Sussex is home to an increasing portfolio of unique and exciting spirit brands. As she enters her second year in the industry Nick Mosley catches up with Katie Overton-Hart of G&H Spirits near Pulborough.
Tell us about G&H Spirits
I launched G&H Spirits last June as the result of losing my previous business during the pandemic. The parent company – Georgie and Henners – was named after my two children, George and Henry. The business is very much a passion project, which I’ve thrown my personal core values into which is why, whenever possible, I always try to attend any events and tastings personally as no one knows G&H better than I do.
What inspired you to enter the gin world?
I’ve always been interested in spirits and their production. In Sussex we’re exceptionally spoilt with some incredible food and drink producers. The more I researched the industry, the more I knew I wanted to be part of it and design a range of spirits for people to drink and enjoy, just like me. It’s an extremely male dominated industry and possibly not the easiest industry to enter for a working mum in her forties, but I clearly love a challenge.
What are the flavour profiles of your three gins and how did you come upon the recipes?
Each blend is very different. I started with the London Dry as the flagship product. There are a lot of London Dry’s out there, but at G&H, we use a minimal amount of botanicals, just eight so you can enjoy actually pulling out the botanicals you’re tasting.
The BST (British Summer Time) is a great ‘turbo’ alternative to Pimms at 42% ABV), whereas our OTG (Old Tom Gin) continues to be a firm favourite and most popular blend with warming whisky notes.
G&H has a very strong visual brand; what was the process in developing that and how does it reflect your brand values?
My background is events, PR and marketing so strong visual identity was essential to me. I always said that I needed the bottles to look as good on the outside as they taste on the inside. We taste with our eyes to a certain extent and when entering such a popular market, I needed the bottles to stand out.
Since launching I’ve followed through with merchandise that has the same look and feel to it. I have quite a dry sense of humour and have brought that into the range to create a playful-feel to a premium small batch craft drinks range. I don’t take myself too seriously and I believe that follows through with the branding.
Tell us more about your recent awards
We are quite selective about which awards we enter; with so many drinks out there, awards have started popping up all over the place with some more regarded than others.
We were thrilled that The Gin Guide this year voted our OTG as best Old Tom style gin in England and newcomer in the world! Following that accolade, we also added to our collection a bronze and silver from the International Wine and Spirits Competition and a silver and gold from the Spirits Masters.
I was also personally thrilled to be a finalist in the Uplifting Women Awards this year, in the Extraordinary Entrepreneur category. I think that to a certain extent, anyone starting a new business, especially later in life, suffers from imposter syndrome and so I always feel very humbled and appreciative for any recognition received.
What’s next for G&H?
Following the success of the Initial Gin range, we’ve recently launched ‘Drinks with Spirit’, a hybrid mix between a spirit and liqueur with a lower ABV than a spirit, yet not as syrupy as a liqueur. We noticed a gap in the market for a contemporary take on liqueurs and with that came the concept to celebrate individuality, hence the tag line ‘colour outside the lines’.
We’ve taken well-loved favourites and given them a G&H contemporary twist because we want to be as individual as you are. With a lower ABV, they offer a lighter alternative to enjoy neat over ice or with a mixer of your choice. The already sell-out Lemon Gino is the first in the range, with more to follow soon.