Zero to World’s Best Gin in 18 months
How a surprise career change led to stratospheric success
A bit of fun, in the form of a 50th birthday present from a wife to her husband, led to the most unexpected outcome.
When former BBC regional presenter, Rachel Hicks bought retired army officer Andy Parsons a distilling course at gin school she could not have foreseen where it would lead. The gin they created that day amazed even the head distiller of the course.
Fired up by their success, the pair bought and shipped a copper still online from Portugal as they drove home to Bucknell in Oxfordshire.
As soon as it arrived, they began developing their gin. After 40 recipe tweaks and more than 300 tastings (tough job!) the pair launched their new gin, having sat exams and secured all the licences they needed.
But more was to come.
Just eighteen months after launching their premium London Dry Gin, it was crowned the World’s Best Contemporary Gin at the World Gin Awards in February 2020.
Containing 13 botanicals, and distilled in micro batches, every bottle bears the name of the distiller. Bottles are hand filled and labels hand signed. A donation to Water Aid is made for every bottle signed.
“Our gin is special because, put simply, it’s delicious! You can taste its Oxfordshire provenance in every sip, from the hand-foraged Oxfordshire blackberries to the Blenheim Palace Natural Mineral Water which we use to create our delicious gin,” says Rachel.
hiya bucks review
hiya bucks says: “No wonder this London Dry Gin is multi award winning, including a World’s Best Contemporary Gin award at the 2020 World Gin Awards and a GOLD in the Women’s Wine & Spirits Awards 2020!
It is super smooth, with a subtle aromatic, and it is very drinkable, with or without a mixer to be honest. Swish the bottle around, remove the cork and take a deep breath. The gin has the most amazing fragrance and cries out to be poured into a large glass filled with ice, or frozen fruit as we like to do, and mixed with a tonic of your choice. We enjoyed it with Schweppes Indian tonic, some frozen raspberries and cucumber slices and also enjoyed it with Fevertree tonic with a slice of lemon and lime.
Hand-crafted just over the border in Oxfordshire, this independently owned, and family run, business knows their flavours. Made with 100% British grain, and produced for the UK market, they also donate to WaterAid for every bottle sold through the Work for Good initiative; it couldn’t get any better.”
LEADING THE LOCKDOWN GIN BOOM
“Everyone seems to be buying gin to get through the Lockdown!”, according to Sky Wave’s Master Distiller, Andy Parsons. “We wanted to ensure that people could still enjoy a top-notch G&T without leaving home, so we’ve taken more of our sales online and been amazed by the response. Our sales have increased 300% month on month since January, and we’re supplying customers through our own website, Amazon and Master of Malt with deliveries going out the door every day.”
Kristiane Sherry, Editor of Master of Malt and Judge for the World Gin Awards, describes Sky Wave, as a ‘beautiful dry gin with sweetness from the spices.’
‘It’s a playful gin, beautifully balanced. It’s really really lovely.’
BICESTER’S BEST KEPT SECRET
Sky Wave Gin are a local business, based in Bucknell, just beyond Bicester. The team are passionate in their support for local retailers, farm shops and artisan food fairs. Distillers, Rachel and Andy, are regulars at the Waddesdon Food Market and are very much looking forward to its return.
In the meantime, the team are supporting JACKfest 2020 a virtual festival hosted by Oxfordshire’s Jack FM, and are encouraging gin fans to join in with their live virtual gin tasting on the 19th June.
The Sky Wave team also want to thank NHS Staff, Emergency Workers and Armed Forces who are working so hard at this time, so are offering a 20% discount to all Blue Light Card Holders.
To view the full range of Sky Wave Gins visit skywavegin.com/shop
Now available to purchase from Pointer Butchers in Brill