Belfast-based Titanic Distillers is expanding its spirits portfolio with the introduction of Titanic Distillers Premium Irish Vodka.The launch marks the brand’s first move outside of whiskey and into the vodka category. “Vodka is the fastest-growing spirit category on the island of Ireland,” explained Titanic Distillers director Stephen Symington, “so we had a look and saw a gap in the market for a premium Irish vodka – created on the island using local ingredients. “It was imperative that we put our own Titanic Distillers stamp on it, as we did with our whiskey, so we decided to distil it in our own way, slowly and with Irish sugar beet. Taking only the best part of the spirit, we cut it with pure local spring water and left it unfiltered to let its raw, distinctive character shine through. “The result is Titanic Distillers Premium Irish Vodka, a strong, honest brand that is clean and smooth, with a crisp brightness and a sweetness, which can be enjoyed neat, in a cocktail or with your favourite mixer." The vodka, which is bottled at 40% ABV, offers pronounced zesty notes to the nose, and a vanilla sweetness followed by a peppercorn spice to the palate. The all-Ireland launch will be supported with a marketing campaign that will include PR, digital and social media, sampling, and category sponsorship at this year’s AVA Festival, which will take place at Titanic Slipways on 3-4 June. According to research conducted by food and drink research consultancy CGA, vodka is the fastest-growing category on the island, accounting for 36% of spirit sales by value in Northern Ireland and 26% in the Republic of Ireland in the last quarter. The research also revealed 18% of vodka drinkers are now buying the spirit more often than they did a year ago, with two in five drinking it every time, or nearly every time they are out. The vodka market in Ireland is led by women and young adults, with 65% of drinkers being female and 52% aged 34 or under. Titanic Distillers Premium Irish Vodka is available in 700ml bottles. It will be launched exclusively in the on-trade, to be followed with an off-trade launch later in the year, with distribution by Craigavon-based United Wines. The launch follows approval of plans to convert the listed Titanic Pump-House, first opened in 1911, into a new distillery and tourist attraction for the brand. Work has already commenced and a completion date is yet to be announced.