Shimla Gin - Meet the Makers
What did you do before creating Shimla Gin?
Michael continues to manage the Patara Group of companies, one of which deals with brands, while Carl manages his marketing and media services practice.
What made you decide to create and launch Shimla Gin?
Some time ago we saw the trend in craft gins. Looking for something unique, we went back to our roots and saw we could use the plants and botanicals from India to create a uniquely scented gin. It took us three years to perfect our gin.
What is the inspiration behind Shimla Gin?
Shimla is the famous hill station and summer capital of the British Raj. Gin and India have often gone together, not least as the locus for the creation of Gin and Tonic. We were inspired by Shimla's name and history, not least because it historically lies in part of the Punjab.
Can you tell us more about the distillery you work with?
We pot distill in the Midlands.
Can you tell us more about the distillation process and botanicals?
We make a pot distilled traditional London Dry Gin. Lashings of juniper, cardamom, and tonka bean combine to give a refreshingly smooth and creamy gin. Our other botanicals include orange, pink grapefruit, cassia bark, black peppercorns and chilli.
What have been the biggest challenges on your journey so far?
Creating a gin that is distinctive, playing on the Indian source of some botanicals without overplaying the intense flavours. Finding and sourcing finest quality botanicals, then ensuring supply chain; partnering with people to set up distribution channels with wholesale and retail outlets; and creating an effective, engaging, attractive and professional online presence
What have been the biggest achievements on your journey so far?
Successfully resolving the challenges; soft launching at a number of local events, then properly launching in December; finding that sweet-spot balance of playing to both our brand strengths: inspired by India, made in England; getting a good team together who can deliver; and hearing how much the people who taste our gin really like it.
What has been your best story so far with Shimla Gin?
We just ‘officially’ launched at the Liverpool Gin Festival, where we also offered a selection of cocktails made with Shimla Gin. The crowd was four deep ordering them!
How would you describe Shimla Gin, in three words?
Complex, Rounded, Smooth
What is your favourite way to drink Shimla Gin?
At first we thought this was more of a sipping gin, but our mixologist made some spectacular and very popular cocktails with Shimla Gin, so we are split 50-50 on this.
Which other gins do you always have in your home, and any favourites at the moment?
Hendrick’s Gin. Slingsby Gin and Glaswegin are favourites at the moment.
What’s next for you and Shimla Gin?
Getting the Shimla Gin brand better known; possibly making a half-bottle (35cl) version.
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