Entrepreneur Ian Killen takes first steps to revive historic gin brand with launch of Belfast 1912

Posted By:
Impact Communications

15th Nov 2021

A launch over a century in the making, a historic Belfast spirit which was uncovered by chance by Founder Ian Killen behind an old mirror in his home is once again available to be enjoyed by consumers across Northern Ireland and beyond.

With significant investment behind them and ambitious future plans, the team behind Belfast 1912 gin has set its sights on celebrating the rich history of the heritage spirit and has taken steps to bring production of the premium gin back to Belfast.

Gathering distinguished trade representatives and media against the luxurious and iconic backdrop of Titanic Hotel in Belfast, Ian Killen, alongside Managing Director of specialist drinks agency CB Drinks Gary Flynn and renowned mixologist Anthony ‘Soda’ Farrell of Cocktail Keg Company shared his vision for the drinks brand as guests indulged in the 1912 signature serve collection of cocktails which highlighted the diversity and sophistication of the spirit.

“This event has been over a century in the making,” said Ian Killen. “This epic journey started with the chance discovery in 1992 of an old recipe stowed carefully behind an antique mirror. Whilst undergoing some renovations in our home, I removed the mirror and discovered an aged newspaper dated from 1912 which highlighted the sinking of the Titanic on its front page. Alongside the clipping was a photograph of a young man and a piece of paper with what looked like a recipe scrawled across it.”

The discovery plunged Ian into a research project which consumed him over the coming years as he uncovered the spirit’s origins at East Belfast’s Avoniel Distillery, a turn-of-the-century distillery which has long since been erased from the landscape of East Belfast. “I felt strongly that this discovery happened for a reason, and the more I learned about the recipe’s mysterious origins, the more I felt called to bring this heritage spirit back to be enjoyed by all.”

Collaborating with Gary Flynn and his team of specialists at CB Drinks, the spirit is currently gracing the shelves in shops and online listings across Northern Ireland’s independent retail network and collaborating with key licensed venues ranging from the Titanic Hotel to the Garrick Bar with the help of Northern Ireland distributor Nelson Sauvin.

“We are proud of the partnership we have grown with Ian and the Belfast 1912 team as the brand has been strategically positioned for national and international distribution,” said Gary. “Through our strong partnerships with the drinks and hospitality industries and our wider brand ecosystem which supported a brand refresh, website development and marketing collateral we are delighted by the warm welcome the spirit has already received and look forward to continued growth for Belfast 1912.”

Whilst Northern Ireland boasts a wide range of premium gins, what makes Belfast 1912 unique is its historical origin in our capital city and unique process which includes a triple-grain product which is cask rested for six weeks, giving the gin a smooth, highly-drinkable flavour and adaptability which suits sipping the spirit straight as well as mixing into modern takes on classic cocktails.

For more information on Belfast 1912 visit www.belfast1912.global or follow @Belfast1912gin on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.