It’s a word the industry has been using for years, and the premiumisation trend is showing no signs of abating, with consumption volumes continuing to decrease but overall value increasing.

Consumers are continuing to think more about their alcohol spend, and they are continuing the trend of spending more but drinking less. As part of this their understanding of different products, their engagement with brands and the desire to understand more about provenance and the brand story is increasing.

This is seeing premium brands with strong heritage and unique stories becoming increasingly popular and gaining momentum.

And it is something that can be seen across all categories.

With American Whiskey there are brands like Michter’s which has a Louisville heritage dating back to 1753 and a “cost be damned” attitude that drives everything the distillery does, in order to make the whiskey the best it can and engage its consumers.

In Tequila, Calle 23 lets its blue agave plants mature for seven to nine years in fertile soil, high in minerals so that they are the perfect representation of the Los Altos de Jalisco region. This enables the brand to create Blanco, Reposado and Añejo tequilas that are the perfectly smooth and clean representations of each style.

And in the Rum category there is Flor de Caña, a super-premium, fifth generation, single family estate rum from Nicaragua. For this brand its Nicaraguan heritage is crucial and the rum is enriched by an active volcano, naturally aged without any sugar and distilled 100 per cent with renewable energy to engage those customers looking for premium products, with a unique story and an ethical philosophy.

The principle of using origin and location to drive everything about a brand’s presence, story and raison d’être is also seen in the Gin category, and in particular in a gin which is now available in Australia.

KI NO BI Gin comes from the Kyoto Distillery, and as Founding Partner, David Croll explains, Kyoto was a place that he first visited in 1985 and even then he knew it was a special place. When it came to finding a place to locate a distillery, he said no other areas were ever seriously considered and that the city and its proud history symbolises what they are trying to achieve with their gin.

“My business partner and I were drawn to the cultural heritage of the city, where artisans have worked for over a thousand years crafting the finest kimono, chinaware, metalwork, woodblock prints, etc,” Croll said.

“It’s also the home of Japanese kaiseki cuisine. At the same time, there’s a real spirit of innovation in Kyoto; old companies are adapting their methods and products to suit the 21st century and many new tech companies are also based here such as Nintendo and Kyocera.”

He added: “We didn’t just want to make a product in Kyoto, we wanted to be a part of the city and its artisanal community. We’ve therefore worked very hard to establish collaborations and relations with many companies who have been here for hundreds of years: our label design comes from a karakami company founded in 1624; our water from a sake kura established in 1675, we’re speaking now to a lacquer company founded in 1661 about some POS and other items.

“We also try very hard to participate in local events and to showcase our gins around the city. We’re proud to say that many local restaurants, bars and hotels support us.”

As well as immersing the distillery in the culture, history and heritage of Kyoto, what the city and surrounds offer in terms of helping to make and shape the gin makes KI NO BI a gin that is not just Japanese, but is Kyoto.

Croll explains: “After a lot of research we found almost all we needed here to make the finest gin we possibly could: the renowned soft waters of Fushimi – famed for the highest quality sake production for centuries – the plus a huge selection of locally grown ingredients. These include the legendary teas of Uji as well as yuzu and lemon citrus, sansho, shiso and bamboo to name a few.”

With Japanese spirits enjoying strong growth and engagement in Australia right now the launch of KI NO BI is perfectly timed. KI NO BI is a gin which truly reflects its origins, it is inspired by tradition and crafted in Kyoto and is a brand with a story to engage consumers and a product that will bring them back again and again.

KI NO BI is imported and distributed in Australia by Vanguard Luxury Brands, for more information on the KI NO BI range, contact your local Vanguard Luxury Brands representative.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.