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SB meets… Puerto de Indias’ team

We sat down with the operations director and international sales manager of gin brand Puerto de Indias to discuss new launches, category challenges and sustainability.

Raúl Blanco is the brand’s international sales manager

Puerto de Indias is based in Seville, Spain, and produces a number of expressions including its flagship flavours Strawberry and Blackberry.

Eduardo Cornago Egido has held the role of operations director for the brand since January 2021, while Raúl Blanco has been international sales manager since September 2022.

We sat down with the two to discuss the brand, and how it competes in an ever-growing market.

What makes the Porto de Indias distillery unique?

Cornago Egido: From my point of view, we have three important characteristics of our distillery. First of all is, this is the oldest distillery here in Andalucia. So, this is our distillation area of more than 100 years.

The second reason is what we do with our distillation – it is completely natural, with natural fruits, compounds, all of the raw materials are natural. This is one of the most particular parts of our process.

And the third reason is that we are in the same place where we began, we have maintained the distillation here, because the soul of this area is fundamental for us. And it’s quite important to maintain our origins.

What is the feedback to the Blackberry gin launch in the UK?

Blanco: We launched Blackberry in the UK one year after we launched it in Spain. Taking into consideration the great success of this new gin in Spain, we are very confident of the great outcome we’ll get with Blackberry in the UK.

It is still a new gin, launched in September 2022, and the feedback received from the on-trade, mainly cocktail bars, is that it is a great gin for cocktails, very versatile, which allows them to invent new cocktails.

Following the UK launch, do you have plans to launch the Blackberry flavour in America?

Cornago Egido: We need to be sure the UK launch goes very well. After this, we will continue to launch more flavours. We need to go step by step, and not launch all flavours at once. It would not be great for the consumer because there would be too many flavours [to choose from].

Blanco: After the UK, we’ve been launching it in other markets. Regarding America, Blackberry has already launched with great success in key markets like Mexico or Paraguay. Latin America is a very important geographic area for us, and Blackberry is also present in Uruguay, Bolivia and Costa Rica.

The plan is to keep launching Blackberry in other markets in the area, with special emphasis in US, where we are already in the process of registration.

How does this gin compete against other brands?

Cornago Egido: Our gins are original and completely natural. The majority of the rest of the competitors are working with artificial flavours, and so that’s the difference between us.

Blanco: Blackberry has already had great acceptance with our consumers. After the great success in Spain, we are sure that this gin is going to work very well in the UK market. It is a very versatile flavour for cocktails, and considering the huge cocktail culture of the UK, blackberry shouldn’t be missing in any cocktail menu.

What sustainable practices is the brand carrying out at the moment?

Cornago Egido: With the sustainability of people, and jobs, we always try to do have workers from this area – Carmona – especially.

In terms of the environment for example, during the last year, we have been working to eliminate all the waste. So we’re working to segregate 100% of waste, glass, carton, and plastic.

We have containers which segregate waste. We work with providers that have the certification of zero waste.

In the future, are you looking into a scheme involving the reuse of bottles?

Cornago Egido: We are thinking about it, but it’s very, very difficult. It’s not like Coca-Cola or soft drinks – we have an idea but it’s very, very complicated now. But, what we are doing is reducing the weight of the bottles in the next month. I think it is by 17%, and we’re reducing the weight of our cases too. We work with providers that are based around our factory, because it’s important for the [reduction of] transport, to eliminate or reduce the use of energy.

We are growing the size of our orders, because it’s better to have only one trip than two as it uses less energy. We are trying to reduce all the energy, the transport.

What challenges does the gin category face right now, specifically Puerto de Indias?

Cornago Egido: Here in Spain, we were the first to launch a flavoured gin. We have grown in the market, and we are the leaders. The rest of our competitors, during the last year, they were copying us, the flavours of our launches.

Two or three months later, they’d launch the same products. Some of them have decided to eliminate the flavoured gin products, and are mixing flavoured gin with the 0% alcohol category, so they are launching strawberry gin with no alcohol. We are growing the flavours, with lemon, melon, blackberry. What we are doing in Spain is growing in the market with more flavours.

The rest of the competitors are copying us. The challenge is to create new flavours, and as we are sure they are going to copy us. I think it’s good they’re copying us, they’re helping us to grow the market, and they’re pushing us and helping us. They are waiting for us to launch so they can copy us, but it’s good. It’s a way for us to get new consumers.

Blanco: The category is contracting in the UK, the purchasing power of the population is decreasing, and thus, the whole on-trade channel is being affected.

However, Puerto de Indias is growing its distribution in the UK, and our main challenge, is to keep growing in a declining category. It is the main market in the world for flavoured gin, and the potential of growth of Puerto de Indias is huge.

Also, one of our main challenges is becoming a loved brand for the UK consumers, like in Spain, where we are the number-one flavoured gin.

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