Chilli liqueur is hot stuff with Finns
Chilli pepper liqueur from Northern Ireland is to be shipped in a consignment of thousands of bottles to Finland, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.
Barbara and Stuart Hughes from RubyBlue in Lisburn said they have been working night and day to meet the order from Alko Oy, the Finnish state-owned limited company which has a monopoly on sales of alcohol.
The company will be shipping more than 10,000 500ml bottles of the flavoured vodka to Finland.
Alko Oy was founded in 1932 when Finland's prohibition on alcohol - which had been in place since 1919 - was lifted.
Ms Hughes, commercial director of Hughes Craft Distillery, said: "After tendering and for a product call that suited our Chilli Pepper Liqueur, we submitted samples to Alko's Laboratory for rigorous analysis.
"They loved the fact that we made it naturally by submerging whole chilli peppers in our smooth, delicately sweetened liqueur, that it had a beautiful appearance and the fact that it was a Gold Medal Winner in its launch year of 2013 in the prestigious Liqueur Masters was a bonus."
The couple started making their RubyBlue liqueurs in 2010 and now export the drinks to Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East and Australia.
They have also distilled a RubyBlue Irish Potato Vodka, which has won a deal with independent off-licences and restaurants in Melbourne, Australia.