Drinks via Sysco performs most of the heavy lifting in this regard, but wholesalers such as the BWG Value Centres are now increasingly stocking the three main lines as are Barry’s of Mallow, Clifford’s of Tralee and many more. And what this means for the consumer, is that practically every on and off-trade establishment can now stock this incomparable and unrivalled beauty. The generous three-year shelf life will rarely if ever be reached.
The apple harvest in Ireland this year was one of the best on record, which again plays to the strengths of Stonewell Cider. You see Stonewell Cider commits to never diluting its products with water or other ingredients, it just uses fresh juice.
Unlocking the secret
Lambay Irish Whiskey has released its first age statement 20-year-old single malt, The Castle Prestige Edition.
A luxurious triple distilled 20-year-old Lambay single malt Irish whiskey, this superior aged distillate has been delicately sourced from a leading Irish distillery and carefully aged in bourbon barrels for 18 years. It is then finished in French oak Camus Cognac casks in Lambay for the final two years under the watchful eye of Lambay’s master blender, Yonael Bernard.
Limited to 8,000 bottles, each numbered 0001-8000, a dedicated QR code on the bottle is a digital key that unlocks the secret of this liquid, a master tasting and virtual tour of Lambay Island.
Discover more at https://unlocktheuntold.lambaywhiskey.com/.
Ultimate fruit refreshment
Kopparberg Alcohol-Free is an extension of the premium fruit cider’s current offering. The range meets the evolving attitudes of consumers towards health, which has led to increasing demand for low alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks. Kopparberg has taken its most popular flavours, Strawberry & Lime and Mixed Fruit and made them alcohol-free. The variants may be free from alcohol but there’s no compromise to the taste.
Kopparberg is the number one alcohol-free cider brand representing 64.6% in volume terms, an increase of +1.6PP YTD.
Kopparberg Alcohol-Free Strawberry & Lime, like its original equivalent, delivers a splash of fresh strawberries and a squeeze of tangy lime, minus the ABV. Kopparberg Alcohol-Free Mixed Fruit captures the same unique taste of bursting blackcurrants and raspberries.
The range offers a refreshing alternative for people looking for an alcohol-free alternative without compromising on experience and taste. It gives the ultimate fruit refreshment with 0% alcohol.
*(Source: Collated ROI EPOS Data (c.60% of Total ROI Scantrack) to week 36 2022)
Coming of age in style
Wayward Irish Spirits is proud to release the Lakeview Single Estate Irish Whiskey. This first single pot still whiskey from the Lakeview Estate barley showcases the special maturation conditions on the estate. The Coming of Age release is limited to just 300 numbered bottles.
Made from barley harvested from the estate’s Hilly Field in 2018, this was small-batch malted in Naas and distilled in March 2019 by Great Northern Distillery into pot still spirit (to a 50% malted and 50% unmalted barley mash bill and specification). It then returned to the estate’s 300-year-old stone bonded storehouse, ‘The House of Contentment’.
Matured initially in ex-Bourbon casks for three months, this was followed by a further 40 months in ex-Premier Cru Bordeaux NEOC barrels with 10% finished in ex-peated casks for three months. The Lakeview Single Estate Whiskey was gently cut (borrowing from Cognac traditions) over six months to ensure integration and smoothness, with no colour added and minimally filtered (no chill filter).
Expect cherries on the nose, a rich honeyed taste with a hint of smoke and a long finish.
The design for the bottle draws inspiration from a family treasure, a large bottle of D’Orsay perfume that was a wedding gift to founder Maurice O’Connell’s grandmother in 1921. The bottle became a much talked about family challenge and thwarted numerous attempts to be opened over the last 100 years.
Blended and bottled on the estate at 46% ABV, the Coming of Age release is stocked by Celtic Whiskey Dublin, James Fox Dublin, Carry Out Killarney and Irish Malts. The RRP is €195 with a 40ml miniature bottle included.
Beauty of the blend
The festive season is fast approaching and a bottle of the original triple blend Irish whiskey, Tullamore D.E.W., would make the perfect choice to have the craic and share stories with friends and family this Christmas period.
Crafted in the small town of Tullamore since 1829, the original Tullamore D.E.W. provides for a delicious drink with layers of flavour. Although every Irish whiskey offers something unique and interesting, no others offer the rare combination of blending three whiskeys that have each been triple distilled, and left to mature, in three different barrel types. This is known as the ‘beauty of blend’. This effort gives Tullamore D.E.W. Original a complex flavour with an incredibly smooth finish.
For those looking to try something slightly different this Christmas, Tullamore D.E.W. XO Rum Cask Finish has beautifully sweet tropical flavours and is delicious on its own or perhaps added to a festive cocktail. Alternatively, Tullamore D.E.W. 12-year-old and Tullamore D.E.W. 18-year-old are beautifully matured and would be an ideal gift.
Tullamore D.E.W. is distributed by Richmond Marketing Limited in Ireland.
For further information, visit www.tullamoredew.com.
Inspired by merriment
The long-awaited festive season is upon us! A joyous time of year with an abundance of triumphant drinking extravaganzas, magnificent feasts, absurd gifts, stupendous parties, and the long-forgotten carriage ride home.
To celebrate the season, why not ‘Put a Little Hendrick’s in Your Holidays’ and revel in all the festivities with a bottle of the curious, wonderous Hendrick’s Gin. A nostalgic nod to holidays past, while making new memories with those you hold dear, a bottle of Hendrick’s Gin is a marvellous, heart-warming present to complement all your winter festivities.
Distilled by master distiller, Lesley Gracie, Hendrick’s Gin is infused with a curious combination of rose, cucumber and 11 of the finest botanicals from the four corners of the world (if the world had corners).
Hendrick’s Cabinet of Curiosities; Lunar and newly released Neptunia will transport the drinker to a different world and would also make for a delightfully unusual gift for a loved one this Christmas season.
Hendrick’s Gin is distributed by Richmond Marketing Limited in Ireland.
For further information, visit www.hendricksgin.com.
Ampersand Wines is all set for the Christmas sell-in with its range of award-winning wines. Triumphant at the latest Irish Wine Show Awards, Ampersand once again swept the board by winning a record-breaking 21 awards on the night.
Ampersand also won the two most prestigious awards of the event, winning the titles of Irish Wine of the Year with Rioja Vega Crianza and White Wine of the Year with LoLo Albariño. The company also won 19 awards across the various categories with a total of seven Gold Stars Awards, nine Silvers and three Bronze Star Awards.
Rioja Vega Crianza was noted by the judges as having “a wonderful nose, sweet red berry fruit, cigar box spice, wood and tons of fruit” and was awarded the Gold Star for the Best Old-World Red Under €15 for the second time as well as the Overall Wine of the Year title 2022 – 2023.
Rioja Vega Crianza continues to be a firm favourite with Irish wine lovers. Retailing at €14.95, this award-winning wine delivers superb quality and value for money. Also from the Rioja Vega range, Rioja Vega Semi-Crianza won the title of Best Red Under €12 in the Old-World Category. It was also awarded the Gold Star and title of Best Old-World Red Under €10 at the 2020- 2021 Irish Wine Show Awards. The origins of the Rioja Vega wine cellar date back to before the Denominación de Origen guarantee of quality was created and this has allowed Rioja Vega to preserve the word Rioja in its trademark name.
White Wine of the Year, LoLo Albariño hails from the top producer of Albariño in the designated areas of Rias Baixas in Spain, Paco and Lola. The Irish Wine Show judges praised it as being “a really elegant white with a complex palate of apricot, nectarine and apple. Beautiful balance, harmony and length. Superb value!” LoLo Albariño has quickly become one of the best and top selling Albariños in Ireland with sales and availability growing each week, even prior to winning the awards of Best Old World White Wine Under €20 and Overall White Wine of the Year 2022 – 2023. This superb award-winning wine has striking blue memorable packaging and is a steal with a RSP from €14.95.
Ampersand’s other Gold Star Award Winners at the Irish Wine Show were as follows:
- Giovinello Pinot Grigio – Best Old World Under White Under €12
- Coral Reef Chardonnay/ Semillon – Best New Word White Under €12
- Coral Reef Shiraz / Cabernet – Best New World Red Under €12
- Faber Sauvignon Blanc – Best Non-Alcoholic Under €15
If you would like more information or would like to stock any of Ampersand’s 19 award-winning wines, contact your Ampersand representative or call the sales line on 01 4151050 or email email@example.com.
Punked up flavour
Punk IPA is the beer that kick-started the BrewDog revolution.
This scene-stealing flagship is an India pale ale that has become a byword for craft beer rebellion; synonymous with the insurgency against mass-produced, lowest common denominator beer. Punk IPA charges the barricades to fly its colours from the ramparts – full-on, full-flavour; at full-throttle.
Layered with new world hops to create an explosion of tropical fruit and an all-out riot of grapefruit, pineapple and lychee before a spiky bitter finish, this is the perfect drink to quench your thirst.
This 5.6% trans-atlantic fusion IPA is light golden in colour with tropical fruits and light caramel on the nose. The palate soon becomes assertive and resinous with the New Zealand hops balanced by the biscuit malt. The finish is aggressive and dry with the hops emerging over the warming alcohol.
This fresh, full flavour natural beer is BrewDog’s tribute to the classic IPAs of yester-year. The postmodern twist is the addition of amazing fruity hops giving an explosion of tropical fruit flavours and a sharp bitter finish.
Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam, the brand says sales are at an all-time high and it doesn’t see the rebellious Punk IPA slowing down anytime soon.
World’s favourite Italian liqueur
Disaronno enjoys cult status as an Italian style icon: smooth taste, unmistakable aroma, unique and distinctive design of the bottle, original square cap and the golden label that adds a sense of contemporary elegance and style.
Disaronno is the proud ambassador of the Endless Dolcevita, telling a story through the iconic postcards of the Italian beauty, thanks to a new world of reference.
La Dolce Vita, the endless pursuit of pleasure, is an attitude, a lifestyle ascribed to the Italians. The “contemporary dolce vita” lifestyle is full of worldly immersive pleasures. Nowadays it’s suspended between the new and the ancient, tradition and contemporary.
Amaretto, which means “a little bitter” in Italian, is an almond-flavoured liqueur and Disaronno is an exemplary choice.
Disaronno Amaretto captures the senses with its amber colour, rich aroma and incomparable taste which has made it the world’s favourite Italian liqueur.
It’s perfect for making a Disaronno Sour, one of the favourites at the moment. For more cocktail ideas from Disaronno check out Disaronno.com. Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
Arguably Ireland’s favourite West Cork native, Graham Norton’s wine brand has reached Ireland’s top 20 wine brands this year. The Graham Norton wine range is produced in collaboration with New Zealand’s Invivo and Graham Norton controls every aspect of the blending process for his wines, combining southern hemisphere grapes with ‘Norton Hemisphere’ brilliance to create a super range of six wines. Invivo was founded by two Kiwi wine entrepreneurs Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron in 2008, and in 2023, Graham and Invivo will celebrate ten years of making award-winning wine together.
Graham’s range includes his best-selling (and awarded) Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand joined by a wildly popular New Zealand Rosé, Graham Norton’s Shiraz from and the most recent addition to the range is an Argentinian Malbec named He-Devil after Graham’s memoirs, ‘The Lives and Loves of a He-Devil’.
“My He-Devil was created to turn heads, break hearts and leave you wanting more…and it’s delivered on all counts,” says Graham Norton, chief winemaker.
In relation to bubbles, GN Frizzante Bianco and the GN Frizzante Rosé are wildly popular in Ireland.
Moving onto spirits, Graham Norton’s Own Irish Gins celebrates Graham’s West Cork Heritage, the beauty and flavours of his idyllic native county and his award-winning flair for blending perfection.
Partnering with an Irish distillery was very important to Graham and that is why he decided to work with his West Cork neighbours – West Cork Distillers.
Graham Norton has three gins in the portfolio: Graham Norton’s Own Irish Gin, Irish Pink Gin and Irish Marmalade Gin. The latest spirit addition is Graham Norton’s Own Irish Vodka – made form potatoes, it is ridiculously smooth on the palate.
Graham Norton’s wine and spirits are proudly distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
Kylie Minogue Wines is an exquisite, elegant portfolio of bespoke wines, crafted with passion and integrity. Launched in 2020 on Kylie’s birthday, the 28 May, the rosé quickly became one of the most successful launches in its category ever.
Kylie Minogue has four Rosés in her wine portfolio – Sparkling Prosecco Spumante, Sparkling Prosecco Frizzante, Cotes des Provence, and Signature Rosé.
This Signature range comprises of three wines from France including the delicate pale-dry rosé made from Cabernet and Carignan grapes, a light and zesty Sauvignon Blanc from Gascony and a smooth and juicy Merlot from the Pays d’Oc.
The latest addition is the delicious Prosecco Frizzante produced in the heart of Veneto on the picturesque hills of Gambellara. This wine is fresh and fragrant with a marked aromatic character rich in floral scents of acacia and wisteria flowers.
“I am unbelievably humbled and thrilled by the global response to Kylie Minogue Wines,” Kylie Minogue said of the range’s success. “To sell over a million bottles in less than a year has been incredible, and testimony to the amazing producers and winemakers Kylie Minogue Wines have been lucky enough to work alongside.”
Kylie Minogue Wines are distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
Number one Australian
McGuigan wines continue to outperform the market according to a recent report, McGuigan is now the number one Australian wine brand in the off-trade. Chief winemaker Neil McGuigan has won the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) award as ‘the Best Winemaker in the world’ four times. McGuigan Wines is the only winery in the competition’s history to win the title four times.
The Black Label range comprises of a Cabernet, Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Rose and Malbec. McGuigan shows its innovation having introduced McGuigan Frizzante to the market this is a light style of sparkling full of lively yet delicate bubbles that give a crisp and refreshing sparkle.
The latest addition to the McGuigan portfolio is McGuigan Zero. Unrivalled taste, zero alcohol; McGuigan Zero is a trailblazer in its category. The range offers an unparalleled alcohol-free experience both on the nose and palate. Launching with Shiraz, Chardonnay, Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc and Sparkling. McGuigan Zero is created using state-of-the-art spinning cone technology. By drawing the wine into super fine layers for efficient vaporisation, alcohol may be removed at lower temperatures than ever before, thus resulting in a truly beautiful tasting product. McGuigan wines are distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
A true treasure
Tia Maria dates back to the mid-17th Century when a beautiful young Spanish aristocrat fled the turmoil that colonial war brought to the island of Jamaica. Her maid saved one family treasure, a small jewellery box with black pearl earrings and an ancient manuscript with the recipe for a mysterious liqueur. The recipe was named after the courageous woman. Tia Maria was born. The recipe lay dormant for many years before being rediscovered in the 1940s by Dr Kenneth Leigh Evans who began to produce and market it. From this day forward, Tia Maria has been a favourite for coffee cocktail lovers the world over and it was even used in the very first Espresso Martini recipe over 40 years ago.
Tia Maria is a sweet liqueur with a strong coffee character and a complex aromatic structure. Made with Madagascar vanilla, Jamaican rum, and 100% Arabica coffee, Tia Maria has a classic roasted, full-bodied, and rich taste. An exclusive cold brew extraction process gives it its distinctive intense coffee aroma, which is followed by notes of chocolate and pipe tobacco, caramelised cane sugar and vanilla.
Check out TiaMaria.com for lots of cocktail inspiration. Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
60 years of quality
Villa Maria Wines celebrates 60 years in business this year. Villa Maria’s 60-year journey at the forefront of New Zealand’s wine industry has shaped the company as it stands today. Its extensive portfolio is one the most geographically and stylistically diverse and highly awarded range of premium wines by any New Zealand producer, fuelling consumer adoration and success across the globe.
In Ireland, the Private Bin range is available, most famously known for the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, yet other varietals available such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling and Pinot Noir. Villa Maria wines have a fresh new look for the Private Bin range, with the same outstanding quality, just in a new contemporary pack. The high tier Cellar Selection Pinot Noir and the Reserve Wairau Sauvignon Blanc are also available in the Irish market.
The most recent launch from Villa Maria is the beautiful Sauvignon Blush, Sauvignon Blanc with a hint of Merlot. Delivering the taste experience of New Zealand’s favourite white wine with a playful fun-factor that opens up a whole new occasion for Sauvignon Blanc. It’s Sauvignon Blanc; 90% Sauvignon Blanc in fact, caressed with 10% Merlot for a beautiful ‘Provence-like’ blush. Looks like Rosé, tastes like Sauvignon Blanc.
Villa Maria Wines are proudly distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
Wave of pure refreshment
The White Claw Variety eight-pack delivers some of Ireland’s favourite flavours; Black Cherry, Mango, Natural Lime and Raspberry in one convenient eight-pack; driving trial amongst consumers and increasing basket size.
White Claw boasts the finest natural ingredients; a blend of sparkling water, gluten-free triple distilled spirit, and a hint of natural fruit flavour with only 95 calories per can. With no artificial sweeteners and an ABV of 4.5%, White Claw Hard Seltzer delivers a wave of pure refreshment.
Last summer, White Claw Variety Pack outsold all other hard seltzer SKUs by more than 2.5 times in both value and unit ROS, making it the number one for value delivery in Ireland.* White Claw hard seltzer is already the number two RTD can brand for volume in Ireland.** White Claw has become a cultural phenomenon with fans generating over 4 billion impressions and 46 times more social media mentions than competing brands in the USA.
“Last year, we had an incredible response to our Variety eight-pack, so we’re delighted to have the opportunity to reintroduce the product to our Irish customers,” said Flor Prendergast, market director UK & Ireland. “A White Claw Variety eight-pack is a great way to promote trial of our brand among consumers as well as offer their favourite flavours in one convenient pack.”
The White Claw Variety eight-pack is available in key retailers with two Mango, two Natural Lime, two Black Cherry and two Raspberry flavours.
Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
*(Source: Nielsen Ireland Total Scantrack excl Dunnes & Discounters 12 wks data to 15 August 2021)
**(Source: Nielsen Ireland Total Scantrack excl Dunnes & Discounters 52wks data to 22 May 2022)
Power, grace and elegance
A contemporary homage to the original Seignette cognac, established 200 years ago. Seignette VS’s fresh aesthetic and depth of flavour is set to engage a new generation of spirit-lovers.
The Seignette family can be traced back to the 17th century Western French coast, known as prominent traders in salt and cognac in the La Rochelle region. Their coat of arms is recognised by a swan, which historically populated the banks of the Charente River in Cognac, as well as being a symbol of power, grace and elegance.
The swan features on the Seignette VS label in tribute to the family’s legacy. Today, the group is proud to revive and build on the brand’s long heritage, so that a new generation can enjoy its fine quality. A modern-day cognac, it delivers notes of dried apricot, vanilla and hints of honeysuckle on the nose, followed by oaky vanilla notes, a touch of citrus and a long, creamy finish on the palate; distributed by Hi-Spirits Ireland.
Sharing good times together
Paddy’s Share is triple distilled in County Cork and blended with malt in sherry barrels for its unique taste. Boasting a 47% ABV, Paddy’s Share has a bold, robust flavour and a distinctly nutty, malty and charred wood character.
In 1913, Paddy Flaherty, the business’s most gregarious whiskey salesman, stood for two things; good times and great whiskey. As he travelled across Ireland with his wares, Paddy made his mark with his generosity, conversation, and joy. Now 100 years later, inspired by the Angel’s Share, the brand is honouring Paddy’s legacy with its high ABV whiskey, Paddy’s Share. Triple distilled in County Cork, the whiskey is blended with malt in sherry barrels for its unique taste. For more information visit Hi-Spirits.ie.
Light and pure
Made from a unique blend of pot still, malt and grain whiskeys, Paddy Irish Whiskey owes its name to the legendary distillery salesman, Paddy Flaherty. Famed throughout his native county cork for buying rounds of his favourite tipple, he became so synonymous with the whiskey he sold, that in 1913 the distillery owners paid him the ultimate tribute by renaming the whiskey ‘Paddy’ in his honour.
Paddy is distilled three times, using the finest-quality barley and water from Ireland’s east Cork countryside. This ensures a whiskey which is particularly light, well balanced and pure.
Paddy Irish Whiskey is a perfect choice this holiday season for classic winter warmers such as a hot whiskey or an Irish coffee. Distributed by Hi-Spirits Ireland.