Former head of Bibendum’s spirits launches new drinks company


Boxer Gin

A new drinks distribution company is to be launched next month by the former head of Bibendum’s Instil Drinks Co, starting with a portfolio including Element 29 vodka and Boxer Gin.

Nick Rodgers, who looked after spirits at Bibendum for nine years, has formed Identity Drinks Brands with a focus on high-quality spirits that are looking for rapid growth in the UK.

It will represent Element 29 and Boxer Gin which are part of the portfolio of Green Box Drinks, founded by Mark Hill. Both are made at the Langley distillery in the Midlands in small copper pot stills.

The use of copper, which is element 29 in the periodic table, produces a high-quality full-flavoured vodka, reflected in the five-star rating in Difford’s Guide. Boxer Gin is made by blending the London dry gin with the essence of fresh juniper berries extracted by vapour distillation in the mountains of Nepal, as well as citrus oils cold pressed from bergamot peel.

Both products are supplied in durable screen-printed bottles that can be refilled from a proprietary bag-in-box system. This packaging technology removes energy waste from recycling bottles, improves storage space and means bars can have premium spirits at house-pour prices.

Nick said: “I knew the next step for me was to launch my own company and a chance meeting with Mark presented the perfect opportunity. I was aware of his environmentally sound refill concept already, but having seen the quality of the Element 29 vodka and Boxer Gin, not to mention the price point, I couldn’t think of any products that I wanted to work with more.”

Identity Drinks Brands is seeking other complementary brands to be considered for the portfolio.

Nick Rodgers has been in the drinks and hospitality sector since he was 18, from bar work to buying for blue-chip organisations. He joined leading wine supplier Bibendum in 2006 and set up its spirits and beer wholesaling service, going on to form Instil Drinks Co in 2013. He left after Bibendum merged with PLB at the end of last year.

Green Box Drinks was founded by Mark Hill after he created Little Devil spice mix which contains all the ingredients required in a single sachet for adding to tomato juice and vodka to make a Bloody Mary. He went on to launch Bloody Mary-flavoured vodka Bloodshot.

Mark said: “For six months I had been weighing up the pros and cons of building our own in-house sales team versus moving our brands to a distributor. When I met Nick and he explained his plans, my decision was easy.

“I immediately saw that Nick’s passion for quality and innovation and his huge industry experience would make ideal partners for us and quickly bring the fast-growing Boxer Gin and Element 29 vodka brands to a wider audience.”

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