– Your name, age and some professional background about you
I’m Katie Overton-Hart (universally known as KOH) and I’m the founder and director of G&H Spirits. The brand’s personality is very much a reflection of my own approach and attitudes: forthright, confident, determined and uncompromising.
During my 20 years as a consultant in the live events industry, I travelled the world, met some incredible people and drank some amazing gins. I’ve always been passionate about my career and considered it more of a lifestyle than a job. Then came the Covid-19 pandemic and almost literally overnight, everything stopped.
From working long, often unsociable hours and international travel, I found myself housebound and home-schooling. Much as I loved being with my young family, I desperately missed my hectic professional life.
– How did you get into the world of distilling? How did the idea for your business come about?
After months of half-heartedly applying for new jobs, I realised I wanted to throw all my energy into a brand I could truly believe in. The question was: which brand?
My drink of choice had always been gin and tonic. Having drunk G&Ts all over the world, I had developed a refined palate and expertise in recognising the layering of botanicals. I decided I wanted to produce my own range of spirits, with a brand that would represent and reward people who balance a busy work schedule with family life.
Therefore, working with an award-winning distiller, G&H Spirits was born.
– Tell us about the inspiration for your three products; where do you produce?
I wanted to bring to the market a gin that doesn’t compromise and is honest, which is why we use a minimal selection of quality botanicals, rather than overcomplicating the tasting experience. Less is more and the botanical layering should speak for itself in an unpretentious format in all our Initial Gins. Time is precious and quality is essential. These are the fundamental pillars of G&H Spirits.
Each gin had to be very different and easily identifiable. Each Initial Gin’s name consists of a three-letter abbreviation, inspired by the fact that I’m universally known by my initials, KOH. The new line-up comprises three gins to suit all occasions and tastes; LDN is the brand’s signature London Dry; BST (British Summer Time) is a fresh, floral gin for lazy days in the garden; while OTG (Old Tom Gin) gives the traditional Old Tom flavours a new, contemporary vibrancy and indulgence.
All three gins are distilled in a traditional copper still for authenticity and quality assurance. Not only do they look great, but every single gin is award winning which speaks for itself.
– In terms of provenance, do you use any Sussex produce? Is locality a key part of your brand?
Being an original Sussex girl, Brighton born and bred, I’m extremely passionate about where I live. I’m currently based in Upper Beeding, just outside Steyning, but spent the first 35 years of my life in Brighton and Hove. What a privilege it is to live in such a gorgeous location where we have rolling hills one side and the sea, the other. Many of the botanicals have been inspired by botanicals found on the South Downs and as I live in the South Downs National Park, my brand really is a very personal journey for me.
– As a new business, why have you launched at this time with the pressures on the hospitality industry and changes in consumer patterns?
True, there is a lot of strain on the hospitality industry at the moment, but I’ve come from an industry that literally died overnight in the pandemic so when faced with that, I really had nothing else to loose. Do I still get hot sweats at night and question my own judgement over the choices I’ve made? Of course, daily, but doesn’t every new business. Every day is a school day and I work with an incredible team that are as passionate about the success of the business as I am. The local Sussex community, both consumers and trade have also been supportive and very receptive to receiving new products on the market – it’s an industry that’s a pleasure to work in and as a team we’re all enjoying the journey.
– What are your plans/hopes for the future?
I look back on where I am now compared to six months ago and can’t believe some of the decisions I’ve made previously (the good, the bad and the ugly). I know I’ll feel the same in another six-months time too. Although I’m the founder of the business, I credit the overall success to the incredible talented team I work with. I’m proud to say it’s very much a team effort and every single contribution counts and matters. Together we will grow the business and the range of spirits we offer, whilst retaining the core G&H values of honesty, quality and an uncompromising approach at the heart of everything we do.