What did you do before creating your gin?
I’ve been in retail since I was 18, I became a manager for Toys R Us at the age of 19 where I enjoyed a successful career until I had my daughter Caitie in 2010. In 2011, I began working for The Watches of Switzerland Group as Branch Manager at the flagship Rolex showroom in Leicester. I loved working with luxury watches and jewellery, I found it incredibly rewarding meeting so many interesting people and becoming part of their story. Last November (2021) I left The Watches of Switzerland Group in order to concentrate on our gin business full time. I would really like to shout out Bri, my husband, who gave me the confidence and support to make such a significant decision. Bri is my absolute rock and is the foundation of Withers Gin, we simply wouldn’t be where we are today without his unfailing support, belief and muscles!
What made you decide to create your gin, and what’s the inspiration behind it?
My passion for gin was ignited a very long time ago. I was an early collector and turned my obsession into a very expensive hobby. Collecting gin is a bit like trying to fill a bath whilst the plug is out...! I did a little blogging for a while and found my niche on Instagram. I hatched the plan to create a gin while on the Eurostar on the way home from a business trip to Paris in Autumn 2017. Over the next 7 days I spent every spare second creating a thorough business plan. I registered Gin Shed Limited the following week and had a gin shed built in our garden. I then set about creating our first gin. The rest is history.
Can you tell us more about the distillery and distillation process?
In all I have worked with three distilleries, but just one distiller, Ed Gibson. Ed and I have worked together since early 2018 and I have followed him on his distilling journey to The Global Distillery Company that he founded in 2021.
The distillation process begins by carefully weighing out our 8 botanicals. These are added to the still with 96% neutral grain spirit and pure water. The mixture is heated, turning the liquid into vapour which passes through the water cooled condenser which turns it back into liquid. The distillation is separated into 3 parts, the heads, the hearts and the tails. We only use the hearts for our gin and these are blended with pure water to achieve our 40% ABV London Dry Gin or 47% ABV G Force.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
It’s fair to say that we’ve had a challenge or two. My father, Gus Crockatt died from pancreatic cancer in May 2018 having battled the disease for 20 months. This is the driving force behind our commitment to raise money to support Cancer Charities. Immediately following Dad’s death, I developed inflammatory arthritis in my right hip resulting in a full hip replacement in April 2019 and a 6 month spell on crutches. Countless bottle dramas gave us plenty of sleepless nights and resulted in at least three major redesigns.
Our major achievements to date are:
What has been your favourite story from your journey so far?
On the 6th of January we distilled the first ever commercial batch of G1 and three quarters of the way through the distillation, at roughly the point where we realised that G1 was amazing, a beautiful butterfly appeared out of nowhere. I will admit to having my own ‘moment’. It felt really significant and like a sign of approval. Apparently when a butterfly crosses your path it means you should embrace all changes that are about to come into your life... A butterfly is a symbol of happiness and good luck that will follow you in the future. Yup, I’ll take that - I reckon we deserve a bit of good fortune.
What’s your favourite way to drink your gin?
I love G1 or G Force in a big glass with one or two huge ice cubes, Fever-Tree Naturally Light Tonic, a heartsease flower, a thin squiggle of grapefruit zest and a hot sunny day! My serious lack of green fingers, the great British weather and working flat-out means that I often manage just the tonic and grapefruit zest. I’m also a big fan of a proper Martini. 60ml G1, 30ml extra dry vermouth and a dash of orange bitters, served REALLY cold in a frozen glass with a twist of lemon zest.
How would you describe your gin in 3 words?
Delicious, fresh and moreish. Actually these are all the words of others that I hold in very high regard that have tasted it but I’ve adopted them as my own.
Which gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
Outside of our G1 and 47% ABV G Force gins, my all time favourite is Harris Gin. I watched the documentary in 2017 and was hooked. I think the bottle is gorgeous and I absolutely love it with the sugar kelp aromatic water and a plump slice of pink grapefruit. Other strong contenders are Tanqueray 10 Gin and Sipsmith VJOP.
What’s next for Withers Gin - any exciting plans?
There is plenty of excitement ahead, with some major announcements imminent! We are gaining more stockists all the time and have a queue of new expressions and products launching throughout the course of the year. The beauty of being a small family business is we can turn on a dime and grab opportunities as they present themselves without extensive debate. Quite literally anything is possible!
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