Dromore couple send their vodka to Russia

Stuart and Barbara Hughes with Jonathan Magennis, Bartender at E|I|P|I|C Bar & Restaurant at Deanes Restaurant Belfast. Credit: Harrison Photography
Stuart and Barbara Hughes with Jonathan Magennis, Bartender at E|I|P|I|C Bar & Restaurant at Deanes Restaurant Belfast. Credit: Harrison Photography

A company owned by a couple from Dromore has won its first business in Russia.

Hughes Craft in Lisburn, ran by Barbara and Stuart Hughes, produce RubyBlue Premium Potato Vodka which can now be bought from the back bar of Irish Pubs in Belgorod, Russia.

The Russian business follows an order from Fortnum and Mason in London for the vodka and the company’s RubyBlue Cranberry liqueur.

Barbara Hughes, commercial director of Hughes Craft Distillery, which launched RubyBlue Vodka last year, said: “Selling Irish vodka to Russia is a marvellous boost for our small batch distillery and considered by some the equivalent of selling Sand to the Arabs.”

The contract follows an approach the Russian buyers at a trade show earlier this year.

Initially discounting that Ireland can produce good Vodka the team were overwhelmed by the purity and smooth finish of RubyBlue Vodka.

“We’ve also been encouraged by the decision to import our full range including RubyBlue Whiskey Cask-aged Vodka and our four premium fruit liqueurs which are all ideal for sipping, mixing in cocktails or even in culinary uses,” Stuart Hughes said.

“We initially suggested working with the Russian team to create distinctive RubyBlue cocktails for the Russian bars but were quickly informed Russians don’t mess with good spirits, another compliment to the high regard in which our small batch range has been received.

“RubyBlue is perfect for those that like to enjoy vodka neat but is an excellent base for cocktails, its ultra-smooth Vodka with an appealing nose, subtle notes of vanilla, and crisp apple.

“It’s creamy, well-rounded with a heartening earthiness and a long clean finish. Our Signature Serve for RubyBlue Vodka is on Ice with Lemonade and garnished with a wedge of Apple & Sprig of Thyme.”

Hughes Craft Distillery Ltd, was founded in 2010 and was the first Craft Spirits Producer in Northern Ireland.

The business began life from the couple’s home, and after resigning from their jobs and remortgaging their home, they set about establishing a business that has seen its turnover quadrupled in the last year as result of its growing RubyBlue Spirits collection.

RubyBlue Potato Vodkas and Fresh Fruit Liqueurs, are now available at Dublin Airport, Belfast International Airport and Amazon, the online retailer. You can find the range in Tesco, Asda and Supervalu stores.