Virgin Atlantic To Partner With Aviation Gin

While we often see a bit of an arms race in terms of airline champagne offerings, those who enjoy other spirits are often left out.

I’m always a bit surprised at the lack of thought and selection for spirits in premium cabins. It’s odd to me that you’d stock $200 bottles of Champagne, and then just…a $20 bottle of some blended whisky (though I did enjoy a Talisker 10 on Virgin Australia recently, which was a nice change, if not particularly high-end).

So the announcement this week that Virgin Atlantic will begin offering Aviation Gin on board and in Clubhouses is excellent news.

Oddly, while Virgin Atlantic has stocked high-quality Fever Tree tonic for over a year, they’ve paired it with Bombay Sapphire, which is the Heineken of gins as far as I’m concerned.

Given that gin has become so popular recently — my BA flight this summer had two complimentary options in Club Europe, along with the Rhubarb Whitley Neill on the buy-on-board menu, and even easyJet has Hendrick’s — this seems like an obvious upgrade.

Aviation is a gin I stock at home — I find it to be interesting while still being approachable for people who aren’t “in” to gin, and it’s made locally here in the Northwest, which is a nice conversation point.

And, obviously, it has an airplane on the bottle.

Really, the only thing I don’t like about this announcement are the choices being made with the media campaign. I will readily admit that awkward comedy doesn’t fit well with my particular sense of humor, but this video with Richard Branson and Ryan Reynolds just feels painful to me:

Just me?

Bottom line

I doubt anyone will shift business to Virgin Atlantic due to their gin offering. But it is always interesting to see where airlines invest in making what at least appear to be thoughtful catering decisions, versus what items seem to be “default” options.

What beverages would you like to see more airlines offer in premium cabins?

Comments

  1. KLM serves Bols gin, and they also use it in their delicious Flying Dutchman cocktail. Regarding single malts, they used to serve Highland Park whisky.

  2. The Qantas lounge in London had the Aviation Gin for quite some time now. I believe that the lounge has a gin bar offering a relatively large selection of gin (at least in comparison to other lounges).

  3. Hibiki 21 year old whiskey on ANA… and I liked the video though I had no idea Ryan Reynolds owned Aviation. I like him but it oddly turns me off, makes the brand less legit somehow. Still the video captures his style well.

  4. I drank Blue Label on LH 10 years ago.

    Finnair serves Napue gin… always nice to see “local” liquors.

  5. I’d agree with you – lots of otherwise excellent airlines are clearly clueless about spirits. Especially gin.

    I suspect Virgin went for Aviator precisely because of the Ryan Reynolds glamour. It’s an ok middle-market gin, but there are more interesting boutique gins available (if you can get hold of it, try my current favourite, Black Shuck, whose botanicals include delicious salt marsh plants – making a pairing with orange peel out of this world).

    Gin is currently hugely fashionable in Madrid, where it’s served in massive balloon glasses. The first time I encountered this was on Iberia, where I didn’t realise you had to tell the F/A when to stop pouring. Very civilised. Though I don’t remember much of the following 24 hours.

  6. Any married Republican ladies here played the innocent drinking game called devil’s triangle? Got any photos?

  7. Hello FFRIENDS!!!!!!!! no reaction?????
    How are you today???? I was AI Japan fOR a few days. I tried the Lounge First from Japan Airlines I. Haneda . Andn the food was DELICIOUS ¡!!!!! I RECOMMEND ¡!

  8. I am not a big drinker nor do I like Gin in the slightest, what I do like is comedy. All shapes and forms of it. My all time favorite type would be when great comedians or just famous people in general can poke fun at themselves. That’s why I adore Ryan Reynolds, and kudos to Sir Richard Branson for knowing a good one when he sees it. He seems to have a eye for great things, ie. his huge success in many different business arenas. Anyone who can stand back and stay grounded enough to see the ridiculousness of the lifestyles they are surround by, and then laugh about it. Well they are the best of the best. This ad is perfect! Exactly what Reynolds fans would expect from him. I am sad for all you who the humor is lost on, maybe look deep into the mirror and realize how trivial all this is, really you travel the world and tell people who can’t how great it is to do so. For what, hoping you can somehow teleport them there with your detailed description with flowery words? Really when you think about it, it’s kind of a asshat move. Guess it’s a living, but really come on get over yourselves. Your lucky you found someone to actually pay you to do that job. Sorry if this comment seems a bit harsh but it hits a nerve when I read about someone putting down someone who has made his goal in life to make people laugh, to escape this crazyness we call “life”. I can’t imagine living this life with humor and Ryan Reynolds is one of the greats in my book!
    Peace out!!!!!

  9. Offering Talisker indicates that the cellar master has some knowledge, rather than simply pandering to the masses by serving from the trendy but generally inferior Glen XXXXXX range .
    Bombay Sapphire is way better than a Heineken equivalent, and infinitely superior to most American gin, although I’ve never heard of Aviation.
    It’s good to see some variety on the menu , rather than just the usual stuff. Unfortunately menus are mostly determined by snob value, eg the clueless twits who insist on Dom Perignon, largely because it’s expensive and comes in a nice bottle/label

  10. Oh my great Sally Aunt – I would never have put you down as Gin lush Tiffanny….. Please go steady – Princess Margaret, Mother’s Ruin and all that!

  11. Tiffany. Really enjoying your spin on driving OMAAT while Ben is on honeymoon. Well done. And as for Hendricks OMG. The best.

  12. Add to Jamie’s comment – also enjoying the refreshing feel and intelligence that you are injecting into this platform – why not get him to honeymoon on “preferred” champagne and Bose headphones forever and take over OMAAT completely?

  13. They pour Hibiki 21 year (currently ~$700 for a 750ml bottle) as the standard house whisky in JAL First. (Hibiki 17 year on ANA First.)

  14. If Bombay Sapphire is the ‘Heineken of gins’, then Hendrick’s is the Tennent’s… horrible stuff. Aviation Gin is great in a cocktail, but I wouldn’t put it in a G&T, it gets totally lost.

  15. Will it be served in Economy?
    I was a little surprised that Virgin were serving Bombay Sapphire on flights out of the UK given all the better options available, and that they had outstanding tonic waters from Fever Tree.

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