Summerhall Distillery, where they make Pickering’s Gin and the newly launched Ginerosity gin, is smaller than expected. Once part of Edinburgh University’s Royal Dick School of Veterinary Medicine, its three rooms are now home to a couple of gin stills – Emily and Gertrude – spirit vats, and a bottling line and store room. A room next door has an ever-shrinking pile of Ginerosity boxes.
“We’re going to have to make some more,” smiles Matt Gammell, one of the founders of Ginerosity and one half of Pickering’s Gin. “Things are going well.”
Ginerosity only launched in November last year, and, amazingly, the company behind it – Spirits for Good CIC – was only incorporated the month before. It’s been a whirlwind few months since, says Gammell.
“We went from concept to launch in a matter of weeks,” adds fellow Ginerosity director Dave Mullen, executive creative director of Story UK. “That’s a major achievement for any brand.”
That Ginerosity is growing in its popularity is no surprise. Ginerosity is unlike any other gin. It’s a social enterprise business, meaning its profits are directed back into good causes rather than into the pockets of shareholders. Judging by the dwindling Ginerosity stock at Summerhall Distillery it’s clearly enjoyed a successful launch while the brand itself is increasingly capturing people’s imagination.
“It’s a social enterprise business, meaning its profits are directed back into good causes rather than into the pockets of shareholders”
“The brand is premium, but not ostentatious,” adds Mullen. “This is a quality craft gin that looks good and tastes good. We’re not expecting people to give up on luxuries in order to help others. In fact, it’s the reverse. We want people to buy and enjoy this gin knowing they’re giving others a helping hand. It makes a beautiful gift; ideal for Mother’s Day…”
Ginerosity is the brainchild of five drinks industry captains, each of them bringing a unique skillset to the big-hearted project. Joining Mullen and Gammell on the Ginerosity project are Marcus Pickering, fellow founder of Pickering’s; Chris Thewlis, the high-profile social entrepreneur; and David Moore, chief executive of Flavourly.
Made from a recipe honed by head distiller Gammell, Ginerosity is a tasteful, accessible and characterful London Dry Gin. Bold citrus and juniper flavours at the start give way to sweetness that carries a subtle peppery spiciness. The finish is crisp and dry; satisfying and well balanced.
For those who love their G&Ts, Gammell recommends mint. “I think adding lemon makes it a touch too citrusy,” he says, adding that the 10 botanicals in Ginerosity are juniper, coriander, angelica, lemon, lime, orange, lemon myrtle, heather, cardamom and cloves.
“I’m hugely proud of Ginerosity,” Gammell adds. “It’s a superb gin, complex but accessible, full of character, and mixes traditional botanicals with some more unusual flavours for a gentle modern twist. We’re very happy with it.”
“It’s a superb gin, complex but accessible, full of character, and mixes traditional botanicals with some more unusual flavours for a gentle modern twist”
If the Ginerosity team are pleased with the gin they’ve developed, they’re also hugely passionate about its social enterprise aims.
Thewlis, who runs his own social enterprise bar group Beer for Good CIC, says: “As well as getting the brand in front of bar managers and buyers, on bar gantries and shop shelves, we’ve also partnered with the developmental organisation Challenges Worldwide to support volunteer placements in Africa for disadvantaged young adults. Giving folk a second chance, supporting those who needed it, well, that was pretty much what inspired us to unite on this.”
The gin might be excellent, but the way the Ginerosity team has worked together to provide a co-ordinated and strategic enterprise that benefits young people and businesses is an exemplary example of joined-up thinking.
Profits from Ginerosity help fund places on the Challenges Worldwide International Citizen Service (ICS) programme, which sees young adults from the UK undergo 10-12 week placements in countries such as it’s Ghana, Uganda, Zambia and Rwanda. Once in-country they work closely with local social enterprises helping them to attract investment and trade, further helping the economy.
“Profits from Ginerosity help fund places on the Challenges Worldwide International Citizen Service (ICS) programme”
If it sounds like a free holiday, it’s not. The young adults are there to develop skills and undergo work experience. Ginerosity will fund some of the trip, the rest of the cash being raised by the young people themselves.
“Sure we try to make it fun,” says Amelia Hunt, Assessment and Partnerships Co-ordinator at Challenges Worldwide, “but it’s as much about learning about how to work in a business as much as developing themselves, while also appreciating the different culture of their host country. It’s a hugely rewarding and eye-opening scheme.”
“Poverty’s the real target here,” adds Hunt. “Whether it’s addressing economic poverty in the devloping world or poverty of ambition in Britain; our programme course, and Ginerosity’s innovative funding model, helps us tackle that in multiple ways.”
As well as their partnership with Challenges Worldwide, Ginerosity also recently announced an advisory panel that includes BBC Sport presenter and former Scotland rugby captain Andy Nicol and Alex Bruce, managing director of the acclaimed Adelphi Distillery.
It’s the panel’s job to assess funding applications and allocate Ginerosity’s profits. As well as contribute towards the cost of the ICS programme, Ginerosity also wants to provide the £300 assessment fee for a Chartered Management Institution certificate, enabling the young adults to complete the programme with a valuable and industry-recognised qualification.
Having the panel is key, explains Thewlis. “This is a partnership of people who want to do good, for goodness’ sake. We’ve got experts, industry experts and business owners and advisers, academics and people who have helped good causes either as part of their job or through their business or as individuals. We’re delighted to have these people on board.”
Thewlis adds: “The shareholder here is the community; when we distribute profits it’s young adults, maybe without opportunity or education, who benefit, not a rich bunch of corporate investors. That’s the beauty of this.”
“The shareholder here is the community; when we distribute profits it’s young adults, maybe without opportunity or education, who benefit, not a rich bunch of corporate investors. That’s the beauty of this”
As well as business leaders, Ginerosity also won the support of social enterprise funder, Resilient Scotland, as well as other firms and agencies. Thewlis says: “One recruitment agency came to us offering to support candidates with interview skills and brush up their CVs; another offering placements. This is a gin that is capturing people’s attentions and changing people’s lives.”
“And who’s not to say that some of these young adults could come back and end up working for Ginerosity, perhaps as ambassadors or here in the distillery. Quite simply, the more people who buy this gin, the more young people we help.”
Originally published in Issue 1 of our Flavourly magazine. Written by Colin Campbell