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The East India Company releases first spirit

The East India Company is starting a new chapter following the release of its first gin, a premium London Dry gin.

Known for its teas and food offerings, the company's chairman and managing director, Sajiv Mehta is seeking to rejuvenate the brand, having taken ownership in 2005.

Sanjiv Mehta says: “When I took the helm, I set about reawakening a once powerful brand that had lain dormant for 161 years and making it great again. For more than 400 years, The East India Company has held a remarkable connection with people all over the world and its influence can be seen throughout English-speaking society. My vision for it today is one of a contemporary business developing high quality luxury products, including a super-premium spirit.”

Esther Canibano Garcia, marketing director for the brand, says: “We have embarked on this journey with a super-premium London Dry Gin – a spirit sitting at the core of our heritage of global trading in the finest botanicals and spices. The East India Company, from its inception over 400 years ago, exemplified and evolved, not only the flavour of London Dry Gin but was also fundamental in the creation of the ubiquitous gin and tonic.”

The development of the brand’s first spirit has been in planning since 2007. The gin team have worked with industry experts to produce The East India Company London Dry Gin.

The gin team spent time researching The East India Company’s own company records and the archives held in the British Library, Kew Gardens, Maritime Museum and the V&A Museum, to source information that would inspire and inform the recipe for the new gin. This was followed by blend and flavour experimentation.

Jamie Walker, commercial director for the brand says: “History and quality of flavour are what sets The East India Company London Dry Gin apart; we have taken a classic spirit and redefined it to tell a story about one of the oldest companies in the world. The East India Company is intrinsically linked to the story and evolution of gin. This rich history and the explosion in the popularity of the drink have been catalysts for the creation of what we deem to be the finest London Dry Gin in the world today. We are very excited to launch our first spirit to the world.”

Overall, The East India Company chose Glasgow based drinks consultancy The Drink Cabinet to manage the project, to lead on product and brand development, marketing and activation.

It launches this month in a selection of leading bars, hotels and restaurants, including City Social and Novikov in London, and Gleneagles and The Finnieston in Scotland. Principal distributor is Bibendum Plc.

23 November 2016 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, editorial assistant