Undoubtedly boasting the best back-story to their gin brand I have ever known, Generation 11 Gin Distillery is a beautifully presented and even more beautiful tasting Sussex based Gin.
Catching up Claire Kentish-Barnes, one half of the duo behind this brand, we reflected on their incredible brand story and what led them to producing their very own gin.
Can you tell us about your career previous to starting Generation 11 ?
I worked in banking at middle management level in the city previously. I really enjoyed it. However when I had children this all changed for me, at the time I was commuting from Cambridge, and the pressures of giving 100% to work combined with wanting to give 100% to raising my children became increasingly difficult for me.
When we both moved to East Sussex we both wanted to work together ideally. We always had ideas and similar interests but then the idea of creating a distillery came to us and it all fell in to place from there. The space at our new property meant we could actually install a distillery. I then embarked on distilling courses and endless research around licensing and how to go about making your own gin.
Talk to us about the ingredients in your gin.
The botanicals that are used in our Gin actually come from our supplier in West Meston which is just down the road from us and the coriander that we use is actually grown in Ringmer. We are lucky enough to have a well on our land, and after having this rigorously tested we decided to have the well re commissioned which means we now have a sustainable water source straight from the down that we use to make our Gin. People often don’t know this but the quality of the water used in Gin can have a huge impact on the quality of the Gin.
What is the story behind the Generation 11 Gin name?
When we first decided that we would start our own gin, I started to do a lot of research on the history of gin. We vaguely knew that my husbands family were related to William of Orange. It took me weeks to verify his family tree, which revealed my husband is distantly related to Queen Mary who married William of Orange, hence the story generation 11 was born. Eleven Generations ago our distant cousin married a dutch prince who brought yenover from Holland to England, which started the gin revolution. He made it really easy for people to to start distilling gin and was instrumental in creating a huge gin boom in the UK. It is lovely to have a story behind our brand and that means that we can carry on something that was started all those years ago.
When you first started out did you have a clear vision for your packaging and branding?
We didn’t know when we started exactly what we wanted, other than it had to be clean and striking. We wanted something that gave people a hint towards the fact that we were talking about a generation, hence the logo being G to the power of 11. We are really happy with the packaging we have now though!
Where are you currently stocked?
We are lucky enough to be stocked in most of the high end wine merchants in the area, from Eastbourne, Tunbridge Wells, Oxted, Horsham, Hove and a lot of places in Lewes, East Grinstead and Haywards Heath. Most of the local pubs near us stock our gin as well which is brilliant.
When you first started what do you think was the key to getting the business off the ground?
Once we had launched we had already planned to be “ on the road” for the first month selling our gin. We had already booked in lots of appointments and taken pre orders which meant we were very busy. We spent a lot of time at local events and food fairs, around Brighton and Lewes. It was quite hard to find the balance between being at home making the gin and developing the product as well as actually getting out and about to meet people.
Social media. How important is this to you as a brand?
Before I started generation 11 I was not into social media at all. I guess I assumed the website would work harder for me than it has done, over social media. But I swiftly learnt that instagram was an invaluable platform for me to to make contacts and help people get to know the brand.
I think in the future we will definitely use social media a lot more.
Are you producing anything specifically for the festive season?
We are just about to launch our 20cl bottles which are four double shots. It makes the perfect gift to take to a dinner party, as a stocking filler or as a gift. We are also launching the Barrel rested Gin which has a warm, spiced, honey and caramel spiced fruit notes. This will be extremely limited edition launched just before Christmas. Pre orders now.
For more information or to purchase Generation 11 Gin you can visit the website at