New drinks launches - February

a row of different coloured jars in shape of skulls

Here’s the low-down on the latest beer, cider, wine, spirits, no/low and RTD product launches. This is a rolling article that gets updated throughout the month. 

BEER & CIDER

Thatchers Blood Orange

4% abv

£2.50 (50cl)

USP: “With the blood orange flavour yet to make its mark in cider, Thatchers Blood Orange will cut through a cluttered fruit cider category, whilst introducing new shoppers into cider,” said fourth generation cider maker Martin Thatcher.

Sandford Orchards Katja Rosé

8% abv

£10.40

USP: Devon-based Sandford Orchards has launched Katja Rosé, a sparkling, skin contact rosé cider, crafted from the dessert apple Katja, with Rondo grapes from Darts Farm’s Pebblebed Vineyard.

Hall & Woodhouse’s Milk Made stout cans

5.2% abv

£3 (44cl can)

USP: Hall & Woodhouse has launched its Milk Made stout brand in cans. The cans, which follow the initial launch in 50cl bottles, will roll out to Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Morrisons. “By putting Milk Made into cans, we’re broadening our appeal to younger craft drinkers, bringing new consumers to the brand alongside our Badger loyalists,” said Matt Woodhouse, drinks marketing manager at Badger Beers.

Stella Artois Unfiltered

5%

£14 (12x33cl)

USP: Budweiser Brewing Group has launched Stella Artois Unfiltered exclusively with Asda. A wider roll out will follow in April. “With unfiltered lager taking Europe by storm and hazy beer becoming hugely popular in the craft segment, we are looking forward to bringing something new to the world lager category,” said Mark Wingfield Digby, off-trade sales director.  

SPIRITS 

Deadman’s Fingers Skull Jars

37.5% abv

£20 (50cl)

USP: Halewood Artisanal Spirits brand Dead Man’s Fingers has added its Spiced Rum to the Skull Jars range. The expression joins the re-released Blackcurrant & Liquorice and Dragon Fruit Skull variants, as well as Tequila Coffee Rum and Tequila Raspberry Rum.

Tobermory 24-Year-Old 

52.5% abv

£320

USP: Inspired by Mull’s 300-miles of coastline and sea air, the Oloroso cask finish is a limited release single malt, “perfect for collectors”. It is the first special release whisky to be created under relatively new distillery manager Cara Gilbert. The release is limited to 3600 bottles and will be exclusive to Berry Bros & Rudd for two weeks, before being listed on the brand’s website.

The English Whisky Co’s Sherry Butt Matured single malt

46% abv

£65

USP: The small batch limited edition whisky was originally casked and distilled in November 2013, from an ex-bourbon cask that was then moved to sherry butts. The release is limited to 2,850 bottles.

The Macallan The Reach

41.6% abv

£92,000

USP: “A rare single malt at 81 Years Old, The Reach is crafted from a single, sherry seasoned oak cask and the dark, precious whisky is encased in a decanter created from mouth-blown, hot glass, cradled on a bronze sculpture of three hands.” The release is limited to 288 decanters.

Wire Works Whisky

50.3% abv

£65

USP: Derbyshire’s White Peak distillery has released its first single malt whisky. Named after the distillery building, the lightly-peated single malt whisky was made using a combination of English un-peated and peated malted barley.

Bruichladdich Octomore Ten Years Aged

56.3% abv

£160

USP: Originally malted to 90.3PPM, this Octomore spirit spent its first five years maturing in first fill ex-American oak casks. For its final five years, it was re-casked into wine barriques from Ribera del Duero.

Absolut Voices

40%

£19.95

USP: The new release is part of an annual programme of limited-edition bottles from Absolut. The bottle is designed with expanding sound ripples to “resemble and hero the power of voices from all over the world, to champion speaking up and to create a more open world”. The Absolut Voices bottle is made using 80% recycled glass.

Southern Comfort Mardi Gras bottle

35%

USP: The bottle has been designed by East London artist Jade Pearl in collaboration with New Orleans-based artist BMIKE. “Mardi Gras – ‘the first party of the year’ – originates from New Orleans, also the birthplace of Southern Comfort,” the company said. 

Rabbit Hole American whiskey Heigold and Boxergrail

47.5% abv

£55 and £49, respectively

USP: Founded in 2012, Pernod Ricard said Rabbit Hole is one of the fastest growing super premium American Whiskey brands in the US. The UK will be the first market in Europe to launch the brand and the Rabbit Hole collection in the UK will include Heigold Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Boxergrail Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey.

Partridges Chelsea Bun Gin and Chelsea Flower Gin & Tonic RTD

41.5% abv and 5.5% abv

£35.99 and £3.99

USP: Partridges has launched Chelsea Bun Gin which contains orange, sultana and allspice flavours inspired by Chelsea buns. Simultaneously, Partridges has also launched a new ready-mixed Chelsea Flower Gin and Tonic to celebrate its 50th birthday on May 25.

Bimber Fortnum & Mason Exclusive

57% abv

£85

USP: The 857 bottles of the fino sherry butt finished single malt whisky will be available in Fortnum & Mason's Piccadilly-based store and via the retailer's website from February 11.

Ezra Brooks 99 Proof Bourbon whiskey

49.5% abv

£25.99

USP: “Targeted at millennial adults with a discerning palate, the latest Ezra Brooks offering builds upon the spicy, rye Bourbon mash bill taste of the brand’s flagship expression, Ezra Brooks Kentucky Straight Bourbon,” said producer Lux Row Distillers.

Grand Marnier Quintessence

£2,000

USP: Grand Marnier Quintessence is the first of two expressions from the Exceptional Range. Quintessence is made using the “rarest and oldest hors d’âge Cognacs” and oranges. It is packaged in a decanter by Baccarat. The UK has been allocated 12 bottles.

Caol Ila 24 Year Old

52.1% abv

£295

USP: Islay distillery Caol Ila has released a limited-edition 24-year-old single malt Scotch whisky for its 175th anniversary which took place last year. The release is limited to 3000 bottles.

Lum Reek 10-year-old Cask Strength Batch 1

55.4% abv

£59.99

USP: MacNair’s Boutique House of Spirits, curated by blender Billy Walker, has added a line extension to its Lum Reek blended malt Scotch whisky range. 10-year-old Cask Strength Batch 1 combines single malt Scotch whiskies from Speyside and Islay along with GlenAllchie single malt.

1800 Tequila x Daniel Cordas

38% abv

£45

USP: 1800 has collaborated with streetwear artist Daniel Cordas to create a limited edition bottle which pays homage to Mexican street art and its folk art influences.

WINE

Billecart-Salmon The Clos Saint-Hilaire 2006

£350

USP: The Clos Saint-Hilaire originates from a single, enclosed one-hectare plot of old vines planted with Pinot Noir in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ in 1964. Entirely vinified in oak casks, the new 2006 vintage “displays incredible typicity and is destined to live on for future decades with strength and elegance”. The packaging has been revamped to include a label made from cherry wood.

Folc English rosé 2021

£95.94 (case of six bottles)

USP: The grapes used to make Folc’s wine are all sourced from family-run vineyards in Kent, East and West Sussex, and Suffolk. The 2021 vintage is a blend of six different grape varieties, comprising Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Bacchus and Kerner.

Domaine Bousquet’s Cameleón range

£10.99

USP: The Cameleón range from Argentina’s organic winery Domaine Bousquet has rolled out to UK multiple retailers. The launch starts with a 2021 Malbec and the company hopes to replicate the success it is having in the US market.

Taylor’s Platinum Jubilee Very Very Old Tawny Port

£350

USP: The launch, which is limited to 2,000 bottles, celebrates the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. “This exceptional Port is drawn from our extensive reserves of the finest wood aged wines, which have been maturing in seasoned oak casks, since the Queen succeeded to the throne, silently attesting to Her Majesty’s extraordinary reign as the longest serving monarch in British history.” said Adrian Bridge, managing director of Taylor’s.

Graham’s Port LBV 2017

£14

USP: Graham’s Port has launched its 2017 Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) in three new coloured tubes. Presented in orange, purple, and green, the tubes are created using “handmade marbled paper which is submerged in paint to achieve beautiful patterns and textures”. The UK, the largest market for Graham’s LBV, saw a 56% increase in sales in 2020 and 24% in 2021.

Colpasso Nero d’Avola Appassimento

£9

USP: The Nero d’Avola grapes for Colpasso are grown in the Belice area of the Agrigento province of Sicily.  The grapes are hand-picked in the second half of September, with a proportion of the grapes being left on the vines to dry.  Some grapes are also left on racks to dry for about 15 days, or until they have lost around 10-15% of their weight. 

Pol Roger Brut 2015

£348 per 6 bottle case under bond

USP: The 2015 cuvée is formed of a blend of 60% Pinot Noir from sites in the Montagne de Reims and 40% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs. Available via Davy’s.

Dealuri Pinot Noir

£4.99

USP: Cramele Recas has added a Pinot Noir to its Dealuri line in Aldi. The Pinot Noir joins Dealuri Feteasca Regala and Dealuri Rose, which rolled out in Aldi in spring 2021.

LOW/NO/MIXERS

Belvoir Farm’s lower calorie Botanical Sodas

£2.25 (50cl)

USP: Floral Fizz, Bitter Orange Spritz and Spicy Ginger Fizz are designed to be drank on the own or in cocktails and mocktails. The drinks contain fewer than 20 calories per 10cl.

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