What did you do before creating your gin?
The Stafford family has been growing potatoes in the South East of Ireland for over 300 years. Now run by John Stafford, Slaney Farms delivers quality potatoes, strawberries and more to retailers around the country and is an established brand for the South East. The Stafford family branched out earlier this year and started Jackford Irish Potato Gin, which created another use for their beloved potatoes.
What is the inspiration behind your gin?
The story of Jackford Irish Potato Gin came from both a love of gin and diversification into a new market connected to the humble potato, a product John and his team know well. It was an exciting challenge for the team but John was determined to produce a quality premium distilled spirit using his potatoes from the farm. Potato Gin was a unique aspect of the product but authentic and true to John and his family.
Several tasting session of variations of the recipe were conducted and John invited industry experts and gin lovers to these sessions to ensure the taste and quality would allow the product succeed. At the end session the final recipe received tremendously positive feedback and we felt we had created something special. The carefully selected botanicals included in the recipe are complemented by the creaminess of the potato base.
Can you tell us about the botanicals and flavour profile of Jackford Gin?
Firstly, a potato gin is very different to a regular grain gin; it’s a lot smoother and creamier on the palate and feedback has been very positive. We think it’s great served neat as it’s smooth enough to get all the different botanicals and flavours that run through it.
There are so many flavours in the gin that really come through: there’s sweetness in it from cherry, and earthiness from the angelica root, which goes so well with the potato. The gin also has citrus notes from bitter orange and kaffir lime leaves, herbaceous notes as well, like basil and rosemary, and fruity flavours from the Wexford strawberry. The strawberry works beautifully in the summer and it’s nice to have that little bit of Wexford in there. We are proud of our roots and our ingredients show this.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
In a crowded market it has been a challenge to gain market share and presence. New gins are being introduced almost weekly to the market but as a family-owned company it is difficult to take on the larger companies, so some days it can feel like a David & Goliath scenario. That said, when we received a Gold Medal at the Irish Whiskey Awards in 2018 where we were blind tasted against 29 other gins it confirmed our gin is a worthy and quality member of the gin market!
How would you describe Jackford Gin in 3 words?
Creamy, smooth and a delight.
What's your favourite way to drink Jackford Gin?
When we launched at the start of one of the most glorious summers last year we focused on the local market in Wexford, and our summer serve of Jackford Irish Potato Gin, and Poachers Elderflower Tonic served with fresh Wexford strawberries was a huge hit! Not many counties can boast of a premium, gin, tonic and garnish! For winter months we garnished with premium tonic served with orange and rosemary! Delicious!
What gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
There are so many to choose from! Chinnery has been a favourite since its launch!
What's next - any exciting plans you can share with us?
We are very excited to be turning one, a year older and wiser in a busy market, we intend to grow availability of Jackford Gin, focus on export and you’d never know what will be next from Stafford Irish Spirits! Watch this space!