Vestal Vodka, the craft brand that first championed the notion of ‘terroir’ in the category, has secured a deal with Halewood that sees the distiller take a 48% share in its business for an undisclosed sum.
It marks the joining together of two innovative family drinks firms, both determined to take advantage of what they see as the coming ‘revival’ of vodka. The deal is also intended to build on Halewood’s focus on artisanal spirits that served it so successfully in 2019, with group revenues up by 26% and pre-tax profits up 15% to £26.3m – driven by such brands.
Vestal, set up in 2011 by William Borrell, has a family farm in the Kaszubia region of Poland and only sources traditional potato varieties for its vodkas.
The deal is being celebrated with a brand new bottle for Vestal and the release of its 2015 vintage – which has the longest known ‘rest’ period for any vodka – an unheard of four years – which allows for the smoothing out of the harsher elements of distillation. Borrell describes the resultant vodka as “Creamy and buttery with earthy spices and a delicate fruit aroma – with a soft and pleasant finish, complete with warming nutmeg and white pepper notes”.
Made from recycled glass, the bottle is a striking triangular shape, with the design celebrating the brand’s Polish heritage.
The nature of each Vestal vintage is determined by the type of potatoes used and their provenance, including the region’s weather in any particular season – hence their classification by year. This ground-breaking approach has enabled Vestal to cut a distinctive swathe through a crowded market, which is now being mimicked by larger competitors.
Vestal is already available in ten countries around the world and has built an enviable reputation for its taste-led vodkas – from being served at functions at the US Embassy in Warsaw, to its ‘Vestal Composer’ being the top-selling cocktail at the prestigious Beaufort Bar in The Savoy, London.
Halewood remains Britain’s last major family-owned spirits’ firm. It is now the largest independent producer and distributor of alcoholic products by volume in the UK. Fast-growing, in May 2019, it opened a new operating unit in Miami to grow its portfolio in the US, Caribbean and Americas.
Vestal Vodka 2015 vintage, RRP £22.00/70cl.