A new deal to distribute Harris Gin across the USA has begun – and it’s all because of a bottle of gin in a Paris shop window.
The Isle of Harris Distillery has signed a new distribution agreement with Dallas-based MISA Imports in Texas, USA, after their founder spotted the distinctive bottle while window-shopping in the French capital back in 2018, according to a report on Wednesday 21 April in the professional journal Drinks International.
Sam Assaad, founder of Misa Imports, said: “While the Misa business was built on wine, we are building a craft spirits portfolio. I discovered Isle of Harris Gin in the window of the La Maison Du Whisky shop in Paris.
“I instantly fell in love with the brand and dreamt of selling it in the US one day. The incredible flavours of the gin and the story of the social distillery were electrifying.
“I am equally excited about the planned launch of the first single malt scotch whisky, The Hearach, which is maturing on the island and promises to be exceptional.”
Misa was founded in 1998 and imports to the USA from 19 countries worldwide, supplying customers in 50 US states. According to Sam, a true partnership requires finding the right fit, matching the right customer with the right supplier and delivering products in a transparent manner.
Once his attention had been caught by Harris gin’s distinctive bottle and unique story, Sam contacted Harris Distillers’ managing director Simon Erlanger.
Simon told Drinks International: “It was serendipitous as I had just started research into the best way to choose a partner for the US. I was determined not to rush this decision: the US is destined to be our lead export market for both the gin and eventually our single malt whisky, however it is a highly complex market and notoriously difficult to find the right partner.”
On Misa’s webpage at https://misaimports.com/portfolio/spirits/ the company says: “With the same precision and care as our extensive wine portfolio, Misa has meticulously selected fine distillers to partner with that best represent what liquors they have to offer.
“In result, we have achieved the perfect harmony between our premium wines and fine spirits. We encourage you to uncover each brand’s unique reflection of artisanal craft, smooth flavors and distinctive charm.”
The first shipment of gin is now on the way to the US, and the Misa team have already started securing new customers in Texas, California and Illinois. Isle of Harris Gin is one of only five gins in the US company’s portfolio – the other four come from Tennessee, USA and from Quebec in Canada.
The pictures show the Maison du Whisky shop window in Paris, Misa founder Sam Assaad and the introductory presentation on Harris Gin being used to market the product in the USA.