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King Billy and the Bottle of Boyne: King William Gin sales halted by Amazon


Amazon has denied claims it stopped selling an English-produced gin named in honour of King Billy because it was causing offence in Northern Ireland.

In a row jokingly dubbed 'the bottle of the Boyne', the makers of King William Gin wrote on Facebook that it seemed some people couldn't accept the Dutch-born monarch was "a legend".

The producers launched their drink in homage to King William, whose first Act of Parliament upon ascending the British throne was to liberalise the distilling of gin in 1690.

The makers said the Glorious Revolution, as it was called, sparked a gin revolution and heralded the start of craft gin distilling in Britain.

Two types of King William gin have been produced: a London dry gin and a blood orange blend.

The labels on both gins include the well-known image of King William with his sword in his hand astride his white horse at the Boyne.

The labels also read: "Our premium gin raises a glass to King William, the regal father of gin distilling in the UK. Remember 1690 with our exceptionally smooth botanical gin."

The producers previously said it was only after sales of the gin soared in Northern Ireland that they realised how significant King William was to people here.

The brand has been enthusiastically embraced by loyalists, who have been snapping up bottles and posting photographs and messages of support for the company online.

A message on the King William Gin Facebook page posted nine days ago claimed Amazon had stopped selling the King William blood orange gin after earlier pulling stocks of the London dry blend.

It read: "Seems some people are upset and struggle to accept that King William of Orange is a legend."

A spokesman for Amazon, however, denied the company had stopped selling the brand, although the firm's website showed it was only available through a third-party seller.

A note on Amazon's direct sales section said in relation to King William Gin: "Currently unavailable. We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock"

The spokesman said the situation had "nothing to do with King William's associations or anything like that".

The King William Gin Facebook page said the company's products were once among Amazon's top 20 best-selling gins, but a search on the distributor's site revealed neither product was on any such list anymore.

A spokesman for the gin producers said sales had been good in London and particularly strong in Northern Ireland and Scotland and that brand ambassadors had been appointed to build up its distribution network.

He added: "We have had an issue with Amazon, but we can't control that now.

"If anything, it's made our minds up to focus on relaunching our own website, which with Covid we had to pull due to warehouse issues, which was a shame."

The gin producers have been running competitions for fans of their products to forward them unusual pictures of their bottles.

Among the winners have been photographs of the gin in front of the King William mural on Belfast's Sandy Row and outside the home of Rangers Football Club in Glasgow.

Belfast Telegraph