LoneWolf Spirits and Global Brands tie-up 'good for all'

By James Beeson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Spirit boss: LoneWolf managing director Doug Bairner
Spirit boss: LoneWolf managing director Doug Bairner

Related tags: Global brands, Gin

Doug Bairner, managing director of LoneWolf (the distilling arm of Scottish brewery BrewDog), has said the new distribution deal with Global Brands will provide a boost for the spirit's growth.

The deal, announced last week​, will see Global Brands, whose portfolio includes RTD’s such as Hooch and VK, distribute LoneWolf’s range of spirits across its extensive network of UK bars.

In an interview with The Morning Advertiser​, Bairner distanced LoneWolf from what he called the “high energy side” of Global Brand’s business, and insisted that its development of Franklin & Sons tonics and mixers showed its credibility in the spirits sector.  

"They have two very distinct parts of their business,” he said. “One is that very high energy side of it, the other is more spirits led and that is where we fit in. They understand the two markets are very different, so for us that was never an issue."

"If you speak to any bartender who is worth their salt, they recognise how good Franklin & Sons tonics and mixers are, and that is the credibility Global Brands have built in that space, and that is the side of their business we are working with.

“We respect the fact that they have that other side of their business, but that isn't where we sit. We sit with the guys who look after the top-end cocktail bars."

Top 100 spirits brand targeted

LoneWolf hopes that the deal with Global Brands will help boost sales of its London Dry Gin, Single Malt Vodka and canned Gin & Tonic by 100,000 cases, in a bid to increase retail sales by £40m in the next 24 months.

Bairner said that LoneWolf was targeting listings in 2,000 bars in the UK within the next year, and aiming to be a top-100 global spirits brand within the next five year.

“For us, wherever a good gin & tonic or a good vodka & soda is served, we would want to be there,” he said.

Bairner also confirmed that the distillery was working on producing a single-malt whisky, but refused to be drawn on when customers could expect to see it reach the marketplace.

“When we get to a spirit level that we are happy with, that is when we will see it out there,” he said. "Whisky is such an ethereal thing to work with because the wood has such an important impact on the final product.

“As soon as we have something that we believe tastes amazing we will have it out into the market, but there is no definite timescale."

Vodka revolution overdue

Bairner was speaking at a Burns Night inspired immersive supper club in London’s Old Street Station, organised to promote the release of LoneWolf’s new limited-edition Cranachan Vodka.

The LoneWolf managing director said he believed that mainstream vodka had lost its way in recent years, but that the spirit was due a renaissance.

“Vodka is definitely due a reinvigouration,” he said. “For us that means getting back to what vodka should be about; the quality of the spirit and the quality of the distillation, and moving away from some of the industry norms like talking about filtration as a marker of quality.

“Distilling a spirit from scratch, doing it properly and leaving some of the base grain character shining through is what a vodka should be all about.”

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails

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