Downton Abbey Gin takes home silver and bronze in the International Wine and Spirits Competition

The Harrogate Tipple’s licensed Downton Abbey gin has picked up a silver and bronze award at the International Wine and Spirits Competition this year. The firm’s Premium Downton Abbey Gin took home the silver, having scored 91 out of 100, and the Rhubarb Downton Abbey Gin was handed bronze for scoring 88.

The International Wine and Spirits Competition has been the world’s premiere contest to find the best in wines and spirits across the world for the past 50 years. This year’s competition saw The Harrogate Tipple take home a total of five certificates.

Steven Green, chief tipple taster for the company, remarked: “A panel of world-renowned experts from across the globe carried out a blind tasting of hundreds of spirits. All spirits scoring 90 and upwards as a result of this process were then re-tasted by the Judging Committee for their final confirmation. With such rigorous tasting, we’re delighted that our two premium Downton Abbey gins received scores of 88 and 91 out of 100. Otterley marvellous.”

Kelvyn Gardner of Asgard Media, who brokered the Downton Abbey license with Universal Studios, added: “Winning these prestigious Silver and Bronze Awards underscores Harrogate Tipple’s commitment to quality. Steven and his team created this gin from scratch after much research going back to the 1920’s era for style, taste, botanical content and even the shape of the bottle.

“Licensors can be sure that Harrogate Tipple will always deliver premium spirits carefully crafted. We’d like to thank Universal Studios for their confidence in granting the Downton Abbey rights.”

For more information on The Harrogate Tipple and their award-winning range of premium spirits visit

For licensing enquiries please contact Kelvyn Gardner at Asgard Media


Spotlight Licensing’s Carole Postal: “Our industry is strong and I’m heartened by our coming together to weather the storm”

Spotlight Licensing isn’t only known for its portfolio of properties boasting major fan bases and audience numbers both sides of the Atlantic, with the likes of Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey, and Boo – The World’s Cutest Dog among them, but also for its crack team of professionals that, when it comes to licensing, knows its business inside out.

But when you’re led by the nine-time LIMA Licensing Excellence Award winner, Carole Postal – a name now synonymous with not only the US but global licensing business – little else could be expected. Sitting among the upper echelons of Spotlight Licensing is Jodi Gottlieb as senior vice president, and Ken Wong, director of marketing, all of whom have been working together for the last 20 years. With such as history in the space, it makes sense that this is a team that has seen licensing evolve through its many – and ever changing – forms. catches up with Carole Postal, president of Spotlight Licensing to talk about her history with licensing, the quick reflexes of the industry as a whole in the face of the pandemic, and how it is the struggles and hardships of uncertain times that forges better and lasting relationships in business.

It’s a formidable trio, and a great team you’ve built around you Carole. How many years in the making has Spotlight Licensing been? Where did it all begin for you?

Formidable – I like that! We really do have a great team. Jodi, Ken and I have been working together for over 20 years. We’ve built on each other’s strengths and areas of expertise and work very efficiently together. And, importantly, have fun!

 I started out in the business working in entertainment licensing and then my husband and I built up our agency starting with retail consulting for the big entertainment companies and their blockbuster films. Licensing quickly became part of our core responsibilities eventually overtaking the retail consulting aspects and we developed from there.

My husband, Robert Postal, was, of course, a big part of the agency right up until his passing and we’ve had other employees who’ve gone on to great careers in the industry as well of which we are most proud. The agency business is all about being able to deliver results and I’m incredibly proud that our team has been able to build successful licensing programs for our clients for so many years.

How has business been for you guys over the last few months? We’ve seen a tremendous amount of resilience, adapting and evolving in a short space of time in the face of the pandemic, what has been Spotlight’s approach throughout this period?

We’re just now starting to see actual reports with numbers on how Q2 royalties were affected by the pandemic but it’s obviously been a challenge for retailers, licensees, and everyone up and down the chain.

Fortunately for us, products are still being made and sold and we are still getting deals done even if it takes a little more patience, perseverance, and willingness from everyone to make mutual accommodations during this unprecedented time. We are all in this together as a world and all adapting and making changes as we go along. It is a great opportunity for all components of the licensing equation – Licensor, Agent, Manufacturer, Retailer, and Consumer – to all work together for the common good.

How have you seen the licensing space evolve not only over the last year, but over the past four months? What do you think will be a lasting impact on licensing, retail, and the relationship between the two?

Licensing is always changing and evolving and introducing newness – that’s one of the aspects we all love about this industry isn’t it? Consumers and retailers are constantly looking for ‘what’s next’ – and licensors and manufacturers will continue to find creative ways to provide that through new licensing opportunities, new products or new twists on old favourites.

Even in the middle of a pandemic, Spotlight has been able to work with licensees on new BOO The World’s Cutest Dog plush from Gund and gorgeous hand-made Italian eyewear inspired by Downton Abbey from Bonavista Optics just to name a few. But we’ve definitely seen a lot of changes over these last few months as well: greater online shopping; delayed release of upcoming film properties; and, of course, the sudden but logical emergence of face masks as a licensed product category here.

Our industry is strong and resilient and I’ve been heartened by the way licensors, licensees,  manufacturers and retailers have all been working together to weather the storm so, ultimately, I think we’ll see the relationships between all four as strong as ever after this is all over.

You’ve got an enviable portfolio with quite the UK connection going on. How is your portfolio reflective of the US market right now? What do you look for in a license? What do you look for in a licensing partnership?

As a boutique agency, we pick and choose our clients carefully because each one is so important to us. Our portfolio is built on properties we personally like and understand and believe in because that gives us the edge when strategizing and talking to manufacturers and retailers about the opportunity.

As you can see from our portfolio, we definitely have an empathy for British entertainment and have built a reputation for understanding how to translate niche properties into licensed products that American audiences will like. But it doesn’t matter to us whether the property is British or French or Korean or as American as apple pie, as long as it is well done and the brand brings something special.


When you’re not busy winning LIMA Licensing Excellence Awards Carole, you’re either co-founding a business, sitting on the LIMA Board of Directors, or taking your place at the Board for the Delivering Good organisation and its Women of Inspiration initiative.

Can you talk us through the work you do with Delivering Good? Why is this so important to you?  

I believe each and every one of us is responsible for each other and can find a way to help so I decided nearly 12 years ago that I would find a way to help people through my contacts in the licensing business on a global basis. I always say that licensing is about stuff. Since Delivering Good is dedicated to getting stuff to the people who need it – whether their need arises because of poverty or disease or disaster or some other circumstances – I knew that I and the rest of the licensing industry could really help with Delivering Goods mission.

My involvement started out with product donations and just kept growing. In addition to being a Board Member, I co-chair the annual Women of Inspiration luncheon honouring women executives for their achievements and philanthropic efforts.

I’ve always felt no one is more supportive of others than the licensing industry and that faith has truly been borne out in how manufacturers and retailers and others in the industry have responded over the years and in response to COVID-19 in particular.

Our industry trade organization, Licensing International, has been incredibly supportive overall not to mention all the wonderful  manufacturers and retailers and individuals who donated products or provided financial support for shipping those products to where they need to be. You all know who you are reading this article so allow me to say thank you and to remind everyone that the need is never greater than it is now.

You’ve mentioned new areas of manufacturing and masks etc. Can you talk us through Spotlight’s efforts in this capacity? What lasting effect do you think this will have on the licensing space?

The pandemic made masks a ‘must have’ accessory so it was inevitable that licensing would be there to bring a little fun and fashion to mask-wearing. In Asia, masks have been accepted as part of regular flu precautions for years so I think there’s a good chance masks will stick around as a licensed product category in the US and Europe as well.

To me, this is just another example of how quickly a new consumer product category can emerge and a reminder of why people in licensing have to stay informed about developing trends as well as trends from other regions and be prepared to act quickly when unexpected opportunities arise in your own market.


A few quick-fire questions to round us up, then. What would you say has been the proudest moment of your career in licensing to date? 

In truth, one of my proudest moments was being one of the very first women in licensing to start her own company which transitioned from retail consulting, which no one was doing at the time, into a full service licensing agency.

Remember, 25 years ago women were not founding their own agencies and certainly not without the backing of a major studio or property. The licensing industry has always embraced and recognized the strength of women and I’m proud that this industry has been supportive and thus afforded young women a place where they can grow and be successful.

What is the best part of your job? 

My favorite part of the job is working with my team and our licensing partners to turn an idea or concept into a great product that performs well on retail shelves and/or online sales.

The typical fan who buys licensed products will probably never realize how many different things – the multitude of people and decision and challenges – involved in getting that product to market but we do, and my team and I still get a real thrill out of seeing it all pay off in the end.

What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the licensing industry?

My advice to anyone looking to break into the licensing industry is to be an observant consumer…staying on top of trends, keeping your finger on the pulse of pop culture, identifying overlooked or underappreciated audiences, and applying your talents – whether as a creator, lawyer, designer, marketer, accountant, licensing agent or whatever – to the opportunities outside your immediate universe.  Carpe diem!


Downton Abbey grows global appeal with US games company Rather Dashing Games

Downton Abbey has added a rather dashing new licensee in the form of the Spokane-based game maker Rather Dashing Games, who will be creating a new card game geared at capturing the majesty and excitement of the Downton Abbey movie.

“My wife and I have been fans since the very first season so I’m thrilled at the prospect of adding my game design to the amazing world of Downton Abbey,” said game designer and Rather Dashing Games c0-founder, Mike Richie.

Rather Dashing’s card game interweaves moments from the hit feature film in which both the upstairs family and downstairs staff work to get Downton Abbey ready for the imminent arrival of the King and Queen, and defend the honour of Downton.

“The Downton Abbey movie featured some of Downton’s grandest, wittiest, and most dramatic moments and we love the idea of Rather Dashing using that as inspiration for a fun and engaging game which fans will enjoy playing with family and friends,” said Spotlight Licensing president, Carole Postal.

Rather Dashing has designed its Downton Abbey game to be easy-to-learn and approachable enough for gamers aged 12 years old  and upwards, while also offering enough competition, player interaction and mechanics to keep card game enthusiasts fully engaged.

To win, players compete to capture cards depicting key moments of resolution, revelation and emotional closure from the movie. Players receive points according to the moments collected but, as Richie warns, players must beware the powers of the Royal entourage and keep in mind the game-changing potential of the Dowager herself.

Rather Dashing’s Downton Abbey card game will launch in time for Holiday 2020 with a $29.99 MSRP.

Downton Abbey gin and whiskey to go nationwide as Harrogate Tipple signs with Boutique Bar Brands

It’s good news for gin and whiskey drinkers and Downton Abbey fans alike this week as Harrogate Tipple signs off an agreement with Boutique Bar Brands to act as its exclusive distributor for the UK.

Under the new deal, the North Yorkshire company’s range of spirits – including its licensed Downton Abbey gin and whiskey collection – will be able to extend its reach in on-trade, off-trade, and online as well as in premium outlets, as a part of Boutique Bar Brands’ portfolio of drinks.

Until now, the range had been available within Booths, Fenwicks, and in a number of independent outlets. BBB works with over 45 wholesalers across the UK, and currently represents three distilleries – The London Distillery Company, Greensand Ridge, and Gleann Morr.

Established four years ago by Steven and Sally Green, supported by internationally renowned distiller Tom Nichol, Harrogate Tipple has already established a loyal following. Housed in a converted barn close to the Ripley Castle Estate near Harrogate, it has an ethos of local provenance with many of its botanicals grown in the estate’s kitchen gardens and Victorian hothouse as well as using the spa town’s famous spring water.

Co-founder of Harrogate Tipple, Steven Green, said: “This partnership is our first distribution deal and marks another important step in our development. BBB has a fantastic reputation in the industry; it only represents the very best brands that have a story to tell.

“We will be able to benefit from this leading drinks agency’s extensive knowledge and contacts, particularly in on-trade premium outlets, enabling us to extend our reach.”

Philip Harding, co-founder of BBB, added: “BBB has more recently been moving into providing a distribution service to drinks brands which have already built a certain level of business within the UK, as opposed to our traditional agency retainer model. When Harrogate Tipple approached us, they impressed the team with their growth over the past few years and their ambition to push onto the next level.

“We believe that the match of Harrogate Tipple’s unique offering, supported by BBB’s network, sales team and reach, will be a great combination, enabling it to become a nationally recognised brand. The Downton Abbey range of spirits is also a very interesting addition to our portfolio, and we are excited to see how far we can take this.”

Harrogate Tipple’s current range includes Premium Harrogate Gin, Gooseberry Harrogate Gin and Blueberry Harrogate Gin; Premium Harrogate Rum; Downton Abbey Premium Gin and Downton Abbey Finest Blended Whisky.