Withers Gin – Meet the Maker

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Get to know Withers Gin! We caught up with founder Sarah Withers to hear about how it all started, the biggest challenges and achievements so far, how best to serve their gin, what some of her favourite gins are, and what exciting plans are ahead.
What did you do before creating your gin?
I’ve been in retail since I was 18 and I became a manager for Toys R Us at the age of 19. I enjoyed a successful career with them 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 store in Leicester where I am now. I love working with luxury watches and jewellery, I find it incredibly rewarding meeting so many interesting people and becoming part of their story.

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?
The distillery (Bond Street Distillery) is a brand new, lovingly restored old hosiery factory. It houses the distillery, a bar, an events space and gin school. It’s a perfect space for us and Sally, Ed and the team are great. 

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.

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. 

What has been your favourite story from your journey so far?
On the 6th of January we distilled 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. 

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.

What’s your favourite way to drink your gin?
I love G1 in a big glass with one or two huge ice cubes, Fever-TreeNaturally Light Tonic, a heartsease flower, a thin squiggle of grapefruit zest and a hot sunny day off! 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 

What gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
Outside of G1 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, Black Tomato Gin, The Botanist Gin, Gin Mare and my new favourite also from Bond Street Distillery – Hinckley No1.

What’s next for Wither’s Gin – any exciting plans?
There is plenty of excitement ahead, with some incredible announcements as to where you can enjoy or purchase G1 as well as plans for further expressions in the future. 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.

Also Read:

Buy Withers Gin:

Withers G1 Gin – Interview with Sarah Withers – The Gin Guide

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