What did you do before creating Pioneer Gin?
I was and still am a Conveyancing Solicitor and have worked from home for my own practice since 2002. Its pretty dull work to be fair but hey, it's paid the bills over the years and I have some freedom running my own business. I needed a new business challenge and starting up a new business from scratch holds no fear for me, so it was good grounding for this at least, although of course it is a very different business! I certainly enjoy meeting my customers whereas nobody really enjoys seeing their lawyer and vice versa!
What made you decide to create Pioneer Gin?
A new business challenge and maybe to set up a good family business for my children? I also thought it would be cool being the owner of Jack Daniels when I was younger! I am also a massive gin geek and wanted to create my expression of the perfect gin.
Can you tell us more about the distillery and distillation?
I do not have the space or the interest in distilling my own gin. I knew exactly what I was after for what I think makes the perfect gin and I was put in touch with a long established traditional Italian distillery (Casoni) near Modena. The brief was to create a gin that smelled incredible but with no dominant scent. I wanted the gin to be the perfect balance of all four main flavour profiles of citrus, spice, herbs and flowers but still noticeably a classic juniper gin too. It needed to not have a bitter aftertaste, be dry but also refreshing and to need nothing more than a standard Indian Tonic Water to enjoy (as the usual everyday drinker would enjoy). They nailed it in two takes! The first one was too aniseed heavy.
The exciting thing is that this batch is ever so slightly out of balance, being more citrus (orange) at first but soon the other flavours take over, and I can actually make it even better. I will make sure the next batch is exactly the same as batch number 2. I understand it is distilled using the discontinuous alembic method. Alcohol with a methanol content of max 5g/hl of alcohol at 100% volume is redistilled with juniper berries and aromatic plants including mountain pine, orange, rose hips and pink peppercorn.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
Biggest challenge - definitely the label and bottle design - very fiddly and time consuming!
How would you describe Pioneer Gin in 3 words?
Classic, unique, moreish.
What is your favourite way to serve your gin?
It's made to enjoy with a classic Indian Tonic Water.
Which gins would you always have on your gin shelf (apart from Pioneer Gin of course!)?
Monkey 47 Gin and Henstone London Dry Gin (bought after they were a Winner in The Gin Guide Awards in 2020).
What's next for you and Pioneer Gin?
Future plans would be to keep tweaking the website, bottle, packaging etc, finding new markets and connections, possibly some merchandising and maybe a tequila or rum under the same brand. I think I should definitely go on another quality control trip to Modena.
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