ITALY – British spirits producer, Diageo has added a super-premium gin to its portfolio after investing €420,000 (US$469,000) in a new distillery in Santa Vittoria d’Alba, Italy.

Called Villa Ascenti, the new gin will first launch in 14 European countries from May – including the UK, Italy, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland and Poland.

Following the completion of the Distilleria Santa Vittoria, Diageo aims to tap into the “fast-growing” super-premium gin market.

According to data from Nielsen MAT to 23 February 2019, as quoted by Diageo, the super-premium and ultra-premium gin sectors grew 38.6% in volume and 41.3% in value in the UK.

“Gin has been the runaway success story of the industry over the last decade and its growth trend shows no signs of slowing down,” said Tanya Clarke, general manager of Diageo Reserve Europe.

“Villa Ascenti Gin is rooted in provenance and brings local, fresh ingredients from Piemonte to life.

“Its use of locally grown ingredients from the foothills of Piemonte, alongside some of the more classic botanicals associated with gin, has allowed us to create a high-quality liquid, which we hope existing and new gin drinkers will love.”

The new gin, which will be part of the Diageo Reserve portfolio is made with Moscato grapes, mint and thyme and is distilled three times.

During the final distillation, the grapes are infused with Tuscan juniper berries in the Santa Vittoria distillery’s newly refurbished Frilli copper pot still to deliver “a fresh and light taste”.

It has 41% ABV and will retail at £35 (US$45) per 700ml bottle.

“It has been an absolute privilege to be involved in developing Villa Ascenti Gin and to have the chance to showcase the very best of Piemonte to the world,” said Lorenzo Rosso, master distiller for Villa Ascenti Gin at Distilleria Santa Vittoria.

“It’s a beautiful gin with the region at its heart in its aroma and flavour, but also in how it’s best enjoyed – around the table with friends.

“I’m particularly proud of the use of the Moscato grape distillate, an idea that stemmed from my winemaking experience. To see this realised is incredible.”

During the first half of the company’s 2019 financial year, gin grew 28% representing 4% of Diageo’s net sales, with Gordon’s and Tanqueray delivering double-digit growth and gaining share in Europe.