Flavoured gin disruption: New Zealand’s Scapegrace naturally coloured black gin to land in Asia

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

The Scapegrace Black Gin is marketed as a flavoured gin, made from several natural botanicals which gives it the black appearance ©Scapegrace
The Scapegrace Black Gin is marketed as a flavoured gin, made from several natural botanicals which gives it the black appearance ©Scapegrace

Related tags New zealand Gin Alcohol Colours Asia

New Zealand’s premium gin company Scapegrace Distilling is set to export its naturally coloured black gin in Asia, with the first shipments expected to land in Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Japan this month.

The Scapegrace Black Gin is marketed as a flavoured gin and gets its black appearance from several natural botanicals. It also changes to shades of red or purple when mixed with tonic, depending on the pH levels.

New Zealand’s gin category has seen a 27% growth annually, mostly fuelled by the introduction of flavoured gins into the market.

Wanting to tap into the flavoured gin trend, Mark Neal, co-founder and marketing director for Scapegrace, said the firm embarked on an 18-month R&D journey to create a black gin with unique flavours.

It was challenging as we were finding the perfect balance of colour and flavour. We wanted to create a colour that was naturally black but also a flavour that was truly unique (what we call the taste of black)​.”

According to Neal, in order to create the colour black, it involved combining primary and secondary colours such as red, yellow, blue, green, orange and purple.

The company used the Aronia Berry (Chokeberry) for the red colour which also provided sweetness, saffron for orange colour and savoury flavour, pineapple for yellow and a tropical flavour, butterfly pea for blue colour, and sweet potato for purple colour.

Neal said each of these ingredients had their own flavours, which when combined not only gave the black colour, but a unique flavour profile. The gin has a menthol like crispiness, with a balanced citrus freshness and a hint of spice.

The company believes this was the world’s first naturally coloured black gin, with Neal adding: “We do not add black colouring like charcoal or cocoa​.”

Neal told us that the botanicals were sourced from various markets; the Aronia berry, saffron and butterfly pea came from Asia, while the sweet potato were sourced from New Zealand. Water is sourced from the New Zealand Southern Alps.

Black gin markets

In Asia, the gin will be available at e-commerce platforms and alcohol retailers such as Shopee in Singapore, Taobao in China, HK Liquor Store and wine’n’things in Hong Kong.

This follows entry into Australia where the firm has since sold about 3,000 bottles.

In its home market New Zealand, the gin was launched last year and available through Scapegrace’s e-commerce store, alcohol retailers, and other e-commerce platforms.

There are also plans to launch the black gin in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand soon.

Neal added: “Consumers are looking for truly unique bespoke products, and Scapegrace Black Gin is one of its kind in the world​.”

Scapegrace is known for its award-winning gins, the Classic Gin and Gold Gin, with a presence in 38 markets worldwide. At the moment, the 12-staff strong team is working on promoting its black gin globally.

Besides gin, the company also produced its first vodka product five weeks ago.

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