Written on the 11 January 2017 by James Perkins


HUSK Distillers has sold out of Ink Gin after a Margot Robbie Instagram post.

The blue gin, which turns pink when mixed with tonic water due to the infusion of the pH sensitive butterfly pea flower, had already developed a cult following, and Robbie's endorsement made sales bloom.

She was pictured late last month on the Gold Coast, smiling in a wide-brimmed straw hat and sunlgasses as she sipped on her pink gin and tonic drink not long after her Byron Bay wedding to Tom Ackerley.

Husk founder Paul Messenger says the post was "unexpected and terrific".

"The interest generated has been amazing; it is interesting to see the celebrity power at work," he tells Business News Australia.

"It was great exposure. From our point of view, in terms of the colours, you couldn't engineer a photo shoot any more perfect. It was a fantastic shot of Margot and of the gin."

"Since then, we have completely run out of gin, and we had lots of inquiries from the US and all over the world, including from people who want to be the exclusive distributor of Ink Gin in Denmark."

Husk has encountered a bottle-neck in production as it waits on the next shipment of bottles, which is expected next month.

Prior to the Margot Robbie story, Messenger (pictured right) was planning an expansion of the Tumbulgum distillery in far north NSW, which will double last year's production of 35,000-40,000 bottles.

"Sales growth was pretty phenomenal even before the Margot Robbie post. We committed to building a new distillery here, and we started work late last week, with the construction side to begin next month," says Messenger.

"We are really completely stretched for space in our existing facilities and it is a big priority to get into this new building. We are planning to move into the first stage in the next six months.

"The transition is going to be a tricky one to manage in terms of keeping up with demand while we are moving. It is going to be a challenging year, but we will be in a much better position for production beyond that."
Ink Gin was created to maintain the business' cash flow between production of its aged agricole rum. The distillery is the only paddock-to-bottle rum distillery in Australia. It produces three rums: Pure Cane New Make white rum, 1866 Tumbulgum Rum, and Husk Virgin cane rum.

"Because the rum needs to be aged for so long, we haven't released a lot of it. We have 55 barrels in storage maturing, but it takes time to get it out there, where with gin, there is no need to mature it you can just bottle it and sell it," says Messenger.

Currently Ink Gin is exported to Thailand, Singapore, Italy and Denmark and Messenger says that once the new facility is up and running, the focus will be on increasing exports to cement Ink Gin's reputation as a luxury international brand.

It will also allow Husk to begin running tours of its farm and distillery and open a cellar door.
Author: James Perkins Connect via: Twitter LinkedIn





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