Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Spirits are lifted at drinks firm

A company in Lisburn which makes berry liqueurs is increasing production and rebranding some of its products in a bid to conquer new export markets.

Spirited Drinks said it wants to build on new contracts in the Republic and online, and recently won marketing assistance of £40,000 from Invest NI to do so. It is also selling its drinks in Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands and Turkey.

Stuart Hughes, managing director, who founded Spirited Drinks three years ago with his wife Barbara, said the economic development agency had helped it develop sales.

"We are really excited about the business generated last year particularly in the final quarter. We intend to more than double production to enable us to meet the demand for our unique products especially in our two most important markets, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

"Over the past few months we've signed up a distribution deal with Premier Beverage Brands in Dublin and are now supplying prestigious outlets there including the Celtic Whiskey Shop. We already supply high-end retailer Donnybrook Fair in Dublin."

In addition, the leading online store, TheDrinkShop.com is also now stocking the company's Ruby Blue brand for mixologists and drinks enthusiasts.

The company's main aim for this year was to get into new markets in Great Britain, where Spirited has taken part in trade events like the BBC Good Food Shows.

"Feedback from these events has been immensely encouraging," Mr Hughes said.

The company wants to rebrand its Ruby Blue liqueur, which is aimed at the cocktail market.

Invest NI food and tourism director Maynard Mawhinney said: "Our marketing assistance will help the company to maximise the business potential of market breakthroughs it achieved last year in Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden and Turkey.

"It will also enable the business to explore opportunities in Canada with the Invest NI Trade team."