What did you do before creating Adventurers Drinks Company?
Born in the Middle East, educated in Tunbridge Wells, Brighton, and Newcastle upon Tyne, I qualified as an accountant and spent many years running heavy engineering businesses. Until the age of 39 rugby was my sport, and then I spent 10 years as a couch potato focusing primarily on work. I was then invited to Henley Royal Rowing Regatta by some friends and in the beer tent I told everyone that one day I would take up the sport and row at the Royal Regatta.
The first part came true when a conversation over the garden fence led to my business becoming one of the main sponsors of Tyne Rowing Club. Since then, I have rowed on the Tyne, won the Rutherford Head, won gold at the British Masters (non-championship), rowed on the Thames at the Vesta Head and taken part in the British Rowing Coastal Rowing Championships at Studland Bay. In 2018 I led a team row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in a world record time for a mixed four, in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. Sadly, now aged 61, the second part, rowing at Henley Royal Regatta, looks beyond reach.
What made you decide to create your gins?
The launch of the Adventurers Drinks Company was inspired by my passion for adventure and exploration. It was whilst tackling a shortfall in funding for one expedition that I recognised the long historical connection between adventuring and drinks companies. The expedition team had set about marketing a themed gin as a way of raising funds. I saw at first-hand how well customers responded to the gin's back story and the excitement surrounding the expedition. It was clear that the adventure itself became a key part of the gin's USP and roll out success. At that point the idea for the Adventurers Drinks Company was born, with the goal of being the home to amazing drinks with authentic stories of adventure and exploration.
What is the inspiration behind your two gins - Peak Baggers Gin and Rowers Gin?
Peak Baggers Gin was inspired by my friend Claire Hughes who at the age of 14 switched from a stroppy disinterested teenager to venturing up her first mountain with her dad and never looked back. She has spent her life, outside work, walking, climbing, cycling, wild camping, swimming, sea kayaking, paddle boarding, packrafting, engaged in snow sports, as well as river and ocean rowing. Peak Baggers Gin is inspired not just by her love of all things outdoors but by her determination to challenge herself and champion gender equality through mixed gender teamwork, and of course by her love of gin.
Rowers Gin was inspired by my love of rowing in all its forms and the people I have met along the way, those who do it for fun, for the physical and mental challenge, or for the records. The gin has been created on the classical foundations of juniper and coriander seeds together with angelica root and citrus, and it reflects its rowing backstory with a unique flavour that comes from the botanicals found on our riverbanks, coasts, and the seas that around us
Can you tell us more about the distillery you work with?
Both gins are distilled at Orkney Distilling, home of Kirkjuvagr Gin whose brand celebrates their Viking heritage.
Can you tell us more about the distillation process and botanicals?
Peak Baggers Gin embraces its back story with its unique flavour coming from the botanicals found on the mountains and peaks of Great Britain including Bearberry, Blueberry, Heather, and Mountain Ash. Bearberry provides a natural sweetness complementing the slightly bitter taste of Mountain Ash. Blueberry provides a real depth of fruit flavour, and the Heather provides a subtle perfumed aroma, imparting a delicate grassy, floral note. Together they produce a fresh vibrant gin, with an aroma that gives you that fresh invigorated feeling one gets when you are on top of the world.
Rowers Gin's unique flavour comes from the botanicals found on our riverbanks, coasts. Meadowsweet, in abundance along riverbanks with creamy flower heads, offers a bewitching sweet aroma, reminding us of summer regattas. Rock samphire, found on our coasts gives an incredibly concentrated burst of flavour, reminiscent of those crashing waves and, Sugar Kelp, found in the Atlantic Ocean, gives a soft slightly sweet maritime flavour, with a gentle saltiness, bringing memories from those ocean crossings.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
The biggest challenge has been to reinvent oneself. It hasn’t been easy to go from running a 500 strong heavy engineering business to working alone in your garden shed, but it has been fun. In only the first few weeks of trading the first sign that the business was on the right track was to see a tweet from Sir Matthew Pinsent (4 x rowing Olympic champion) on a thread relating to Rowers Gin, saying “I want that”.
How would you describe your gins in 3 words?
Uniquely Adventurous (ok that’s only two words, but less is more!)
What's your favourite way to drink your gins?
Just keeping it simple as a G &T rather than a cocktail. Ice, a good tonic and a slice of lemon.
Which gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
As its Christmas, Kirkjuvagr Yuletide Gin.
What's next for you and Adventurers Drinks Company - any exciting plans?
The goal of the Adventurers Drinks Company is to be the home to amazing drinks with authentic stories of adventure and exploration. The business is looking forward to creating new drinks inspired by modern day adventurers and explorers that reflect their back stories and help inspire the adventurers of tomorrow. It would also like to work with adventurers and explorers to develop their own branded drinks.
You Might Also Like...
Review: Our tasting notes and review of Peak Baggers Gin and Rowers Gin
Buy: Order direct from Adventurers Drinks Company