Hughes Craft Distillery in Lisburn, County Antrim, distiller of RubyBlue Premium Vodka, Ireland’s first potato distilled vodka, has secured its first export deal with the Russian drinks market.
The small-batch spirits business, run by husband and wife team Barbara and Stuart Hughes, has risen to international acclaim in recent years bringing home awards including Global Vodka Master (Gold), New York World Wine & Spirits (Silver) and International Liqueur Master for their array of bottle-aged liqueurs. This new contract win, is another fantastic milestone for the business.
Barbara Hughes, Commercial Director for Hughes Craft Distillery, which premiered RubyBlue Premium Vodka in 2015, says:
“Selling an Irish vodka to the Russian market is a marvellous boost for our home-grown distillery and considered by some the equivalent of a Russian trader pitching us the Ulster fry!”
The deal comes after Russian importers approached the Hughes Distillery team at the Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair in Dublin in February this year. Originally overlooking the small-batch distiller, doubtful of Ireland’s potential to produce a quality vodka capable of competing in the Russian market – a region synonymous with the spirit – the Russian team were stunned by the unexpected smooth finish and purity of the Lisburn distiller’s RubyBlue Premium Vodka.
“We’ve been encouraged by these recent developments and are taking steps to begin importing our full range of spirits including RubyBlue Whiskey Cask-aged Vodka and our four premium fruit liqueurs which are all ideal for sipping, mixing in cocktails and even adding that extra culinary flair”, Barbara added.
Stuart Hughes, Managing Director, adds:
“Initially we suggested working with the Russian team to create some distinctive RubyBlue cocktails for Russian bars, but they were quick to inform us that Russian’s don’t mess with good spirits; a compliment to the quality of our small-batch range that we were overjoyed to hear from such an esteemed team. With stock now in Belgorod we’re keen to build on this new relationship to grow throughout the region and wider Russian market; firmly establishing Ireland as an exporter of quality spirits.”
Already trading in key markets including Europe, Australia and the Middle East, the Lisburn-based craft distiller has been experiencing a period of significant growth and recognition locally as their range of spirits are now available in supermarkets including Tesco, Asda and Supervalu. As well as an ever-growing list of restaurants, bars and independent retailers throughout Northern Ireland, the RubyBlue range, which is hand-crafted is small, limited batches, is also available through online retailer Amazon, at Belfast International Airport and Dublin Airport.
For more information or to view Hughes Craft Distillery’s full range of award-winning spirits, visit www.rubybluespirits.com