Braden Saunders – Renegade Gin
When it burst onto the scene in late 2017, Renegade Gin had our attention instantly. A grain to glass gin made in central London seemed if not impossible, highly unlikely, so we hot footed it down to the distillery to see what was going on. We were astonished by the level of craft co-founder Braden Saunders was working towards, and we’ve been trailing his journey ever since.
In this speedy 60 second interview, we caught up with him to find out just how fast things are moving for the team and how his unique, anti-hero style brand is captivating the attention of many, especially ourselves!
Gin Foundry: You have a full year under your belt now. Congrats! What’s it been like living in the eye of the storm?
Intense! And with pros and cons. The wave of support for gin has helped us in some ways but has also been a hinderance due to the mad rush by lots of people scrambling to get into the market
Looking back, what triggered you to take the plunge and start distilling all those years ago?
Actually it was from enjoying micro brewed beer and learning the brewing process. I started to wonder how hard spirits would be to make… and the rest is history!
As a distiller, what are you most proud about having done at Doghouse so far?
Creating a unique and sessionable style that appeals to both Gin connoisseurs and people new to Gin. It’s something that is inclusive, like booze should be! And of course being one of a very small group of distilleries in the UK making Gin from scratch.
What was the most memorable high point over the past few months?
Probably the beach holiday we had after the insanely busy Christmas period
It’s not all fun and games, is it? It’s a mental time for Gin and super competitive in the UK. In your opinion, what makes Renegade Gin stand out in today’s crowded market?
It has a pretty crazy label no? This reflects its rock & roll attitude! Speaking about the liquid though, which is what really matters, we feel that it’s its herbaceous/leafy edge makes it stand out in a crowded market that is dominated by classic London Dry’s and citrus forward styles.
What’s your favourite serve using it? G&T, Negroni, something else – what’s the Doghouse serve?
G&T without doubt – and a simple one with no fluff, where you can really taste the Renegade. Light on the garnish, we like a small sprig of rosemary or sage. We are pretty simple drinkers in the Doghouse. Renegade was made to be a perfect G&T. It does make an epic Negroni and Southside, though.
Gin’s a competitive but inclusive community, so too is distilling. How have you found the craft distilling scene and who’s another distiller you admire?
I have a few distiller mates and enjoy the dynamic attitude shared by most. Someone in the industry I admire is John McCarthy of Adnams with his knowledge and ability across a large number of different categories. He was also kind enough to share with me some of his trials and tribulations when I was starting out making our vodka which I was very grateful for. Vodka isn’t as easy as it looks !
What’s the best advice you could give a new distiller and what was the best advice you got that’s proved true during your early days?
Once you have done your budget and timeline, triple it!
Do you feel like people are starting to really understand the grain to glass ethos you guys have?
It is going to take time but we are seeing an increased interest from those customers that really understand and appreciate booze. We have a long way to go until the general public understand this approach. However, we don’t do it for others, we do it cause it’s what we wanted to do… and we couldn’t see any other way!
We saw your name drawn out of the hat from Allied Glass’ Golden Ticket… are plans in the works for a custom bottle on the gin, or you saving that for something else?
Yes, we were over the moon with winning it as we never win anything! Expect to see a new and exciting Renegade bottle after the Summer.
What else is on the horizon for the year ahead in 2019?
We are focused now on releasing an Aperitivo in the first half of this year. As far as gin goes, though, we have produced and will release in the coming months our first batch Damson Gin, as part of our Sidewayz brand, and also the second batch of our Sidewayz Sloe Gin.
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