‘Raw’ gin brand Kongsgaard is making its UK retail debut.

Billed as an alternative to London Dry-style gins, 44% abv Kongsgaard is flavoured with organic juniper and was “inspired by Nordic woods”, said the brand. The tipple is produced in Cognac, France, where it is distilled on open-flame copper stills.

It has rolled out into Harvey Nichols stores across the UK last week, priced at £49.95/70cl, and secured on-trade distribution with Speciality Drinks and Bibendum.

“Our goal was to combine roots, fruits and spices and ultimately balance the sweetness and fresh acidity we get from our local apples to let this shine through in the final blend,” said co-creator Søren Kongsgaard.

The gin was designed to be enjoyed on its own, but could also “play a part in classic cocktails” he said.

Gin continues to be the fastest growing spirit: value sales surged 13.5% to £380.5m over the last year on volumes up 10%, contributing £45.4m in value to total category growth [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 21 May 2017].

This was despite a 3.3% increase in average price per litre, from £17.20 to £17.75 [Kantar].

However, last week a consortium of UK gin makers, led by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, warned a rise in alcohol duty in chancellor Philip Hammond’s upcoming budget could “stifle the gin boom” with a proposed 3.4% increase that they claim would add 26p to the average price of a bottle.

“The current proposed increase of 3.4% would mean an increase in duty of £24,500, which, for us, is the equivalent of another employee,” said Pickering’s Gin co-founder Matthew Gammell. “We would like to continue to grow and help boost the British economy but it is becoming increasingly tough to remain competetive in the marketplace.”