G is for Gin (and Good)

The Garden Shed Drinks Company.

Published: 29th August 2018

Our G is for Gin (and Good) editorial series looks at the Scottish Gin makers and brands who use their Scottish Gin for Good. Some of these brands use profits from their sales to help causes that they’re close to, which vary from supporting local charities and causes to special gins that have been created specifically for good causes.

In the first of our G is for Gin (and Good) editorial series we meet Maxine Grant, a co-founder of The Garden Shed Drinks Company, and learn more about how their Garden Shed Gin is helping protect bees and lending a helping hand to plant more trees.

What is your name and what do you do?

Maxine Grant, I am a full time mum and one quarter of the Garden Shed Drinks Company team.

How did The Garden Shed Drinks Company come to be?

After a 12 year career in professional rugby, my husband Ryan Grant was coming to the end of his time playing and was looking for inspiration on work life after rugby. He took a trip up to Eden Mill and was lucky enough to spend the day with some of the distillers. He enjoyed his day so much that he came home that night saying to myself and Ruaridh Jackson (who was living with us at the time), that we should make our own gin. We bought a half litre still on Amazon and started experimenting with recipes, mostly trying to find things in our own garden to distil with. Four months later, after much trial and error, we finally perfected our recipe and launched The Garden Shed Drinks Company in the lead up to Christmas 2017 with the release of our Garden Shed Gin.

Describe your gin in 3 words. 

Floral, Earthy, Smooth.

Tell us how your Gin does ‘Good’?

We donate a portion of our profits towards planting trees and saving bees (we plant 1 tree for every 6 bottles sold). We also try to raise awareness about current climate change issues and promote an appreciation for nature! We are by no means experts in the environment or in climate change issues but we just want to do our bit in whatever way we can and every little bit helps, right?!

What does the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Trees4Scotland mean to you?

The Bumblebees were an easy choice for us, I mean who doesn’t love Bumblebees… or any other bee for that matter! They play a vital role in the environment and are in need of our help. We knew when we set up The Garden Shed Drinks Company that we wanted to give back to nature in some way and Bumblebees definitely tied in with our garden inspired background. We chose Trees4Scotland because we wanted to off-set some of our carbon emissions by planting trees. Obviously those trees will in turn provide habitat for many animals too.

What’s your biggest highlight of the Garden Shed Drinks Company adventure so far?

Probably the moment our Gin first went up on the shelf for sale. The other moment that stands out was finding out we’d won a Silver medal at the World Spirits Competition in San Francisco and reading their explanation of what our award meant. “Products awarded a silver medal are outstanding in their category. They show refinement, finesse and complexity. They are among the best examples of their particular category”. The fact that we had come through a blind tasting, which was judged by some of the world’s experts in the industry, and won a silver medal meant a huge deal to us. 

What has been the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome to get where you are now?

To be honest everything has pretty much been a hurdle for us. The whole journey has been one big learning curve.

What support would you like to see available for the Scottish Distillery and Drinks sector?

I honestly don’t know. Maybe when we are more established we’ll have a better idea.

What are the long term plans for your business?

We want to continue making Spirits, and not just gin. We already have some ideas about a Garden inspired rum and a gin liqueur that would involve enlisting the help of the people of Glasgow. Obviously if we could have our own Garden inspired distillery one day that would be the dream! We’ve made it this far following an aspiration so anything’s possible.

What’s your ‘perfect serve’?

25mls of Garden Shed Gin over plenty of ice with classic tonic (we tend to use Fever Tree) and garnished with a sprig of freshly picked Rosemary and a Blackberry. We’ve also found that our gin goes really nicely with fever tree Sicilian Lemonade.

You can learn more about The Garden Shed Drinks Company here.

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