Business

Derry drinks company secures lucrative South Africa export deal for Quiet Man whiskey

Pictured in South Africa are Michael Morris sales director, Niche Drinks and Steve Harper, Invest NI executive director of international business. Niche has agreed a new export deal with major wholesaler and retail chain Ultra Liquors
Gareth McKeown

DERRY-based whiskey maker Niche Drinks has continued its international expansion by securing a lucrative export contract in South Africa.

The company, which also makes cream liqueurs, flavoured vodkas, ready-to-drink cocktails and microwaveable Irish coffees, will supply its Quiet Man whiskey brand to major wholesaler and retail chain Ultra Liquors in a deal that could be worth a quarter of a million pounds.

The export order, secured with Invest NI trade support, is initially for one container of 1,000 cases, but further are expected. The first foray into the South African market comes just weeks after tNiche secured its first Russian orders of The Quiet Man whiskey in a £340,000 deal.

Speaking to the Irish News commercial director of Niche Drinks Michael Morris said Ultra Liquors was the "perfect fit" for the company and said there are high hopes for replenished orders very quickly.

"We're going into full distribution in their cash and carry network, which is 70 big stores across the country. So that means our secondary distribution could be between two and three hundred outlets, maybe more. The hope would be that in a calendar year we could send four or five containers of whiskey down there."

The Derry firm believes the deal could be worth at least a quarter of a million pounds a year and if successful may include its cream liquor.

Now in 22 international markets including the UK, US, western Europe and Scandinavia, the Russian and South African deals are part of ambitious plans for growth to see the Quiet Man brand grow into a global brand.

"We've got our core distribution in Europe and the US and the domestic markets and now we're looking at South East Asia and eastern Europe and South Africa as part of phase two growth. In terms of the plans for phase two, getting the Russian deal and now the South African one means we're well ahead of our forecast."

Mr Morris also confirmed that initial demolition work has taken place at the former Ebrington Barracks site in Derry- the location for the company's new whiskey distillery.

The £12 million investment is expected to lead to the creation of 35 jobs at Niche Drinks, which already employs 70 people at its Rossdowney Road site. It is hoped the new site will be open sometime between spring and early summer next year and help the firm reach its lofty goals.

"It will make an enormous difference and will kick us on to a new level. Once we are in production at the distillery it will increase our capacity to rapidly expand."

"Our expectation is that The Quiet Man from the city of Derry will become an internationally-recognised premium product," he added.

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