Diageo Ramps Up Growth For Aviation GinMay 18, 2022
After joining the Diageo portfolio in 2020 along with the rest of Davos Brands in a deal worth up to $610 million, Aviation gin has bucked category trends, crossing the 100,000-case mark last year on 18% growth, according to Impact Databank. To meet rising demand for the brand and to seed new growth, Diageo recently opened a new Aviation distillery in Portland, Oregon, bringing on company veteran Hollie Stephenson as distillery director. Prior to joining the Aviation team, Stephenson was the head brewer for Guinness in the U.S. Aviation’s Portland distillery will host a visitors center set to open later this year.
According to Aviation gin CEO Andrew Chrisomalis, the brand is continuing to trend upward in 2022. “We’ve seen the on-premise channel drive Aviation’s growth,” he told SND. “Fiscal year-to-date in the on-premise, Aviation is up nearly 200%, and it’s up strong double digits versus pre-pandemic 2019. More broadly, the brand is performing well in all channels and in all markets.”
The new distillery can produce up to 200,000 nine-liter cases a year, according to Stephenson, giving the brand significant runway. “We’ve sized the distillery to be able to handle increased demand,” said Stephenson. “We have a really vibrant team of people and are cranking out the gin as fast as we can.” She adds that gin production has been underway at the facility for some time.
The Aviation distillery’s tasting room has views of both the production and packaging facilities and will offer a variety of signature and seasonal cocktails, according to Stephenson. “We’re coming toward the end of the project piece and we’ll be commissioning our distillery in the summer. The tasting room will be open TBD, but soon,” she said.
To continue to seed growth, Chrisomalis said Aviation will lean into existing Diageo partnerships—including positioning Aviation as the official gin of the NFL—as well as continue its marketing featuring actor Ryan Reynolds. “We view our airline partnerships with American Airlines, British Airways, and Alaska Airlines as a huge platform for consumer trial, along with our ongoing partnership with Virgin Voyages,” Chrisomalis added. “These partnerships complement our broader on- and off-premise activations and other marketing activity.”—Shane EnglishSubscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.