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Bombay Sapphire has grand plans for its new UK distillery

Published:  11 October, 2013

Bacardi claims its new Bombay Sapphire distillery and visitor centre in Laverstoke, Hampshire, will give the gin industry a user experience to rival the Scotch whisky market and bring the Bombay Sapphire brand alive.

Scheduled to open next spring, the distillery will be located in a former paper mill, part of a series of listed Victorian buildings.

The site will include a distillery, visitor centre, training facilities for the on-trade; as well as providing a platform for the arts with gallery spaces.

Speaking at this week's 2013 IGD Convention Stefan Bomhard, Bacardi regional president Europe, said: "Building a new distillery in there is quite an undertaking but the idea behind it is quite simple - when you look at the gin industry, nobody offers a similar user experience to the whisky industry."

According to Bacardi, the distillery will be the most energy efficient in the world. It will also include glass domes, designed by the London Olympic cauldron designer Thomas Heatherwick, showcasing the 10 botanicals included in Bombay Sapphire.

Bomhard said all Bombay Sapphire production will be made from the distillery from next year when third party production will transfer from Greenall's in Warrington.

Bomhard revealed the results of an ongoing Bombay Sapphire campaign designed to premiumise the making of the classic UK gin and tonic - 86% of Bombay Sapphire purchased in the UK is used to make a G and T.

In the on-trade it has included the promotion of a wider glass to enhance the flavour of the gin and uses copious amounts of ice.

Similar passion was created in the off-trade, where Bacardi launched Bombay Sapphire glasses in gift packs in supermarkets and partnered with the tonic brand Fever Tree on dual merchandising activity. Free glasses could also be collected with purchases of Bombay Sapphire.

Bomhard said during the campaign gin sales grew 7% faster than the overall spirits category and Bombay Sapphire grew at a 14% higher rate.

"We are selling more premium gin in a time of austerity, which is a nice gift to our retail partners. We will continue to drive it," said Bomhard.