WITH almost two-century history, Intercontinental Distillers is Nigeria’s pre-eminent distillers catering for the distinct palates and tastes of Nigerian wine and spirit connoisseurs. Its precursor was J&B which went through a series of acquisition and ownership change until it became what was known as International Distillers & Vintners (IDV). IDV itself was the spirit division of the then Grand Metropolitan Plc of the United Kingdom.
With eyes focused on the international market, Grand Metropolitan launched the International Distillers Nigeria Limited (IDNL) in1983. International Distillers Nigeria Limited (IDNL) as it then was, commenced production in 1984 with Eagle Aromatic Schnapps. To supplement its production efforts, IDL embarked on the importation and marketing of popular international brands including Smirn-off, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Gilbey’s London Dry Gin. IDNL subsequently commenced a series of expansion which saw it through its first decade of operation with increased popularity, market acceptance and preference for her products until its current flagship brand, Chelsea London Dry Gin was introduced in 1987.
Following the acceptance of its products in Nigeria and across the West African sub-region and beyond, ten years after, precisely in 1997, International Distillers Nigeria Limited was rebranded and it became known as Intercontinental Distillers Limited (IDL).
Presently leading products on IDL’s
Produced from the finest quality ingredients according to the traditional recipe, Chelsea London Dry Gin is the flagship brand of IDL. The clean, fresh taste of Chelsea London Dry Gin makes it delicious as an aperitif or in a cocktail. Chelsea has a premium, superior tasting brand playing in the top end segment of the Nigerian Gin market. Chelsea is available in various packs and sizes.
Eagle Aromatic Schnapps is a crystal clear Aromatic Schnapps that elicits consumers’ satisfaction because of its characteristics taste and flavour. It is highly preferred by men of inherent dependable strength and wisdom. Revered as a prayer and libation drink that is sure to connect with the ancestors. Eagle has also over the years carved a niche for itself as a drink of royalty, tradition and culture. Hence its endorsement by royal fathers, from different parts of Nigeria.
And as more and more Nigerians are becoming health-conscious in their choice of food and drink, IDL unleashed Action Bitters on the market. With the initial advertising lingo: ‘Delete sugar, upload the herbs’, Action Bitters has since become the favourite of the active, health-conscious spirit consumers.
Apart from some of these flagship brands who are market leaders, beating competition blue black in the marketing arena, other brands on the IDL brands portfolio including the non-alcoholic fruit drink, Veleta are stirring the market.
Perhaps it is an affirmation of the success story of its brands and products in the market against all odds and in celebration of the ‘never say die’ and unbreakable spirit of Nigerians that IDL launched a unique in-house bar at its corporate head office in Ikeja , Lagos a few years ago. Aptly named the ‘Spirit of Naija Bar’, the lounge which is cosy, classy and beautifully decorated is dotted with photographs of jinx-breaking, successful Nigerians. From sports comes the like of Nwankwo Kanu, Jay-Jay Okocha while the likes of Fela, Genevieve Nnaji, KSA and Mercy Johnson represent the showbiz stars.
Giving reason for the initiative, IDL managing director, Mr Patrick Anegbe said: “ We took that resilient spirit of Nigeria into making the ‘Spirit of Naija Bar’. The Nigeria spirit is pliant, we are the quintessential ‘can do spirit’. No matter what we have been through, how far we’ve come, we believe, we can. And guess what ?- the more we believe it, the more we achieve. That is what the ‘ spirit of Naija Lounge ‘ is all about. It is a ground of motivation. This lounge will give IDL and Nigerians the opportunity to bring out the authenticity in us. The message from us at IDL with this bar is ‘Let’s Soar in the Spirit of Naija.’
Just like the resilient spirit of Nigerians and the stars that are being celebrated in the ‘Spirit of Naija Bar’, all the flagship brands and products from the home of IDL have over the past decades, even now and in future will continue to weather the storms, break barriers and dominate the wine and spirit market in Nigeria and beyond.