What did you do before creating Ellis Gin?
I have been running large change programmes in Financial Services for over 20 years. Deciding to create my own Gin was a big decision and also totally different from my previous career. The only experience I had in the alcohol industry was drinking it!
What made you decide to create Ellis Gin?
I created Ellis Gin back in November 2016. It was always my intention to launch Ellis Gin – but decided to introduce a premium ready to drink Gin cocktail to the market - made with small batch Scottish Gin. I had watched the Gin explosion over many years and coupled with the explosion of flavoured mixers, I thought there was a gap in the market for a premium ready to drink - to allow people not to have to think about botanical mixes and one that would give people an alternative to drinking Gin with tonic. With more and more age groups drinking gin, my aim was to give people a premium convenience product.
What is the inspiration behind Ellis Gin?
Ellis Gin was named (after my daughter) in mid 2017 and was eventually launched in September 2018. With the explosion of Pink gin I decided that I wanted to introduced Ellis Gin in two colours and flavours. Not only are they great to look at (and taste fab), but both of my gins change colour when mixer is added!
Can you tell us more about the distillery and distillation process?
I use a small micro distillery on the outskirts of Glasgow City Centre to create my gin. I have been working with them since they opened in 2017. We use a 50 litre copper still. Ellis is a back to basics gin – we have 5 key botanical in the base gin: Juniper, Coriander, Angelica, Orris and Citrus Peel. For Ellis Gin No.2 – we add Scottish Brambles, and for Ellis Gin No.3 we add a magical Asian Botanical called Butterfly pea.
What have been the biggest challenges & achievements so far?
With hindsight I should have launched Ellis Gin ahead of creating my ready to drink products. And I should also have introduced the 'Ready to Drinks' in a smaller scale. However if I had done this I wouldn’t have my coloured gins and my lovely branding. And I learned so many lessons launching the 'ready to drink' products which gave me a real head start when launching Ellis. So I guess everything happens for a reason.
How would you describe Ellis Gin in 3 words?
Clean, Crisp, Classy (and colour-changing)
What's your favourite way to drink your gins?
Both in a lovely gin glass with plenty of ice. Ellis Gin No.2 (Scottish Bramble Gin) is lovely served with a citrus tonic and garnished with a slice of Orange. With Ellis Gin No.3 the Butterfly Pea gives Ellis a vibrant blue colour and a slight sweetness to the gin. When mixer is added it changes from Blue to lilac. It is lovely with an Elderflower tonic and garnished with blueberries.
What gins would you always have on your gin shelf?
Of course I always have an Ellis Gin to start – however I also love a Malfy con Limone Gin and also Brockmans Gin. When in Portugal recently I tried Adams gin – the packaging amazing and it tasted really lovely. And I love Gin Raw.
What's next for Ellis Gin – any exciting plans?
The next year is going to be interesting for Ellis Gin. The plan to release a special edition sometime in Summer. I’m also working with Darran my distiller to look at other interesting flavours.
Alongside this I am continuing to develop my Ready to Drink Cocktails – they will be re-branded in the Summer – from Gin&Mix to Ellis Gin Cocktails. I’m currently working with a food scientist and nutritionist to finalise the new flavours. So a very busy and interesting year!
The Gin Guide's profiles, tasting notes and review of Ellis Butterfly Pea Gin