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Rackham gets trolleyed

Published:  23 July, 2008

We've had disco, flares, Abba and Blue Nun; now Surrey-based spirits specialist James Rackham is looking to revive another '70s staple: the drinks trolley.

Rackham has commissioned a factory in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand to produce 1,000 customised drinks trolleys, branded with his company's logo (Arthur Rackham Emporia) and designed to carry a number of the spirit and liqueur brands he represents in the UK. He plans to roll out' 200 of the trolleys to restaurants around the country in the early part of next year, with the rest to come over the following 18 months.

The trolleys are part of Rackham's plans to become a leader in what he refers to as the second string' of spirits companies. You've got the big boys - the Diageos and the Pernod Ricards - but what you're seeing at the moment is the emergence

of a really strong second string of spirits companies that are all about authenticity and quality,' Rackham told Harpers.

We're looking to be right at the head

of that second string.'

The company has been adding a number of producers to its portfolio in recent months - the most recent being liqueur and spirits producer Alain Robert's Distilleries et Domaines de Provence and Tequila brand Casco Viejo. Robert's range includes a premium Poire Williams and a number of herb- and fruit-based apritifs and liqueurs. Casco Viejo is the second-biggest Tequila producer in Mexico, and Rackham has recently brought its Don Augustin Reposado 100% Agave to the UK.

The company is also planning a number of major new launches in the New Year, including the UK debut of a very important' Cognac house and a new gin - produced using Saffron, in collaboration with Burgundian liqueur producer Gabriel Boudier - that Rackham says will be revolutionary'.