A FAST-growing Scottish gin and vodka brand has been bought in a move aimed at accelerating its sales in the UK and overseas.
Blackwood’s, which uses plant extracts such as angelica and wild water mint grown by crofters on Shetland, has been sold by administrators to drinks distributor Blavod.
Blackwood Distillers was founded in Lerwick in 2002 with a view to setting up Shetland’s first whisky distillery using funds raised by sales of gin and vodka distilled at an undisclosed location on the Scottish mainland.
Aim-listed Blavod, which already owns licences to distribute Blackwood’s along with sister brands Jago’s vodka liqueur and Diva vodka, yesterday said it had reached agreement with the administrator of the Shetland Spirit Company for early exercise of an option to acquire the Blackwood’s brands for £50,000.
In the year ended 31 March 2012, the Blackwood’s licence was responsible for £358,000 of sales net of duty.
Don Goulding, executive chairman of Blavod and a former Diageo UK managing director, said Blackwood’s was the firm’s “number one profit contributor”.
“The acquisition of this brand together with Diva and Jago’s provides us with the platform and incentive to accelerate further growth of these brands in the UK and internationally.”
Last year Blavod unveiled a contract to supply the gin to 188 Tesco supermarkets in England and Wales. The deal follows on from the firm’s existing contract to supply the gin to Tesco outlets north of the Border. The drink has also proved popular in Spain and has recently started to be sold in Portugal and Switzerland.
Goulding has said that America was the next key focus for the company.
Gin has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, with Glenfiddich distiller William Grant & Sons launching its Hendrick’s brand and Sheep Dip whisky-maker Spencerfield Spirit introducing its Edinburgh Gin. Scotland accounts for 80 per cent of the UK’s gin and vodka production, generating £184m a year.