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Session Spirit launches London Dry

Formerly known as Trinity25, Session Spirit has rebranded and reintroduced its London Dry-style expression to the UK.

Session Spirit is bottled at 25% ABV to maintain the signature characteristics of gin

The product is made with London Dry gin but bottled at 25% ABV.

The brand’s founder, Brad Crompton, described it as the “first official ‘session spirit’”, using language from the beer and wine industry.

“This mid-strength/light-strength category that we’re in is still fairly new,” he explained. “It can be difficult to explain to consumers where you sit and how it compares to other products in the market. For full-strength gin, for example, or alcohol-free – they’re easy to explain. We want to try to find a way to utilise the already recognisable categories of other sectors – so session IPAs, session beer, session wine. They already recognise this mid-strength ABV.”

The brand previously described itself as a gin alternative, which has been deemed inappropriate terminology by many in the industry. The relaunch follows a similar move by UK brand Quarter Proof, which also describes itself as ‘made with’ gin following legal challenges.

Crompton added that he was advised by the Portman Group to remove the ABV reference from the product name, as brands should not include a number in their name if it promotes the fact the product is stronger than alternative brands. While ‘Trinity25’ intended to promote the fact its product had a lower ABV than traditional gin, the Portman Group stated that as the product doesn’t meet the standard of a gin, it should therefore compare itself to other low-ABV alternatives – which Session exceeds in ABV.

“We’re at 25% for quite a particular reason,” he explained. “We worked with our distillery and our master distillers when we first created the liquid, and we gave them the challenge of finding out how low we can go before we start to lose the natural mouthfeel, bite, tenacity, and texture of the alcohol. Aside from taste, the one thing that defines a spirit as an alcoholic product is the bite and the warmth that you get. They said if we go below 25%, we’ll start to lose that.”

Traditional London Dry method

Session Spirit Brad Crompton
Brad Crompton

The brand draws on the traditional London Dry method to create the gin, using botanicals including cardamom, black pepper and coriander.

“We want to bridge the gap between an all-or-nothing way of drinking. In most bars now, you have full-strength, alcohol-free or very low alcohol [products],” Crompton continued. “If you’re looking to enjoy an alcoholic drink without getting too drunk, or having all the extra calories, your options are fairly subpar. You can either drink less of what you love, or alternate between the equally-as-expensive dupes.

“We wanted to create something that sits in the middle, something that gives you the best of both worlds and allows you to have the genuine, full taste and experience and tenacity of alcohol, but with half the strength and half the calories.”

For the off-trade, Session Spirit is priced at £24.99 (US$32), placing it below the average price for a bottle of premium gin.

“Consumers expect to pay less for a product with less alcohol,” he explained. “We still pay full duty as we would if we were a gin, as the rates are set at 22% ABV. You can buy alcohol-free spirits that are around the same price as ours, or higher than ours. There are other products in the ‘light’ space that charge the same price or more, but they benefit from duty breaks and tax breaks, which we don’t.”

Crompton confirmed that he would like to move into other spirits at some point – “Tequila or vodka would probably be the most sensible next step” – but his focus is on the London Dry spirit for now. “We need to establish ourselves with this brand as long before we do so.”

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