Ivaí Gin - Meet the Maker
What did you do before developing Agua da Gloria Distillery and Ivaí Gin?
My family has been involved in the beverage business since 1897 when Gaskell & Chambers was founded in Birmingham and was the largest bar fitters in the UK during the 20th century. The company invented and patented the optic, and I grew up in a family steeped in a tradition of bars, pubs, brewing and distilling. I learnt the craft of distilling when I was a teenager from my father who learnt it from his father and his father before him. I qualified professionally as a lawyer, but throughout my legal career I have kept on distilling.
What made you decide to create your gin, and what's the inspiration behind it?
Having maintained close connections with Brazil over the last 20 years with my partner who is Brazilian, we decided that the time was right to create a top quality national gin which combined the best of traditional English distilling techniques with the very best of the abundant natural resources which Brazil enjoys to create a Brazilian gin to rival the top international brands. Brazil has so much to offer gin distillers, and our mission is to capture that and show that Brazil can produce the very best world-class gins.
Can you tell us more about the distillery?
The distillery is state-of-the-art and is brand new. Construction started in 2020 and was finished in 2022. Our guiding principle is to ensure that the distillery is the most sustainable and eco-friendly distillery in Brazil. We have achieved that and we are the first carbon negative distillery in Brazil. Nothing goes to waste and everything is recycled. The distillery is fully solar powered and we even supply our surplus electricity to the national grid. Our bottles, labels and bottle tops are all fully recyclable.
What style of still do you use?
We have a 500-litre copper still manufactured in Brazil to our own bespoke design which enables us to distil the smoothest of gins using the one-shot method in small batches. Our still is named “Lady Gloria” as a homage to the English heritage in our distilling process “Lady”, and to the Brazilian heritage in our distilling process “Gloria”, named after the land on which our distillery sits, which for generations has been known as “Água da Glória” (“Glorious Water”) because of the purity of the water in the deep underground springs below the distillery. We draw this water direct from the springs using our ultra-deep well, and the water we use is some of the purest on the planet.
Can you tell us more about the distillation process and botanicals?
We use 17 different botanicals, many of which are foraged from around the River Ivaí which is 1km from the distillery and the inspiration for the name of our gin. Our botanical blend has been selected on three main principles – scent, taste and molecular structure. By understanding the molecular structure of the botanicals, we are able to prepare them taking into account their solubility and miscibility and thus pair and combine flavours in order to create a perfectly balanced gin.
We macerate many of our botanicals for at least 18 hours prior to distillation. Some of our botanicals are grown at the distillery, including our coriander seeds (which we roast and crack) and oranges and lemons. We are the first gin distillers to use pinhão in our gin. Pinhão is the fruit of the araucaria tree which are protected indigenous trees which grow locally to the distillery, and they are the symbol of the State of Paraná and also appear on our bottle tops and our bottle labels. Pinhão lends a warm, nutty and earthy quality to the aroma and flavour of our gin. We are also the first distillers to use other purely “Brazilian Botanicals” in our gin, such as no-do-cachorro, no-do-pinho and casca da imburana, all of which give our gin its unique and distinctive character.
What can visitors experience if they visit the distillery for a tour/tasting?
The distillery is open for tours and tastings, and we aim to give our visitors an enjoyable, informative experience so they leave with a deeper appreciation of Brazilian gin. Our brand new tasting room has views across the wonder Paranaense countryside and is the perfect setting for sipping a G&T whilst the sun sets and the crickets chirp in the sugar cane plantations.
What have been the biggest challenges/achievements, or your favourite story so far?
Our biggest challenge has been to successfully navigate the intricacies of the legendary bureaucratic system in Brazil, whilst our greatest achievement has been to seamlessly blend our Brazilian Botanicals with the more traditional gin botanicals which we use. Both took considerably longer than anticipated to achieve!
How would you describe Ivaí Gin in 3 words?
London infuses Brazil.
What's your favourite way to drink Ivaí Gin?
In a large gin balloon with four cubes of ice, the finest Indian tonic water and a slice of cucumber.
Which gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
Gordon’s Sloe Gin (only because Charles Gordon, the grandson of Alexander Gordon, first introduced gin to Brazil through Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil in 1871), and Sipsmith Gin (only because Sipsmith started the craft gin distilling revolution in the UK in 2009 and inspired small-batch gin distillers worldwide).
What's next for you, Agua da Gloria Distillery, and Ivaí Gin - any exciting plans?
We are already developing more of our flavoured gins, and we are concentrating on flavours which all Brazilians know and love. Our Siriguela gin (flavoured with siriguela fruits which are indigenous to the North East of Brazil) has proved to be a firm favourite, and we are currently developing a pitanga flavoured gin (based on the eponymous pitanga fruit, which is a type of Brazilian cherry).
We are planning to open our gin school where we will be offering residential gin distilling courses, and we also have plans to expand our spirits offering by distilling a super-premium vodka.
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