linked in facebook twitter rss

  • Interbrand
  • Brandchannel

your chance!
your chance!
Plymouth Gin
 

Plymouth Gin


  Plymouth Gin
bottoms up
by Robin D. Rusch
February 12, 2001

Talk about a bad hangover. Plymouth Gin's looked lethal until a small group of dedicated individuals bellied up to the bar and bought it from Allied Domecq in 1996. Four years on, there is every reason to be proud of Plymouth's two-century-old tradition, and that spells bottoms up for everyone.

One of the U.K.'s oldest alcoholic brands, favored by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Alfred Hitchcock and Ian Fleming, Plymouth Gin seemed little more than a rail drink by 1996. News stories from around this period refer to it as a "remember-that" brand.

Indeed by the mid-nineties, overall sales were down across all gin brands. And it was not the first time gin had slipped from the public's favor. By the early part of the 18th century, the term "gin" had become so closely associated with the lower classes, members of the gentry had to refer to it as "white wine" and even "nig" so as not to damage their patrician reputations when ordering. It wasn't until the sugar used in

 
 

gin to prolong the palpability over a longer shelf life was supplanted by an improved distillation process that it regained credibility with the higher born. Now a couple of centuries later, the gin market and Plymouth in particular was drying up all over again and its owner, Allied Domecq, was concentrating more on its supposed stronger brand, Beefeater. (A brand against which Plymouth fought a successful suit in 1933 over a trademark infringement when Beefeater tried to market its own brand of "Plymouth Gin.") Spirits were low back at the Black Friars distillery in Plymouth; sales were down to an anemic 7,000 cases a year.

Was this any way for one of the U.K.'s oldest alcoholic brands to end up? The new owners thought not, nor did they approve of the state of disarray to the brand. They set about to restore the dignity of the Coates family original inside and out with a brand re-launch in March of 1998. As Charles Rolls, managing director of Plymouth Gin, explained, "The new branding is in complete contrast to the outgoing design and truly reflects the premium nature of Plymouth Gin. […]One of the things we learned immediately was that without premium branding, our efforts would ultimately have failed. Today’s consumer expects top quality from premium spirits and the quality has to be both inside the bottle and in the branding itself."

Gone was the shabby looking packaging from the days of Allied's ownership. The new packaging involved a re-creation of the original bottle and included the thirsty monk inside the bottle; when his toes dry out, it's time to replenish. Another wise move was to extend the branding campaign to the gin itself. Following lean years in a weakened state (with the proof down to 37.5% per Allied), Plymouth was restored to its original strength of 41.2%, and a "Navy Strength" of 57% to remind drinkers of the brand's status as the official gin of the British Royal Navy.

Now the best-selling premium gin in the UK and making inroads world wide, Plymouth is out of the bargain bin and back on the top shelf. Cheers!

 
     
  

Robin D. Rusch lives and works in New York City.

  
     
 commenting closed Add Social Bookmark bookmark  print
 suggest topic  recommend ( 10 )  email

  brandchannel profile archive   2011  |  2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003  |  2002  | 2001  | 
 
 
Dec 31, 2001 Diesel - fueled by fashion -- Abram D. Sauer
  Diesel establishes itself by poking fun at the establishment. How long before the irony wears through?
   
 
Dec 17, 2001 Red Cross - relief needed -- Joseph M. Walters
  The American Red Cross went from hero to zero in a matter of days. Can the brand rebuild and win back the hearts and wallets it’s lost?
   
 
Dec 10, 2001 FDNY - hot -- Jonathan Schneider
  Suddenly, the hottest brand to come out of the US is a non-profit organization. We tip our hats to the FDNY.
   
 
Dec 3, 2001 NBC - knows TV -- Al Berrios
  As NBC demonstrates, television channels don’t need to be cross media giants to successfully compete for advertisers.
   
 
Nov 26, 2001 Legend - linking thoughts -- Kim Barnet
  Legend is living up to its name by studying Dell and HP. But can the Chinese PC maker continue to conquer the market alone?
   
 
Nov 19, 2001 Red Bull - all the rage -- Abram D. Sauer
  Red Bull’s attempt at a pious brand image goes out to pasture the minute we power up the turntable.
   
 
Nov 12, 2001 Harry Potter - literary crack -- Abram D. Sauer
  We look back on the legacy that brought a children’s book to this staggering height of awareness.
   
 
Nov 5, 2001 Shanghai Tang - firmly tongue in chic -- Abram D. Sauer
  Hong Kong retailer Shanghai Tang is putting dignity into the phrase “Made in China.”
   
 
Oct 29, 2001 YMCA - spells community -- John Karolefski
  The old-line non-profit brand YMCA has survived the Village People and a name that, spelled out, is largely meaningless to its 18M members.
   
 
Oct 22, 2001 MTN - Africa gets connected -- Nana Eyeson
  Africa’s Mobile Telephone Networks is expanding with a critically essential product in an otherwise fractured communications landscape.
   
 
Oct 15, 2001 SakéOne Corp. - drunk on potential -- Abram D. Sauer
  Momokawa’s renegade sub-brand SakéOne is stocking the bar in anticipation of a mad rush for saké in the US.
   
 
Oct 8, 2001 Patagonia - granola gucci -- Matt Seigel
  Patagonia comes down from the mountains and is embraced by the suburban outdoorsman.
   
 
Oct 1, 2001 Tupperware - keepin' it fresh -- Stephanie Margolin
  Tupperware changes shape from Bangalore to Birmingham to stay fresh in the 21st century.
   
 
Sep 24, 2001 U-Haul - moving on -- Jonathan Schneider
  U-Haul needs to work extra hard to associate its brand with ease and convenience in the backbreaking business of self-moving.
   
 
Sep 17, 2001 BBC - a global beacon -- Stephanie Margolin
  As many of us watch and listen to events unfolding in the US, we turn once again to the BBC for its top quality news and analysis.
   
 
Sep 10, 2001 Blue Note - kind of blue -- Jonathan Schneider
  We examine the 62-year run of the Blue Note label from Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis to Us3, Soulive, and now, Starbucks.
   
 
Sep 3, 2001 Patek Philippe - timeless -- Robin D. Rusch
  The last independent watchmaker in Geneva, Patek Philippe is, nevertheless, still ticking.
   
 
Aug 27, 2001 Underoos - to the rescue -- Sarah McNeill
  We go under cover to look at Underoos, the underwear that's fun to wear.
   
 
Aug 20, 2001 Pirelli - far from tired -- Robin D. Rusch
  The elongated P in Pirelli covers everything from cable systems to tires, clothing to naked women.
   
 
Aug 13, 2001 Google - the infinite quest -- Robin D. Rusch
  A successful dot-com brand? Google is the fun service involved in serious work.
   
 
Aug 6, 2001 Bicycle - big deal -- Sarah McNeill
  Bicycle playing cards knows when to hold ‘em and knows when to play. We have a look at the 116-year history of this small but sturdy brand.
   
 
Jul 30, 2001 Zespri - a kiwi's kiwi -- Robin D. Rusch
  Kiwi grower Zespri International exports its brand in a traditionally commoditized industry.
   
 
Jul 23, 2001 Aston Martin - shaken, not stirred -- Robin D. Rusch
  Aston Martin bled money for over 80 years before Ford Motor Company took control and achieved a U-turn on the P&L sheet.
   
 
Jul 16, 2001 Zima - clearly an enigma -- Robin D. Rusch
  How does Zima survive despite low sales and media ridicule?
   
 
Jul 9, 2001 Swiss Army Knife - an army of two -- Robin D. Rusch
  This week’s brand profile looks at the dueling brands (Swiss style) of Victorinox and Wenger.
   
 
Jul 2, 2001 AstroTurf - the grass is always greener -- Robin D. Rusch
  AstroTurf delivered summer year round for 35 years.
   
 
Jun 25, 2001 Dr. Bronner's - magic in a bottle -- Sarah McNeill
  What makes Dr. Bronner’s soaps so “magical”?
   
 
Jun 18, 2001 Zamboni - smooth operator -- Robin D. Rusch
  The funny machine between periods at an ice-hockey game? A Zamboni, of course, the best known resurfacer in the ice business.
   
 
Jun 11, 2001 Havoline - striking oil -- Robin D. Rusch
  This week’s brand profile concentrates on a striking new packaging initiative for Havoline automotive products.
   
 
Jun 4, 2001 Durex - erecting a global brand -- Robin D. Rusch
  How has Durex kept it up all these years?
   
 
May 28, 2001 Lonely Planet - lost without it -- Robin D. Rusch
  The Lonely Planet muscles for space on the crowded bookshelf of the travel guide section.
   
 
May 21, 2001 ONDEO - makes a splash -- Robin D. Rusch
  Like a glass of water in a parched landscape, the Ondeo brand glistens in the utilities industry.
   
 
May 14, 2001 FUBU - for us by us -- Nana Eyeson
  FUBU, the urban gear with edge, expands its marketbase and its marketplace in a short but sweet decade of existence.
   
 
May 7, 2001 Guinness World Records - stupid human tricks -- Robin D. Rusch
  Is the Guinness Book of World Records a menace to society?
   
 
Apr 30, 2001 Muji - commonly unique -- Robin D. Rusch
  From Japan comes the Zen-like Muji, a brand despite itself.
   
 
Apr 23, 2001 Alessi - putting the fun in function -- Robin D. Rusch
  Without leaving the home, Alessi has crossed continents and oceans to become an inspiring international brand.
   
 
Apr 16, 2001 Tiger Balm - fit for an emperor -- Robin D. Rusch
  Tiger Balm gently lures consumers into its soothing lair with a winning recipe for brand success.
   
 
Apr 9, 2001 Greenpeace - making waves -- Robin D. Rusch
  Greenpeace battles its own success as the multinational organization reaches middle age. Has it outgrown its brand?
   
 
Apr 2, 2001 Airstream - the land yacht -- Sarah McNeill
  The Airstream brand has survived wars, recessions, and different owners and it’s still motoring on.
   
 
Mar 26, 2001 Sanrio - the cat's meow -- Robin D. Rusch
  Like a fresh bowl of tuna, Sanrio delights young and old alike, courtesy of our feline friends Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel.
   
 
Mar 19, 2001 Yugo - can yugo still go? -- Robin D. Rusch
  Will Yugo ever climb the hill and emerge as a credible brand or will it eventually be towed into the junkyard and abandoned for parts?
   
 
Mar 12, 2001 Indian - muffled but not silenced -- Robin D. Rusch
  Indian Motorcycle was up on blocks for nearly a half century before getting a jumpstart back into production.
   
 
Mar 5, 2001 Kangol - hip hoppin' -- Sarah McNeill
  Hang on to your hat, milliner Kangol is profiled.
   
 
Feb 26, 2001 LEGO - brand building -- Robin D. Rusch
  Find out how the little brick maker, Lego, constructed a bridge to the 21st century.
   
 
Feb 19, 2001 Olay - forever young -- Robin D. Rusch
  Olay may be over 60 years old but its continual makeovers keep it young, vibrant and wrinkle-free.
   
 
Feb 5, 2001 Ribena - the posh squash -- Caroline Wilson
  The name that will forever be known as good and good for you.