If you live in Pennsylvania (particularly near Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Erie, Harrisburg, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton or Allentown), Spanish Oak is a name that you may have heard over the past couple of months. The product has hit Pennsylvania Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores with a passion and consumers are asking a lot of questions. What does it taste like? Who owns it? Where did it come from? Why is it different from other brandies or cognacs? Well we are here to enlighten our fellow spirits enthusiasts and tell you a little more about why everyone is so excited.
We at Premier Innovations Group were fortunate enough to team up with Spanish Oak Brandy founder Istvan Pasku when conceptualizing and developing the Spanish Oak brand. Initially when Istvan approached Noah Cohen and Frank Bachurski of the Premier Innovations Group team he knew that he wanted to produce the finest brandy from the most sought after brandy makers in Spain. Istvan has a passion for fruit based spirits and he not only wanted to source the best juice in the land, but he also wanted to create an amazing brand identity, custom glass bottle and product packaging that would stand out on the shelf. Premier accepted the challenge and we began creating what is now seen as one of the upcoming brandy products in its category.
In the interview below with The Spirits Business, Istvan discusses making brandies that appeal to a younger generation of drinkers and differentiating the category from its French counterpart.
Why did you decide to launch Spanish Oak Brandy?
After more than 10 years sitting front of the computer I wanted to create something with my hands; a physical product that represents my personality. I was always a brown spirits drinker and when I moved to Spain in 2014 I realized that Spanish brandy is an outstanding product, so I decided to jump on this and aimed to rejuvenate the product and the brandy category.
What is an interesting fact about Spanish Oak Brandy?
Our brandy has a sweeter aftertaste because of the grapes. We still use the traditional solera system with American oak barrels but we age it only for nine to 15 months, to keep it fruity and not too oaky. We are also using old Sherry barrels, mostly those that contained oloroso Sherry – this gives the brandy a beautiful color and aroma. We do not add any coloring, caramel, sugar or anything else to the finished product; it is pure and natural.
How does Spanish brandy differ to that from other regions?
I usually say that Spanish brandies contain more sun and more fun. In Spain, the wineries mostly produce the brandy from Palomino or Airen grapes, which are typically drier. Our brandy is made in the Montilla-Moriles region, because that is where the largest Pedro Ximenez vineyards can be found.
What challenges do you face?
We are always trying to change the perception our consumers have about brandy. Many people still think that brandy is for old people or that drinking brandy cannot be fun and is not in fashion.
What can you tell me about your Orange Brandy?
This is our latest launch. Beside our core brandy we have created an Orange variation of the product with some extra fruitiness, so we filter the brandy through dried orange peels. This process is very sensitive and we have to carefully measure the amount of orange and the time it takes as it can become bitter very quickly. The Spanish Oak Orange Brandy has just recently been released and we are receiving an amazing response.
Is there space for further expansion of your range?
Since we are targeting consumers between the ages of 25-45, our main focus is on the Spanish Oak Brandy Solera and the Spanish Oak Brandy Orange, because these products represent our philosophy. After this we have the possibility to extend the range with Reserva or even with Gran Reserva products in the future. Plus, I have a few other ideas that are in the research and development stage now.
What can we expect from the company in the next year?
Our products are ready, so we keep contacting importers and distributors that are willing to help us spread our philosophy. We have developed a concept where we visit bars with our Spanish Oak Brandy and a musician, called Julia Martin. With this concept we are delivering the sun and fun all around the world. Using this marketing and our product portfolio I believe we can break the walls and present our Spanish Oak Brandy to a wider audience in 2020.
If you are asking where you can purchase this brand and taste it for yourself, we have a map below of 52 current store locations that carry the product. And if your local Pennsylvania Wine & Spirits store does not have it in stock, you simply need to ask the manager of the store to request it on their next order, and they can have it on the shelves typically within a weeks time.
If you are reading this and internationally awarded wine and spirits are something that you are interested in pursuing, contact Premier Innovations Group for a free consultation today. We have the knowledge, resources and passion to make your vision a reality. And we have an award winning palate.
Premier Innovations Group is a multi-faceted alcoholic beverage umbrella corporation that creates, develops and imports a wide range of alcoholic beverage brands. Premier has a global network conducive to beverage product distribution and alcoholic beverage formulation. We specialize in full packaging sourcing from start to finish and brand development. Premier has the ability to handle import/export logistics and TTB services. Premier Innovations Group owns their own brands and also provides these services to other companies. In this capacity we help clients develop brands, private label or want to improve their current price structure and brand packaging.