#LoveDorset - An interview with Fordington Gin
We're currently working with Fordington Gin to host a tasting evening at the Shire Hall in Dorchester with Baboo Gelato. This is part of our FAB (Dorset) forum, which encourages food and beverage producers to mentor each other and share the stories of their success.
When did you start your business and why?
About 5 years ago, my husband Colin and I went to a gin night hosted by Conker Gin at the Bull Inn’s Venner Bar in Bridport. We were so inspired by Rupert Holloway of Conker Gin, and Lloyd Brown of the Grey Bear Bar Company and loved hearing about the antics of the history of gin and the process of gin making, that the very next morning Colin and I agreed to create our own gin!
My background is in the food industry. I originally trained in hotel and catering, and although I went on to become a chiropractor, my passion for food has never left me - I’ve used my extensive knowledge of flavours in developing our wonderful Fordington Gin.
The first batch of Fordington Gin took a year to perfect and to achieve consistency across batches. At the same time, we were applying for a license and had visits from HMRC, who sat in my kitchen asking a lot of questions!
After 30 years of us both helping others overcome pain as chiropractors, this was a very different business!
What’s your favourite product and what makes you and your product special?
We started with Fordington Original, which includes star anise, lemon balm, mint and wormwood. We then developed Gurt Lush, a sea faring gin which is 50% proof and uses fennel instead of star anise. It has been said that creating Gurt Lush was a life’s goal and it really is very special.
We’ve just released Cupid’s Bow for Valentine’s Day, which is flavoured with strawberry and Hibiscus.
What makes our products so special is the care we put into sourcing our ingredients. We source them as locally as possible, ensuring that we don’t compromise on quality. Some of our ingredients are organic, but we’ve chosen not to go down the organic certification route. Some things we have to source from overseas such as our organic juniper berries, which are imported from Uzbekistan, - our bottles are from Italy.
One thing that we do keep local is our marketing. Our branding and web design is created by Blossom Evans of Petal Press in Halstock, and all our website photography is by Lara Jane Thorpe in Weymouth, who has won awards for her food photography. We really love our website! – Thank you, Blossom and Lara.
What's your relationship with Porter Dodson?
I first met Rob Fox at Leweston and through his contacts has put me in touch with Taste of the West. This is a new relationship, but my long-term goal would be to join their panel of judges.
I’m currently working with Porter Dodson on an event for FAB (Dorset), their forum for the local food and beverage sector. We’re hosting this event at the Shire Hall in Dorset and have a really exciting tasting evening planned. Join us as we walk through the cells and learn about how the residents of Fordington are caught up in its history whilst choosing your ingredients to create your very own Gin and Tonic!
Tell us about a notable challenge/success
Other than working 7 days a week I can only say so far so good – We are now sold in over 40 outlets throughout Dorset and it is hard work: Colin does all the lifting and lugging and I do all the making and magic, but we do love it.
What are your plans for the future?
To expand within Dorset. We have no intention of going beyond the peripheries of the county or into supermarkets. Our gins are stocked locally in farm shops and by independents such as Moorish & Banham, wine merchants at Brewery Square, The Fridge Deli in Dorchester and The Dorset Wine Company in Poundbury.
What is the best thing about living in Dorset?
Pretty much everything! I love Dorset, it is an amazing county on so many levels. I moved to Dorset from Hereford 20 years ago. With no motorways, nothing too big or too busy, Dorset has managed to retain its uniqueness. I love the people, the weather, the scenery, the walking….
Colin and I often go to London to see what’s new in food and drink and eat at some of the great restaurants there. We really enjoy looking at the menus and realised so much of the food is sourced from here in Dorset.Dorset produces some of the finest food in the country so I love to celebrate and promote the food that’s on our own doorstep.
A note from the author:
Kirsti O'Rourke in our Dorchester office says:
I always choose Fordington Gin when we go to the Convivial Rabbit in Dorchester. A nice little hideaway, ‘micro pub’, which also sells locally brewed beer. They always have Fordington Gin on their ‘menu’ of ‘Gins of the day’ and it’s always the most popular, taken with either cucumber or lime.