Lisburn distillery drinks to Asda deal
The future for Lisburn-based Hughes Craft Distillery looks sweet after securing a new contract to supply Asda in Northern Ireland.
The deal means that the firm's RubyBlue collection of three premium vodka and fruit liqueurs will be available at the supermarket's 17 stores here.
And the distillery, run by a husband and wife team, has also scored the near impossible by selling its premium potato vodka to Russia.
RubyBlue Potato Vodka, which was only launched last year, is now on the back bar of Irish pubs in Belgorod, Russia, for natives and tourists to enjoy.
The Russian business foray follows an order from Fortnum and Mason in London for the vodka and the company's RubyBlue cranberry liqueur.
Hughes is the only fruit liqueur producer on the island and has picked up awards for its fruit infusions over the last six years.
Jill Jones from Asda's local buying team explained why the RubyBlue range from Barbara and Stuart Hughes has made it on to its supplier list.
"The premium nature of the product and unique flavours are a real point of difference for our customers," she said.
"Barbara and Stuart are shining examples of local suppliers, they take a real hands-on approach and fully immerse themselves in their business, from product concept to production through to marketing and we really look forward to working with them."
Commercial director Barbara Hughes is delighted with the new order.
"We have been on a real journey, and we are proud to have created an artisan product that will now be stocked in Asda," she said.
"We've created Ireland's first potato distilled vodka. It's really smooth and perfect as a base for a cocktail. Our liqueurs taste like real fruit as they are made with real fruit in small batches.
"We're very excited to begin this relationship with Asda and embark on our next chapter in business."
The fruit liqueurs are already selling in markets such as Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East, Turkey and Australia.
"Selling Irish vodka to Russia is a marvellous boost for our small batch distillery," Barbara added.