I was delighted to hear back from BULLDOG Gin on my request for a chat for the site. This gin brand has been growing in presence globally, after first having achieved a cult following in New York, USA. Definitely a brand to keep an eye out for as it continues to be the fastest growing gin around the world!
Inside the Cask: First of all, thanks for your time with Inside the Cask. As the founder and CEO of BULLDOG Gin, can you tell us about how you started the brand? What was the inspiration behind it? What were the biggest obstacles to overcome as a start-up initially?
I’m a “recovering investment banker,” and although I am very grateful for the experience, I never saw it as something I would be doing for the rest of my life. I had several ideas of what I could do but as a long time gin fan, the one that resonated the most was the concept of developing a new gin that would be distinctive within the category.
At the time, the majority of well-known gin brands promoted a strong juniper flavour.
I saw the opportunity in creating a liquid that would appeal directly to the modern consumer and give them a premium, versatile gin with a more nuanced kind of flavour profile.
Inside the Cask: Did your background as a banker help you in setting up the brand? Were there any specific challenges given your lack of previous experience working in the Drinks industry?
My background certainly helped as it gave me a great grounding in financial and business planning. However, the drinks industry is very particular and it was a steep learning curve for me at the beginning. As the business grows and we expand into new markets, I’m still learning every day and doing something that I’m hugely passionate about. I don’t feel like I’m working, I’m doing something that I truly love and enjoy.
Inside the Cask: Tell us a bit more about the BULLDOG Gin product – what makes it special compared to other gin brands? What are the tasting notes? And any reason for picking the specific botanicals in Bulldog gin?
As mentioned, BULLDOG Gin has been made for the modern palate. I carefully selected a blend of truly distinctive botanicals to create a gin with multiple layers of flavour to satisfy today’s drinker. The BULLDOG flavour profile starts with a base of citrus coming from the lemon and coriander botanicals. It is followed by a mid-palate layer of warm spicy tones coming from the liquorice and cassia, and finishes with subtle floral note coming from the addition of white poppy, lotus leaf and dragon eye (a cousin of lychee).
Our 12 botanicals are a few traditional ones such as juniper and lemon balanced with some more unique choices inspired by my Asian heritage such as the Turkish white poppy and Chinese lotus leaf.
Inside the Cask: What do you think of the current gin category growth across markets? What is behind it in your view?
Gin’s flavour and versatility makes it a great liquid. Gin has been big news for a number of years which I think we can accredit to the younger millennial drinker who seeks quality and is attracted to the more authentic ‘flavouring’ of natural botanicals rather than the numerous vodka flavour variants.
In terms of consumption, classic gin cocktails such as the Negroni are increasing in popularity as cocktail culture continues to expand. We also see a lot more creativity around the classic G&T. There is with a growing range of great tonics appearing on the market and increasingly imaginative garnishes allowing people to really tailor their gin experience.
Inside the Cask: Craft gin and micro gin distilleries are proliferating at the moment, is there a role for these brands within the category? What does the future hold for gin?
I think that gin is going from strength to strength and there is definitely a role for craft gin and micro-gin distilleries. Entrepreneurs are bringing innovation to the gin game, which I love. I think that the gin industry will continue to grow.
As the current no. 4 premium gin in the world and the fastest growing, I look forward to ensuring we maintain our leadership position as it does so.
Inside the Cask: How do you enjoy drinking your BULLDOG Gin? Any recommendations?
I love a BULLDOG & Tonic. My personal favourite is in a large balloon glass with lots of ice, a wedge of pink grapefruit and slice of lemon peel. The citrus garnishes really bring out the citrus flavours in BULLDOG making it the most refreshing G&T out there. Around this time of year as things are feeling more autumnal I sometimes add a cinnamon stick and star anise to bring out the liquorice and cassia botanicals. This gives the drink a delicious warming spicy flavour.
With its unrivalled versatility, BULLDOG works great in all kinds of drinks. We also have some great recipes which you can view on our website such as the Sicilian Sunset (below) made with Aperol and lemonade and the Jasmine made with Campari and lemon juice.
Inside the Cask: Finally, please tell us something about you that we would not know.
I decided to name it BULLDOG the original “British Bulldog,” Winston Churchill. His determination and tenacity, not to mention his unabashed love of gin, has been an inspiration throughout my journey in creating the BULLDOG brand.