What's the story behind NB?
My husband and I are both lawyers but wanted to set up our own business. My husband wanted to make beer but I told him swiftly that if I was to sell it, it would be the equivalent of him selling handbags. We have a love of gin and therefore decided gin was the product we wanted to make.
What has the process been like from your idea to the finished product?
We researched for months and then began experimenting in our kitchen with botanicals in an old pressure cooker with some central heating pipes moulded on to it. It was our makeshift gin still. We spent months analysing how the botanicals react and what taste profile we wanted to create. We were then granted a license and set up a glass gin still in our kitchen. Our kitchen turned into a distillery and for months we perfected the recipe. When our product came top in blind tastings (in our kitchen with some keen volunteers!) we decided to get a proper gin still built and rented a small industrial unit. The still was installed in August 2013 and in October 2013 we launched.
What is the NB Gin distillery like?
It started as a small space with a table and our filling process was a glass jug and a team of family helpers. When we launched we had no idea what was going to happen to us. Thousands of bottles were ordered and despite thinking we would only keep the people of North Berwick in gin, orders flowed in from around the UK and within 6 months from abroad too. We have now expanded our premises to a larger space and are now in the process of building our own distillery.
What can you tell us about the distillation process?
The distillation process is a London Dry process - all the taste and flavour comes from distillation and nothing is added afterwards. This means that timing and precision are everything and is the reason our gin took years to perfect. My husband describes the London Dry process as equivalent to sitting at a cockpit in a plane. Many dials and variables that can alter the result. London Dry provides an outstanding longevity of flavour and the outstanding nature of our flavour profile is why we won the World’s Best London Dry Gin in 2015.
How would you describe NB Gin in 3 words?
Classic, uncompromising quality.
What makes NB Gin different to other gins?
It's the world's best - selected by the Queen, Rolls Royce and the Brits as their gin of choice. Classic smooth and an incredible taste that leaves you wanting more after every sip.
What's your favourite way to drink NB Gin?
I like a light tonic with a peel of pink grapefruit and ice. My husband loves it neat and indeed the day before we launched we had forgotten to try it with tonic. We believed the gin had to stand up on its own in our tastings.
What are your favourite gins (other than NB Gin!)?
Tanqueray Gin is a favourite of mine.
Scottish Gin is booming - what's the secret behind it?
Scotland is renowned for producing the highest quality food and drink products. Gin seems to be following the next phase of high quality products and there are several passionate distillers now in the gin industry ensuring quality is brought to the global market.
What's next for NB Gin?
We are now exporting to over 11 countries and seeing rapid growth. We have always been in a fortunate position that our company is trying to catch up with the growth. We are building our own distillery in North Berwick at a site looking over the sea. We will be opening the doors for the first time next year for distillery tours. This is really exciting for us. We are also working with the Royal family party architect, Johnny Roxburgh, and are producing a new gin in collaboration with him. It is a spectacular contemporary London Dry - we aim to launch in April.