What did you do before creating your own gin?
Mike and I are both London born and have worked in banking and insurance in many major financial centres and great cities around the world. So, we are big city boys. Having retired from corporate life we became firm friends, enjoying a G&T or two together after a round of golf in Southern Spain.
What made you decide to create Urban Rhino Gin?
With a mutual love of gin as our favourite sundowner, it seemed natural to go to the next step and create a gin that would be special for us and that our friends might enjoy too. With busy post-retirement filled lives we didn’t want to recreate the wheel in terms of gin distillation so we utilised the skills of an award winning distillery that we knew we could work with to imagine our gin of choice.
What's the inspiration behind your gin and the Urban Rhino brand?
Enjoying the rewards available in our metropolises is one thing, but we had become acutely aware of the pressure this global urbanisation had put on the natural world. The delicate balance between humans and wildlife is never more evident than now. The Rhino and its fight to endure is a prime example of a magnificent and ancient animal being under severe threat from loss of habitat and the purely gratuitous and illegal trade in Rhino horn resulting in nearly 10,000 Rhinos and over 250 Rangers meeting their deaths in South Africa since 2008. We felt obligated to help them and the name Urban Rhino was born.
Can you tell us more about the distillery you work with?
Finding the right distillers for us was imperative, given our own lack of distilling experience and hands off approach. This is what In The Welsh Wind Distillery's Alex and Ellen say about themselves:
“We are maverick distillers, crafting bespoke spirits. We are respectful of tradition but not constrained by it. We tread our own path in distilling and are proud innovators and providers of bespoke premium spirits to the drinks industry. We craft every batch in our copper pot stills, Afanc & Meredith, in order to control and supply drinks of exclusive quality.”
We only worked with 6 key botanicals (why complicate things), but Alex and Ellen used their award winning skills to deliver on our brief and their boast.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
Getting to grips with social media! For a couple of more mature gents this has certainly had its challenges and “fun” times – but one of the most satisfying moments was when we received a video from a Ranger in the Waterberg Biosphere in South Africa personally thanking us for a consignment of binoculars we had funded through sales of Urban Rhino. We had chosen to partner with one of the less prominent charities so that we could have just this sort of interaction – but it still came as a bit of a shock when you realise that by drinking Urban Rhino you are making a viable difference at this level.
How would you describe Urban Rhino Gin in a sentence?
We would describe Urban Rhino as: “a really good, smooth Premium London Dry Gin, that tastes of gin.”
What’s your favourite way to drink Urban Rhino Gin?
Currently we love to garnish with a slice of red grapefruit and a sprig of fresh rosemary with Fever-Tree Indian or Mediterranean Tonic (not light). But in our view, however you take it, go easy on the citrus with perhaps just a slim piece of lemon peel to give a slightly sweeter finish.
Which gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than Urban Rhino of course)?
Tanqueray Gin is always a favourite and currently we are also enjoying Jawbox Gin.
What’s next for you and Urban Rhino Gin - any exciting plans?
Launching during lockdown was always going to be a tough ask and as the market slowly opens and recovers we want to continue to establish the brand online, in homes and in retail and hospitality outlets. With so many different flavoured tonics available we will continue with the London Dry theme but perhaps a “regular pour” version with a lower abv while still preserving that smooth premium taste and feel.
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