What made you decide to create Fresha Gin?
I started Fresha following a trip to Spain with my business partner, having spent 15 years as a Royal Naval Officer I wanted to do something completely different. Seeing the fresh produce available and the location we could utilise, we decided on trying to change the fruit gin market by making a Strawberry Gin from scratch without solely steeping, adding syrups or suchlike.
How did you get from the idea to the finished product?
Having decided to make a Strawberry Gin we visited many distilleries in Southern Spain, not just for gin but wineries, brandies and of course sherries. We wanted to use produce local to the distillery and with Seville and Andalucia so close this pretty much decided the bulk of our botanicals for us. We initially hired a pot still and began making trial batches. I'll be honest, the first 3 were a write-off and it took us in total around 2 months to finalise our recipe and production process.
What are the distillery and distillation process like?
The distillery is stunning, situated in Southern Spain near Andalucia and about 30 minutes down the road from Seville, where we source our orange and lemon peel. It's located on a joint winery site so there's always activity and movement at the distillery, especially in the summer months.
We use a pot distilling method which we think gives a more rounded and mellow texture to the gin. We add 8 botanicals to the still prior to the distillation process: juniper, orange peel, lemon peel, vanilla, cinnamon, star anise, (plus one secret botanical). We steep these initially in a natural spring water and wheat/grain mix. We distill our gin three times and during the final distillation we add the strawberries which we prepare in a unique way. This adds not only the colour but the unique aroma to Fresha Gin.
How do you find the gin industry in Spain compares to the UK?
The industry is very competitive is Spain - gin is the most drunk spirit, way ahead of any others and naturally people know not only how to produce it but also how to taste it. Emphasis on garnishes and tonics is less so in Spain and gin is often enjoyed neat over ice more and with lemonade also. There is a difference in gin culture in Spain to the UK in that the drink is enjoyed by all age groups and at all occasions. The market is changing rapidly in the UK to include a more youthful market, but we at Fresha Gin are hoping with a quality fruit gin like ours breaking through, this will help to attract a different subset of new gin enthusiasts.
How would you describe Fresha Gin in 3 words?
Strawberry, smooth, summery.
What makes Fresha Gin different to other gins?
Fresha is a naturally produced Strawberry Gin unlike no other in that we produce our Gin from scratch and don't solely steep berries in to achieve a colour. It is unlike any other gin you may have tried and lends itself not only to a stunning G&T, but can be enjoyed in a plethora of cocktails and summer long drinks also.
What's your favourite way to drink Fresha Gin?
Personally I either drink it in a large Spanish Copa glass with a Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic or BTW Tonic, or in a Fresha Negroni. My Spanish business partner drinks it neat over ice.
What are your favourite gins (other than Fresha Gin of course!)?
Death's Door Gin, so simple but packs a punch; Ableforth's Bathtub Gin, great team and really rounded texture and flavour; and we have always had a great relationship with the owners at Pothecary Gin as we are both based in the Bournemouth area.
What's next - any exciting plans?
We are currently preparing some exciting new products and developments with Fresha. The bottle and label are completely changing and will be rolled out to supply and retail in the Autumn. We also have new products including a Fresha Extra Strawberry Jam in partnership with the award winning "Barbaras Kitchen" and our own branded Spanish Gin Copa glasses, all of which will be available in a gift box for Xmas. We are also working on a new flavour Gin perfect for produce available near our distillery but the rest is a secret, we hope to release some news on this early next year.