Victoria Gin courts queens

The Canadian spirits brand is leveraging its connections in the GLBT community and launching a Queen Victoria look-alike contest with the Fairmont Royal York hotel in Toronto.

Victoria Spirits makes the second best-selling gin in British Columbia, but now the family-owned brand from out west is trying to break into the Toronto market.

The spirits brand is partnering with the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto to host a Queen Victoria look-alike competition on May 24, Victoria Day. The person who most resembles the monarch will receive a night in the Prime Minister’s suite at the hotel with the works (breakfast in bed, spa treatments, high tea) and a bottle of Victoria Gin.

Since the monarchist subculture downtown is too hyper-niche as a target demo, Victoria Gin is courting queens of a different kind.

‘I think our connections in the drag community, the theatre world, and a few ‘ins’ with the monarchists will take us pretty far,’ Mia Hunt, creative director, Victoria Spirits, tells MiC.

These ‘ins’ include a friendship with Toronto star Miss Conception, a drag queen who has been performing in the city for 10 years.

To promote the event, Victoria Spirits and the Fairmont have launched a podcast, and they will distribute virtual bottles of gin on their Facebook and Twitter pages. The brand will also take advantage of the long-weekend rush at the Fairmont to promote its upcoming cocktail competition hosted by Kevin Brauch (from The Thirsty Traveler) late in the spring.

Hunt says the brand has had luck promoting its events through WOM by reaching out to guests who attended its launch party a year ago, and who happen to be well-known personas in Toronto’s gaybourhood. ‘Luckily, people talk,’ Hunt says.