Made in the UK

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Jan 2001:Made in the UK
By Tabreaux on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 02:11 pm: Edit

Unlike Versinthe however, La Fee is apparently made explicitly for GB.

By Perruche_verte on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 01:28 pm: Edit

Why can't they wholesale it to someone like SC so the geographically (and financially) challenged among us can experience this drink?

If Federico can get Versinthe, he ought to be able to get La Fee.

By Don_walsh on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 01:21 pm: Edit

And just what is La Fee pricing now? My friend paid 39 GBP in UK in October, from eabsinthe.com. I suppose Gerry's off-license sales would save one the postage but, Gerry's has to make a profit too, right?

Really sad if La Fee wholesale/trade sales are bad and retail sales are confined to the Net and to Gerry's.

By Don_walsh on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 01:05 pm: Edit

Green Bohemia/Millenium is in the wholesale absinthe business selling to resellers, at a low markup but high volume. Retail sales are for them a nuisance that must be offset by relatively higher profits to justify the extra admin.

If and when they work out how to sell retail outside of UK, it won't be to make a few dollars a bottle. That would be a waste of time.

By Bob_chong on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 12:41 pm: Edit

No--I know, Don. You're right. I was just adding to the idea that the crown is screwing us. Taxes so high, they probably shake even Hobgoblin's faith (in high taxation as a means for social engineering).

BC

By Don_walsh on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 09:40 am: Edit

You guys (except Ian who understands) can't make calculations like that, because La Fee BELONGS to GB and not to the pastis maker. No UK company is going to set up 2-tier pricing whereby the product is $20-$30 in USA and 40 GBP ($60+) in UK, not when they see people in US paying Betty $120 for the same bottle. Anyway this is not something they can do from within UK for reasons that Ian has detailed elsewhere. If and when they do start shipping to USA sans UK tax and VAT, they'd be crazy to have the price be very different than it is in UK. Because UK people would (a) be pissed off and (b) start grey marketing it back into UK from US. Betty in reverse.


So you are building castles in the sky. This isn't a matter of going around a distributor to the distillery. The distillery in this case is a mere contractor. GB OWNS La Fee. So no one will be going around them.

By Absinthedrinker on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 03:04 am: Edit

Bob

True, but it's catch 22 because the only way to recoup the tax and duty at the UK end is to export it with full and correct documentation to a third country (non-EU). I'm thinking there might be a route back through the Czech republic...However no one in the UK will mess with HM C&E

By Bob_chong on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 02:54 am: Edit

A couple thoughts, then. If Americans could buy La Fee without having to pay the British taxes on the stuff, La Fee would be under $20 per bottle?

And as for buying MM in quantity: if you want to buy 6 bottles (or groups of 6), you can but from the distillery itself (marimayans.com) and save almost 50% over SC. Of course, you'd have to either live in one of the countries they ship to or contact them and ask.

BC

By Absinthedrinker on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 01:32 am: Edit

oops, I was forgetting it is a 70 cl bottle...

By Tavis on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 01:21 am: Edit

Absinthedrinker, how did you get 15 excise duty from the budget figure of nearly 20 per litre of pure alcohol? It's more like 10, or am I forgetting an extra tax?

By Absinthedrinker on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 12:10 am: Edit

I think the sums may be a little wrong here. GB retail La Fe at 32.50 (and you can get it at this price if you buy 4 bottles as the delivery is free). Take off the VAT at 4.84 per bottle and it is down to 27.66. remove the excise duty and it is down to 12.66. So that is what they actually receive for each bottle once HM Government has had a taste (so to speak). If you allow something to cover materials, sales and marketing (pretty minimal in this case). The cost of the contents plus mark up is about 10. The wholesale price ex VAT, ex duty is about 6.28 so you can work it out from there, the big winner is HM Customs & Excise.

By Don_walsh on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 12:01 am: Edit

I'd be very surprised if GB has an ex-distillery cost anywhere near 5 UK pounds. Half that is probably closer. Bear in mind that the distiller is just an 'OEM', the absinthe itself was conceived of and developed by GB and de la Haye. If you understand the economics of pastis making at all, and the costs of bottling in a lightweight clear glass bottle with a screwcap, 2-3 quid is very generous for large scale pallet quantities.

MM 70 in pallet quantities (330 bottles) is $7 US. That's little more than 4 UK pounds.

Sebor export is more expensive, $11 US for 500 x 500 ml bottle to a pallet. That's the price from Sebor UK. For the 'Krasni Lipa', Kyle used to quote $3.50 US for same qty/size, the UK (now worldwide) distributors tripled the FOB Prague price. No that does NOT include anyone's excise taxes, shipping or VAT. (Kyle made that quote to me a year ago in response to my request for the export grade, and only later claimed it was really the Cz domestic grade.)

By Tavis on Wednesday, January 10, 2001 - 09:59 pm: Edit

Well, to Green Bohemia I can't see the price per bottle before duty being much over 5? Plus duty, which is around 20 per litre of pure alcohol, or around 10 per bottle of La Fee. So, around 15 is what they make per bottle retail, probably not more because they of course have to pay the VAT they charge back to the Gov't one way or another. I believe this kind of markup is more than normal, especially in the world of low-volume, 'prestige' spirit sales.

I wish I could buy my La Fee VAT-free (I'm a contractor so have my own 'company'), write it off as essential office supplies, but I don't think that would wash with the Inland Revenue.

At 37 I would certainly consider buying from you from time to time, special occasions etc., though almost definitely just the La Fee.

Tavis

By Hersaint on Wednesday, January 10, 2001 - 09:35 pm: Edit

OK here is how it stands

I can get the La fee and other absinthes although i dont think in the UK i will be that competitive (in about 6 weeks should have the account set up)

On price, well it depends on delivery, worldwide should be easier to be more competitive

In the UK it is difficult to beat the price offered by eabsinth.com 39 including vat & Delivery but not impossible although it may only be a couple of quid cheaper 37incl vat and delivery

... I am looking at various opportunities and if I can just get rid of that VAT?


The Question I ask is if I can buy it from a distributor and include postage and Vat and sell it at 37 (although a very small Profit) in the UK 2 cheaper and still make a profit it shows how much money they are making out of it?

Anyway Im on the case and looking at all possibilities...

so Tavis it may not be for you but perhaps others can let me know out of the uk what they pay to see if it is viable

I am looking to find out firstly if anyone drinks any or all of (not at one sitting i hope) the below Absinthes and prices people pay for them including delivery ?

Sebors
La Fee
Prague
Fruko Schultz
Mari Mayans
Hills
Hapsburg

Thanks for the help

By Tavis on Wednesday, January 10, 2001 - 08:47 pm: Edit

35, hmmmm. OK, Hersaint, tell us the price you were thinking of! Looks like I will be going back to SC after all......

By Absinthedrinker on Wednesday, January 10, 2001 - 08:39 pm: Edit

Tavis

last time I looked they were selling it at 35.

By Germanandy on Wednesday, January 10, 2001 - 08:24 pm: Edit

in case that you send your bottles to germany, you have one more customer.

By Tavis on Wednesday, January 10, 2001 - 08:02 pm: Edit

Hersaint, isn't your relationship with the distributor dependent on you offering La Fee at the full RRP? I was just wondering, as surely the distributor is the one La Fee give the contact info for on their web page.

As a side note, can anyone please tell me if Jerry's in Soho are selling La Fee for 32.50, or at a discount/markup? I live 30 mins train ride from London (Waterloo) so anytime I'm in London I could pick up my La Fee then.

By Timk on Wednesday, January 10, 2001 - 07:45 pm: Edit

No, You've got two customers : - )

Tim

By Tavis on Wednesday, January 10, 2001 - 07:40 am: Edit

Hersaint, if your projected price of La Fee is under 30 quid delivered, you've got a customer!

By Hersaint on Wednesday, January 10, 2001 - 06:13 am: Edit

absinthedrinker

told you it was big ......

On Supermarkets in the UK had a right old time today trying to source Mari Myans ...Waitrose are suposed to stock it but it was as if I was speaking a foreign language.

Although I am seriously thinking about selling the UK Absinthes that are available like La Fee, Sebors , Fruko Schultz and Mari Mayans as i can get them from 1 distributer at good prices this might upset a few people but what the hell .....

will wait and see what demand is like?

By Absinthedrinker on Tuesday, January 09, 2001 - 09:39 pm: Edit

"We have just had a new Tescos Built at Hampton Court on the Outskirts it is Huge biggest Tesco's in europe I am told ........"

It must be huge, I now live just down the road from Hampton Court and that is a two hour drive from Peterborough :-)

By Hersaint on Tuesday, January 09, 2001 - 09:21 pm: Edit

Absinthedrinker

A Peterborough lad then eh? where abouts?

Yes a few supermarkets stock Sebors and the website of Mari Mayans says Waitrose or Sainsburys

We have just had a new Tescos Built at Hampton Court on the Outskirts it is Huge biggest Tesco's in europe I am told ........

I don't know any other Absinthe drinkers other than this forum .....

But i believe there is a market for absinthe in the UK it's just that branding and marketing is non existent at the moment...

The Occasional article in the Lifestyle mags like Maxim, Loaded or fhm but that's about it.

Hills are doing a semi job of marketing but I think they are concentrating regionaly ie London

I Have been informed deva 70 is available in the UK any ideas where i can get it ?

Kind regards

Joe

By Absinthedrinker on Tuesday, January 09, 2001 - 07:56 pm: Edit

Hersaint

I just noticed that you live in my old home town. I only visit very infrequently now but I can't imagine absinthe has taken off too well there. Do the supermarkets stock it?

By Hersaint on Tuesday, January 09, 2001 - 07:21 am: Edit

In agreement with Absinthedrinker no pub/club I have ever drunk in the UK (And thats a fair few) have ever sold Absinthe although it can be brought from Supermarket chains and is growing in popularity all the time. Tescos and Waitrose sell Sebors and Mari Mayans can be brought in some supermarket chains.

To be honest if its not Lager or Biter (Alcopops for the kids) the Mass British market is not interested obviously there are exceptions to the rule and always will be

A strange statistic for me was Carling Black Label was the most drunk Lager in the UK.... Can't stand the stuff myself but there's no question for taste....

Got my order today from SC out of the 3 Brands I have tasted so far

Sebors 3rd
Deva 2nd
Mari Mayans Collectors 1st


Still got to get my hands on The Bleue but I think the Sweeter it is the more I like it so....

Anyone got any Sherbert Candy Floss Absinthe?

off for another glass of that mari mayans

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, January 09, 2001 - 05:16 am: Edit

It seems kind of weird that several brands of absinthe that are UK legal are virtually impossible to find in liquor stores or venues. Why this is, I am not certain. It usually seems that where demand lies, supply follows. Who knows?

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, January 09, 2001 - 03:49 am: Edit

Gee, if La Fee isn't available in any bar Absinthedrinker knows of, this must mean that the imaginary 'Breaux's Absinthe' that was 'reviewed' by the phony reporter on that student magazine, is better distributed in UK than La Fee...as it is supposed to be sold in a pub in where, Twickenham? Tawsingham? Or would be if it existed!

If we are reduced to discussing non-existant absinthes then they can be as (un)distributed as anyone cares them to be.

Ted and I face the more complex problem of producing and distributing a real and tangible absinthe,

By Admin on Tuesday, January 09, 2001 - 02:26 am: Edit

http://www.eAbsinthe.com/bus/index.htm

I am picturing them blaring a remake of the Who's "Magic Bus" off of this thing.

Now if thats not advertising ...

By Tavis on Tuesday, January 09, 2001 - 02:14 am: Edit

I'll probably go and check it out, see if I can win some 'goodies'. I like French food too, and haven't had the chance to buy any from the French market touring the UK because the National Farmers Union idiotically put a stop to the one in my town, so hopefully I'll have a chance to sample some wares.

It's a shame there's no Spanish fairs in London, as I rate their food even higher.

By Petermarc on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 11:31 pm: Edit

as opposed to the "how quickly can you see things as they really are" competition? i would go, without a doubt, if i wasn't in viet nam at the time...i assure you they're aren't any "french lifestyles" shows in france that have an absinthe maker as one of the sponsors...it's going to be a chance to check the pulse of "traditional" absinthe drinking in england and i certainly would be handing out cards if i were you, ian...but i am an american capitolistic(sp) pig...

By Tavis on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 10:47 pm: Edit

There's nothing about free absinthe at eabsinthe.com, though there is the chance to take part in the 'La Fee Absinthe Challenge' at the exhibition and win some 'absinthe goodies', the challenge I think having something to do with playing petanque. Exhibitors sometimes have special offers at fairs but somehow half-price La Fee would be too good to be true.....

By Absinthedrinker on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 10:24 pm: Edit

Is it worth a visit d'you think? I mean unless its a free glass and as much absinthe as you can drink I'm not really interested ;-)

By Tavis on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 10:14 pm: Edit

GB are only sponsoring the petanque area, so I guess they wouldn't show up as a main sponsor. They're taking over from Ricard, who sponsored this area last year. So it looks like they're definitely aiming for the 'sophisticated francophile' area of the market with this show, as opposed to the 'down in one, down in one, down in one!' area of the market.

By Absinthedrinker on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 10:01 pm: Edit

Peter, I checked out the exhibition details (http://www.vivelafrance.co.uk) but couldn't find GB listed as a sponsor only Eurotunnel - are we talking about the same one?

By Petermarc on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 09:41 pm: Edit

ian,
maybe you should check out the french lifestyles show in london this month and see what is the reaction to la fe, since they will be one of the sponsors...maybe most of the english (except for a few here) prefer the option of setting drinks on fire when not having a pint...i saw an english comedy show recently, and when one guy ordered an absinthe in a pub, the others joked that it was 'gay'...(not that there's anything wrong with that)

By Absinthedrinker on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 08:51 pm: Edit

Apart from the fact that it isn't advertised anywhere, it is unavailable outside of one shop in Soho and you can't buy it in any bar that I know of, I don't know why it isn't a roaring success...

By Don_walsh on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 08:43 pm: Edit

Is it still the case that La Fee is not paralleling the success of Swills, and, if so, why not?

It's better. (That's easy. But it's a LOT better.)

It's cheaper. (Well, just a little.)

So why not? Same marketeers. Same market. Or is the market in UK withering?

By Absinthedrinker on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 07:53 pm: Edit

Wormwood scrubs - Ilike it! Actually the reason distillers in the UK aren't interested is that compared to whisky and gin, the market just ain't there. This board probably accounts for 90% of sales of La Fe...

By Don_walsh on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 05:52 am: Edit

Suggestion for name of first UK made absinthe:

"Wormwood Scrubs"

by Piranha Bros. Distillery
Spiny Norman's Hanger
Heathrow

By Don_walsh on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 03:20 am: Edit

It could just be that din distillers are all large industrial operations and can't be bothered about a niche market item.

It isn't lack of 'expertise' until one gets to the very pinnacle, or lack of 'raw materials'. The biggest and best commercial herb vendors are not in USA, they are in Europe and they ship worldwide (I know!) so the proposition is thay can't ship across the Channel? Shit, they can truck or ferry across the Channel.

Gin is distilled, or sometimes percolated, from alcohol and herbs together in the pot or, when percolated, the vapors are passed through herbs in a special steel basket, and few of those herbs originate in UK. Go read the label on a bottle of Bombay Sapphire and you can confirm this.

So the process is not unfamiliar in its outlines to the UK gin makers, and they source their herbs worldwide just like I do. What is lacking is the inclination, that's all.

By Petermarc on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 02:32 am: Edit

is this like sinking a useless ship to create an artificial reef?

By Artemis on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 01:46 am: Edit

"(i have seen an empty bottle with label, which was used for my 'artisanal' calvados) maybe the french just buy it to dump out and re-use the bottles..."

Petermarc, the friend I mentioned to you called an Absente bottle to just such a higher purpose. He told me he sent the Absente itself down the drain.

By Petermarc on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 01:07 am: Edit

in fact, whisky is made in brittany (celtic influence?) i've never tried it, nor do i know of anyone who has tried it (i have seen an empty bottle with label, which was used for my 'artisanal' calvados) maybe the french just buy it to dump out and re-use the bottles...

By Absinthedrinker on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 01:06 am: Edit

Maybe you could sell the empty bottle with its butt plug on ebay...

By Tavis on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 12:56 am: Edit

DYC apparently gives you SUCH a headache the morning after (apart from my girlfriend, who it gives a headache to the night before! I thank you!). I always avoided it when I was living in Madrid, although I saw on the news how some enterprising bar managers would drill out a plug from the bottom of a good bottle of whisky, empty the bottle then fill it with DYC (oh, the jokes could go on and on....), then glue the glass plug back in the bottom. That way the tax seal on the cap was still intact.

By Absinthedrinker on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 12:49 am: Edit

OK, I was being glib, but your comments on Spanish mash distillate (I won't dignify it with the name whisky) speak for themselves. No one in their right mind is going to buy that swill any more than anyone would buy UK absinthe. The Czechs got away with it by trading on the reputation absinthe had and the fact that no one else was producing it.

By Tavis on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 12:30 am: Edit

That doesn't stop the Spanish making whisky! If you ever have the chance to try DYC whisky (the name speaks for itself 'cause brainless dicks drink it), for chrissakes don't!

Seriously though, how much expertise is needed to produce absinthe of the standard of the czech swill? Due to the high tax on high-alcohol spirits, it might only entail a saving of 5 a bottle, which may not be worth the set-up costs.

By Absinthedrinker on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 12:23 am: Edit

I would have thought that the main reason why absinthe is not made in the UK is the same one as why whisky is not made in France. No tradition, no expertise and no raw ingredients.

By Don_walsh on Sunday, January 07, 2001 - 01:19 pm: Edit

Akvaavit Aalborg is good, esp by the shot, neat, and chilled really hard.

By Grimbergen on Sunday, January 07, 2001 - 12:54 pm: Edit

"How different is absinthe making (or pastis making) in broad general terms, from gin making?"

I'm thinking of a scenario such as if the FDA removed restrictions on thujone, but the ATF still had rules on the books that ban absinthe. I would have given a british example, but I don't know what their food regulatory body is.

Any brits want to chime in here?

Grim

By Grimbergen on Sunday, January 07, 2001 - 12:48 pm: Edit

"Gin tastes like Pine Sol."

Thanks Martin, your at the top of my list again ;)

By Martin on Sunday, January 07, 2001 - 12:44 pm: Edit

Speaking of herbal spirits... has anyone here tried aquavit? It looks interesting, and I was wondering if anyone could recommend a particular brand.

-M.

By Martin on Sunday, January 07, 2001 - 12:43 pm: Edit

Gin tastes like Pine Sol.

Vodka only for my Martinis.

-M.

By Don_walsh on Sunday, January 07, 2001 - 12:36 pm: Edit

Well, laws and sausages, as Churchill used to say. But, I am not aware of any prohibition on absinthe making in UK. It seems to me that if it legal to import it is legal to make. With appropriate obeisances to the bureaucracies, permits, licenses, etc.

But, it's a question best addressed by one or more of our British brothers and sisters.

How different is absinthe making (or pastis making) in broad general terms, from gin making? Both are herbal. No, I know there are differences in detail but not in the overview. I make absinthe after all, and have never tried making gin. Mostly because I don't much care for gin except in a Singapore Sling.

By Grimbergen on Sunday, January 07, 2001 - 12:20 pm: Edit

"I put it to you that obviously, if it were cheaper to make absinthe in UK than for a UK distributor to source it or OEM it in Spain, France, etc. -- then that's what would be happening. But that is NOT what is happening."

yeah thanks, I am aware that people like to produce cheaply. We all know what happened, my question is why it happened. Did they choose to produce outside of the UK because it was cheaper or because it is illegal to produce in the UK.

Grim

By Don_walsh on Saturday, January 06, 2001 - 07:50 pm: Edit

Look, France has lots of pastis makers, UK has none. The UK distributors went to the French pastis makers and had then make absinthe. Whether you 'think' of France as cheap or expensive, the fact remaisn that this is what has happened. And let's take the example of one French product (La Fee) distributed by same people who sell Hills. La Fee is a better product than Hills, and La Fee is sold for less than Hills. This is partially due to lower taxes (EU member France versus non EU member CZ.) However it is reasonable to assume that, ex factory, a bottle of La Fee costs the Green Whatevers about the same as a bottle of Hills and that price is <$10 probably <$5.

Those numbers are also representative of the wholesale selling prices of MM and of Sebor, to throw in one Spanish and one Czech for comparison. Obviously the respective distributors buy these for less than they sell them for in pallet quantities, don't you agree? I'll leave it to you to work out what Bulgarian, Italian, Portugese or Brazilian absinthes probably cost at the 'distilleries' involved, and I use the word loosely.

I put it to you that obviously, if it were cheaper to make absinthe in UK than for a UK distributor to source it or OEM it in Spain, France, etc. -- then that's what would be happening. But that is NOT what is happening.

By Grimbergen on Saturday, January 06, 2001 - 05:20 pm: Edit

I can understand producers preferring to locate in spain or the czech republic, but france?! France is pretty much the last place that comes to mind when I think cheap. Furthermore I would suspect that it would be a much greater hassles producing in spain.

"A UK made product would also be heavily excise-taxed."
I would have thought that the import duties would have been worse. Anyone know the details on this?

Could it be a situation where absinthe is legal to sell and import into the UK, but not legal to produce it? Different sets of laws governing the sale and the production of liquor?

Grim

By Don_walsh on Saturday, January 06, 2001 - 03:19 pm: Edit

So far the UK absinthe enterprises all prefer to source their products in Spain, France, and Cz.Rep. I think it is clear that this applies to pre-existing products as well as those created by the UK businesses -- the latter including all of the absinthes made in France (three brands).

Obviously it is cheaper to do so than to produce in UK. Labor in cheaper in the other countries. Maybe Martin will call these UK operators 'capitalist pigs'?

A UK made product would also be heavily excise-taxed.

This sort of economic integration within the EU (this applies to all but the Cz Rep.) is perfectly normal.

Note that historically the UK was not a production center for absinthe; unlike gin and (Scotch and some Irish) whiskey.

By Grimbergen on Saturday, January 06, 2001 - 01:16 pm: Edit

Does anyone know why there are no absinthe producers in the UK?

Grim

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