IRELAND. Aer Rianta International (ARI) highlighted its growing range of gins and the increasing popularity of the spirit in a two-month festival at Dublin and Cork airports.

The company, which operates The Loop retail zones at the Irish airports, hosted The Spirit of Gin Festival throughout August and September.

In the Loop: Over 50 gins are stocked across Dublin and Cork airports

ARI said gin was now the fastest-growing category across Dublin and Cork airports, with sales of the spirit up +70% in 2016 compared to the previous year. The Loop has invested heavily in its offering in 2016 and this year, and currently stocks more than 50 gin products.

The Loop’s range has expanded by +50% in the last year, ARI said, and the festival offered an opportunity to educate customers about the gins available.

The Spirit of Gin Festival allowed ARI to highlight its gin range and educate customers

Sales of Irish gin have been particularly strong, growing by nearly +200% in 2016. The sub-category is a key focus for The Loop, according to Global Head of Category Paul Hunnisett. “We have worked closely with suppliers and partners to bring some exciting Irish gins to our customers, some of which are exclusive to The Loop,” he said. “During the gin festival, Irish gin experienced an increase of +240% with the entire gin range growing +114%.”

ARI said The Loop is working closely with Irish gin distillers and aims to support new and exclusive products. “Shoppers can enjoy the thrill of picking a gin that cannot be found elsewhere, such as Listoke Barnstorm, a blend created and distilled in Drogheda, Co. Louth,” the company stated. “Also exclusive to The Loop is a special edition Glendalough Summer Gin, which was foraged and distilled by The Loop staff.”

The retailer also highlighted The Loop’s ‘Gin Ambassador Programme’, in which a number of staff members have been selected to complete personalised training on brand distilling processes and gin recipes. The gin ambassadors are available in-store to help educate customers and assist them in choosing the right gin.

ARI said it is keen to add new and exciting gins to its already impressive range