What did you do before creating Wolftown Gin?
I am still a TV Camera Operator, working on the Premier League, Six Nations and other sporting events, though I’m hoping to replace my bread and butter work with the drinks business. I’ve been a camera operator since 1995, so I’ve done some great things but camera gear is getting heavier and I’m not getting any younger.
What made you decide to create your gin, and what's the inspiration behind your it?
I love trying new food and drinks, so with the recent revolution in the drinks industry, creating your own brand seemed very achievable all of a sudden. No-one was producing a gin that celebrated our wonderful little town of Ulverston and I decided to get creative with the etymology of the town’s name and created Wolftown.
How did you go about creating Wolftown Gin?
I attended a Start Up Distilling course at Brewlab and whilst it would be preferable to run my own distillery, start up costs were prohibitive for me, so I found Bottomley Distillers, who were flexible enough to help me develop my recipe without costing the earth.
Can you tell us more about the key botanicals?
I wanted to have a local connection when it came to choosing botanicals, however to me this didn’t mean having to start digging up some obscure root that grows up the road. Like our branding, the gin had to connect with the town and local area in spirit, which is why I had to make Sarsaparilla my key ingredient. We grew up drinking gallons of the local soft drink ‘Sass’ - you couldn’t go to the ‘Chippie' without buying a large bottle - and for those that don’t know ‘Sass’, think of it as the Dom Perignon version of Dandelion and Burdock!
After that, ginger has a strong connection with Cumbria thanks to the influx of spices through the port at Whitehaven, so that had to be in there and from there, it was a case of balancing it all out to make an interesting gin that could be sipped or served in a cocktail.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
Despite thinking about it for a couple of years, actually making it all happen in just six months has been both the biggest challenge and biggest achievement. We had a deadline of the last week in November so we could launch at the Ulverston Dickensian Festival, so to get the gin how we liked it and get the branding done so well, thanks to Eclectic Creative in Staveley, was almost miraculous. The feedback we’ve had on the quality of the gin and how the branding has connected with not only locals but people far and wide, has been very satisfying to say the least.
How would you describe Wolftown Gin in 3 words?
Smooth, surprising and flavoursome.
What's your favourite way to drink your gin?
Sipped neat works really well, which was my intention, but I mostly drink it with either Naturally Light or Aromatic Tonic by Fever-Tree. Aromatic is winning at the minute but always with a garnish of orange zest or slice of orange or grapefruit.
As well as Wolftown Gin of course, what gins would you always have on your gin shelf?
Brockmans Gin is very nice indeed. As is Cuckoo Sunshine Gin.
What's next for Wolftown Gin - any exciting plans?
We are so new at this stage that we need to build our brand now, though I am itching to create some new expressions. I wish I had a pound for every time someone asked me what flavour our gin is, so we’ll see. As our gin is a good sipping gin, a Navy Strength might be a good move too and it’s going to be hard to stop me wanting a production unit of our own in the next year. Whatever happens, I’m loving the journey so far.