When doctors ordered Stephen Marsh to give up wine, he switched to gin and soon Pinkster Gin was born. We had a chat with him about his wonderful creation.
Imagine having the hangover from hell when you’ve only had a couple of sips of wine. Then imagine, the doctor telling you that you have an intolerance to alcohol and can never drink again? It doesn’t bear thinking about!
This is what happened to Stephen, the founder of Pinkster Gin. As an avid wine drinker of many years, hearing this news was not what he expected. However, after getting a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th opinion he was eventually told that he needed to avoid sugar and yeast. After 2 years of cutting these out completely and feeling much better, his doctor suggested it was time to perhaps try and introduce alcohol…but only vodka or gin and only with soda or mineral water. Stephen thought that vodka was rather dull but he had grown up with his grandparents drinking gin (without a great deal of tonic) so thought he’d give it a whirl.
What he didn’t like was that gin was a drink that people had before dinner and not WITH dinner. As juniper berries are a bitter botanical they are not a good accompaniment to most food…unless it’s game…and who eats that every night?!
Stephen wanted a beverage that was not particularly high in proof, was drinkable with different foods and could be consumed all night. After a year of tinkering around in his kitchen, he stumbled across some raspberries, popped them into gin and found that the raspberry flavour took away the edge of the juniper.
It then took another 4 years to develop the optimum mix of ingredients to get a clean and refreshing taste.
Pinkster is made from fresh raspberries, rather than raspberry flavouring and is only produced in raspberry season. The unusual weather we’ve had this year means that production is about 5 weeks behind compared to last year, however, that doesn’t mean that the company won’t hit the target of 100,000 litres of gin to be produced.
Why “Pinkster”? The name came about after a group of friends had been climbing in the hills of Scotland and they left a bottle of it in the snow. The men decided upon the name ‘The Pink One’ however after all the women fell about laughing it was deemed unsuitable and full of innuendo. The following day ‘Pinkster’ was born – it was a name that just felt right and fitted with company’s image.
After turning from a hobby into a full blown business where Stephen had no industry background, where does he see the future of Pinkster heading?
“I’m told that it’s quite tricky to sell gin within Europe, however further afield is slightly easier. Pinkster is now exported to Australia and is going from strength to strength in popularity. We’re one of the only 2 British Gins on this particular importers list.”
After the huge and growing success in Australia they’ve had he’s now keen to tackle America and it seems that this won’t be too tricky – they’ve just been awarded a Silver at the rather prestigious SIP Awards in California. Pinkster was one of three UK gins to be recognised.
Rick Stein has also just agreed to have Pinkster gin on his drinks menus in all his restaurants.
Above all else, Stephen wants to keep having fun and to keep producing a beautifully clean, smooth and refreshing gin that everyone can enjoy – at any time, with or without food!
If you’ve enjoyed sampling Pinkster Gin in this month’s Gin Explorer Box (and based on what we’ve heard, the odds are you really enjoyed it) then you can pick up a full bottle from Ginfestival.com. Make sure to use the 10% discount code in this month’s box.