Posted: 16/12/2019

New Amazon gin looks like first drink of many for online giant

Amazon has launched its own gin – and promised to add more self-owned alcoholic drinks to its website.

The huge online retailer and marketplace, which had revenue of more than £10 billion in the UK alone last year, is selling 70cl bottles of gin under its newly created Tovess brand.

The 41.5% ABV spirit is available only through Amazon, available for next-day delivery and priced at £24.99. It is the first time the company has offered its own alcoholic drinks to the UK market, and a spokesman said more “will be added over time”.

William Chase, founder of Herefordshire-based Chase Distillery and crisp brand Tyrrells, described Amazon’s venture as “true greed”.

Chase, whose distillery sells a 40% ABV potato-based gin at £32 for 70cl, asked: “Who would want to buy a credible food or drink brand under Amazon?”

Alec Paterson, chief commercial officer at food and drink warehouse Borough Box agreed.

“It is interesting that Amazon has decided not to go own-brand but instead to go private label, creating a brand that shares no real values with its parent company,” he said. “I suppose this makes sense, because who wants to buy Amazon Gin?”

Paterson added that in one sense the move made “perfect sense”.  

“Amazon has access to extremely powerful sales data which should give it insights into what sells and what doesn’t so it can target product lines where it sees an opportunity.

“Gin is extremely low hanging fruit, not just because it’s popular but because it’s extremely easy to make, there are significant economies of scale, there is no lengthy ageing process, it has unlimited shelf life and there are a plethora of producers out there who can help.”

He insisted it was not yet a threat to small alcoholic drink producers.  

“There’s no innovation here and Amazon is not really entering the market in its own name. I’d be more worried if I was Diageo.  

“Small independent producers lead the world in innovation both in ethics and quality, and this poses no threat to either. It is another player in the market, but it is not priced to compete with the artisan gins, rather the large mass market products.”

Amazon said in a marketing statement that the Tovess brand was “dedicated to curating expertly distilled spirits from around the world”.

It added that the Tovess Single Batch Crafted Dry Gin was a “premium” product, “crafted to the highest quality standards”.

This story appeared in the December issue of Fine Food Digest. You can read more on the digital edition here.

Read more of the latest news from Fine Food Digest here

Return to the top