A Dundee company that takes the inspiration for its products from the City of Discovery has won a top award for its marmalade gin liqueur.
Dundee Gin Company won a bronze award for its marmalade gin liqueur at the World Liqueur Awards.
Marmalade gin was the very first product the company made when they launched in 2017 and the product is made with a preserve synonymous with the city.
The Keiller family in Dundee began making the citrus breakfast favourite in the 19th Century. Legend has it that James Keiller purchased an abundance of bitter Seville oranges, boiled them up with sugar and created what we now know as marmalade.
Sadly, no longer in existence, at the time it was a global success story, so it seemed natural for the team behind Dundee Gin Company to use a product which along with jute, jam and journalism, helped put the city firmly on the world map.
The duo behind the gin firm, Gordon Philip and Lewis Murphy, are thrilled to have been given global recognition for their gin liqueur.
“It’s a huge, huge thing for us,” said Gordon.
“The award itself is done partly through recommendation so people can write in and say I have tried this gin, I really liked it and could they be put in for the award. They got in touch with us and we sent them a couple of bottles,” added Lewis, who explained the awards process.
“After that, a panel of experts all tried it and we waited with bated breath on the day that it was all announced. We were actually out and about when we found out and it was really good news. It was great to get that global recognition.”
People keen to try
Although the award success was only recently announced, it is already bringing new customers to Dundee Gin Company with more people keen to try out the award-winning liqueur.
“It has definitely had an impact. We concentrate more on what is inside the bottle, rather than the flash that comes with it, so it’s good to have people taste it and rather than thinking ‘that’s a nice gin’ and moving on they become regular customers. It is definitely allowing more people to try it,” continued Lewis.
“Getting it out there that we have won the award and letting people know that a local company has won this prestigious accolade is important for us right now,” added Gordon.
“It began as a full-strength marmalade gin in early 2017. As it grew and grew we decided to split it off into a normal classic dry gin and a marmalade gin liqueur,” Lewis revealed.
“It has been going since 2017 but we actually began making the marmalade gin liqueur in 2018. It’s great to see it getting the recognition we believe it deserves.
“We won Best Gin Brand UK in 2019 and Best Scottish Gin last year and now we have this. We have been very lucky to win one a year, but we would love to win a few more.”
Dundee cake gin liqueur
Using Dundee as the inspiration for many of their products, the duo also produce a Dundee cake variety and a new cranachan-based gin liqueur which includes a whisky made to celebrate Dundee’s 800th anniversary.
Gordon said: “You can’t get any more Dundonian can you than using a product like marmalade.”
Lewis added: “Almost all of our flavours are like that. One of our other flavours is Dundee cake so it is all about giving back to the city as well. It has provided us with many opportunities, and it is a nice way to show it off and show what it has to offer.
“We have our original marmalade, the Dundee cake liqueur and the summer fruits gin liqueur. There have been others that have dropped in seasonally, one-off runs like blueberry.
“The ones we have kept are our core range, and we have tried to keep them linked to Dundee or Angus and that runs nicely into our newest offering, the cranachan gin liqueur, which uses local berries, and is a very Scottish thing. It also uses a whisky for the 800th anniversary of Dundee.”
Currently based at Magdalen Yard, the company is looking to relocate, although the new base will definitely be in the city.
Gordon, who came on board eight months ago to help promote the business, said: “We are looking relocate, but we will in stay in Dundee, to allow the business to grow. With the pandemic it slowed everything right down so we had to put those plans on hold.”
Reaching their customers
However, what the coronavirus pandemic did do for Dundee Gin Company was give them an opportunity to re-examine their business model and make their products more accessible.
Lewis continued: “We have had to change everything from how we reach the customers to how they get our gin.
“Previously you would only be able to buy our gin through local farm shops or a small independent retailer, but when they all shut we had to adapt.
“Our time was really taken up working out the best way to reach our customers which we managed to do quite successfully with the construction of a new website and we are now keeping local with Zippy D for delivery to reach our customers that way.
“We were getting regular emails from people saying ‘We love your gin, but how do we get it?’. We had to feed the demand for it and that was the only way we could. It was good to make sure everyone got the gin they wanted.
“That will always be open now and we will build on it. If anything, Covid might be a good thing for us long term. We have now opened a second channel and we are used to that second channel for sales when, perhaps, we wouldn’t have had the time before. Now that things are reopening we have our old channel and our new channel.”
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