Pernod Ricard has taken over UK distribution of Japanese gin KI NO BI and leading aperitivo Italicus from 1 May.
The move follows the French alcohol major’s significant investment in Japanese gin brand and a new partnership with Italicus.
Pernod Ricard also holds the global marketing rights for KI NO BI, a fast-growing, ultra-premium, artisanal gin. Distilled in Japan’s first dedicated gin distillery built in Kyoto in 2016, the drink is made from a high-quality rice spirit and Japanese botanicals such as yuzu, lemon, sansho pepper, ginger and gyokuro tea.
Italicus, at 20% ABV, addresses the fast-growing opportunity for a for a core low-ABV spirit for discerning consumers, the company said.
“We are delighted to be expanding our portfolio of Premium+ artisanal spirits,” commented Ian Peart, business development director, Pernod Ricard UK.
“KI NO BI will drive value at the Super-Premium+ end of the Gin category, which by the end of last year was growing +19% in the on-trade[CGA], by tapping into the continued popularity of Japanese whiskey (+24% in the off-trade) and increasing growth of Japanese gin (+18%)[ Nielsen].
“With Italicus, we will target two growing consumer trends. Firstly, ‘Spritz’ cocktails, which are gaining momentum and now feature in the UK’s top 10 favourite cocktails, and secondly, as a lower-ABV spirit, Italicus provides an alternative for the 38% of cocktail consumers claiming to drink more lower alcohol options than one year ago [CGA Mixed Drinks Report Q3 2019].”
KI NO BI was previously distributed by Cask Liquid Marketing, and Italicus by Cellar Trends.
The full KI NO BI range includes: classic KI NO BI (45.7% ABV), KI NO BI SEI (54.5% ABV), KI NO TEA (45.1% ABV).