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UK Spirits Sector Receives Bourbon Boost As ‘Never Say Die’ Brand Ships First Instalment Of Barrels To The UK

The brand inspired by the horse Lestor Piggott rode to victory in 1954 begins its maiden trans-Atlantic voyage with its first Whiskey expected in the UK in July

Our Kentucky Straight Bourbon is destined to improve with a new process – an ocean voyage – which we expect to bring out more of a unique flavour profile.”
— Master Distiller and Co-Founder Never Say Die, Shane Baker
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, June 1, 2022 / -- In a first for the category, the bourbon – distilled in Kentucky and aged in a new oak barrel – will be finished in England, creating a unique flavour profile.

The long-awaited launch of Never Say Die follows the Department for International Trade’s negotiation of the resolution of the Section 232 Trade dispute and the removal of retaliatory tariffs which were imposed on US imports to the UK by the EU in 2018.

The 25% tariff on Bourbon imports saw consumers pay £68m in additional costs between 2018 and March 2022. The trade dispute also stifled inward investment to the UK from existing US brands with English Gins and Scottish Whiskies in their portfolios, as well forcing emerging brands such as Never Say Die to postpone their launch and to delay vital investment and partnerships with the UK supply chain. All this changed once the UK Government negotiated the tariffs removal, giving the UK spirits industry a much-needed boost.

Never Say Die was co-founded by a team of trans-Atlantic partners who have expertise in investment, horseracing, PR and political campaigning, as well as an impressive history in distilling premium Bourbon. In the US, successful businessmen Pat Madden and Brian Luftman are among the founders alongside master distillers and bourbon experts Pat Heist and Shane Baker, who oversee the distilling of Never Say Die. The fermentation experts with more than 20 years of experience in the production of alcohol and some of the best brands on the market today specialise in making unique spirits from locally-grown grains to ensure quality, and adding a healthy dose of science in the process.

To support the sector and to expedite the removal of the tariff, UK based founders of Never Say Die and founders of Lodestone Communications, Martha Dalton, Fran O’Leary and David Wild established the Bourbon Alliance, who with support from industry giants Beam Suntory and Brown-Forman convened a membership of over 60 stakeholders spanning the supply chain in the US and the UK. Through the Alliance, the Sector worked with the UK and US Governments to deliver key insights on the extent of the damage from the dispute.

Never Say Die is the first Bourbon to be matured in Kentucky, shipped via Atlantic Ocean vessel and finished in England. In its essence, it is the product of trans-Atlantic collaboration and a celebration of the special relationship. Never Say Die’s flagship product is its Bourbon Barrel strength. Considered a “High Rye” Bourbon, this offering blends subtle spice, caramel undertones and an amazingly smooth finish which can be enjoyed neat, on ice or in your favourite cocktail.

Once unloaded safely on UK shores, the Never Say Die product will head to a specialist storage facility in the UK’s Peak District to enter the final stages of its maturation. The countdown is now on and it won’t be long until UK consumers can celebrate the return of tariff-free Bourbon by raising a glass of Never Say Die.

Co-Founder of the Bourbon Alliance and Never Say Die, Martha Dalton said:

“We’re delighted to finally be shipping our product to the UK. Following an exciting few years of sourcing the best quality ingredients, Kentucky expertise and a lot of hard work, we found ourselves sitting on hundreds of barrels of whiskey which we couldn’t import due to the tariffs. Thanks to the removal of the bourbon tariff, we’re finally able to make good on our commitments with UK glassware suppliers, storage and bottling facilities, distributors, wholesalers and retailers, and to introduce UK consumers to Never Say Die. We can’t wait to finally bring our unique product to American Whiskey lovers in the UK.”

Master Distiller and Co-Founder Never Say Die, Shane Baker said:

“Our Kentucky Straight Bourbon is destined to improve with a new process – an ocean voyage – which we expect to bring out more of a unique flavour profile. Our premium product – will continue to mature in the barrel with lower atmospheric pressure and a lot of agitation interacting with the charred seasoned barrel staves on the ocean – unlike other maritime attempts, all of Never Say Die’s barrels will experience the long voyage.”

About Never Say Die
Never Say Die was founded in 2017 by Pat Madden, Brian Luftman, Shane Baker, Pat Heist, Martha Dalton, Fran O’Leary and David Wild. Never Say Die is the English take on the American Dream.

In 1951, on Hamburg Farm in Lexington, KY, a foal had a rough birth and its life was in danger. Legendary horseman, John A. Bell III poured a shot of whiskey down the throat of the struggling foal. Through the night, the young horse made a dramatic recovery and was aptly named Never Say Die. Three years later, after experiencing some success in England, Never Say Die was entered into the biggest race in the world, the 175th Epsom Derby. In front of a shocking 250K spectators, including Queen Elizabeth II and Sir Winston Churchill, Never Say Die, at 33-1, beat out 22 horses to become the first American-born horse to win the race in over 70 years. Meanwhile, a woman in Liverpool named Mona Best had fallen in love with the name and story of Never Say Die. On a leap of faith, she pawned all of her jewellery, literally “betting it all”. With her new fortune, she purchased a historic Victorian home in Liverpool to transform it into a music venue. The basement was a low-key stage for up-and-coming musicians called the Casbah Coffee Club. The opening night of the Casbah Coffee Club featured a band called The Quarrymen. The band-members, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison were each paid £3 for their weekly gig. The Quarrymen hired Mona’s son, Peter to be their drummer, eventually replaced by Ringo Star. Rock and Roll history was forever changed by a band’s humble beginnings and the shocking upset victory of a horse who may have never run a race without that fateful sip of whiskey on a cold KY night.

Martha Dalton
Lodestone Communications
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