What did you do before developing North42 Gin?
Joanna has a great passion for food having worked in Hospitality for over 15 years, travelling the world as a Hospitality Manager and Chef. She also has a keen eye for design, which you can see in the interior design of North Bar & Kitchen and the North42 branding. My background is in community regeneration of sport, delivering project scoping, funding and management of major changes in the community.
We have both co-owned the North Bar and Kitchen restaurant in Leicestershire for over 5 years now and it has gained an enviable reputation and a keen following from its amazing food and unique gin inspired tasting menu.
What made you decide to create your gin and what's the inspiration behind it?
It has always been a dream of ours to produce our own gin, as we both love pairing food and drink, which we have experienced when travelling the world trying different menus and accompanying drinks, especially different gins. Our restaurant, North Bar and Kitchen is situated at No.42 Hinckley Road. We stock and sell 41 Gins which we have chosen from our travels around the World. We vowed we would only sell a 42nd Gin when we could make a high-class gin ourselves, which we would call North42.
The first cocktail we ever made is called the Rhubarb Tumble. This was inspired by my love of rhubarb, and Joanna's ability to come up with perfect food pairings. So many of our customers asked why we have not made our own gin yet as the Rhubarb Tumble was our best-selling cocktail. So, we both thought why not?
How did you get from the idea to the finished product?
We started to mix ingredients using Joanna's expert palate, developing kitchen-based recipes and then working with an award-winning distiller for their gin expertise and production. After hundreds of iterations of the recipe, continually tweaking the ingredients and mix, we finally landed on something that we were proud enough to call North42! The gin is 42% ABV, the 42nd gin to be served at North Bar & Kitchen, based at 42 Hinckley Road! They say the meaning of life is 42, we'd have to agree!
Can you tell us about the botanicals used in North42?
There are 6 botanicals used in the distillation plus blood arrange and rhubarb in blend. The botanicals are juniper, coriander seed, fresh lime peel, fresh orange peel, angelica root, milk thistle seeds.
What have been the biggest achievements so far?
Weâve had some pretty amazing results from the birth of North42. Being stocked in Selfridges Birmingham was a real achievement, but after selling out completely from the first launch event with them, we were soon taken into all four stores and stocked online. Our reputation soon spread, and we were asked to be the main display in Selfridges Oxford Street for their Valentine's Day campaign, displaying our North42 products. It obviously helps with our vibrant colours being perfect for an attention-grabbing display.
For the Christmas period, between September to January, we received data showing us to be the No1 ranked gin for presence in store and sales in their busiest period. An overall ranking of 4th across all Selfridges stores of their top selling gins, delivered a result never seen before for a new brand of gin. People love North42 and have never tasted a gin like it.
What have been the biggest challenges so far?
Going into lockdown has impacted all gin brands across trade accounts, with stores handing back stock and relying on online sales. We diversified quickly though into online sales and have even managed to grow brand awareness of North42 during the most challenging environment to introduce a new brand.
How would you describe your gin in 5 words?
Smooth, unique and naturally pink.
What's your favourite way to drink your gin?
We both have our own favourite way. Joanna loves to drink North42 with natural ginger ale, which also changes the colour when you pour the ginger ale in. But she equally loves a Gin Fizz, combining the gin with a glass of Champagne for a classic drink.
My personal favourite is to drink the gin neat over ice, with a slice of dehydrated orange. Because our gin is so smooth and delicious, it can be drank neat even though it is 42% ABV. You wonât believe it until you try it.
What gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
NordÃ©s is an Atlantic Galician gin, which is a rather intriguing Spanish gin we enjoy.
What's next for North42 - any exciting plans?
We have got some amazing plans for 2021 that our fans will love. New flavours, products and distribution partners will see the boom for North42 continue once we have got this challenging pandemic killed off. But weâll keep those secrets close to our chest until it is time to share them with our growing audience of regular customersâ¦â
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