What did you do before creating Griffiths Brothers Gin?
I was in IT before working for a finance company. I worked for 19 years for the same company. I always had one eye on the first couple of craft gin distilleries that opened up, as I could see me career coming to an end due to a lot of large companies outsourcing their IT. This was when I started thinking seriously about a distillery, plus I loved gin! I started the distillery and still worked full time until I managed to get redundancy, which was extremely hard as used to get back from working in London and then went to the distillery and made gin until 10 at night.
What made you decide to create your gin and what's the inspiration behind it?
I have had a long fascination with spirits and how they are made, particularly gin. My brother and myself have always thought about how great it would be to start a distillery where we have lived most of our lives.
The inspirations are down to the great craft gins we have tried and my own love of different flavour combinations in food. I am always on the look out for new herbs and spices. A friend recently travelled back to see family in Tehran and brought me back some orange blossom, and we were both taken by its aroma and knew it had to be in our gin.
How did you get from the idea to the finished product?
The inspiration for the artwork was a picture I saw by Shepard Fairy called ‘Rise above’ and we wanted to do something similar using part of a rotary evaporator as part of the picture. Our friends at Milestone Design turned the idea in to reality. With the bottle we felt that we wanted to have the old-style apothecary bottle as it fit with our cold distillation method of production.
What's the distillery like and can you tell us about the distillation process?
The distillery is great and hidden away amongst a lot of other industrial units, so a little bit Breaking Bad! It is in an old factory unit where they made Mosquito planes in WW2. We macerate the different 13 botanicals for different periods depending on the botanical. We distil most of them separately using a large rotary evaporator to cold distil the botanicals at 5 degrees. We have always been impressed with the difference cold distillation makes to the flavour.
What's a normal day at the distillery like for you?
Normally working out why the pressure has dropped on our equipment or blaming each other leaving the place a mess. Most of the time is spent talking gin and thinking about new combinations; the mixing and iterations of gin are endless.
What have been the biggest achievements and challenges so far?
Our biggest achievement so far was winning a gold medal in the San Francisco Spirits Awards with our No2 gin. A personal favourite accolade is selling our gin through Harrods, which feels like a great achievement to be associated with a shop with such a long history and known throughout the world. Although, to be honest, I get more of a kick when people come up and say I love your gin or rum - this is the real reward.
How would you describe your gin in 3 words?
Smooth, complex, effortless
What makes Griffiths Brothers Gin different?
If you haven’t tried cold distilled gin, there is a distinct difference in the flavour. Combined with the botanical combination we have used, we believe we have made our own mark.
What's your favourite way to drink your gin?
First, for a G&T make sure the gin is super cold and put the bottle in the fridge. I like to use large blocks of ice and good quality orange or clementine peel. Then add a fresh bay leaf with the edges cut off. A close second favourite is to make an Aperol Negroni
What are your favourite gins (other than your own of course!)?
Dodds Gin and Sacred Gin.
What's next for Griffiths Brothers Gin - any exciting plans?
We are working on a couple of new gins and some limited editions for later on in the year. We are also developing a bar area at the distillery to enable us to have groups of people in and let them sample some of our works-in-progress and see the process.
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