Start-Up Stories – Old Curiosity Distillery
Gin sales are continuing to thrive across the UK, with a reported 73m bottles sold in 2018. A brand who are bringing something new to the gin scene is Old Curiosity Distillery. We spoke to Bernie Snagg, a Business Development Manager there. Read on to see his views on start-up life and the gin market…
What is The Old Curiosity Distillery?
We are an all natural distillery based out of The Secret Herb Garden in Edinburgh.
There are hundreds of gins to choose from, especially with all the innovation in the spirits industry. What makes you guys stand out?
There certainly is and it is still a very vibrant market. We are passionate about the ingredients that go into our gin. We use no chemicals, flavour compounds, artificial colours or sugar. Our mission is to showcase the true essence of the plants that we use.
Everything is all-natural and hand-crafted, was that the idea from the start?
It was. Our founder, Hamish Martin, is a qualified herbologist. After working for years in the wine and whisky industry, he sold up and pursued his passion for plants. Once qualified, he and his wife Liberty, bought a disused plant nursery to set up The Secret Herb Garden. There are no chemicals used on site and that is Hamish’s passion.
We are all about the magical properties of plants and if you treat the garden right there is no need to use chemicals.
What’s the culture like at The Old Curiosity Distillery?
“We are a family. Only a small team but everybody is looked after.”
Everyone involved is only a phone call away and intensely passionate about what we do.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
An hour or so catching up on emails and admin in the morning then usually a day spent in the city (whichever that may be!) Usually I will have 3 or 4 appointments booked in which will give the flexibility to drop in on potential new customers or react to things happening during the day. Whatever happens, I always have a bag full of gin!
Working in a start-up, how do you feel your role impacts the business?
It allows brand presence on a face to face, personal level. I believe strongly in the brand and it’s that passion that I can portray to potential clients.
If you had to pick one, what would be your favourite flavour? Why?
It should be more difficult but I am asked this question a lot and it is always the Geranium & Mallow gin for me. It is beautifully floral fragrance balances so well with the classic gin botanicals. We don’t just use any Geranium, we use ‘Geranium Attar of Roses’ which adds a rose/Turkish delight aroma and flavour. It’s delicious!
What 3 words would you use to describe The Old Curiosity Distillery?
Natural, Passionate, Innovative.
Where can people find your gorgeous gins?
We are available in many independent retailers as well as the more luxurious department stores. We are really popular in Garden centres as you can imagine.
What does the future hold for The Old Curiosity Distillery?
Well we are exporting to a few countries around the world now and have just finished our Christmas gin. There are a couple of other exciting things in the pipeline so you will have to watch this space!
We can’t wait to see where they are in a years time. Be sure to check out their website here to stay up to date on their awesome spirits!