Brockmans co-founder presents masterclasses for Scots bartenders
BROCKMANS Gin co-founder Bob Fowkes was on a tour of Scotland late last month, staging a series of gin masterclasses for bartenders in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The tour is part of a wider push from the team behind the gin to drive up its on-trade presence, a push that’s seen the brand enter bars in the US earlier this year and Ireland last month.
Fowkes said the brand’s distribution has grown steadily since its inception in the UK in 2007.
“It was a guy [Kevan Crosthwaite] who was in the financial industry and he was living in Singapore,” Fowkes explained.
“He said ‘why does vodka get so much attention yet gin is the much more interesting spirit?’”
That question, said Fowkes, prompted Crosthwaite to contact his brother David along with Neil Everitt and Fowkes – the team that would found Brockmans.
From the outset, Fowkes said the goal was to “create a gin which is pretty much what we say in our claim line, ‘a gin like no other’”.
“There were a lot of people making new gins at the time by changing one of the botanicals,” said Fowkes.
“We wanted to go ‘wow that’s almost off the map’. We just noticed that berries weren’t really used in gin distillation so we started to explore citrus and then we played around with coriander which is quite instrumental in changing the taste, they were the key ones we looked at.”
In 2009 Brockmans Gin was born.
The goal from the outset was to ‘create a gin like no other’.
The brand was launched in London before moving into venues in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester. And it wasn’t long until the team behind Brockmans cast a wider net.
“We went in 2010 to Switzerland and Spain and we took off in Spain,” said Fowkes.
“Then we took a year in 2011 to plan our introduction to the US because of the scale of the market; then eventually in February 2014 we introduced it into Massachusetts, New Jersey and Manhattan in New York.
“Beyond that we’ve had interest from Canada and from Germany.
“It’s not our intentions to go into 50 countries, we’re going to stay in those countries that understand gin, where we can apply our efforts to develop the brand.”
With gin sales on an upward trajectory according to data firm CGA, the Scottish trade, it seems, is one that understands gin.
Brockmans has gained listings with a number of groups north of the border, including G1 and Buzzworks, as well as with independent operators.
And Fowkes said his plan for the brand moving forward is to continue to help build bartenders’ knowledge of gin and Brockmans through “more of the same”.
“We emphasise the on premises as that’s where consumers are most likely to have their first taste of Brockmans,” said Fowkes.
The masterclasses in Scotland late last month were ‘hands-on’ with bartenders invited to create their own Brockmans serve in a cocktail competition.
The bartenders that came out on top were Paul Anderson, manager at Riding Room & Polo Lounge in Glasgow; Matt Belcher, bartender at The Hanging Bat in Edinburgh; and Katherine Charleston and Will Farquhar of Orchid and Adrian Gomes of The Tippling House sharing the top spot at the Aberdeen masterclass.