A NEW hand-crafted, artisan gin from Scotland, described as “one of the finest available”, is rapidly making a name for itself in the UK, with listings at several key airports including London Heathrow.
House of Elrick – the creation of owner and founder Stuart Ingram - struck a chord with World Duty Free when it was first launched late last year and was listed at Scottish regional airports including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen this August, subsequently going live at Heathrow Terminal 5 on October 1. Ingram is now looking to take House of Elrick to travel retail markets in Europe and beyond.
“Initial results at T5 are very encouraging and in Scotland we’re selling over 80 bottles a week with sales increasing all the time,” says Ingram. “With domestic distribution for House of Elrick now building outside the UK, including Denmark, Holland and Italy, along with interest from Russia and Sweden, we believe the time is right to take the brand into the wider global travel retail arena.”
The only spirit made with the freshest water from Loch Ness, House of Elrick gin uses hand-picked botanicals that complement juniper, coriander seeds, angelica root and citurs peel, built around a core of heather, pink peppercorns, sweet fennel and rose petals. Refreshing and aromatic the taste profile is a fresh, yet earthy, bold infusion of flavours.
Initially available to travel retail in 700ml sizes the stand out packaging is a luxurious ‘Little Pasha’ bottle design with stopper cork sprayed in a matt blue finish and screen printed with silver ink to communicate a unique and distinctive appeal.
Every craft gin has a brand story and House of Elrick is no exception. The gin is named after the House of the same name, constructed at the height of the Scottish Enlightenment period in 1720, as the home to an entrepreneurial family of cattle farmers and millers. Well-travelled and curious, members of the household often visited Florence in Italy, a country already swept by European Enlightenment thinking, returning with tales of new science and philosophical learnings that echoed the writings of many of the leading Scottish Enlightened thinkers of the time.
On return to the estate the family sought to host company that would continue the philosophical, scientific and creative discussion of the time, encouraging the expansion of free-thinking over blind faith and thus saw a number of creative and maverick individuals pass through their doors. Later the house was to be visited by Bonnie Prince Charlie who gifted the Jacobite rose to the estate, subsequently gifted by the previous owner of the estate to King Edward at Balmoral Castle. It can now be found growing in the beautiful walled garden at the heart of the grounds. The monarch link remains strong with Ingram sending a bottle to Queen Elizabeth 11 at Christmas last year, for which he received a thank you note.
Having been in his family for 60 years, Ingram submitted plans to redevelop this historic estate as a gin-making facility and destination restaurant back in 2015. While currently made in Surrey, work has now started on the onsite distillery, due to open at the turn of the year.
Ingram stresses that the quality of House of Elrick puts this craft gin in a class of its own. “Quality over quantity is key,” he says. “ Our liquid is distilled by hand in batches of 600 bottles per run, which means we can maintain control over every bottle that leaves our distillery. Working with independent farmers and suppliers to craft a liquid of absolute premium quality, the final liquid speaks for itself.”
The packaging is designed to further speak volumes about quality. “Irrespective of whether you are a large or small producer, there should be no compromise on creating the maximum shelf impact,” continues Ingram. “We’re confident we’ve done that for House of Elrick, creating an end product that sits in the premium sector so in demand by the travel retail channel. Craft gin is highly competitive, but the quality of House of Elrick gin enables it to sit alongside all other existing premium brands as an international player in its own right.”
House of Elrick gin is the first in a series of branded spirits and goods that will bear the estate’s name. “We have already launched our own registered Tartan, with gents and ladies scarves, ties, cushions etc, now available. And we have plenty more ideas to come – so watch this space,” Ingram promises.
In order to build its travel retail business, House of Elrick is keen to create partnerships with specialist distributors within the channel.