• Kate

Women-led Award-Winning Distillery, The Gin Kitchen, Reflects on the Highs and Lows of 2020

2020 was all set to be an exciting and fun year. We had a busy programme of tasting events, lots of export prospects and plans to open a gin school and a cocktail bar.

But as coronavirus began to take a hold in March, our order intake plummeted. We were afraid for our families and concerned for our staff, customers and suppliers. Kate produced dystopian financial models that predicted closure and homelessness by May.

We despaired over a G&T... And apparently so did everyone else as our orders suddenly sky-rocketed in April.

Our courageous staff juggled self-isolation, home-working and childcare to distil fabulous gin and keep the distillery running. Our customers and suppliers also worked hard to maintain their service as we adapted the business to mitigate the evolving threat and keep our guests, our team and our families safe.

Our Top Triumphs

1. Hand Sanitiser to Stop the Spread

In March we had a call from a local care home, desperate for hand sanitiser. So we turned our distilling skills to making pre-surgical grade hand sanitiser and started supplying hospitals, care homes and the armed forces. Joining this national effort gave us a sense of purpose and togetherness that really moved and united us all.

2. Digital Connections

During the first few days of lock-down we completely transformed our website to make it easier for people at home to enjoy our fabulous spirits. We added new products, like emergency lock-down G&T packs and saw ten times the amount of online sales.

3. Exports

Our exports doubled as we entered new markets in Singapore, the Caribbean and the Channel Islands. Our gin appeared in cocktail bars in Tokyo and celebrities’ homes in Miami. We were delighted when Inter Miami Centre-back Nico Figal contacted us to tell us how much he loves our gin.

4. Opening the Orangery Bar

It was a bold decision to build a cocktail bar when hospitality venues were closing up and down the country but our vision was to create a safe space to socially connect our local community.

It all started when a passing cyclist came to the shop and asked if he could have a drink. We sold him a miniature gin and bottle of tonic and gave him a compostable cup. Then we thought, maybe we can offer takeaway drinks and after a quick read of the legislation, started a gin and cocktail bar. Word spread and there were soon hour-long queues for our cocktails.

During the summer, when people couldn’t go on holiday, we brought Ibiza tunes