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Canada shows its thirst for English gin

One of the new English gins has won a major export order from Canada. The grape-distilled Chilgrove Gin has struck the deal with Société des Alcools du Québec (SAQ), the government-owned corporation responsible for the trade of alcoholic beverages, via Chilgrove’s export partner, The British Bottle Company. Bottles will be on-shelf in Quebec in early 2015.

Gin is extremely popular in Canada and accounts for 10% of all spirit sales in Quebec, with imports of English gin accounting for over CA$ 36 million (source: SAQ).  Christopher Beaumont-Hutchings, co-founder of Chilgrove Gin, adds: "English gin is soaring in interest in Canada.  A new generation of gin drinking clubs and bars, such as Le Pourvoyeur in Montreal, which stocks over 50 gins from eight countries, are influential in fuelling this interest in the provenance and innovation in gin.  New names such as Chilgrove and other artisan English spirits are gaining a big following.  The classic G&T remains the popular serve, but local variations take advantage of home-grown ingredients, such as maple syrup, to create a distinctly Canadian twist on the classics. Sales of gin in Canada continue to increase year-on-year and English gin will surely continue to be a huge driver in the premium spirits market in Canada and worldwide."

Red Johnson, founder of The British Bottle Company, adds: “This is a very exciting time for British craft spirit exports and Canada is highly influential as a market for British luxury drinks brands.  British exports complement the high quality spirits created by the new generation of Canadian craft distillers, so the market is perfect for a brand such as Chilgrove Gin.  We are delighted it is our first major contract.”

Chilgrove Gin is named after the beautiful Sussex hamlet of Chilgrove in the heart of the South Downs National Park, which is a stone's throw from the Goodwood estate.  It was launched in mid-June 2014 and gained attention as the first English gin to be made using alcohol distilled from grapes rather than conventional cereal.  After gaining solid local retailers, it swiftly won a listing at Harrods and is now set for wider distribution in London bars, pubs and restaurants via wholesalers Coe Vintners and Speciality Drinks.   Online retailers include Master of Malt, The Whisky Exchange and 31 Dover. Its RRP is £29 to £35 for a 70cl bottle.

Charles Maxwell, master distiller comments: "The 11 botanicals used in Chilgrove Dry Gin act differently in the grape-spirit as opposed to a standard cereal base.  It is a big, powerful, complex gin. The neutral grape spirit base helps to give a soft mouth feel and bring forward floral notes as it combines with the citrus botanicals.  Overall there is a gentle delivery of the botanical flavours which end up with a spicy peppery note delivered by the grains of paradise working with the juniper."

Chilgrove Dry Gin, 44%abv, combines both historic and contemporary ideas to create a new style of English gin. History shows that the Dutch spirit, from which gin originally evolved, was made using alcohol distilled from wine.  The idea behind it was conceived in Chilgrove by husband and wife team Christopher and Celia Beaumont-Hutchings.


17 November 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor