When Kathy Catton first came up with the idea of creating a gin brand, the drink’s image was still a bit outdated. However, from a passion for gin and BrightonBrighton Gin has grown strongly into a market now worth over £1 billion.
Since Kathy began working on the project in 2012, with the company being created in 2014, Brighton Gin has had success after awards success and even making hand sanitizer at the start of the pandemic last year. stepped for.
As she prepares to mark a decade of experimentation and recipe creation with one of the nation’s favorite tipples, Kathy shares her story about lockdown, sustainability, and the employees who make up the company.
What was the inspiration for the brand?
It came from a morning run by the ocean after a very late night the night before drinking gin around a friend’s kitchen table. It occurred to me that if I was drinking anything other than gin, I wouldn’t get off my couch, let alone run.
It made me realize that gin is something that lets you get away with it. Brighton is, of course, a place that needs to get away from it again and again – and then boom, that’s it! I’m going to make Brighton Gin.
I’ve always thought that the idea is the easy part, the hard part is doing it. Ten years ago, I never would have thought I would make a gin and export to different countries and I love that we are helping spread the spirit of Brighton.
How did you go from that spark of inspiration to creating a product?
It’s really about a lot of research. I’ve always drank gin and always loved it, even when it was so uncool. People used to laugh when I drank it, but I have always been fond of it. I read and read and read, I experimented a lot and made a lot of things that weren’t really drinkable and some were near-misses. However, when things go wrong, you learn something.
I immersed myself in it and as time went on, I developed it little by little until I had a solid quality recipe.
For me, it’s always been about making sure it’s the best quality of everything. For example, we use 100 percent organic wheat as the base for the gin. We are always looking to take the better path – it may not be easy or cheap, but it is always the right thing to do.
What goes into making the gin you produce?
Obviously there is gin itself, every drop of which is distilled. Everything is done by hand, from peeling the fruit, and we’re also the first Kraft Gin to be certified as 100 percent vegan, including packaging.
It’s about making sure we’re making these better choices. For example, we have bottles made by a UK glass manufacturer, which uses 85 percent recycled glass. We label all bottles and each bottle ends in our Brighton Seafront Blue.
I love gin because I have the best time drinking some gin with friends and I want to get the spirit of Brighton in that bottle and bring it to the world.
How important was it to have ethical and sustainable production as part of the company’s mantra?
We really did it naturally as we went along. It’s only because we’ve paid more attention to it in recent years that we’ve realized just how much core value it really is.
We minimize waste, we do all our local deliveries on our e-cargo bikes – the equivalent of our company car, and we also don’t use single-use plastics; It took us a while to get there, but we are really proud to have done so.
We do our best to be ethically sourced. Bottle, for example, they’re based in Leeds, which doesn’t sound very local, but if you compare that to shipping from China, it is. Our botanicals that we use, we buy from a farm located just outside Ringmar, so we really try and support the local.
It allows us to reflect the city we are in. People are really aware of our impact on the world. You only have to go to the beach in the summer and see the state to realize that we all have a role.
We are really passionate about it and I truly believe that none of us are small enough to make a difference.
How do you continue to make Brighton Gin stand out in the growing gin market?
There are now over 3,500 British brands and there are many more brands that claim to be a thing but are not, but we are absolutely authentic.
We are hand-built by our team in the magnificent city Brighton and Hove, We have a pretty real passion about what we do and about taking the spirit of Brighton to the world in an ethically sustainable way and making sure every batch is absolutely delicious.
How did Brighton Gin get out of the pandemic?
It was a really scary time. We have won many times over the years, but I never imagined that what was almost going to end us was a global pandemic. He was never on the risk list.
When the hospitality closed, sales closed for us and I was worried Business was not going to survive. I was worried about my team as we are a close team.
There was a shortage of food and drink on the shelves and people were struggling to get hold of the PPE, so one of the things we did quickly was to try and be part of the solution, while keeping our business as we knew it. It was in effect at that time.
We have partnered with AS Apothecary based in Lewis which is specialized in high end skin care and we have started making hand sanitizers as a non-profit. And after all these months, we’re still doing it, and for every one we’ve sold on our website, we’ve made two donations to all kinds of places; From NHS frontline workers to food banks, delivery drivers – all to make a difference.
What can we expect from Brighton Gin in the coming months and years?
I have a certain attitude and point of view, but if we’ve learned anything from the past two years it’s that we can have all these plans and something can just come along and change everything!
We have just released a new range of three ready-to-drink cans; With gin and tonic with blood orange, raspberry crush and lemon verbena. Again, they all have high quality materials and the feel of them has been really nice.
We have a lot of big things in the pipeline, but I dare not tempt fate! I’m just glad we’re still here and that the business is still able to look to the future.
To see the gin making process in person, you can book tickets to Brighton Gin’s distillery and the company is participating in a gin and chocolate tasting night on i360 this weekend.
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