Sydney-based bottled cocktail company The Skandi Selection is now available for nationwide distribution through Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM), further broadening the brand’s reach.

The Skandi Selection grew from co-Founders Dave Lavelle and Gemma El Kazzi’s first joint venture, Skandi Bar. Inspired by the pair’s background in events planning, Skandi Bar is a mobile pop-up bar for events, functions and festivals.

“There was a need in the market for a 360-degree solution for events, so we had a couple of meetings and came up with the business of Skandi Bar. That was the first step for us,” Lavelle said.

Originally, the pre-mixed cocktails that now make up The Skandi Selection were served through Skandi Bar, but Lavelle and El Kazzi quickly saw a desire for the product in a wider market.

“Through that business and the love of cocktails, we saw the gap in the market for good pre-mixed cocktails using fresh ingredients. It was a natural progression from Skandi Bar to producing our own beautiful pre-made cocktails,” Lavelle added.

The Skandi Selection range currently comprises a Margarita, a Bramble, a Bees Knees, and The Skandi Selection’s own gin. El Kazzi explained that these cocktails were chosen due to their underrepresentation in the bottled cocktail segment and their broad appeal.

“There are some cocktail flavours that have been done to death. They also feel like cocktails that would be an acquired taste. The Negroni is such an amazing cocktail to make and an easy one, but it has been done to death, and it doesn’t appeal to everybody’s palate.

“We wanted to pick drinks that not only were an ‘everybody cocktail’, but were also something that a seasoned cocktail drinker could appreciate and had a bit of a story attached to them. Every one of the cocktails we’ve chosen so far is what you would call a golden oldie,” she said.

Each of The Skandi Selection’s cocktails are made from ingredients sourced from and grown in NSW, along with the brand’s own gin, vodka, and Tequila. With the gin available for purchase on its own, there are plans to release The Skandi Selection vodka and Tequila in the future.

According to El Kazzi, the decision to create a gin specifically for The Skandi Selection cocktails was driven both by cost considerations as well as a need for a specific flavour profile suited to mixing.

“If you’re going to be your own middleman, you don’t want to throw in another middleman by using somebody else’s gin. Plus, there are so many gins on the market. How on earth would you choose?

“We needed a particular style of gin that would complement the cocktails really well, that wasn’t an overly strong flavour because you really don’t want to overpower the other flavours,” she said.

The recent agreement with ALM has been a big step for the business. ALM provided The Skandi Selection with benchmarks that needed to be met prior to the distribution agreement, which El Kazzi said made the process smooth and simple.

“It was a very clear process where ALM gave us really good guidelines for what we needed to do to be able to be considered. Once we hit those marks, it was just an easy step to distribution,” she said.

While there are plans to expand the range and release new spirits, El Kazzi and Lavelle are primarily looking forward to seeing the fruits of their labour unfold in the near future. “With this new agreement with ALM and a new marketing plan and social media strategies, I’m hoping that Dave and I can sit back with one of these cocktails and enjoy watching these next few steps for the business,” El Kazzi said.

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