What did you do before establishing Kin Spirits?
We enjoyed a career in financial and professional services and we reached that stage in life which presented an opportunity for reflection. We found ourselves in the fortunate position of not having to seek work immediately and were frankly ready for some time out, a rest, and some holidays without emails or phone calls back to the office! With holidays comes rest, relaxation and a touch of drinking... in our case gins!
What made you decide to set up your distillery?
We very much stumbled into the whole area of distilling. The first indirect inspiration was when we were introduced to the Italian “zuccherini alcolici” which are essentially sugar cubes infused with neutral grain spirit and botanicals. We hadn’t seen this in the UK before and got chatting to the locals about it. We were pointed in the direction of local supermarkets to purchase neutral grain spirit off the shelves and shown how to make our own.
We then returned home and discovered that access to neutral grain spirit required licenses and to cut a long story short we decided to obtain them which in turn introduced us to the whole world of distilling.
What makes Kin Spirits different to other distilleries?
First and foremost, we’re a small batch contract distiller. Our passion and joy is in creating new and bespoke recipes which bring to life the personality of our clients. We like to think this makes us somewhat unique in the market place. Our approach is to produce one-off products for bars, restaurants, clubs, charities and associations who want a premium and bespoke private label gin to help set them apart.
Can you tell us more about the distillery?
Our home at Luke Lane Head Farm has some outbuildings, one of which has become perfect for distilling. Each of our stills is a copper alembic still, we have a small one “Goldie” for our favourite past time which is the alchemy of prototyping and recipe development; we then have two others which enable us to produce batch runs of between 6 and 60 bottles. Naturally they are called Goldie Locks and Baby Bear - we’ll aim to complete the whole family in due course.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
Having worked in larger corporations all of our careers, it has been a fabulous experience starting a business from scratch. There’s no doubt that it’s a rollercoaster of emotion, with amazing satisfaction when a client loves your product, to the hard daily grind of finding your next client.
It’s a wonderful challenge to reinvent gin every time we meet a new client and it’s been tremendous fun working with such a wide range of organisations. Our first client was a local health spa – a treatment at the Spa one afternoon meandered into a conversation about gin and an order to support their new “Zen Den”. A chat with a friend about The Haxey Hood event (worth looking it up and paying a visit next year!) lead to an introduction to the world of Boggins, Lords and Fools which were the inspiration behind another gin - The Spirit of the Hood. And we look forward to it all continuing.
Obviously the whole Coronavirus episode has been undoubtedly the biggest challenge for our clients in the hospitality sector and in turn for ourselves. Fortunately we have been in a position to ride the storm and that old saying “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” is one we hope will bear fruit over the coming year.
What's your favourite way to drink gin?
Outside on a warm sunny day in the early evening when it’s light, with a classic gin and tonic with an appropriate slice – in my case zesty with lemon.
What gins would you always have on your gin shelf?
There’s always room for a simple classic in the form of Gordon's Gin as a great base for cocktail making. For a refreshing gin and tonic for me it’s the Nikka Coffey gin. When I’m in the mood for something with a tiny touch of sweetness it’s Pinkster Gin.
What's next for Kin Spirits - any exciting plans?
We have a few collaborations underway and over the next few months will be introducing some new exciting gins via some local groups and chains. Prototyping a new range of Vodkas is our immediate focus but we never stop creating new combinations.
We haven’t yet collaborated with any large distilleries but are keen to do so, particularly for small batch runs which just don’t meet their minimum volume thresholds.