Next up in our Q&A feature is Pickering’s Gin. Gin has seen a huge market explosion and seems to be the drink of the moment. We tried Pickering’s Gin at Foodies Festival and it was delicious. It has a fantastic smooth taste and tastes great in their custom made cocktails as well. The 9 botanicals – juniper, coriander, cardamom, angelica, fennel, anise, lemon, lime and cloves – are carefully measured and added to the grain spirit in a 500 litre copper still. Named Gert. Thanks to Gert’s gentle simmering it produces an excellent product at the end.
So here’s what we found out about Pickering’s Gin.
Matt Gammell and Marcus Pickering, business partners for 12 years, friends for longer. We set up the Summerhall Distillery together and it is there that we make our marvellously mixed Pickering’s Gin.
We set up the distillery late in 2013 and launched the first product, Pickering’s Gin on 27th March 2014. Just over 6 months in total.
We have a motto that we both subscribe to ‘if you can’t find what you want, make it yourself’. That is the basis of our business. However, the idea for the distillery stemmed from a piece of paper that came into our possession – that bit of paper contained a gin recipe written in Bombay in 1947.
The biggest challenge that we are having at the moment, is breaking out of the Scottish market. Selling the gin in Edinburgh and Scotland has been great. There is still a lot of work to do, but people are more receptive to a Scottish gin in Scotland.
With a lot of hard work! It took us about 18 months of taste testing and flavour profiling to take our gin from the original recipe to the balanced smooth Pickering’s Gin recipe that we use today.
For us, its all about the quality of the gin. The smoothness and richness of flavour that make our gin special. Gert (our still) is heated with a custom designed bain marie heating system, which allows to create our soft, highly drinkable gin.
There is no such thing as a typical day for us. One day we could be in the distillery actually distilling the gin, or bottling, or labelling or getting hands on with the process. The next day we could be in meetings with high level operators in the UK drinks industry. Followed up by running a late night event with Gin and Tonics and cocktails. No two days are really the same.
It found us really. We spent a lot of time working on our brand identity and are very luck to have some great people to talk to about this sort of thing. However, we didn’t really pick a niche and go for it, we started the brand focused around who we are and where we are in Edinburgh and its really gone on from there.
Ours! There is such a great wealth of fantastic gins out there, not only from Scotland but around the world, people are spoilt for choice with flavours and tastes. However, we created our gin because we like it – so its our favourite too.
We have had a great response from stockists up and down the UK, higher end outlets such as Harrods, Fortnum and Masons and the House of Bruar all stock our gin. However, you can also get bottles in many independent wine stores across Scotland and the UK.
We have a wonderful Pea-cocktail that we served during the Edinburgh Festival this year. It’s tasty, flamboyant and with a little bit of added fizz to really make is sparkle. We call it the Lady Pickering, its a mix of gin, earl grey tea, lemon juice and elderflower topped with sparkling wine. An outstanding may to end (or begin) a night with friends.
Many thanks to the guys at Pickering’s Gin for answering our questions. Mr E is a big gin fan and I think I am being converted. Did you know they also do tours and tastings. Guided tours and tastings are available by appointment Monday – Saturday, from 12pm to 4pm. Tours last around 30-40 minutes. For a mere £10 a head you can experience the wonderful world of Pickering’s Gin. Find out more about their tours here.
You an find Pickering’s Gin on –
*Thanks to Pickering’s Gin for use of some of their professional images.