Japanese-inspired gin set to grow through new deal

kokoro gin

Distribution is set to grow for Japanese-inspired London dry gin Kokoro through a new partnership with leading UK specialist spirits agency Mangrove.

The exclusive UK distribution deal will see the gin being marketed to the on-trade, the off-trade, wholesalers, independents, supermarkets and other retailers through Mangrove’s network.

After its launch in September last year by Forest Spirits, Kokoro Gin’s first batch sold out within two months. It takes its name from the Japanese for “heart” but with associated meanings of “feelings” or “the heart of things”.

Its core ingredient, sansho berries, are hand-picked and imported to the UK from the Afan Woodland, a sustainable forest in the Nagano region of Japan, 200 kilometres north-west of Tokyo.

Used extensively in Japanese cuisine, sansho berries have a distinctive pepper flavour with a citrus aftertaste. Combined with eight other botanicals, the sansho berries give Kokoro Gin its unique flavour.

James Nicol, managing director at Forest Spirits, said: “Our deal with Mangrove will allow us to take Kokoro Gin to a larger market. We know that Mangrove only works with the highest-quality products, so this is a perfect partnership. It is a significant step for us in growing the brand.”

Nick Gillett, managing director of Mangrove, added: “Kokoro Gin expands our gin selection, offering a point of difference for our customers. The addition of sansho berries produces a gin with oriental nuances, adding unique flavours compared to the traditional style of gin.”

James formed Forest Spirits with his brother-in-law, Barry Darnell. They were inspired to create Kokoro by James’s uncle, CW Nicol, an environmentalist and author who bought the Afan woodland in the 1980s and donated it to the Woodland Trust. It is now home to over 50 endangered species.

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