Hudson Launches 70cl To The UK Market

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William Grant & Sons UK brand, Hudson whiskey, is launching a 70cl format across its Baby Bourbon and Manhattan Rye expressions in the UK.

After ten years at the forefront of craft distilling, Hudson, the first American whiskey distillery in New York since prohibition, is introducing the bigger bottle size in response to demand for a larger format from the UK on-trade.

“We are changing to a bigger bottle, but we haven’t changed our process. We still make whiskey grain-to-glass at the Tuthilltown Distillery in the Hudson Valley. Everything was, and still is, done by hand. It’s been quite a journey, from regular folks making whiskey to award winning distillers.” commented Ralph Erenzo, one of the two founders at Hudson whiskey.

Staying true to its craft and entrepreneurial nature, the brand will leverage the existing US 75cl bottle, under filled to 70cl to meet EU standards. The underfill method reflects how the brand previously bottled Hudson Baby Bourbon in a 35cl format using the US 37.5cl bottle when it first launched in the UK four years ago.

“We have certainly made remarkable progress in the recent past, hiring more people, laying down more whiskey and improving our efficiency, but we are still far from affording a bespoke 70cl bottle for the UK” Ralph Erenzo continued.

Due to the exclusivity of the liquid, Hudson is only available in a small selection of top whisky bars, hotels and restaurants, and premium whisky specialists in the UK. Hudson Four Grain will remain in a 35cl format for the foreseeable future.

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Glenfiddich Rewrites The Whisky Rule Book Introducing The Glenfiddich Experimental Series

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William Grant & Sons UK brand, Glenfiddich, the World’s Most Awarded Single Malt Whisky, launches the Glenfiddich Experimental series, a new range that combines the brand’s passion for pushing Scotch Whisky boundaries and collaborating with trailblazers from the whisky world and beyond. Glenfiddich can do this because boldness is in their DNA: they are still family run and owned after 130 years, they started the entire single malt category and they are the World’s Most Awarded single malt, no wonder they are called the Maverick Whisky Makers of Dufftown. The Glenfiddich Experimental Series is designed to inspire unusual and unexpected variants, and today sees the unveiling of two new innovative expressions:

Glenfiddich IPA Experiment: The first single malt Scotch whisky finished in IPA craft beer casks

Glenfiddich Malt Master, Brian Kinsman created the Glenfiddich IPA Experiment in collaboration with a local Speyside craft brewer, who shares a passion for innovative flavours. They worked together to pioneer a new single malt Scotch whisky imbued with zesty citrus and tangy hops from the oak casks that had previously held a bold Speyside IPA. In the process of Glenfiddich crafting a new whisky of the Experimental Series, the pair also created a new IPA craft beer.

To pioneer a new malt, the collaborators first had to design and create a new IPA craft beer that would go into whisky casks, which would later be used to finish the first experimental variant. The intensive experimental process involved creating three separate brews of different strengths and levels of hops. Brian seasoned up to nine American oak casks at a time with the IPA brews, varying the time the IPA craft beer spent penetrating into the oak casks, before filling the casks back up with whisky to access the flavour profiles.

“The idea behind the Glenfiddich IPA Experiment was quite unusual but one we were passionate about – we wanted to really play with the flavours to see what we could create. Glenfiddich’s first whisky finished in IPA craft beer casks is testament to us challenging ourselves to produce something vibrant and unusual. The result is a liquid with a zesty citrus note followed by soft, sweet vanilla and ahint of fresh hops. The innovative flavour comes from carefully hand selecting the right malt whiskies to complement the extra hoppy notes.” – Glenfiddich Malt Master, Brian Kinsman

Project XX: Created by 20 of the world’s greatest Glenfiddich Experts

Project XX (pronounced ‘twenty’) is the result of one of the most ambitious malt experiments of Glenfiddich’s 130-year history. The expression is the collaboration between the 20 Glenfiddich Brand Ambassadors from 16 countries from all over the world and Brian Kinsman, who developed one unexpected, extraordinary whisky by bringing together 20 very special single malts.

Going against normal whisky conventions, Brian invited the ambassadors to explore and each select a cask from a warehouse at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown. Many of these ambassadors are the foremost experts on Glenfiddich in their respective countries, introducing single malts to whisky connoisseurs, enthusiasts and novices, imparting knowledge and information. Brian’s ambition was to create one remarkable single malt, by combining the curiosity and knowledge of these 20 experts.

This freedom of choice resulted in a 20-strong collection of some of the most unusual whiskies from Glenfiddich’s unrivalled stocks, amassed and carefully nurtured throughout the brand’s 130-year history. After each expert had chosen a single cask, from aged malts matured in port pipes to ancient sherry butts and first fill bourbon casks, Brian skillfully produced the final variant to reflect their individual tastes and interests. Expertly married together in a small batch vatting, the final flavour profile defined even his expectations.

“The final liquid was exceptional – and a special tribute to each individual cask the malts came from. The Glenfiddich Project XX we’relaunching today is a recreation of that initial small vatting. It has the warm summer fruity character of a classic Glenfiddich but thenits ‘multiple personalities’ are revealed as the flavours of candy floss, cinnamon spice, almonds and rich port tannins kick in withthe odd hint of liquorice.” – Glenfiddich Malt Master, Brian Kinsman

There are only a few times in your whisky lifethat you get to do something so creative as to develop a whisky that will eventually carry the Glenfiddich family name Project XX is one of those rare moments.

When the 20 Glenfiddich ambassadors from around the world gathered in Dufftown, they each had their own idea of what they wanted to add to the whisky. This led us all on a crusade to choose oak casks that reflected the consensus of the group. To witness Brians undeniable skill to marry them into something with deep concentrated flavours, yet with such unmistakable finesse and DNA of our distillery, was magical. – Glenfiddich UK Brand Ambassador, Mark Thomson

The Glenfiddich IPA Experiment, at ABV 43%, 70cl, will be available in Tesco’s and specialist whisky stores at £45.00 from 6th September and the Glenfiddich Project XX at ABV 47%, 70cl, will be available from specialist whisky stores nationwide from September at £50.00.

William Grant & Sons UK’s Brand Ambassadors Host The Highland Festival 2016

Team Balvenie Bootcamp
Following the success of last year’s inaugural Highland Festival, William Grant & Sons UK hosted round two at Haggerston Park on Sunday 21st August. The UK’s top bartenders battled it out to win an immersive trip to Scotland hosted by Lesley Gracie, Master Distiller of Hendrick’s Gin, and UK Ambassador, Ally Martin.

This year saw nine teams compete for the title, with Team Reyka coming out on top, winning the crown and a once in a lifetime prize. “My team did me proud and consistently outclassed in the series of random challenges. They are a great group and I can’t wait to celebrate with them.” – Joe Petch, Reyka Vodka UK Ambassador. Team Reyka included Aidan Bowie from Dandelyan, Russell Burgess from Loves Company, Dan Bovey from B@ONE Bristol, Anna Sebastian from The Beaufort Bar at The Savoy, Aaron Masonde from Oblix at The Shard, Alastair Fraser from Little Bat and Iain McPherson from Hoot the Redeemer and Panda and Sons.

The competitors were faced with new and exciting games including Dash and Grab, Bootcamp Challenge and Last Man Standing along with 2015 favourites, The Ramos Fizz Cocktail Relay and Tug of War. Participants and spectators were kept well nourished by the awesome team at Patty & Bun, with the iconic Sailor Jerry Air Stream bar serving up cocktails from across the William Grant & Sons UK portfolio including the Hendrick’s Cucumber Collins and the Sailor Jerry Highland Vice. The Reyka Vodka ‘make your own’ Bloody Mary station made a comeback and Señor Scoop cooled everyone down with their adult ice creams.

Matt Sayer, Senior Prestige On-Trade Manager, William Grant & Sons UK, commented: “After the success of the 2015 Highland Festival, we had no other option but to bring it back, this time bigger and better! It’s the perfect setting for bartenders to enjoy their day off and for our ambassadors to engage with the on-trade, showcasing their brands in a fun and informal setting.”

Anna Sebastian, from Beaufort Bar at The Savoy, commented: “What an amazing day! Seeing so many people from our industry, from all over the UK come together was pretty special. Seeing old friends and making new ones, it’s events like this that bring us together and make a good industry great. Thank you to the William Grant & Sons UK team for such an organised and well-executed event.”

· Team Glenfiddich, led by ambassador Mark Thomson
· Team The Balvenie, led by ambassador James Buntin
· Team Hendrick’s, led by ambassador Ally Martin
· Team Monkey Shoulder, led by ambassador Grant Neave
· Team Sailor Jerry, led by ambassador EmmaLi Stenhouse
· Team Reyka, led by ambassador Joe Petch (2016 Champions)
· Team Disaronno, led by ambassador Rod Eslamieh (2015 Champions)
· Team Wood’s, led by Rum Specialist Stephen Rutherford
· Team Ancient Reserves, led by Whisky Specialist Alwynne Gwilt

Glenfiddich Global Brand Ambassador Steps Into New Role

glenfiddich-logoIan Millar, Global Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich, is taking up a newly created role of Prestige Whisky Specialist for William Grant & Sons, based at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown.

Ian has spent the last decade as global brand ambassador for the World’s Most Awarded Single Malt, building love and desire for Glenfiddich around the world with consumers, bartenders, whisky collectors and connoisseurs, journalists and bloggers. Ian will now be giving his well-travelled passport a rest as he takes on a crucial role in delivering world class whisky experiences at the distillery.

Enda O’ Sullivan, Global Brand Director for Glenfiddich said: “On behalf of the entire team, I would like to sincerely thank Ian for his many achievements and accomplishments over ten years as global brand ambassador and I have no doubt he will continue to be a success in his new role. During Ian’s tenure Glenfiddich has gone from strength to strength and he has played a pivotal role in helping to grow the World’s Most Awarded Single Malt in to what it has become today.”

Ian said: “After ten years of sharing the joys of Glenfiddich around the world it`s time to step back into a role that will give me more time with my family. I have enjoyed my time as global ambassador immensely I will miss working with the various teams and in particular our world class team of ambassadors. They can’t get rid of me that easily however and I’m very much looking forward to the new role as the prestige whisky specialist for the company.”

Ian has over 40 years’ experience in Scotch whisky, having worked for a number of distillers in various technical and production roles, including mashing, distillation and warehousing before joining William Grant & Sons, where he was distillery manager for both Glenfiddich and The Balvenie before embarking on his journey as global brand ambassador.

Ian will commence his new role on March 1st 2016 and the search to fill Ian’s very large shoes has begun. The aim is to recruit Ian’s successor from within William Grant & Sons’ team of ambassadors.

William Grant & Sons UK Appoints Alwynne Gwilt as Whisky Specialist

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Independent family distillers, William Grant & Sons UK has confirmed that respected whisky expert Alwynne Gwilt has been appointed as Whisky Specialist for the Ancient Reserves portfolio of whiskies.

Alwynne’s focus will be on some of the most prestigious whiskies in the William Grant & Sons UK portfolio, including The Girvan Patent Still, William Grant & Sons Rare Cask Reserves, Kininvie and Ailsa Bay.

Alwynne comes with five years of industry experience and is the founder and editor of whisky-focussed website, Miss Whisky. Throughout her career Alwynne Gwilt has been involved with consulting and training in the whisky sector, earning her a place within the ‘Top 10 Women in Whisky’ as judged by The Drinks Business in 2014, and was named ‘International Whisky Ambassador of the Year’ at the Spirit of Speyside Festival in 2013.

Jonathan Cornthwaite, Senior Brand Manager for the William Grant & Sons UK Esoteric Whisky portfolio said: “At William Grant & Sons UK, whisky is in our DNA, so it is with great pleasure that we welcome Alwynne, with her wealth of unique experience. Alwynne is a great addition to the team and will help drive forward the William Grant & Sons UK Ancient Reserves portfolio.”

Alwynne Gwilt said: “I fell in love with whisky during a tasting at Milroy’s whisky shop in Soho back in 2008 and it has been my passion ever since. Fast forward eight years, and I am delighted to be taking on this role within a company that has such a strong portfolio of rare and unique whiskies. I am looking forward to working with like-minded people who share the same respect for whisky as I do and my ambition is to encourage more people to gain an appreciation for this fine spirit.”

William Grant & Sons UK Welcomes Russian Standard Vodka

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William Grant & Sons UK has announced that Russian Standard Vodka will be joining its premium spirits portfolio on 1st January 2016.

Russian Standard Vodka is part of Roust International which represents the William Grant & Sons portfolio in Poland/Central Europe. In the UK, William Grant & Sons UK has represented Roust’s Green Mark and Żubrówka for over two years, and the move represents a consolidation of the full Roust portfolio in the UK market.

This agreement is a continuation of the international alliance between two of the world’s leading spirits businesses.

Russian Standard Vodka is the number one premium vodka in Russia and has grown to a c1 million 9L case brand in the UK and a 12% share of the vodka market since its UK launch in 2007.

Chris Mason, Managing Director, William Grant & Sons UK, comments: “Roust is one of the world’s leading vodka producers and we look forward to continuing a successful partnership to achieve our ambitious goals. Russian Standard Vodka is an excellent fit within our existing premium portfolio, complementing our current brands.

“This partnership will ensure that William Grant & Sons UK has the strongest vodka portfolio offering with authentic brands that are differentiated within the category including:  Russian Standard Vodka, Green Mark and Żubrówka.”

Vodka is the largest spirits category in the UK, where there are 12.2 million vodka drinkers and one in three sprits bought in the on or off trade is vodka.

Roust Chairman & Owner Roustam Tariko comments: “Roust is delighted to consolidate our vodka portfolio in the UK with William Grant & Sons UK; we look forward to the continued rapid growth of Russian Standard vodka and our wider vodka portfolio here in the UK under the stewardship of the William Grants & Sons UK team. We believe our powerful brands in conjunction with William Grant & Sons’ own strong portfolio of brands will deliver accelerated volume and market share growth in the UK.”

William Grant & Sons UK will be representing Russian Standard Vodka starting from the 1st January 2016.

New Premium Design For Glenfiddich Core Range

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William Grant & Sons UK’s Glenfiddich 12 and 15 Year Old single malt Scotch whiskies have been given a distinctive new pack design to complete a core range overhaul.

The redesign of the 12 and 15 Year Old expressions completes a core range refresh, which began with the redesigned Glenfiddich 18 Year Old, launched in November 2014.

The new Glenfiddich 12 and 15 year old bottles feature a more confident and dominant Stag and feature product information presented on a cream band which is more representative of the category. They are presented in premium presentation boxes, embossed with the instantly recognisable Glenfiddich gold stag and finished with luxurious gold foil detail.

Sarah Harding, Senior Brand Manager, Glenfiddich comments: “This is an exciting time for Glenfiddich and we are thrilled with the refreshed core range. Glenfiddich is a superior whisky so naturally we want its presentation to match the quality of the award winning liquid. The prestigious new look will hopefully capture and reflect our whisky making credentials and the  brand’s authenticity and family heritage.”

The new range will be available from September 2015.

William Grant & Sons UK Launches #RaiseEmUp2015

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William Grant & Sons UK launches #RaiseEmUp2015, a campaign which will give fans the chance to win Rugby World Cup 2015 tickets and exclusive merchandise at participating bars and stores.

The promotion asks entrants to ‘Raise it, Snap it and Share it’ by ‘raising a glass’ in support of their team and sharing it as a tweet or Instagram image using the hashtag #RaiseEmUp2015.

The campaign will run across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and on http://www.RaiseEmUp2015.com with 40 pairs of tickets to be won, including two pairs for the Final at Twickenham on 31st October. Draws for winners will take place on a weekly basis giving away tickets to group matches, quarter-finals and semi-finals*. Tickets to the Final at Twickenham stadium will be drawn on October the 20th.

Each week, merchandise including t-shirts, caps and Gilbert mini rugby balls will also be given away as prizes. Consumers in participating bars will be given a “Snap & Win” card when they purchase a drink from the William Grant & Sons UK portfolio of brands for a chance to instantly win branded merchandise.

The campaign will be communicated via 3000 #RaiseEmUp2015 promotional kits that will go into selected bars and in stores the campaign will be communicated via 600,000 neck collars on participating William Grant & Sons UK brands.

With Rugby World Cup 2015 on track to be the biggest and most viewed to date, this ticket offering is sure to engage new and existing audiences with this incredible Tournament and William Grant & Sons’ UK portfolio of premium brands.

Gary Keogh, Marketing Director, William Grant & Sons UK said: “We are incredibly excited about our association with Rugby World Cup 2015. This Tournament is one of the world’s greatest sporting events and we’re looking forward to engaging millions of rugby fans with our portfolio of brands in and around match venues, at bars or at home.”

The campaign microsite http://www.RaiseEmUp2015.com is live from 24th August for fans to share their best entries.

William Grant & Sons Named Official Spirits & Champagne Tournament Provider Of Rugby World Cup 2015

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William Grant & Sons is proud to announce it is the Official Spirits & Champagne Tournament Provider of Rugby World Cup 2015. This partnership will mean William Grant & Sons’ UK portfolio of premium brands including Grant’s, Piper-Heidsieck, Glenfiddich, Hendrick’s, Sailor Jerry and Zubrowka will have exclusive pouring rights at all Rugby World Cup 2015 stadiums. William Grant & Sons will also have access to highly coveted tickets to every match.

This is the first time that family owned, independent distiller William Grant & Sons has partnered with Rugby’s showcase event, due to take place between September 18th and October 31st 2015. The Tournament brings together 20 nations, participating in 48 matches, across 13 stadiums.

During Rugby World Cup 2015, William Grant & Sons brands will be undertaking a range of activities to engage fans and will be offering once in a lifetime opportunities to attend matches.

Gary Keogh, Marketing Director, William Grant & Sons UK said: “We are incredibly excited about our association with Rugby World Cup 2015. This Tournament is one of the world’s greatest sporting events and we’re looking forward to engaging millions of rugby fans with our portfolio of brands in and around match venues, at a bar or at home.”

This partnership allows William Grant & Sons the opportunity to reach a discerning audience who appreciate premium spirits and value memorable experiences.

With England 2015 on track to be the biggest and most viewed Rugby World Cup to date, engaging new and existing audiences, this showcase event is set to deliver an unparalleled platform to project the sport, its unifying values and is a perfect fit for William Grant & Sons’ portfolio of brands.

World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: “We are delighted to welcome another brand sector leader to the international family of Rugby World Cup 2015 commercial partners. The appointment of a company with strong values and globally-renowned brands as Official Spirits and Champagne Provider further underscores the prestige of our showcase event.

“With 78 days to go, we are confident that England 2015 will be a wonderful and truly global celebration of rugby and friendship and we look forward to welcoming the world to Rugby World Cup 2015.”

Glenfiddich Launches Malt Mastermind Bartender Competition

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Glenfiddich, the UK’s number one single malt Scotch whisky, has announced the launch of this year’s Malt Mastermind competition. Returning for the fifth year, the competition calls on bartenders to showcase their flair and creativity by crafting a signature serve, this year using Glenfiddich 14 Year Old Rich Oak, Glenfiddich 15 Year Old or Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Distillery Edition.

The competition has introduced some new features for 2014. These include inviting more finalists to join the final – twelve instead of six in previous years – and the inclusion of a ‘wild card’ entry. For the first time, the competition will focus on the brand’s 15 Year Old variant.

The judging panel will also include two new judges this year. Joining Mark Thomson (who helped judge last year’s Malt Mastermind) will be Kirsten Grant Meikle, a William Grant & Sons family member and Director of Prestige at the company and Roman Foltan from The Artesian in London.

The final will take place in London on 17th November 2014. All finalists will be required to showcase their serve at the final, as well as take part in an additional challenge to be revealed on the day.

The inaugural wild card entry will be Jamie Ireland from G&V Royal Mile Hotel who reached the final last year and impressed the judges with his creativity when making his ‘Scotsman, Frenchman and an Englishman’ serve.
The competition is being promoted via digital advertising, trade PR and social media. The deadline for entries is 24th October 2014.

Sarah Harding, Senior Brand Manager for Glenfiddich, comments: “Year on year, the calibre of bartenders entering the competition has only improved with some exceptional serves and creativity showcased. We are looking for someone who really understands the pioneering spirit of Glenfiddich and someone who has great knowledge of the category, the complex structure of the liquid and how flavours can be used in serves to really complement the whisky and create interesting drinks.

“We are also excited to have Kirsten and Roman on board for the first time too. Both bring exceptional levels of knowledge and expertise to the table and we have no doubt, will inspire and enthuse our finalists.”

Bartenders wanting to enter the competition should visit http://www.glenfiddich.com/uk/explore/malt-mastermind. They will be required to complete a short online entry form, including details of the serve they would create using the Glenfiddich 14 or 15 Year Old variants.

The winner of the competition will be invited on an all-expenses paid VIP trip to the Glenfiddich distillery where they will sample some rare expressions and gain access to parts of the distillery not open to the general public. They will receive £1000 cash and the chance to be on the judging panel in 2015.