Producer of gin distilled with tea brews up major US export deal

A Scottish premium gin distilled with hand-picked tea is to be stocked in shops across America after securing its first-ever export deal – with the USA’s biggest independent wine retailer.

Aberdeenshire-based husband-and-wife team Nick and Emma Smalley, who created The Teasmith Gin in 2016, have supplied 6,000 bottles to Total Wine & More for the initial phase of the £80,000 agreement.

The premium gin will go on sale at 214 of the retailer’s stores across 26 states from May, with further stock being shipped stateside over the next three years.

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The deal has come at a “crucial” time for the business, which said it has faced several setbacks due to Covid-19 restrictions, as well as delays in obtaining bottles and corks due to Brexit.

Aberdeenshire-based husband-and-wife team Nick and Emma Smalley, who created The Teasmith Gin in 2016. Picture: contributed.

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Mr Smalley, who began experimenting with spirits by creating sloe gin as favours for guests at the couple’s wedding, said: “This agreement with Total Wine & More is hugely significant for us as a brand, not only because it positions The Teasmith prominently within the expanding US gin market, but it also gives us the security to continue to develop the business and explore further opportunities.”

The gin is distilled in Perthshire’s Strathearn distillery, and is inspired by Aberdeenshire’s rich history and links to the tea trade. It first attracted the attention of Total Wine & More at Scotland Food & Drink and Scottish Development International’s Showcasing Scotland event at Gleneagles Hotel in October 2019.

James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said: “The Teasmith Gin is a fantastic example of a local Scottish brand making a big impression at an international level and this deal is an excellent example of the opportunities which are created at events like Showcasing Scotland.

The Smalleys are now targeting export opportunities in Canada and Asia. Picture: contributed.

“It has been an incredibly tough year for Scotland’s food and drink producers, with the impact of Covid-19 and now real export challenges as a result of Brexit, so it is great to hear some good news and it is confirmation that there are still new opportunities out there for us to grasp.”

The Smalleys are now targeting export opportunities in Canada and Asia, while deals in the EU “look unlikely”.

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