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One year on and Muff Liquor Company has Asia in its sights
4 Feb 2019
Premium craft drinks business The Muff Liquor Company has its sights firmly set on taking its premium craft potato Muff Gin and Muff Vodka to the Asian market just a year since their innovative craft distilled spirits took the Irish and UK drinks market by storm. As the company celebrates a year of success this week, the company is set to expand in 2019 into Hong Kong, mainland China, Singapore and Japan. It has been a whirlwind year for the Donegal company and this week it’s owners have been celebrating its first birthday and are hugely excited about the year ahead as they continue to enjoy huge success with their premier craft potato Muff Gin and their recently launched Muff Vodka. Inishowen born co-owner Laura Bonner says it’s been a fantastic year for the company. “I just cannot believe we are a year old! It has been a real journey for me. I have been working night and day, putting in an average 19 hour working day, seven days a week and doing 10 roles, running here and there, but it’s been worth it. I have learned so much, from the production and logistic side of things to the distribution, marketing and business planning. I have been involved in all of it and it has been a real learning curve.“ Laura and her business partner Tom Russell from Manchester feel that the time has come to expand into Asia and are looking forward to travelling there over the coming weeks and months. “2019 is going to be another challenging and busy year but we are really looking forward to it. It will involve a lot of travelling and attending a lot of showcases and events but we have a fantastic team behind us who are really supportive of our product and our brand,” she added. The company have a number of prestigious awards under their belt including securing a Business All-Star Accreditation from the All Ireland Business Foundation, winning Gold in the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America Exposition in Las Vegas and winning Gold in the Asia Gin Masters held in Hong Kong, while their recent plug on BBC Radio 1’s Scott Mills programme, have really put the company on the map. Laura adds: “The awards have been hugely important to us and the Radio 1 video has gone viral. We are also delighted to be part of the development of the Irish drinks scene and to have benefitted from the positive attitude and support that is out there for female entrepreneurs. We couldn’t have achieved the success without the support of the local community and local businesses who have really got behind us in showcasing our products” The Irish Open in Ballyliffin, the Foyle Maritime Festival in Derry, the UFC in the US, and the Rugby classics are just some of the high profile events the company have been part of. “It is fantastic to get an opportunity to get out and meet people at these events. The feedback we get back from customers in phenomenal and it is brilliant to meet people on a one to one basis. A lot of hard work and commitment has gone into getting the company off the ground and establishing our global brand and we are hugely excited about 2019 and working to build our reputation and raising the profile of our products.” Always the optimist Laura does admit however that the uncertainty around Brexit is concerning. “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about Brexit. We are located right on the border and are frustrated at the lack of progress and direction on it but we have a short, medium and long-term plan to help us mitigate against any issues we may face with currency, tariffs or logistics. We will continue to progress with our business plans and hope that we can overcome any issues Brexit may present,” she added. Business co-owner Tom Russell says Muff Liquor Company is hugely excited about 2019 and expanding the business further. He is confident the addition of the new Muff Vodka further enhances the company’s original brand and provides the company with an opportunity to tap into a new audience and market in Asia. He says key to the success of the company is its unique identity and experiential, personalised and fun reputation which he is keen to further develop in 2019 in South East Asia and Australia, China, Hong Kong and Japan. “We have been overwhelmed with our success to date and the response to our products and the interest in Muff Vodka has been particularly high. It really builds on our unique taste and brand and creates a special and personal vibe. 2018 has been a fantastic year and we are really confident that 2019 and the years ahead will be positive for us. We will be keeping our heads down and remain focused to achieve our goal of global domination! We are very much committed to further developing our plans for our own distillery and creating jobs in our area but most of all we hope that our customers will continue to support us and enjoy our unique products.” Muff Vodka can now be purchased alongside Muff Gin in shops, bars and restaurants across Ireland and the UK. The Muff Liquor Company was established in February 2087 and is the brain child of Donegal entrepreneur Laura Bonner and her business partner, Manchester based Tom Russell. Inspired by Laura’s grandfathers recipes of poitin – a spirit made from potatoes – Laura and Tom have founded a premium potato based craft spirits company located in Muff, a small village located in the Inishowen Peninsula in Co Donegal. Their Muff Gin and Muff Vodka premium craft drinks are currently being produced in Arderin Distillery in Tullamore, Co. Offaly by Eoin Bara who owns Mór Irish Gin.
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