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Portrait The Norfolk Sloe Company

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1. Tesi: Dear Patrick & Sarah, you are the owners of Black Shuck Limited producing Gin in Norfolk/England. Can you tell me a bit more about yourselves and what a typical day looks like.
Patrick: Firstly, there isn't a 'typical day' for us as no two days are the same. However, they do all start early and finish late.

Online orders, overnight emails and the remains of yesterday's to-do list are usually checked over breakfast. The itinerary can then include checking the progress of the liqueurs, filling and labeling bottles, taking orders, meeting with potential new customers, making deliveries, planning future promotions, maintaining a social media presence, updating accounts and other essential paperwork and the of course finding time for the all important new product development. One of our favourite parts of the day is teatime when we all gather to eat together and share our news, including the latest sales figures.

2. Tesi: Where did you love for gin came from and how did you come up with the idea for the company?

Patrick: We began as The Norfolk Sloe Company, making Sloe Gin, in 2011. As the Sloe Gin gained popularity and achieved the prestigious accolade of becoming a Great Taste 3 star award winner we focused our attention on developing our own Norfolk inspired premium gin. In December 2015 after years of taste trials involving gin loving friends and family our dream became a reality and the first 1000 bottles of Black Shuck Gin were sold within just four weeks. It always gives us a thrill to see our Gin on the shelves in any store, bar or restaurant and hearing customers rave about the taste will always be thrilling.

Sarah : Black Shuck Gin is strong and yet smooth, traditional and yet contemporary, complex and yet balanced. It has lightly floral notes from the Norfolk lavender followed by warm sweet fruity tones from the Sea Buckthorn and Bitter Orange Peel. It is cut to a final bottling ABV of 43% with Norfolk bore water.

Inspired by Norfolk, its silky, character echoes the sweeping beaches, meandering inland waterways and easy-going lifestyle. Whilst it's fresh lilac tones are reminiscent of the big skies the contrasting vibrant bursts of firey orange reflect Norfolk's timeless natural beauty.

The legend of Black Shuck is synonymous with the Norfolk coast and one, with which we have grown up. Consequently, using Black Shuck for our brand image together with the strapline Black Shuck Gin, Norfolk's Legendary Spirit, seemed fitting. The Black Shuck image used all of our products was designed by our daughter Leanne and we feel enormous pride every time someone comments on its striking appeal.

Dating back hundreds of years, Black Shuck is one of the oldest English legends. Not surprisingly, there are as many variations of the legend as there are varieties of Gin.

Whilst some recorded sightings claim that the ghostly spirit dog, with its huge red eyes, acts as a protector of lone women walking along the coast paths at night, other firmly believe that the legendary hound is a bad omen. We are happy to confirm that a glass of Black Shuck Gin or Liqueur will fill you with enough good spirit to keep any bad spirits at bay!

It is without doubt that the legend was popularised by smugglers who told elaborate stories to keep the fishermen at bay whilst they smuggled their contraband ashore.

Wherever we go someone has his or her own story or Black Shuck experience to share with us. It is always a good talking point whether you are familiar with the legend or discovering it for the first time

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3. Tesi: A good gin is...

Patrick: Enjoyable neat as well as with a mixer.

4. Tesi: What is your vision for the future? Where do you see your business in five years' time?

Sarah: On several occasions we have written 3 and 5 year plans for the future. However, they have generally been ripped up within 6 months as things have moved very quickly for us. In five years time we would like to think that we will own an established business providing an excellent range of Gins in Norfolk and beyond.

5. Tesi: Everybody in the world knows England and many people love gin. Tell me one fact about gin from England people might not know.

Patrick: According to Winston Churchill 'The Gin and Tonic has saved more Englishman's lives and minds than all the doctors in the British Empire.' He was referring to the discovery that quinine, a fundamental ingredient of tonic, is an effective treatment against malaria. British officers in India added Gin to their tonic to make it more palatable. Hence the Gin and Tonic was born.

Thank you
Matthias Tesi Baur

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