What did you do before launching Jeffrey’s Tonic?
I worked as an IT project manager in my last role, before then I held many different IT jobs. I was made redundant about six months prior to joining up with Mike. Mike Robinson was head of manufacturing at Heinz out in APAC, he took early retirement, travelled, learnt to play the saxophone, played tennis and enjoyed family life.
What made you decide to create your tonic range, and what's the inspiration behind it?
Mike and Maureen Robinson came-up with the idea, which was inspired by a tonic syrup recipe in the back of a book about gin. Having played around with various ingredients they hit upon one that everyone liked. This was the light bulb moment that encouraged Mike to start a business.
How are the tonics made, what are the ingredients and where are they sourced from?
Our tonics are handmade using authentic natural ingredients. We infuse and then convert to a syrup.
We use the actual Cinchona bark from Ecuador, the various herbs and spices are sourced from a reputable ingredient supplier.
What makes the Jeffrey's Tonic range different to other tonics?
We use authentic ingredients as opposed to extracts and flavourings. Our tonics also come in two formats, syrup and tonic water. We have four different flavours - most other tonic syrups don’t have the range we have…currently. The syrup format provides flexibility, use them in a cocktail or make your own tonic to your own liking. Also, our drinks are less bitter; we find a lot of people don’t like tonic, due to the amount of quinine. Our tonics have an edge and offer a great adult soft drink as an alternative to lemonade or cola.
What have been the biggest challenges in your story so far?
The tonic water market in the UK and to some extent Europe is becoming saturated - thanks to Fever-Tree. We must be innovative; to be different in a market that is somewhat…samey. This of course means that we need to educate people in how to use the syrups. Most who drink gin and tonic are used to getting a bottle and pouring it in the glass; the syrup means an extra step. To help with this, we also offer the same drinks but in carbonated ready mixed bottles.
What have been the biggest achievements in your story so far?
We are a growing company and it looks like 2019 is going to be a big one for us. But, for me, I love the reactions we get when people taste the tonics, especially with gin. We have had a lot of people claiming that they don’t like gin, then they realise that it’s the bitterness of the tonic that they don’t like - until they taste our drinks of course. We have won local and international awards for our drinks, seeing them on the shelves of some large retailers always puts a smile on my face.
How would you describe Jeffrey's Tonics in 3 words?
Sophisticated, multi-layered flavours
What's your favourite way to drink your tonics?
This very much depends on what drink I fancy at the time; one of my favourite drinks is our version of a Bourbon Old Fashioned. Recently though (over the Xmas period), I’ve been drinking a ‘hot G&T’
What gins would you always have on your gin shelf, or any favourites at the moment?
Some of the craft gins are just superb, Sir Robin of Locksley, Turncoat Gin and Tarsier Spirit Gin, but I’ve recently rediscovered Gordon's Gin - their Special London Dry is beautiful with our Original flavour tonic.
What's next for Jeffrey's Tonic - any exciting plans?
We have ideas for other flavours, and we are about to move in to our own facility. We are also mindful that we must develop light versions of the drinks in keeping with our ethos of using natural authentic ingredients. But we need to focus on getting the brand awareness out there for the time being.