Thank you, 2018 you have been incredible! We look back at some of our biggest achievements of the year…
January saw us landing not one, not two, but THREE Spirits Business Awards for Visitor Facilities, Consumer Experience and Digital Marketing. This was followed by the official World Whisky Day nominating us as ‘one of the top 8 distilleries to visit before you die’ alongside well known global brands like Glenfiddich and Kavalan. What a way to start the year!
In February we launched our Lakes Rhubarb & Rosehip Gin Liqueur – its popularity exploded and has exceeded all our expectations, only to be listed as the second-best selling pink gin in the world travel market later this year, only next to Gordon’s Pink Gin. That same month, Visit England awarded us the gold accolade for one of the best visitor attractions in Great Britain, putting us alongside The Tower of London. Our Explorer Gin also travelled on an expedition as far afield as the South Pole, matching our North Pole expedition last year.
In March we were featured in the Walpole Book of British Luxury, an annual handbook of British brands in the luxury market.
April was all about the distillery as a visitor attraction as we won TripExpert’s Choice Award putting us in the top 2% of all visitor attractions across the world, the Bistro celebrated a OpenTable Diners’ Choice Award and we were also finalists in the Cumbria Tourism Awards for best ‘large visitor attraction of the year’. This is testament to team that deliver an outstanding experience to the 34,000 visitors we receive every year.
In the same month the Lakes Gin was listed in 60 Tesco stores in the North West, and this was followed by a showcase of our range at the Tokyo International Bar Show in Japan for the first time in May.
In June, Dhavall was a proud IWSC judge, and we launched Steel Bonnets; the first blend of English and Scotch Malt Whisky as a celebration of our history, region and people.
July marked the launch of our very first single malt whisky; the Lakes Genesis, a huge milestone in the distillery’s journey so far. We were astounded by the reception of the auction, and secured a world record for the highest price paid of whisky sold from a new distillery – an amazing achievement for the distillery and a reflection of the brand’s loyal followers – thank you to you.
Shortly following the launch of Steel Bonnets, the whisky picked up the only gold medal in the Luxury Whisky Masters Awards for the ultra-premium category for World Whisky. In the same month, Founder members picked up their third bottle of their collection and their first single malt.
October was a hugely busy month for the distillery as we launched the new ONE Sherry Expression, a limited edition bottling of the ONE finished in first-fill PX sherry casks. This was the first time we had bottled the ONE at a higher ABV and non-chill filtered, marking a fundamental milestone in our whisky making philosophy, as all whiskies going forwards will be bottled at t 46.6% or higher. The ‘Taste of the Lakes’ gifting range was also launched in the run up to Christmas; and shortly sold out of some varieties of crackers and baubles, exceeding expectations.
We also cemented our launch into Japan at the Hankyu British Fair in October and launched a brand activation site at Newcastle Airport. All in the same month, Rhubarb & Rosehip Liqueur also took home a silver in the Travel Retail Masters Awards; this was shortly followed by a Silver medal in the Liqueurs Masters Awards.
In November, our single malt journey took another step as the bespoke bottle in our signature quatrefoil shape was produced at our UK partners’ site in Leeds. This design was produced specifically for the Lakes Single Malt, and will be used for the first time in the first of the bottles in the Lakes Quatrefoil Collection released in December.
The Lakes Gin added another string to its’ bow in November as we launched in 263 Co-Op stores nationwide.
Finally we rounded off the year in style as we celebrated Founders’ Day on the 15th December, marking four years to the day the spirit first flowed. Dhavall shared a stage with Dave Broom to deliver an insightful blending session and we released the first bottle, FAITH, from the Quatrefoil Collection to customers on the same day. Later the same week, Spirits Business marked the Lakes Distillery as a ‘world whisky brand to watch’ in 2019…. so let’s see what next year brings.