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The best April Fools’ Day drinks ‘news’

April Fools’ Day is a cruel (but funny) test of the smarts, savviness and scepticism among journalists. Here’s some of the breaking drinks industry ‘news’ that almost forced us to scrape egg off our faces this 1 April.

April Fools’ Day can be a stressful time for drinks journalists

As 1 April nears, emotional levels of apprehensiveness, trepidation and caution ramp up at The Spirits Business’s headquarters, as our team of journalists dissects eccentric press releases to a near-obsessive degree. Too often have we almost been caught out by spirits industry jokesters letting loose on April Fools’ Day.

From the amusingly simple to the shockingly elaborate, here’s a list of spirits industry ‘news’ that made the rounds this 1 April.

If you’ve come across any humdingers not included over the following pages, let us know by leaving a comment below or emailing

Duke of Sussex opens pygmy hippo petting zoo

One of the first suspicious press releases embargoed until 1 April that pinged into SB’s inboxes was one that outlined The Duke of Sussex’s plans to turn its outdoor terrace into a pygmy hippo petting zoo this summer. The central London pub said two pygmy hippos named Henry and Henrietta would be housed in a plush enclosure, where they would be able to bask in muddy water and sunshine. It even announced plans to swap out the regular bacon in its signature cheeseburger for ‘hippo bacon’.

After swiftly planning their next trip to The Duke of Sussex, members of team SB soon realised they had been lured into false hope.

Pinkster launches £10,000 diamond bottle

Packaging in spirits can certainly be ostentatious, but a £10,000 gin bottle featuring edible gold and a pink diamond-encrusted stopper seems a little far-fetched. In the run up to the sale of the 59-carat Pink Star diamond (which, in real news, is estimated to fetch £80 million), the pranksters at Pinkster Gin announced plans to release one such limited edition bottle.

“The return of The Pink Star to the open market gave us the perfect excuse to bring out the bling,” Will Holt, marketing director at Pinkster, said. “This colossal rock is expected to exceed £48 million at auction, making our £10,000 bottle seem extremely affordable. The gin may be temporary but diamonds are forever.”

Laphroaig’s peat-flavoured chewing gum

Peat fanatics were lured into a near-catatonic state of excitement following Laphroaig’s announcement that it had introduced a peat-flavoured chewing gum. Revealed in a Facebook post that attracted more than 3,500 shares, the item was described as a “limited edition souvenir”.

Master of Malt accesses ‘Whisky Name Generator’

The fun-loving tricksters at online retailer Master of Malt have long executed some of the cleverest April Fools’ Day jokes around. This year, the team said it had gained access to an elusive tool that whisky brands use to name their latest products – the Whisky Name Generator. MoM said it could “neither confirm or deny” the involvement of a hacker “akin to the protagonist of the 2001 blockbuster Swordfish”.

The retailer went one step further by making the Whisky Name Generator available to members of the public, producing names such as The Abhainn Dearg Utinni Investment Salmanazar. Users were then given the options to secure the trademark, register the domain, or summon lawyers. Quite the ruse.

The Whisky Exchange unveils alcohol-free range

SB always looks forward to The Whisky Exchange’s elaborately executed April Fools’ Day jokes. This year, the retailer announced plans to launch Clean Spirits, a “range of great-tasting alcohol-free spirits” aimed at “increasing focus on healthy living across the world”.

The fictional collection has been created using proprietary technology developed in conjunction with the low-energy chemistry department of the English Technology Institute, removing the alcohol content of spirits but allowing them to retain mouthfeel and flavour. Clean Spirits was so warmly accepted that a number of high-profile brands were “eager to get involved”, leading to alcohol-free versions of well-known labels such as: Louis Zero, Diet Dalmore, Jack Lo, Maker’s Max and Havana Free.

SWA outlaws triple whisky distillation in Scotland

Verging on scaremongering, blog Malt and Oak revealed that the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) had outlawed triple distillation of Scotch whisky, casting uncertainty over the futures of famous practitioners such as Auchentoshan, Springbank and Mortlach.

The distilleries were said to have one year to adjust their processes, however, “any triple or partially triple distilled stocks currently maturing will have to be bottled by 30 April 2018 to be considered ‘existing stocks’”. These stocks would only be legally available for sale until the end of 2019, when their ‘Scotch whisky’ labels would no longer apply. Happily, this is not the Brave New World for Scotch whisky.

Kyrö Distillery finds solution for nasty bar hands

This one actually seemed quite plausible. Finnish rye distillery Kyrö unveiled its Moisturyeser, which it said aims to help bartenders tackle problematic ‘bar hands’. Created in collaboration with Finnish cosmetics company Berner Oy, Moisturyeser contains rye malt extract, which “gives the product extra caring qualities”.

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