A day in the life of...Marcus Pickering, Pickering's Gin.
Published: 20th December 2019
Our exclusive ‘A day in the life of’ editorial feature series provides a short and snappy insight into a day in the life of someone who works in the Scottish Gin sector. This might be a distiller, shop owner or bar owner, but all play a role in the story of Scottish Gin.
Next in the series we meet Marcus Pickering, co-founder of Pickering’s Gin. Known for his unusual gintastic inventions, whilst Marcus actually heads up exporting, he can often be found building and tinkering, bringing his latest wacky idea to life! So we were intrigued to find out what a typical day in the life of Mr Pickering looks like…
I wake to a quiet house as my girls are all asleep. I take a walk with our dog Jess along the river Almond, then back home to wake up my daughters and get them ready for school. Believe me, they are not as happy in the morning as they were when we were out for dinner last night – instead we have some very tired and grumpy faces today. With the teenage years right around the corner, safe to say, I’m terrified!
We have the morning routine down to a fine art now – with five of us needing a bath or shower in the morning, the timings must be spot on!
Children dressed, breakfast consumed, and the goodbye process begins. Lots of hugs, kisses and tears… it’s all very emotional… who am I kidding! I shout “Bye, see you tomorrow” and get a quick “Bye Daddy” in return before they run off.
It’s best that I’m not involved in the school run… They would never ever get there on time! My wonderful wife Diane takes that challenge on and does it particularly well I might add!
I arrive at the distillery and check emails in the office with a tea in hand, enjoying the peace and quiet before the rest of the team arrives at 9.00am. Shortly after, we have a team meeting to discuss targets for the day, any projects we are working on and anything that needs my attention or approval. Most of my chat is ignored (with my ideas being added to the “too wacky” pile) but they know it makes me feel better to be there!
One of my favourite parts of my day is slipping out of the office and being creative in the workshop. This morning, I’m tasked with repairing our Marvellously Mixed Musical Martini Maker Mark II. A nifty contraption that mixes a martini at 78 rpm to one of 2000 tracks. It had a bit of rough handling at our latest gin masterclass so I’m giving it a fresh lick of paint.
I’m never happier than when I’m tinkering with machinery or working together on the latest Pickering’s invention. They’re usually un-necessary and quite Heath Robinson-esque but they’re always good fun. Anything to avoid my emails really…
Talking of avoiding emails, I’m off to London today to do a tasting of our Festively Flavoured Gin at John Lewis Oxford Street. I leave for the airport and grab a sandwich in the car, then fly down to London.
Flying really isn’t my favourite past-time but seeing one of our products on board – The Pickering’s British Airways Centenary Gin – really does cheer me up. It’s a truly humbling thing to see a product from our distillery on such an iconic airline. I find gin is the best thing to get through the turbulence on board too!
After a quick dash from the airport, Matt (my business partner and Head Distiller) and I are in place at John Lewis Oxford Street for a tasting of our new Festively Flavoured Baubles. I love being able to speak to customers and walk them through the gins, especially the surprise when they learn we’ve made a Brussels Sprout Gin.
Cross town to the City of London, Westminster. How people do this every day is beyond me! Watched as a man tried to catch the tube by jamming his arms in the closing doors. The doors spat him out quite unceremoniously, leaving him on the platform unharmed but clearly embarrassed as we pulled away. Made me wonder what was so important that he couldn’t wait 3 minutes for the next train?
We check into the hotel, do a quick outfit change, have a wee G&T (Pickering’s and Fevertree tonic of course) and then we’re off out again.
Matt is always a little competitive about the most trivial things… One of which seems to be who can get ready the quickest! This time I was changed and out of the door in under 5 minutes, just beating him… a first!
A dash around the corner to the Worshipful Company of Distillers Dinner. The Worshipful Company is a livery company that dates back to 1635. It exists to raise awareness within the industry, support spirits education as well as supporting charitable causes. For Matt and I, it’s a chance to catch-up with fellow distillers and share knowledge in the industry.
The dinner draws to an end with some great drams and good friends. We head back to the hotel where I have enough Dutch courage to check the number of work emails that have accumulated in my absence, write some drafts (never send an email after dinner!) and make a plan for the morning.
Then I sign off for the day and wonder what the rest of the week will bring! I love variety and in this job, I get it in spades. With so many fantastic events going on, products in the pipeline and a team of people who are creative, innovative and incredibly inspiring behind us, who knows what 2020 will hold?!
You can learn more about Pickering’s Gin here.