We are really excited that our new distribution arrangements with the highly regarded wholly Australian-owned distributor Stuart Alexander are now in full swing in the domestic market. This arrangement significantly strengthens The West Winds Gin channels to market with a dedicated FMCG distributor with extensive experience in the hotel, restaurant and café space and in national and independent retail.
Stuart Alexander have taken over the distribution and promotion of the West Winds Gins through the key on and off-premise distributors, such as Woolworths, Coles, ALM, Metcash, Paramount, Liquid Mix and LSB in Australia. Stuart Alexander will also be distributing our gins in New Zealand and the South Pacific.
Founded in 1884 and one of Australia's largest privately-owned companies, Stuart Alexander & Co. imports, markets and distributes premium global brands such as Chupa Chups, Fisherman’s Friends, Mentos, TABASCO® and MONIN café and cocktail syrups throughout Australasia.
The Barrel Expedition Gin
After sitting in a used white gewürztraminer wine barrel for two years, our next barrel aged gin is now ready to be bottled and released.
Based on the limited release Captain’s Cut, this is truly something unique, and with only 1400 bottles available it will not last long.
This gin will be bottled at around 40%, unlike the Captain’s Cut which was initially released at a whopping 63% ABV. The decidedly peppery notes of the native sage and native thyme are tempered by the time in barrel and are complemented by the subtle notes of cut violet and soft pine.
We expect this to be available online in May.
The West Winds G&T Cans Get A Makeover
Some loved the packaging, and some didn’t, but almost everyone agrees that the flavour of our premixed gin & tonic cans is outstanding.
With the introduction of container deposit schemes to a number of additional Australian states we needed to update the text on our cans - so we have taken this opportunity to give the cans a graphic makeover, bringing them in line with the rest of the West Winds packaging.
You should see these gems showing up in your favourite retail outlets by the end of May.
The 2019 Release of The Wild Plum Gin
As a result of the very successful first release of The West Winds Wild Plum Gin, we have decided to make this gin a part of our core range of gins, joining the Sabre, Cutlass and the Broadside. The Wild Plum was recently awarded a Gold Medal at the Australian Gin Awards.
The Wild Plum will be a seasonal gin that we expect to bottle between June and July each year. This year we expect to bottle it in July as the Davidson plums that give the gin its unique tart characteristics are still ripening and won’t be picked for another couple of weeks.
As we did last year we intend to release the 2019 vintage on our website first and then make it available to the on-premise and off-premise trades. We will let you know as soon as it is available.
Sweet Beet & Gin Martini Cocktail Recipe
50mL of The West Winds Cutlass Gin
20mL beetroot purée (we used MONIN Beetroot Purée )
20mL fresh lemon
1 egg white
Dry shake (shake all of the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with no ice)
Wet shake (add ice and shake again)
Double strain into coupe glass
Garnish with a beetroot chip
5 Surprising Facts About Gin
1. The Botanical Base of Gin:
“Most of the botanicals used to make gin contain essential oils, and those essential oils give gin its flavour: lemon, orange, grapefruit, juniper, angelica, anise myrtle, etc. Finding the balance between those flavours is the art of making a good gin recipe. By increasing the amount of botanicals used to make gin, you increase the oil content, which provides viscosity and texture - different oil content levels helps to find a good-balanced amount for making silky and smooth Martinis and other stirred drinks where the texture is important.”
2. The Price Tag of Gin and Why It Matters:
The ingredients and production in gin can affect price. Some of the botanicals used to make gin are among the most expensive spices in the world, and some, such as the Australian native bush tomato, are extremely difficult to cultivate and therefore availability is highly variable. Also, there are methods of distillation that require the use of more botanicals than others, as with anything that’s ingredient-based, meaning the better the ingredients, the more expensive the final product. Taking time to source quality ingredients and produce exceptional gin shows through in the final product.
The percentage of alcohol (ABV) in the gin is also a key determinant of price. In Australia the excise tax on a 700mL bottle of 40% gin is $23.90 and at 58% (Navy Strength) it is $34.66. The main reason for producing higher alcohol gins is that the higher the percentage of alcohol, the more essential oils the gin can carry which leads to a greater concentration of flavour.
3. The Worldwide Gin-Drinking Movement
Gin has become a global phenomenon. Gin is massively popular in Spain at the moment. The Gin & Tonic is one of the drinks of choice there, and they have taken its service to new levels. They tend to serve it in giant goblets, and there’s a lot of innovation happening with garnishes [in Spain] to make it a more inviting and interesting drink.
The number one gin-consuming country in the world? The Philippines. They are responsible for almost half of the world’s global consumption.
4. Dutch Courage
The history of Gin dates back to 17th Century Holland, where it was initially a medicine. The earliest form of Gin was called Genever, after the dutch name for the Juniper Berry. During the wars of this era, soldiers were given Genever to warm themselves. This traditional drink taken often before going into battle was given the nickname of “Dutch Courage,” from the effect of drinking this potent concoction which lead to lowered inhibitions and helped overcome fears through the subsequent intoxication.
5. The most common spirit in classic cocktails is... Gin!
Yes, you read that correctly. From the Martini to the Clover Club, Gin is King of the Classics. It comes primarily from gin being the most available spirit in the early 1900’s when cocktails were coming into fashion.
This was because cocktails became a way of making spirits interesting and more enjoyable to drink, rather than just drinking them straight.
Gin was the favourite base as it was already flavoured with Juniper and other botanicals. So, get involved in the Gin Craze!!
Last quarter we welcomed two new members to the West Winds Gin crew....
Andrew Wilkinson “Wilko” is working closely with the Stuart Alexander sales teams to provide West Winds Gin brand and sales support. Wilko has extensive expertise and experience in the liquor industry working within a sales capacity with companies including Asahi Premium Beverages and Treasury Wine Estates. Wilko is also an experienced barman and has managed bars for the Merivale and Rockpool Dining groups. He is a passionate musician and has even spent time working in a sake brewery in Japan.
Anthony Reynolds (Ant) used to run our kegged cocktail program and, after a year distilling at another distillery, has come back to join us as our distiller and production manager. Ant is an experienced winemaker by trade having worked at wineries in the Margaret River region as well as in France in Beaujolais, Burgundy and Languedoc Roussillon. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science with majors in Biological Sciences and Wine Science and has a degree in Viticultural Management. He has also owned and run a Liquor Barons liquor store which he sold to BWS.
We also said a fond farewell to Carl Mitch Keane “Rummy”. I first met Rummy back in about 2013 when we took a boat on a trade appreciation trip from Fremantle Sailing Club to Rottnest Island. At the time he made a strong impression on me and then in 2015 he joined us as an apprentice distiller. Four years, a lot of distilled gin and many memorable events later Rummy decided it was time for a change and so he has gone to Diageo, the world’s largest producer of spirits. We wish Rummy all the best for the future.