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Drinks manufacturer targets further growth after tapping into gin craze

By James Pugh | Shrewsbury | Business | Published:

A drinks manufacturer has set out to grow tenfold in the next five years after benefitting from the UK’s growing gin craze.

Graham Carr Smith

The English Drinks Company, which is based in Upton Magna near Shrewsbury, has seen a 30 per increase of sales in its gin products.

After starting out creating its Qcumber Sparkling Drink, it decided to tap into the gin market and has gone on to develop four products – Premium Dry Cucumber, Premium Dry Pink, The Orangery and The Lemon Grove.

Managing director Graham Carr Smith said: “We attended a lot of consumer shows around England and we started to see an increase in the number of gin stalls appearing. We had people telling us our Qcumber drink went well as a mixer with gin so we thought what a good idea it was to start creating gins.

“We tried to have a USP. With so many London-style dry gins we moved towards flavoured gins for people looking for something different. We wanted gins which were smooth and well-presented.”

Sales of gin nationally have tripled since 2009, as Britons have rediscovered their taste for the spirit.

There are now well over 100 British gin brands on the market, a doubling of the number since 2011.

There are also now 315 distilleries in the UK, more than double the number that were operating five years ago.

Mr Carr Smith said: “This is due to several factors: the introduction of well marketed ‘craft gins’ with a more approachable soft finish that suits all palates; the interest in cocktails which has encouraged a younger market to experiment with spirits for the first time; the introduction of new flavoured gins, and the entry of high quality tonic water into the market, which make a perfect accompaniment.

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“The market is still expected to maintain its growth for the foreseeable future as new consumers enter the market.

“Consumers are always looking for a point of difference, so flavoured gins and any brand offering an interesting back story will feature strongly.”

The English Drinks Company employs four people and the gins are distilled in Oldbury.

Mr Carr Smith added: “Locally we supply to places like Tanners and 1403. Nationally Majestic Wine stores sell our gins and we’re about to sell to 22 John Lewis stores. We also sell on a couple of airlines – Icelandair and Mongolian Airlines. We are looking to grow the business tenfold in the next five years. We aim to continue introducing new and different flavours."

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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