Have you ever thought about starting your own business? If so, how about making it gin-inspired? It could be the dream of running a themed bar, inventing your own gin or even creating the next big event in the industry calendar.
These bright young gins things did just that. Here, they share their best ever advice with us.
Ed Godden, co-founder of The Travelling Gin Co.
Ed is one half of The Travelling Gin Co, a mobile gin company based in London. Both keen cyclists, Ed and Joe invented the company from their love of cycling trips and old-fashioned bicycles.
Ed’s top advice
- Test your idea
“We tried the idea out at a friend’s private art viewing in East London. It was a really sunny day and we ran out of drinks in about 45 minutes. People were asking for business cards and our website and we didn’t have anything to share with them but we knew we were on to a good idea. It’s a full-time business now.”
- Cater for your client’s needs
“When the bike is empty and nice and light, we cycle off. We’re limited to two drinks options. Usually a classic gin ‘n’ tonic and a seasonal cocktail. Sometimes a classic or something we’ve designed bespoke for the client. The second doubles up as a soft drink for non-drinkers. Our constantly changing menu keeps everything fresh and we get to try lots of new drinks ideas.”
- Do something different
“There’s always a new distillery opening. Supermarkets don’t just sell the top three gins, it’s a whole half aisle. If you’re a fan you’re spoilt for choice
You have to be doing something different, which can lead to overly gimmicky bottles. There are so many flavours, but the variety is key. Go and explore the wealth of choice. Notice the classics, and the tradition and the quality of what people are doing. That’s what’s really important.”
See: Discover the best gin bars with our guides.
Emma Stokes – Chief of World Gin Day and blogger at Gin Monkey
Emma began writing her drinks blog in 2009. She now runs her own gin classes, sells her own gifts, writes her own books and runs gin events. Not to mention also being the Chief of World Gin Day…
Emma’s top advice
- Find a niche in the market
“Specialising in gin wasn’t intentional. When I moved to London to start my MA at Imperial, I realised that there weren’t many websites talking about cocktails so I decided to set up a blog that independently and impartially reviewed cocktail bars.”
- Become knowledgeable in your field
“I have this wide knowledge of gin and the way it’s crafted and people look to me for advice. It’s nice to be in that position and remain unbiased. I don’t have to say all gins are wonderful to further my career, I can be honest and candid about what’s good. I don’t hold back on my opinions. They are not all wonderful.”
- Be open to collaboration (and criticism)
“I took over running World Gin Day last year and we’d made the first World Gin Day gin this year. I’m working with That Boutiquey Gin Company, who also make Moonshot Gin which uses botanicals that have been sent into space.
I always said I’d never make a gin. You set yourself up for a lot of criticism, but this is a collaboration. I don’t want to do too much at once and spread myself too thinly. And I refuse to do things half-arsed.”
- Use what you know
In 2016, Ebury Illustrated published Emma’s first book – The Periodic Table of Cocktails – which married her love of science and cocktails.
“In so many ways my academic career and what I do with gin sits together effortlessly. My MA gave me communication skills but I have the scientific background that allows me to think about botanicals and distillation methods and understand those principles. They’re very different worlds, but they’re similar in many ways.”
Lawrence Mason, Co-founder of BTW Tonic
Lawrence’s top advice
- Care about the quality of your ingredients
“We wanted a tonic that had provenance and used natural ingredients. Quinine powder comes from the bark of a cinchona tree. It was supposed to be a pill but it was too bitter so it was mixed with other things in the rations, such as water, gin and lime. We were surprised by how much tonic had changed – quinine powder is brown, tonic water is clear – commercial tonic has the colour removed. ”
- Everything takes longer than you think – give yourself time
“We thought it would be really easy to brand and package but it was much harder than we expected. Filtration, carbonation, pasteurisation. They all took time. We thought it would take around six months to get ready, but it took a year and a half. We finally bottled it in 2014 and we’re about to launch a ready-to-drink bottled gin and tonic with Sacred Gin.”
- Be authentic
“You can tell when the branding has been done by an agency. It’s not authentic, it’s about riding on coattails. So much work and effort goes into doing it well. We make everything from scratch, everything is done by hand. There’s space for innovation and quality products, but it’s an industry with a lot of successful people because they work incredibly hard.”