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How cool is a swan? In the case of a new Irish cream liqueur very cool indeed. Yet very, very hot.
We’re talking Coole with an ‘e’ and Swan as in a dreamy, creamy, beautifully-packaged white liqueur rather than the serene, beautiful, white-plumed Cygnus olor bird loved the world over.
Coole Swan is the brainchild of three experienced drinks executives, David Phelan, David Gluckman and Adrian Walker. It’s a super premium-priced contender in a sub-category spawned by the great Baileys Irish Cream – along with Absolut Vodka the great drinks industry success story of the past 30 years. Coole Swan’s early success has almost surely triggered the acquisitional interests of some of Baileys-owner Diageo’s rivals. If it hasn’t, it should have.
Based on single malt Irish whiskey, Coole Swan was launched in Dublin in 2007, quickly making its travel debut at Dublin Airport soon after.
This particular Swan has since ruffled a few other feathers in its flight – over the second quarter of 2008 it was number three liqueur in sales and the ninth-biggest selling spirit brand of any kind at the Irish gateway.
It also took flight quickly at a number of other European travel retail outlets including Euroshop, Zürich, Belfast and Luton Airports. And it’s now making rapid gains in the US, driven by travel retail distributor Chase International.
David Phelan clearly knows a thing or two about launching international spirit brands with an Irish heritage. He drove the success of Irish vodka Boru – named after legendary Irish King Brian Boru who united the country in 1014. Now he’s drawing on history again, though this time through the words of Ireland’s most famous poet, William Butler Yeats, whose work ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’ inspired the brand name.
We think that’s really cool… sorry Coole. And we love the poem. And given that it makes a nice change from writing about shelf space, footfall and shopper penetration rates, we’re going to quote it in full. Slainte!
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.
But now they drift on the still water,
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?