Cask Liquid Marketing is to run bartender workshops and other activities for Chartreuse after adding the classic liqueur to its portfolio.
The drinks company, led by Stuart Ekins and Richard Herbert, has become UK importer for the French brand after a highly competitive pitch process. It plans to build distribution, supported by UK brand ambassador Nick Caputo.
Stuart said: “It’s the world’s oldest liqueur brand so comes with history, heritage, and responsibility. It already has amazing distribution in the UK, so our role is to increase awareness about how to drink it, and to look to bartenders to help us develop brand creativity with new serves and new occasions.”
Richard added: “Our focus will be the on-trade, and whilst at 55% ABV this is a powerful drink, it complements many classic cocktails. In France, it’s a popular après-ski ingredient with hot chocolate, and we can see this being enjoyed here in the UK next winter.
“In 2016, Cask will be running bartender workshops around the UK, focused on showing the versatility of Chartreuse, ‘The elixir of life’.”
The range is led by the original Green Chartreuse, made with 130 plants that make it naturally green, alongside the milder and sweeter Yellow Chartreuse which was introduced in 1838.
Cask Liquid Marketing has also added Crystal Head Vodka to its line-up after it was launched in the UK through Instil Drinks Company in 2011. Owned by a team including Hollywood actor Dan Aykroyd, Crystal Head Vodka is made from Canadian corn and comes in a distinctive skull-shaped bottle.
It was joined last year by Crystal Head Vodka Aurora, which is made with English wheat and comes in a bottle with an iridescent finish.
Talking about Crystal Head, Stuart said: “The brand has achieved a great level of distribution, but the Cask business model will allow us to take it much further, reaching new levels of awareness.
“There’s still a lot of misunderstanding around the vodka category. With 70% of our focus on the off-trade, a key part of our strategy will be around educating on the quality and profile of the liquids, while introducing new serves.
“Due to the recent popularity of the gin category, consumers may have forgotten the possibilities offered by the Vodka Martini, and we believe that UK consumers are ready for a vodka revival.”
Cask Liquid Marketing is also distributing new Hobo East Coast Cyder in cans – a second product from Hobo Beer & Co which launched canned Hobo Craft Czech Lager four years ago.
It is produced by Suffolk cider maker Aspall which has become a shareholder in Hobo Beer & Co which was founded by Stuart and Richard with Scott Collins of Meatliquor, David Page of investment firm Fulham Shore and The Thinking Drinkers, Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham.
Richard said: “We have witnessed the uprising of a canned craft beer movement over the past few of years. When we first launched Hobo Beer & Co, we were one of three on the market, there are now over 50.
“There’s a huge opportunity here, and through Aspall and Cask as the master distributors, we are ready to take the brand to the next level.”
Stuart added: “After many months in the planning stage, we are really pleased to have finally launched Hobo East Coast Cyder in a joint venture with Aspall.
“Their knowledge of all things apple has enabled us to create, what we believe to be the perfect cider for all drinking occasions.”
Distributed via both Cask and Aspall, Hobo East Coast Cyder is available exclusively in a 33cl aluminium can. “Cans don’t shatter, they’re lighter than bottles and take up less space, they’re more environmentally friendly, easier to transport, quicker to cool down – and they’re handsome-looking fellows too,” Richard added.