What is the story and inspiration behind British Polo Gin?
I am an ex professional polo player and a history graduate and was working in a gin business in Western Australia. Whilst in Perth, I identified a large demand from both new and older gin drinkers for a smooth gin that did not have the traditional juniper and alcoholic kick that is prevalent in so many of today’s gins. This is because under the strong Australian sun, traditional gins are not so popular owing to their propensity to be heavy on the palette and to make one feel drowsy. We also did not have any organic gins on offer and as a foodie I wanted to change this.
With my history hat on, I was intrigued as to the historical provenance of gin and began to research the history behind my favourite gins. In doing so, I fortuitously discovered that the first British men to play polo were also the same group of officers that were the first to drink gin with their daily tonic ration. I also worked out that these same men loved a Tom Collins in the evening; it was therefore imperative that British Polo Gin flourished in a Tom Collins. With my polo background I now had the perfect story to launch my gin.
How did you get from the idea to the finished product?
I broke my hand whilst in Australia and hence had a lot of time to think about flavour, branding and positioning of British Polo Gin. As such, when I returned home in May 2016 I jettisoned my polo career and sold my best two polo ponies that I had retrained from the racetrack in order to finance British Polo Gin.
As I am sure you can appreciate, the cost implications of starting a bespoke distillery are astronomical. These costs are ever more prohibitive when you wish to make 100% organic gin. Owing to British Polo Gin being solely funded by myself I had to look for a distillery to help. I therefore searched the British Isles for an organic distillery and fortunately discovered Da Mhile distillery who are based in Ceredigion – I am a proud Welshman myself so it made perfect sense to team up with some Welsh experts.
What's a normal day like for you at British Polo Gin?
We are fortunately enjoying strong sales both to the on and off trade. This means that I will spend the day servicing orders and excitingly organising new stockings and listings. My evenings are increasingly busy as I travel around the country running gin masterclasses in our lovely stockists. As the summer approaches I will also have to find time to work my string of polo ponies which is making my head hurt a little!
How would you describe your gin in 3 words?
Smooth flavour sensation.
What makes British Polo Gin different?
Gin lovers always appreciate the organic provenance of British Polo Gin. It really does add a whole new dimension to the gin experience. That it can be enjoyed on the rocks, in a cocktail or indeed in a G&T also adds a versatility to British Polo Gin that consumers enjoy.
What's your favourite way to drink British Polo Gin?
love to enjoy British Polo Gin straight up on the rocks. It is that smooth and full bodied. In the summer I love to deploy it into our Chukka Cocktail which is our take on the Tom Collins or enjoy with tonic garnished with basil and strawberries.
What are your favourite gins?
Apart from British Polo Gin of course, Jensen's Old Tom, Portobello Road, West Winds Cutlass and Gin Mare are my favourites.
Our primary goal for 2016 was to become established as The Polo Player’s Choice. British Polo Gin is now stocked as the pouring gin at the world-renowned Guards Polo Club, Windsor Great Park and HPC, The London Polo Club in Richmond. In addition, we were also the Spirit of The Month and at Fortnum and Mason in the run up to Christmas.
We are now focusing on becoming the go-to organic premium gin in the UK. It is really important for us to have a strong British following and to achieve sustainable organic growth. This being said, we will be foraying out internationally, namely to destinations with key polo connections such as, St. Moritz, Deauville and Sotogrande.