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Easter signifies the be-gin-ing of something new!

And Sligro’s Jong edition is focussing on Driftwood Distillery’s gin…

Driftwood Distillery Gin in Exclusive at Sligro

Being new to the trade game, I did not know that Easter starts back in January for the Horeca business. That was when Driftwood Distillery was invited to one of the promo events for gin. It is for those employees who work in the wine and spirits section of Sligro. So it was gin bottles into the car and off to Veghel

A supersonic elevator pitch!

It was speed dating for spirits! It was a cold and frosty afternoon when in 40 minutes, 100 people came round the table. They tasted a selection of gins that Sligro was offering that year. They sipped, listened, asked questions, made notes and vanished again. It left me wondering whether my elevator pitch was supersonic enough. I just hoped it was going up for us!


We are going national!

Its Driftwood Fresh and Jong!

Luckily it seems that the folks at Sligro liked our gin selection. The phone call came through the next week asking for delivery of the gins to a small photographer and media office. We were doing an exclusive photo shoot for the Exclusief magazine!

We only have eyes for Driftwood!

Make your next gin cocktail a Ruffled Raspberry Ripple!

And ok, so the article isn’t just about Driftwood Distillery gin. But the pictures are great! The write up is cool! We love the recipe suggestion for Donkey Jack Gin! So if you are in Sligro any time soon or want your favourite restaurant to serve Driftwood Distillery gin, then they know Sligro will have them covered!

You can find Driftwood Distillery selection at 17 of the Sligro Stores, but it is available to all, so if its not at yours… just ask!

And check out the link to the magazine to see us in glorious print!


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The Festival Season kicks off the craze in Leiden!

We launched ourselves into the gin festival season at Leiden last weekend!

The Driftwood Stars of the festival !
The stars of the show were Donkey Jack and Rose Finch Gin!

We are always asked if the gin craze is over, if the market has peaked and what will be the new fashionable thing to drink. Its a hard question to answer when we have four amazing gins that seem to be going from strength to strength at the moment! And given that the Leiden gin festival at Scheltema last weekend was sold out, I think my answer is that the gin craze is far from over!

The full Gin Society gang, ready for another festival shift!
The Gin Society Gang

If you ever get a chance to go Leiden, then do! The ambience at the event reflects the city itself. Quirky, eclectic, buzzy, full of life and everyone was eager to find out more. Over 1600 people came through the doors of the festival over Saturday and Sunday so I was glad to have Rachel at my side to keep the spirits flowing

Saturday was the busiest day. People flocked in off the streets ready to taste gin and see what was new. Fevertree tonics had an amazing tasting school just below us. But we were kept busy in the upstairs section which is where the chill out zone was.

Sunday was quieter, a little more mellow. I needed that to start the day off after the late night before! The questions were curious and the attendees were spirited. They seem to have come from all over the globe… USA, Germany, Italy and I think I even met some Swedes!

Four festival beauties at the bar!
Driftwood on show!

So do you want to know where you can find Driftwood Distillery gins in Leiden?

Try this little gem of a shop…. https://www.dedruiventuin.nl

Or, check out our webshop!

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“And she doesn’t like Bitterballen!” 

In a week when the Brexit deal does not seem to leave the headlines and everyone wonders whether Theresa May will survive, we were busy making our own headlines….  I might have made a small error in declaring that I did not like Bitterballen in 10 Questions, published by Dutch News.  

For those who don’t know what bitterballen are, they are deep fried balls with a gooey centre.  They are not sweet, they are savoury; I can not describe what is inside, but I have burnt my mouth on too many of them now to select them again when they are passed around the bar.

Competition time!

And to wrap up the interview, we launched a quick competition for people posting their favourite bar on the DutchNews Facebook; prize?  A bottle of my favourite Driftwood Gin!


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Its not every day that you get a call from a journalist and we met a really nice guy called Mark Ruis who writes for the local Katwijk newspaper. We spent a couple of hours with him sharing our approach to making gin and talking through the stories behind the characters.

The article came out in print but you can find out more about Mark thinks about Driftwood here…

http://xruisx.nl/geen-categorie/driftwood-hoogwaardige-gins-op-vliegveld-valkenburg/

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Donkey Jack Craft Gin Imagery

When we signed up at Junipalooza, we weren’t quite sure what to expect. We had heard that it was big. We had heard that it was for real gin fans and experts. What we didn’t realise was just how big and how knowledgeable the fans were.

Firstly, let me say that the organisation around this event was superb. The media support with articles about the gin brands that are coming, the logos and pictures for the brands, all have that junipalooza feel. The set up was smoothly organised with tonics, ice, glasses, locations, food…everything executed with friendly, yet military precision.

Compared to the other festivals, Junipaloza was run in sessions, which was great because as a brand owner, you got to take a breath and take comfort breaks. The sessions were manageable in length and the audience moved quickly through the halls as there was so much to see. All the stands were managed by the gin owners or distillers, so it was not so much of a “marketing and merchandising madness”, but became more of a collective “ we are in this all together” vibe.

Driftwood had a blast. We might have had a Donkey who was two steps away from an ASBO hanging over our heads, but actually that was what people came to see. Chow Hound did pretty well too! Who doesn’t love dogs after all and one parachuting out of a plane has to be seen!

We met so many gin clubs from different countries, gin authorities and enthusiasts and we got some great positive feedback about the gin we are producing. Hopefully we gained a few more Driftwood fans, and we left being a Junipalooza fan…. Melbourne next year??

Read their article about us here.

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Amsterdam Gin Festival

The Gin season in the Netherlands really starts in May with the Amsterdam Gin Festival. It’s the biggest, most well known and its held a boat trip away which is plenty of time for the visitors to build up a thirst!

After Berlin, we thought we would know what to expect, but no! I turned up with the van stocked with gin and roller banners and plant pots… Only to find that brands had created their own saloons, complete with comfy chairs that would look great in my lounge and really put my pot of mint to shame!

There were no apple boxes here! Big brands and little guys mingle with the food trucks and barbers(!) creating one big bootiful gin-matic-mess. It’s a gin enthusiasts dream, a little bit of adventure with new brands that offer something different combined with the safety in knowing that your favourite brand is just a step away.

This year the festival carried on for three days, but we only made it through two before collapsing in a heap in the garden.

Key stats:

  • 2,800 visitors to the event
  • 750 gin samples provided
  • 240 gin and tonics sold
  • 20 hours serving
  • 5 trips to the food trucks for sustenance
  • 4 very tired feet
  • 1 overused jacket because Hannah forgot hers and it was freezing on the day! (lesson learnt)

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Navy Strength Craft Gin & Spector Vermouth Cocktail

Every great gin needs a great partner and there is no better partner for gin, than a great vermouth! Finding the right vermouth with the complimentary set of botanicals that fuse together with your gin to create the perfect cocktail isn’t easy, but we’ve struck gold.

Spector Vermouth is all about collaboration, creativity and partnership, so their ethos fits really nicely with our own. Made by four friends, Spector Vermouth is the brainchild of Curiosity Kitchen, a small company based in Utrecht. Originally looking for the perfect foil for JVS gin to make the perfect martini, we loved the concept of Spector for our Bond, but actually Rose Finch and Spector Vermouth make the perfect marriage when mixed with a little Campari as a Negroni.

And now we at Driftwood are really pleased that Spector have moved into the Distillery to produce their lovely tipple. Using a secret blend of 40 botanicals, for the past three weeks the distillery has been awash with the smells of citrus, star anise and orris root to name but a few as the tinctures tick away time whilst they macerate. Today was bottling day and after blending with a gorgeous pale cabernet sauvignon from France, the Spector Vermouth was bottled and boxed. 800 bottles made in about 5 hours. Not bad going, and excellent team work.

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We have just completed a 1,384km drive to Berlin and back to serve some amazing Driftwood Gins to an unsuspecting German audience. Berlin Gin Festival was on this weekend! The weather was hot and the Germans were thirsty!

It was the first Festival that we had done, so we were a little unsure as to what to expect. We rocked up to the Malzfabrik Schöneberg
with a van loaded with gin and hoped for the best. We were not disappointed. Tim was in awe because we were next to Roku and Sipsmith gin stand. Talk about David and Goliath. Roku has to be one of the favourite all time gins and their stand was amazing. Their barman was cool and their kit gleamed. But after a quick trip to Ikea, a couple of appleboxes stacked in an artful way, I don’t think that Driftwood let itself down. As the guy from the tonic stand said… If your gin isn’t up to standard, then just go home! But of course ours is! So we stayed and we served over 400 samples of gin in 6 hours!

Pretty good for the first festival!

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The Rebel Donkey Becomes Respectable

Well who would have thought it? After panicking about our gin not getting there in time, getting stuck in customs or the boxes breaking in transit, Donkey Jack Gin survived the harshest of critics at the San Francisco Spirits competition and scooped a gold medal!

This was the 18th San Francisco World Spirits Competition; it was founded in 2000 as a way to recognize exceptional products in the spirits industry. The 2018 Competition was the biggest in its history, featuring more than 2,200 entries so we are really pleased that Donkey Jack Gin was recognized as a gold medal winner!

As a small distillery just starting out, we have asked all our friends and family what they think, but they love us, so why wouldn’t they love our gin? What we needed was some reassurance that what we were making was good enough to hit the market and be served at some of the finest cocktail bars that Europe has to offer! After all, that was one of our goals; to make really good, high quality craft gin.

When I opened the email, I held my breath in anticipation. This was worse than jostling for position when Uni degree results were posted. Worse than when I waited for my qualification in Social Responsibility results to be confirmed and much worse than waiting for the licence to distil to drop through the letterbox…

But what does that mean?

“Products awarded a Gold medal are exceptional. They are near the pinnacle of achievement in their particular category. They are products that set the standard for all others of their type.”

Yeah! That’s Donkey Jack Gin alright! Except, now I need to redesign all the labels!

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