Denis S. Reinhardt – Ferdinand’s Saar
As we gear up for the inaugural Junipalooza Hamburg we’ve been catching up with some of the most interesting, delicious and renowned German gin brands to get you up close and personal ahead of time. Here we speak to Denis Reinhardt of Ferdinand’s Saar to hear about how his grapes are fairing in the 2018 heatwave…
Gin is hard to keep up with, and it seems there’s a new record number being sold each month… What’s it like in Germany and how are you seeing growth for Ferdinand’s Saar across the country?
Indeed Gin becomes more and more famous also in Germany. The international gin craze seems to be taking hold here with some fabulous national gins being produced and consumers are really enjoying the art behind the perfect gin and tonic. Ferdinand’s is at the forefront of premium gin in Germany and is still developing very well in our home country.
It’s a big year for you guys with lots on, what’s 2018 been like for you so far?
Its been a very special year for us so far, we are approaching our 5th anniversary and are celebrating this with a release of our limited special anniversary batch, in a porcelain bottle and special botanical emphasic on vineyard peach and local eisenkraut. We continue to see growth in both domestic and international markets and more and more gin lovers are coming to appreciate the special gifts of the Saar.
Talking about the Saar, your gin is so directly linked to your provenance, from the grapes and the orchard too – how’s this freaky heat wave affecting the vineyards and are you having to make plans to adjust slightly to ensure the new batches are equally special?
Yes, the terroir and the fruits from ancient vines provide the cornerstones of our brand. The weather this year has been unusual to say the least, but with the rich botanical treasure chest we have, together with the range of Zilliken wines at our disposal, we can retain the characteristic quality and integrity of each batch.
Good to hear! What are the big trends that you are seeing in the German market and how have you guys been responding to it?
There has been a general move towards premium spirits, and the German spirits consumer is beginning to understand that there are brands with real quality and craftsmanship behind the higher ticket prices. Cocktail culture is also developing strongly, and we are a go-to supplier of interesting white spirits for the top mixology accounts in the German market. We like to respond to market trends with special batches or releases, which has this year included a non alcoholic Verjus cordial, and a rich and fruity Riesling Liqueur.
To us, the Quince edition is one of the best fruit infused “juniper spirits”. What’s the response been like now that there are other fruit gins out there and it’s no longer such an outlier – have more people discovered due to more interest in that genre or is it harder to stand out?
We still receive a hugely positive response to our Saar Quince. I think it stands out because we produce it from our own aromatic fruits without the need for additional sugar. The “on-trade” bar channel in particular has discovered the wide range of cocktails and fancy drinks they can do with this product, from light aperitivo drinks to fruity summer cocktails – it’s a perfect match and very flexible. We hope we will have more good harvests in the future without any frost during the blossom time to ensure that our Quince is always available for Ferdinand’s Saar lovers.
What’s been the most memorable moment for you in the past 12 months?
Definitely a highlight has been to put some of our Quince in the very special Riesling Berry Selection Casks of our dear friend Markus Molitor. That was the first time we have aged a product from the Gin range in a cask. Its especially interesting as our local sweet wines aren’t usually matured in a barrique, so it was a very rewarding experiment for all involved. We are looking forward to release this edition next year. We are also very exciting to see Ferdinand’s Saar begin in journey into Asian markets, and consumers there are responding very well.
Aged Ferdinand’s – can’t wait! Do you feel that drinkers are more informed now than they were when you first started?
Yes, it´s amazing how much knowledge drinkers now have and how much detailed information they have about the Gin category and the different brands. We have seen that at first hand at some of the Gin Foundry events. Its always a pleasure to meet consumers and get their opinions on our brand, and see them so excited about the category. We hope this continues!
So do we and bring on Junipalooza! Other than this, what’s coming up next for you, what are you are working towards?
Our distillery will be expanding its fruit orchards, and we will be building a cask warehouse to house some more of our more experimental products. We are also developing our own botanical garden to provide more and more of the special herbs and flowers that we use in our gin. This year we will reach 60% level of homegrown ingredients within the complex mix we use for Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin. We have just appointed Brand Ambassadors in Europe and Asia, and they will be helping us get the unique and special Ferdinand’s Saar story across to more and more people across the globe.
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