Elephant Gin - Meet the Makers
What did you do before creating Elephant Gin?
Before Elephant Gin I spent five years working for a London-based private equity fund (Hutton Collins).
How did you go about setting Elephant Gin and why did you want to start a gin company?
The inspiration for Elephant Gin originated during the trips my wife and I took to South Africa and Kenya - and especially the sundowner experience after a day out in the bush. The sundowner is celebrated as the drink during sunset overlooking the majestic African landscape and reminiscing all the beautiful nature and animals one has seen during the day. More often than not the drink comes in form of a Gin and Tonic. We adopted this sundowner celebration, back in London, and I started learning more about gin and the combinations of flavours.
My wife was working with a number of foundations in South Africa and grew passionate about the work they were doing. Since then we were determined to find a way to combine gin and elephants and produce an African inspired product in aid of elephant conservation.
What inspires you, and what achievement are you most proud of so far?
People and nature is what inspires me most. Every person you meet in your life has a story to tell and something one can learn from. Having met the people who dedicate their life to conservation is something that made me realise that we have a responsibility for the generations to come. Having been able to give over half a million euros to African elephant conservation projects over the last six years and making a difference to on the ground is something we are most proud of.
What’s been particularly challenging during the process of setting up/running Elephant Gin?
Every stage of growing a business (and maintaining it) has its challenges, but we faced some tough ones at the very beginning. In fact, we wanted to create a gin unlike all the others on the market in terms of design and taste - and in order to do so, we researched and traveled to various places in Europe and Africa to find the right botanicals that would create the distinct flavour profile that makes up Elephant Gin today. We tasted and tested a whole lot of African botanicals that turned out too bitter or wood-y or weren’t easy to combine. After many many months of more tasting, drying, mixing, filtering, and distilling, we finally found the ideal 14 ingredients, including Devils Claw, Lion’s Tail and Buchu that create incredible flavours. This experience really proved to us that time and patience really pays off - and in our case, were well invested!
What are your plans and hopes for the future of the company?
We are looking forward to open our own distillery in spring next year with a focus of being able to show our passion and craft in action. It is another beast of a project, but one that we have been dreaming about for a long time - and with very little space at our current production site, we are thrilled for this to take full fruition. From Monday to Friday you will be able visit the distillery, immerse yourself in the world of gin production and discover the secrets of distillation and spices. The tours include a lot of interesting facts about the history of the origin of Elephant Gin and its ingredients, a tour of the distillery and of course the tasting of the products. At the end of the tour, visitors can make their own bottle of Elephant Gin and take it home personalised.
How would you describe Elephant Gin in 3 words?
Unique, Handcrafted and a great spirit,
What is your favourite way to drink your gins?
Very classic - with a good tonic, in good company and at the end of an eventful day.
What gins would you always have on your gin shelf?
I am lucky that we get to trade a lot of products and we have many fabulous craft products at home. I am always a fan of Tanqueray 10 Gin and The Botanist.
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