British spiced malt sets out to challenge convention

Albion Racing ClubA new British spiced malt spirit is being targeted at the on-trade for serving neat or in cocktails with the ambition of developing it into a “recognised bar call”.

Albion Racing Club, or ARC, is made from 100% English malted barley and distilled five times in copper pot stills at the English Spirit Distillery in Cambridgeshire. It is then steeped in Indian vanilla pods, raisins and Colombian coffee beans.

Although unaged, the resulting 42% ABV spirit has some of the characteristics of whisky but is smoother and slightly sweeter, which is expected to make it more accessible to non-whisky drinkers.

Available through Coe Vintners, the 50cl and 70cl bottles have been taken on by London retailers Fortnum & Mason and Gerry’s but the product is already listed at Prescott & Conran’s Boundary Hotel bar and Albion café in Shoreditch, London.

Alpine-themed bar and restaurant Bodo’s Schloss in Kensington is described as the brand’s “London clubhouse” which will be one of the venues to host ARC events.

ARC is supported by the concept of an actual Albion Racing Club, which will champion the “British spirit of adventure” by organising races at least twice a year.

It has organised The Alpine Run from March 21 to 24, which will see a collection of British vehicles, including vintage Land Rovers and a Tiger Moth, race from the Cambridgeshire distillery to Meribel via Burgundy, taking more stock of ARC to see Meribel through to the end of the ski season.

The weekend will culminate in a run down the Olympic bobsleigh course. There will also be socials, tastings, pop-up bars and other “capers” throughout the year.

ARC has been sampled at a pop-up bar in Meribel since December and is now also stocked in local bars including Jack’s Bar, O’Sullivans, Rond Pont, Scotts, La Taverne and The Den.

The brand was created by Nick Pye, Ben White and Justin Wright – three drinks industry professionals with a background in innovation, branding and design – who spent 18 months developing and refining the product in advance of its UK launch.

Justin said: “This year, we are focused on generating excitement and awareness and expanding our distribution nationwide. Longer term, we want to establish Albion spiced malt as a recognised bar call.”

Describing ARC as “a totally new approach to brown spirits”, he said it was targeted at men and women aged 28 and over “with a sense of adventure, challenging the conventions of the premium spirit category by making it a bit more exciting and energetic”.

Artist Jok Garriock has created a distinctive visual personality for the Albion Racing Club, supported by original artworks, with a stylised 1930s look and feel to “capture the spirit of an era when Brits had a more carefree and optimistic approach to life”.

The recommended price in retail is £29.99 for the 50cl bottle and £39.99 for the 70cl bottle.

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