A spa town gin that aims to spark foreign interest

A gin range that celebrates the man credited with discovering spa waters in the English town of Harrogate was present at Vinexpo as part of a new export drive.

The Slingsby range of gins, named after a soldier called Sir William Slingsby, born in the 16 century, is looking to find new markets around the globe. The brand showcased its wares in Vinexpo Paris’s Be Spirits section.

Harrogate in Yorkshire has long been celebrated as a spa town, and Slingsby markets itself as “Restoring the Spirit of Harrogate”.

About 95% of sales are currently in the United Kingdom, with the rest mostly coming from Denmark, Finland, Australia, New Zealand and Croatia.

“The plan now is to expand. We think the big opportunity for ultra-premium gin is export markets,” said Tony Ince, director of sales for Slingsby’s owner, Spirit of Harrogate.

“We’re really looking to grow as quickly as we can into female target markets.”

The brand estimates that about 60% of customers are female. Slingsby’s efforts to grow sales abroad are targeting markets such as France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Spain. Nick Dunning, Spirit of Harrogate’s export manager, says he believes the gin market internationally is “still expanding”.

“We see some opportunity with our flavoured products, because internationally they’re not yet as big as in the UK. We’re one of the leaders in that,” he said.

As well as being available as a London Dry Gin, Slingsby is offered in Yorkshire rhubarb, gooseberry and marmalade flavours. There is also an Old Tom gin, inspired by an old-style gin popular in the 18th century, and a Navy Strength gin, bottled at 57% ABV.

Photo: Slingsby Rhubarb gin, produced by Spirit of Harrogate