SB meets… Jean-Sébastien Robicquet, Maison Villevert
In September, Maison Villevert named French TV personality Fred Sirieix as its first UK ambassador for G’Vine gin. We sat down with founder Jean-Sébastien Robicquet to talk about the appointment, and how this fits in with his plans for the brand going forward.
You have just appointed First Dates star Fred Sirieix as the first UK ambassador for G’Vine – what is it about Fred that made you approach him for the role?
It was an obvious choice for us. There are two key connections between Fred and our objectives for G’Vine; firstly Fred is known for sharing high-quality food and drink products with British viewers, which is key for our awareness, and secondly, the sharing comes from a genuine passion for the southwest of France, which is both where he was born and where G’Vine is developed.
G’Vine offers excellence à la Française and Fred Sirieix is obviously the most well known Frenchman in the UK on that subject.
Fred has a notable hospitality background, but what training and immersion in the brand has he had in order to make him the right personality to represent it in the UK market?
First of all, he tried and loved our gin. In his announcement of the partnership he said ‘I’ve discovered the best gin in the world’. It would not have worked otherwise and he has then since been fully emerged into our culture and history.
We were lucky to have Fred visit us last summer during when he spent some time with myself and the team in the vineyard, in the distillery and at the Villevert Manor. We also enjoyed an evening in the best bar in Cognac to experience the brand in a live setting drinking cocktails together.
What do you believe having Fred as your ambassador will do for the brand going forward?
In a very busy and crowed market like the UK gin market this partnership will give G’Vine a fantastic opportunity to be more visible and break through the variety of choice the consumer is faced with.
What is the aim for the Gin Your Way marketing campaign that will be launched in October? How will it look and what can consumers expect to see from it?
Our main objective is to drive awareness for G’Vine as the premium French gin made from grapes. Because we have made gin our way we want to pose the same question to consumers, to look beyond your usual consumption and drink ‘gin your way’.
The campaign is intertwined with our international digital campaign with Fred that mostly features filmed episodes from when Fred was in Cognac. Fred did indeed enjoy ‘gin your way’ when he jumped in our swimming pool at the Villevert Manor fully clothed to enjoy his G’Vine.
You have said that grapes are part of the DNA of Maison Villevert – can you tell us about the expertise the G’Vine team has for the ingredient, and how that knowledge has impacted the products you have bottled?
Maison Villevert has 20 years of experience in showing the world how using grape-based spirits make elegant and premium products. We have done that in different categories starting with vodka and gin. It is not only our expertise, Maison Villevert and all our production partners are from a region that has hundreds of years of expertise in producing grape-based spirits.