The Future is Bright
Times are uncertain and the current headlines can make it seem like the world is merely staggering from one disaster to another. The uncertainty that comes with the hostile conditions within our industry, with the on-trade being closed or restricted for so long, has brought with it hardship and worry. It has not been an easy ride and we will continue doing what we are doing to the best we possibly can.
But here, at Griffiths Brothers Distillery, it hasn’t halted our dreams of better times to come. We have always been eternal optimists. One silver lining of the first lockdown back in early 2020, with its enforced slower pace of life for most, was the benefit of extra time to pause and think. With this came plans, and as many of you may know, it has never been a secret of ours that we would like to expand our premises and consequently the business in the not-too-distant future. If you have ever participated in one of our tours, you will have probably heard first-hand our plans of expansion!
As with all the best-made plans, there will always be a huge number of hurdles to jump, even before the planning can start. What we do know is with expansion there will be a larger bar area of course, why wouldn’t we 😊? Alongside this would be a more dedicated shop space and a greater area for our distillery. We would like to host and attend more events. We would also like to stay resident in Penn Street, as we feel like this is our home, albeit the place nobody has heard of unless you are on our doorstep! It still amazes me how many people from Beaconsfield don’t know where Penn Street is!
We do now feel like our plan is starting to take shape and we will, of course, keep you posted with any progress in our monthly newsletter. We’re reluctant to give too much away until it is starting to become a reality.
Another upcoming plan we have been busy working on and are excited to officially announce soon is an outdoor event on Saturday 11th June which coincides with World Gin Day. Hopefully, we will be able to disclose more on this soon, but if cocktails and music is your thing you should be in for a treat.
Keep a close eye on our socials and website for news on all these exciting, upcoming plans and events.
Craft or Small batch?
In this newsletter, we thought we’d touch upon and offer our thoughts on a topic that we come across and are often asked to share our knowledge on. We certainly do like to share our humble opinion with you. As the title suggests, we are alluding to the subject of production terms used in the spirits industry. It may come as a bit of a shock, but the truth is the spirits industry, like a lot of other industries, is all smoke and mirrors.
These deceptive terms are equally used throughout the industry from the largest company to the one-man band. Many of these fanciful claims are used to market a product, after all, marketing is the gateway to sales. An unfortunate side-effect of this marketing ploy is the rising use of such nonsense terms such as craft, small-batch and artisan, all of which are being widely and increasingly used.
Let’s begin with the term ‘craft’. The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary definition states ‘an activity involving skill in making things by hand’. This is barely relevant for the spirits industry. Truthfully, we fill up machines, empty machines, measure, and taste things. The skill lies within the tasting, and the knowledge of what to do subsequently to improve a spirit’s taste. Adding the word ‘craft’ evokes the ideologic image that the product is produced in smaller batches with more time and effort being involved in its development. The reality is often someone just simply pressing the start button on a 10,000 litre still. The term craft continues to be used in the industry from some of the largest scale producers to the smallest but is, in effect, meaningless.
Our next favourite, the widely used term ‘small batch’. What does this mean? How small-scale does a batch need to be, to be considered small batch? This is the question nobody seems to know the answer to. But often a small batch gin is somehow considered more superior. You only need to look at some of the most highly prized whisky distilleries to realise they do not follow the trend of producing smaller batches to produce a better product. Distillation is completely scalable and whilst there will always need to be some adjustment, you can admittedly produce the same gin, whether it be in 5 litre or 10,000 litre batches. Having said that, it is more difficult for us to produce cold distilled in 10,000 litre batches, but we will return to this in another article!
Some gin companies market themselves as producing tiny batches, or even producing in a shed, for their product to be perceived as unique, special or of a very limited supply. In our opinion, this feels a little like painting yourself into a corner. Would they keep up the ‘small batch’ pretence if their sales increased? The point we are trying to convey here is that it doesn’t really matter if you are making small or large batches. Either way, you can make mistakes but can also create great spirits, with little dependency on the scale. The finished product is no more likely to be superior if it is made in small batches, if anything the term is more widely used by larger companies trying to appear smaller and therefore, more attractive, to target and appeal to more areas of the consumer market.
Lastly, ‘artisan gin’. Another commonly used marketing term. Artisan refers to a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand. The truth is, we need to be skilled, but the word artisan gives the impression the skill has been taught through some sort of ancient process that has been handed down throughout the centuries. Again, this really isn’t the case, although it does have positive connotations, making it appealing, purely for marketing purposes.
We are developing some new spirits, yay! We have a new gin, vodka and rum under way and they will be out at some point fairly soon this year, finger crossed! Covid and a reduced sense of smell delayed the tasting process 😒.
Spring is in the air and here at the distillery we are all feeling a sense of excitement and anticipation of things to come. Sharing our love of spirits is something we like to do so we are giving 10% off all 70cl bottles, online or in person at our shop. Choose from our range of gins, rums and vodka and apply discount code SPRING10 in the promo code box in your cart. We have extended the offer for those of you who did not see this blog post until too late. Offer now ends 18 April-22. Happy days 👍.