New products round-up

Beer releases for Six Nations kick off latest product launches

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Crouch, bind, set: the Six Nations rugby union tournament will be a big draw at pubs this weekend
Crouch, bind, set: the Six Nations rugby union tournament will be a big draw at pubs this weekend

Related tags Branding + marketing Beer Spirits Cask ale Cider Cocktails

The Six Nations rugby union tournament starts this weekend and there are beer launches to coincide with it among the new product releases.

Wild Beer Co launches big six in time for rugby tournament

Wild Beer Co has launched a special ‘Collab Box’ to the on-trade that brings together some of the best brewers from each of the countries represented in the Six Nations rugby tournament.

The mixed case has been introduced to encourage friends and families to come together for the rugby with 10% of revenue from each pack sold directly by Wild Beer Co going to the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM),

The line-up for the collaborations features Manchester Union (England), The Piggy Brewing Company (France), Ora Brewing Company (Italy), Fierce Brewing (Scotland), Polly’s Brew Co (Wales) and O’Hara’s (Ireland).

Each case purchase also enters customers into a competition to win more than £800 worth of prizes, including a year's supply of Jolly Hog sausages, a Kettle Joe Smoker from Kamado Joe and a £100 voucher from Wild Beer Co.

The beers are also available at Wild Beer Co’s Wapping Wharf bar (Bristol); The Craft Beer Co, Covent Garden, London; Old Fountain, Shoreditch, London; the Gypsy Queen, Kentish Town, London; Fierce Bar, Aberdeen; the Navy Volunteer, Bristol; the Crown and Kettle, Ancoats, Manchester; and Head of Steam bars across the country.

Each box contains 12 beers – two from each collaboration priced at £32.50. The beers are Wild Beer Co X Manchester Union – Wild in Union, a 4.8% ABV amber lager that uses bright noble hop aromas of herbs and spice with notes of toast and caramel malts; Wild Beer Co X Polly’s Brew Co – Iechyd Da, a 5% ABV mixed fermentation pale ale that is a dry, moreish pale ale with ruby grapefruit aromas; Wild Beer Co X O’Hara’s – Shoulder to Shoulder, a 4.9% ABV red ale and coffee where Irish red ale meets modern North Star Coffee flavours of berries and citrus; Wild Beer Co X The Piggy Brewing Company – La Chasse, a 4.6% ABV pale ale with orange and pine hop flavours that enhance a smooth crisp base; Wilde Beer Co X Fierce Beer – Raging Storm, a 5% ABV session Scotch ale that is said to be bursting with rich, malty raisin flavours and a hint of smoke, aromas of fruitcake and caramel; and Wild Beer Co X Ora Brewing – Qui Ora, a 4.7% ABV citrus Italian Pilsner using classic German noble hops and a bright twist of orange zest.


Sekforde’s mixer range at Oakman Inns sites

Mixer brand Sekforde has launched a limited-edition range of highballs and spritzes that are available at indoor bars and outdoor pods at Oakman Inns sites.

The range includes seven simple and speedy serves using whisky, Bourbon, rum, gin, Tequila and vodka. Offering a healthier alternative to standard cocktails – since they are low in sugar and calories and 100% natural – the activation is designed to encourage more premium spirits sales and promises an increased customer experience.

Oakman’s ‘Oakpods’ provide enclosed outdoor spaces for groups of six to eight guests and are located in five pub garden sites in Buckinghamshire, Essex and Hertfordshire. The pods are themed around either a tropical winter escape, a whisky winter lodge or a frosted botanical garden.

Sekforde’s soda range comprises four tailored mixers, each with its own character. With a reliable and guaranteed supply chain, Sekforde’s consistent serves can be created with any spirit brand and are said to pair well with food. 

The limited-edition menu of Sekforde mixers comprises two Mojito Spritzes, a Gin Spritz, a Vodka Spritz, a Tequila Spritz and a highball serve each of Whisky and Bourbon (all priced between £8.25 and £9.50 each).  For an aromatic, refreshing experience, there are also three alcohol-free serves (all priced £2.45 each). 

Sekforde founder Talula White said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Oakman to deliver exciting experiences for guests, and especially at a time when the trade wants to encourage footfall more than ever. Together, we hope this partnership will increase the pub group’s premium spirit sales along with those of our own Sekforde mixers.

“Our lighter, fresher soda options complement and lengthen spirits instead of overpowering them, and Sekforde is on a mission to unlock spirits and provide consumers with a new way to discover and enjoy them. It’s wonderful to build on our retail and on-trade success with such a creative activation around the Greater London region.”

Oakman Inns head of marketing Kelly Beard added: “This partnership with Sekforde is an ideal brand fit for something creative in the pods as well as in our bars. We first introduced Oakpods to our gardens in October 2020 and due to their success, have rolled them out across five more Oakman sites.”

Sekforde has been served in some of the UK’s most recognised bars in addition to Oakman Inns, including Black Rock, Trailer Happiness, Laki Kane, Blue Bar at The Berkeley Hotel, Wild Tavern and the Blind Pig.


Black Sheep tackles a new beer to support England in the Six Nations

With the Six Nations kicking off this weekend, Black Sheep has released a new cask ale called Finisher in support of the England rugby union team.

As part of the brewery’s seasonal beer calendar, Finisher (4.0% ABV) is a single-hopped pale ale brewed exclusively with English-grown Ernest hops.

Made available on cask to pubs across the country from 31 January, the pale ale offers a quaintly balanced, light flavour profile with fresh notes of citrus and a touch of apricot.

Finisher marks the beginning of Black Sheep’s seasonal cask range, its biggest yet in special celebration of the Yorkshire brewery’s 30th birthday this coming September.

Black Sheep Brewery has long championed rugby clubs in England, particularly in its local communities. Just recently, the Yorkshire brewery partnered with local clubs Huddersfield RUFC and Otley RUFC, as part of the brewery’s commitment to supporting grassroots sport following the effects of the first lockdown.

Black Sheep Brewery brand and communications manager Jack Scott Paul said: “We are very excited to announce the launch of the newest addition to the Black Sheep flock.

“Finisher is a classic English pale ale and we know it will make the perfect accompaniment for our drinkers to enjoy while cheering on England to bring home the Six Nations trophy.”

As well as its Visitor Centre bar and bistro in Masham, the brewery also owns and operates a growing number of pubs and bars across the region, including The Three Legged Mare and the Last Drop Inn, both in York, and Leeds venues Mr Foley’s Tap House and the Black Sheep Tap & Kitchen.


Santa Ana Gin made in homage to Philippine cabaret club

Santa Ana, a new gin inspired by the dancehall days of 1920s Manila and the legendary Santa Ana Cabaret, will be released this month.

Santa Ana Cabaret was a musical playground for Manileños of the time and its new, namesake gin is said to evoke the glamour and decadence of this unforgettable era.

Distilled in the Charente region of France to extract four native Philippine botanicals: Ylang Ylang, Alpinia, Calamansi and Dalandan, Santa Ana’s combination of delicate floral top notes and a fresh tropical citrus palate complements the seven traditional botanicals (including juniper, bitter orange, angelica and orris roots and fennel) used in the gin, to create a richly exotic taste profile.

The Philippines, as one of the worlds’ biodiversity hot spots, has a range of flora and fauna quite unique in the world, including Santa Ana’s signature botanical Ylang-Ylang, also used as the main ingredient in luxury perfumes such as the iconic Chanel No. 5.

Evoking the nostalgia of a smoky tropical Champagne room, big band swing and the glamour and decadence of days gone by, Santa Ana Gin, which is presented in an exquisite Art Deco-inspired bespoke bottle, is said to be “a love letter to 1920s Manila and brings the optimism and opulence of this iconic era firmly into the 2020s”.


South-west-based spirits brand Mainbrace launches Cornish gin

Mainbrace, a Cornish brand known for its award-winning golden rum, has launched Mainbrace Cornish Dry Gin to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which takes place on Sunday 6 February.

The name of the brand was born from the naval term ‘splice the mainbrace’ that it said celebrates courage, teamwork and friendship, with Mainbrace’s history rooted in naval traditions. In the days of sail, the Navy was awarded a daily tot of either rum or gin, with sailors most commonly choosing rum and officers opting for gin. Today, ‘splicing the mainbrace’ has come to mean a toast to victory, as well as toasting to the Queen.

Distilled in Cornwall, Mainbrace Cornish Dry Gin is made in a traditional copper pot still, made using the London Dry style with no added sugars, sweeteners, essences or other additives. The gin is made with Cornish water and local botanicals, namely lemon verbena harvested from St Michael’s Mount and three different types of seaweed – kelp, dulse and sea spaghetti – sourced from the Cornish Seaweed Company in Gweek. The gin is said to have a unique taste, dominated by citrus notes, particularly lime, with secondary umami and slightly salty notes stemming from the seaweeds.

Mainbrace co-founder Richard Haigh said: “We are incredibly excited to be launching Mainbrace Gin, which has been a natural next step for us, particularly since we are based in Cornwall, an up-and-coming hotspot for craft gins. We have lots of exciting plans in the works and are especially looking forward to ‘splicing the mainbrace’ to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.”

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Spanish sangria Solsueño lands in UK

Sangria Solsueño, an authentic Spanish sangria, has been released in a 330ml slimline can in the UK.

Crafted in the Denominacion de Origen protected region of Jumilla in Murcia, Solsueño is a 5% ABV, bright red, easy-drinking liquid and is instantly recognisable as a genuine sangria.

Solsueño sales director Luke Wade said: “The advantages of a ready-made liquid are time saved in preparation and a consistent serve. Solsueño is ideal for all indoor and outdoor settings, available as a single-serve reflecting modern consumption patterns and in a format that is innovative and convenient. It can, of course, be added to a jug for the sharing experience with ice and fruit.”

Solsueño is vegan, gluten free and uses only natural ingredients.

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Kingstone Press launches low-alcohol cider variant

Kingstone Press has launched a new low alcohol variant of its original apple cider in response to the growth in popularity of low and no options.

Kingstone Press Low Alcohol Cider (0.5% ABV) uses the same blend of apples harvested from orchards across Worcestershire and Herefordshire as used in the 4.7% ABV apple cider.

The branding is the same as the more alcoholic expression, which enjoyed a recent redesign. Kingstone Press Low Alcohol Cider is available in 500ml glass bottles and is created from a delicious variety of apples including Michelin bitter-sweet, Angela and Dabinett. 

Kingstone Press brand manager Katie Walker said: “There’s growing popularity among customers for low-alcohol options of favourite drinks so we’ve spent time developing the low-alcohol version of Kingstone Press to ensure the taste matches perfectly to the alcoholic cider.

“Whether a customer is looking to upgrade from a soft drink or simply reducing their alcohol intake, they can now do so while still enjoying the great, refreshing taste and drink experience of Kingstone Press.”

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Pernod Ricard launches Rabbit Hole Bourbon range to UK

Drinks business Pernod Ricard UK has added Rabbit Hole Bourbons to its portfolio of Enterprise Brands with the first release in Europe taking place in the UK.

The Rabbit Hole collection in the UK will include Heigold Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Boxergrail Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey.

Rabbit Hole was founded by Kaveh Zamanian with its Bourbons made in small batches of fewer than 15 barrels. Heigold is a high rye, double malt Bourbon made with a high concentration of malted grains, (5% malted barley and 25% malted rye). It is said to have a sweet nose that evokes toasted malt and brings creamy notes of butterscotch with bursts of citrus and finishes with intriguing notes of pepper and spice.

Meanwhile, Boxergrail is a Kentucky straight rye whiskey. This sour mash rye is composed of 95% rye with malted barley added to its mash bill to present a velvety mouthfeel, while subtle spice and brown sugar notes lend an air of distinction.

All the whiskies in Rabbit Hole’s portfolio have been given names that reflect the Louisville, Kentucky, individuals who have gone down their own ‘rabbit holes’ in pursuit of their passions. Heigold was named after Christian Heigold, a German stonemason who settled in Louisville prior to 1850 and carved ornate symbols of his patriotism on the façade of his landmark home. Boxergrail was inspired by Louisville’s rich heritage in boxing, where many local fighters emerging from neighbourhood gyms have followed a path to become prize-fighting champions.

Zamanian said: “Our expansion to the UK marks a pivotal moment for Rabbit Hole because I have long believed that American whiskey deserves to be on the global stage among the finest spirits in the world. Our heritage-based and innovation-forward approach to whiskey making has earned us a devoted following in the US and we look forward to sharing our craft with spirits connoisseurs throughout the UK.”

Both Rabbit Hole expressions are 47.5% ABV and available in 750ml bottles. Heigold (RRP £55) and Boxergrail (RRP £49) is available from on-trade stockists including Speciality Drinks, Amathus, Venus, Coe Vintners and Enotria.


If you have any new products that are being released to the on-trade, email the details with high resolution images before Thursday at midday for potential inclusion on Friday’s article to tnel.yyblq@jeoz.pbz​​​​​​​​​​. 

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