Fruitful exchanges in Europe as Copeland and Jawbox land new gin deals

Copeland Gin founder Gareth Irvine

TWO of the north's niche gin producers have each secured their first pieces of business in new European markets.

Saintfield-based Copeland, which sources fresh fruit such as raspberries, blueberries and blackberries from farmers in Killinchy and other parts of Co Down, has signed a distribution deal in Estonian capital Tallinn for its small batch gins.

And Jawbox Gin, founded and managed by former publican Gerry White, has won its first business in France for its award-winning classic Belfast dry gin that includes among its botanical ingredients heather harvested from the slopes of the city’s Black Mountain.

Copeland Gin, founded in 2016 by Gareth Irvine (25) from Bangor, has begun shipping its rhuberry gin, which is made with rhubarb and blackberries, raspberry and mint gin and a limited edition spiced apple and blackcurrants to Actimer Ou in Tallinin.

The deal in Estonia came about after Actimer’s managing director was in Dublin last year, tried as Copeland gin loved the distinctive fruity flavour and subsequently gave the company a call.

He sees Estonian as a strategically important market that is positioned close to Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Russia.

“Our new distributor has contacts in many of these markets which we aim to develop in the year ahead,” Mr Irvine added.

Copeland - which enjoyed business growth of 120 per cent last year - has been assisted by Invest NI in the past, and has won listings with major retailers such as Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury, Aldi, Lidl and Musgrave Group. It is also shipping its gins to Britain and the United Arab Emirates.

Jawbox, meanwhile, has signed a distribution deal with CBH drinks marketing and brand development in Paris which will see its unique gin and its recently launched gin liqueurs on sale in hotels and bars in the French capital and other parts of the nation.

CBH is market leader in France and is regarded as one of the best independent operators for launching super premium spirit brands and guaranteeing their marketing and sales development throughout France. The distribution business was established in 1997 to supply top hotels, restaurants and cocktail bars throughout France and Monaco.

Jawbox is planning an extensive programme of product samplings in Paris and other centres to support CBH.

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