13/01/2020 - Another big year for Anno Distillers. 2019 saw the launch of new products, new experiences and a handful of awards for good measure
From the very beginning, 2019 was a big year for Anno Distillers. We had our usual event loaded calendar, with trips to The Gin to my Tonic in Watford, Bournemouth, Swindon, Liverpool, Leeds, Brighton, Cheltenham and Reading. You might have also been to one of several dazzling food and drink festivals, where you savoured our popular premium spirits and we showcased some brand new products. We loved the energy at the Gin and Jazz Festival in Tunbridge Wells, launched our Anno B3rry Pink Gin at The Telegraph's Stella Live event and supported a very worthy cause with Girls' Night (G)In in Tonbridge. Perhaps you tried us at one of Tom Kerridge's Pub in the Park events or aboard the Kent & East Sussex G&Tea train? Maybe at Canterbury, Broadstairs or the BBC food shows, or any of the dozens of others we had fun attending over the year? If you're running an event and you think your visitors would love Anno too, then please email us on [email protected].
Return to Bluewater
After a fantastic festive fixture in Bluewater over Christmas 2018, we returned bigger and better than before in 2019. The same shop space was available and we set to work creating our gin wonderland. Visitors enjoyed the return of Blending Experiences, making their own recipes and taking home personalised bottles and goodie-bags. These were so popular, we launched them at the distillery to much cheer from dedicated gin lovers. This time around, there were a few additions, such as having Kent's first whisky on show. Plenty of customers got to hold a bottle and even try a sample of this county-first spirit and even buy as a gift to themselves or a loved one. Lucky customers were also given a chance to win a huge hamper in our Christmas giveaway, enjoyed a pour or two from our tasting bar and for the first time, visit our Bottling Station. As well as having our whole range available in big, colourful carboys, there were two exclusive flavours available and range of novel bottle shapes to make perfect Christmas gifts and stocking fillers.
New product launches
May saw the introduction of Anno B3rry Pink Gin which was the first new product from Anno in a few years. The response was huge, people love the berry and cocoa flavours and it was soon stocked in several pubs and shops all over the country. Notably, LIDL took stock of the gin near Christmas as part of their craft spirits festival. The Elite pub group in Kent also stock it across their beautiful bars and restaurants. With the addition of many independent spirits sellers, shops, pubs and from our own website we're so pleased with the way people love it and regularly list it as their favourite overall gin!
Soon afterwards, in time for Father's Day, Kent's first whisky was brought into the world. An instant must-have for whisky collectors, the special presentation made this a very unique addition to any collection. We sourced hand made wooden boxes and worked with a brilliant company to make hand finished pewter labels. Overall, the certificate and tasting notes card inserted into each box, with the inclusion of a metal flask of new make spirit made this a memorable launch and a real story for Kent. Westerham Brewery supplied the barley wash, and the partnership was a real success.
Later in September and another new instant-hit launches, Anno Orange & Honey Gin comes to our website and soon picks up a whole crowd of fans. With its raw honey and bee pollen, the aroma of freshly squeezed oranges and a beautifully bright colour, people quickly caught the buzz. The launch was accompanied by a charity collaboration with Bee Friendly Trust and 10p per bottle donated to help with their work in bee and pollinator conservation across the UK. Within a short space of time, the new gin was nominated by the public for an award, resulting in a win for Anno Distillers.
In 2019, the Anno Bluewater shop was recognised for its originality and the experience it brought to the shopping centre. The first win was for a highly commended in the Revo Opal Awards. Next, it was announced winner in the category of national Short Term Retailer of the Year at the Sceptre Awards 2019. Finally, to finish the year off with a third accolade, Anno Orange & Honey Gin was presented with Drink Product of the Year at the Kent Life Food & Drink Awards. With all this recognition, we're looking to build on this going forward and bring more of what people love to the market in 2020 and beyond.
With the success of our Blending Experiences in Bluewater, people were soon asking for the same offering all year round at the Anno Distillery. With a few months of preparation and work, we unveiled the experiences in the summer with tickets and vouchers available on our website. A wall of glass carboys now adorns our distillery, with workbenches and stools ready for visitors to come along and creat their own gin blends. We also trialled a new type of event in the summer, the Anno Gin & Cocktail experience. A lucky group of visitors tasted their way through the Anno range and proceeded to create special garnishes to adorn a number of cocktails they made. The group also set out to recreate the flavour of Anno Kent Dry Gin, using specially prepared disillates and careful instruction from their host. This is something we're hoping to roll out again, so watch this space.
With new experiences and products come updated ways to shop with us. In early 2019 we launched a new ticketing platform, so buying and redeeming vouchers and tickets instantly is easier than ever and available every day of the year. We also for the first time introduced free delivery for orders over £25 for our spirits and other gifts. Shop now and take advantage of this offer.
After 12 more months of award success, new drinks, new fans and satisfied visitors we're looking forward to what's ahead in the new year. Our distillers are always busy coming up with fresh ideas. Our hosts always on the lookout for something different aimed towards those wanting a unique gin experience. The best way to keep up is to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with a subscription to our newsletter.