Plymouth Gin's sales increased by 350 per cent in 1998 and it is currently the fastest growing gin brand in the UK.
It was bought from Allied Domecq in 1996 when sales were at less than 5,000 cases per year. Sales are now 10 times that and distribution of the brand has recently moved from Remy & Associates to Seagram UK.
There may be more to this move than meets the eye. At a recent marketing seminar the brand's chairman, John Murphy, made noises indicating he is building up the brand to sell off.
He said: "We don't know what our intention is for the future because we haven't focused on developing the brand yet. But if we can get it back on its feet, there's the potential that lots of people out there would welcome a premium gin. To have a good brands portfolio, you have to a have a decent gin."
According to The Publican Newspaper Spirits Report published in October 1999, 28 per cent of licensees saw sales of gin increase last year although 42 per cent expected it to stay static over the following 12 months.
Plymouth Gin has got its work cut out to make serious inroads into the on-trade with 62 per cent of pubs only selling one brand of gin, and 82 per cent of pubs stocking Gordon's.
Murphy said: "Plymouth Gin has grown at an astonishing rate in the last two years. It has taken a huge amount of work but we have always known that the brand would break through because of its premium quality, our decision to return to the original strength of 41.2 per cent and the brand's unique heritage."
Sales of Plymouth Gin have been helped by Jilly Goolden of BBC TV's Food & Drink programme. She said it was the best gin on the market.