Online Tonics Venture For El Torero Entrepreneurs

Issue 20

The entrepreneurs behind a string of successful Spanish venues in the North East have now launched an online tonic retail business to help tap into the booming gin market.

Claire Elwell and Toni Almiron, alongside business partner Joan Targas from Spanish Fine Foods, have launched Importonics, an e-commerce company which stocks a wide range of premium tonics sourced from around the world. Flavours are as diverse as cucumber, liquorice and tangerine.

The couple stock hundreds of gins, supplying to many bars and restaurants across the city as well as across the wider North East and UK.

As with their other ventures, which also include El Torero in Newcastle and El Coto restaurants in Newcastle and Durham, Importonics takes influence from Spain and the popularity there of drinking gin with flavoured mixers.

Since its launch three months ago, Importonics, which sells mixers, gin glasses and botanical sprays through importonics.co.uk, has already seen strong interest from across the UK.

Dacantus, Grey Street, has a collection of over 300 gins but their latest venue, The Continental restaurant and bar on Collingwood Street, stocks over 500 different varieties. Both venues share a gin expert General Manager, Shaun Stewart.

Claire said: “The G&T revolution happened about 15 years ago in Spain. It’s nothing new to have gin with a flavoured tonic there but here in the UK it is still very different. There are a few very established brands in producing tonics but not a huge amount of variety.”

Sarah Smith, Head of Licensing at Sintons, is the long-standing legal advisor to Claire and Toni. She said: “Unsurprisingly, Importonics has been well received by the trade, who are keen to capitalise on the ever-increasing popularity of gin by offering something new and different to their clientele.”

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