By Deborah Jackson, editor National Liquor News

Since launching in Australia in 2012, Regal Rogue vermouth has been largely focused on the European market where the aperitif occasion is a big part of the drinking culture. Now it is re-launching in Australia with new branding and new varietals, and according to founder Mark Ward, it's ready to turn the category "on its head".

Ward told TheShout that what sets Regal Rogue apart is that it is very much a "drinking vermouth".

He said: "We've had the last couple of years of chopping around and changing and finding out what works and what doesn't. Some people know the brand and some people have tried it but not in this reincarnation. It's exactly the same liquid but we've changed the names of the varietals so they're more in tune with wine, and also to demystify the whole vermouth thing, being a wine based product."

The newly re-launched range comes in Daring Dry, Lively White, Bold Red and Wild Rosé. They come in 500ml individually wrapped bottles and will be distributed in Australia by Déjà Vu Wines. 

"I think most of the other brands are challenging that cocktail culture, but we stand very true to being a drinking Vermouth," Ward told TheShout.

"We've seen all over Europe and America, they're making 'reverse classics', which are either vermouth one-to-one with a spirit, or vermouth as the leading ingredient and a spirit to complement it. So you might have 60ml vermouth and 40ml spirit, rather than the other way around, and that really complements us as a range because of the style of the liquid.

"What I'm trying to do with the brand is what Australian wine did to European wine, which is just turn it upside down and demystify it and make it really easy to drink.

"So, as an example we use 100 per cent Australian wine. Fifty-five per cent of our cost is the wine, so we use beautiful wine from some great regions, Semillon from the Hunter, Shiraz is from the Barossa. We use native Australian herbs and spices and we have on average about 30 per cent less sugar than vermouth. We don't do any wood aging, it's all about being really natural and really clean.

"We are really going after being that drinking product and there's one thing aside from the wine and the herbs that really supports us with that, and that is the sugar. And that was not intentional for us, it was honestly the last thought. It was all about getting the residual sugar from the wines and the herbs and spices and then saying, what do we need to finish to make sure that we don't get bottle fermentation. And that's where the ABVs come in, they're as low as they can be, based on the lowest amount of sugar that we've put in, so they're as natural as we can get them," said Ward.

To raise the profile of boutique vermouth makers globally, Ward along with Giuseppe Gallo (former global ambassador for Martini) have formed the Vermouth Society.

"We're basically bringing boutique vermouth producers together and creating a collective and the idea is to  help all of us to activate around the world at a shared cost. So we would come into a show as the collective Vermouth Society and then all of the brands that sit within it would then be represented at a show, even if they couldn't get there. And it's not for profit, essetially it's kind of a charity I guess, but it's been set up to help everybody to get the messaging in the same place," said Ward.

The Shout Team

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