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Going back to basics

Langley's has decided to go back to basics in its gin range and champion classic styles. Matt Ashton-Melia, sales director for Langley's at Charter Brands, explains the thinking behind this strategy.

Matt Ashton-Melia Langley's Gin

Can you explain the history of Langley's as a gin brand?

Gin has been distilled at Langley's since 1920 and some of the traditional copper pot and rectifying stills are more than 100 years old. We use traditional production methods and source the best and most balanced ingredients and botanicals to ensure each gin is refined, elegant, and remains true to its original recipe, while appealing to modern drinking preferences.  

Langley's is inspired by the traditional art of distilling and styled for contemporary drinking occasions. We take pride in our craft, quality and traditional values, our innovative spirit, and confidence in our originality.   

Where is Langley's now produced and what is the ethos behind its product range? 

Langley's gins are distilled at the Langley's distillery in the Midlands, which houses some of the UK's oldest working copper stills and produces more than 40 million bottles of gin each year. In terms of our distillation process, we distil our liquids a single time only – this ensures that we only extract the purest flavours from the botanicals we use. Langley's London Dry and Old Tom both use wheat grain as the spirit base, which is commonly recognised spirit base, and where possible we always make sure this is of UK origin. 

Our ethos is, "Gin, as it should be" and we're seeing a strong trend back towards traditional styles and a desire for high-quality, well-made, great-tasting gins.  Alongside this, consumers are becoming more mindful in their choices, seeking premium brands with heritage, a story to tell, and an eye on sustainability – and they care about they what they put in their glass.  

Given that market data shows flavoured and more contemporary gins are driving market growth, why has Langley's decided to focus on classic and historical styles in its gin range?

Primarily, the reason for taking such an approach is due to our long-term view to brand building. A lot of companies are in a hurry to drive volume but sometimes the issue can be sustaining this momentum year after year as trends come and go. Although being first to market or at least an early adopter is advantageous, it should not come at the expense of product quality. Building Langley's reputation for classic gin styles has given us a really strong base and so it is not that we won't experiment and innovate in the years to come, it's just very important to us that we get things right and don't rush the process. 

The Langley's range underwent a rebranding last year - what was the main aim of this?

The restaging aimed to give our range a more premium positioning and a distinctive profile on back bars and supermarket shelves. Following the redesign, we have embarked on a complete repositioning of the brand and this summer we are launching our integrated marketing campaign: "Gin. As It Should Be".  

We're also developing our sustainability strategy, as we're aiming to become the most sustainable, accessible gin brand on the market. Via a partnership with the ethical and environmental platform 1% for the Planet, we will donate one per cent of all sales revenue to the charity. We have also teamed up with Panthera, donating $0.50 for every bottle of Langley's Old Tom sold to support the conservation of the planet’s 40 wild cat species and their ecosystems.  

Further boosting our eco credentials, we have moved to a 60 per cent post-consumer recycled glass bottle, and 100 per cent recycled paper for both labels and outer cases.  This is just the start of a long journey ahead but we have some pretty bold ambitions we hope to make a reality in the next 12 to 18 months, so watch this space! 

What are the long-term goals for Langley's as a brand? Where do you see it positioned in the gin market going forward?

We’d like to think that there aren’t many gin brands on the market that can offer the same liquid quality we do as Langley's relative to the RRPs. With the recent rebrand we've also repositioned each gin but still we have a long way to go in our journey of becoming the most sustainable yet accessible gin brand on the market. It's a bold vision but we have some really ambitious objectives when it comes to our sustainability strategy and amongst the 30 countries we are now active in, we're seeing in markets like Costa Rica, Greece and Brazil an appetite for import/distributors to really drive the Langley's brand and establish it as a household name in the category.

13 August 2021