He Came, He Saw, He Conkered

At Folk we love ambitious brands with a clear sense of purpose, so when I started reading about what Rupert was doing with Conker Spirit, I was immediately intrigued.

Rupert found himself unsatisfied with the mundanity of a 9-5 office job; stuck at a desk dealing with a never-ending stream of emails just didn’t do it for him. He needed more. He needed a job where he had complete creative freedom, where he could become the master of his own craft.

The idea for Conker Spirit was coined in a pub in Christchurch. Like many great ideas, it was born of an observation. While there was always a good selection of locally produced ales and ciders, Rupert noticed that the only gins available were of the mass-produced variety, from large faceless distilleries. You’d see the same brands in every pub, bar, and restaurant across the country.

No one was trying to do anything different.

And there was a certain ‘loftiness’ about the big gin brands. The typography, the advertising, the marketing - even the flavours; it all came across as too high brow, upper-market, and way too far up its own arse (which is strange, when you look at how gin started out).

As a big fan of gin, Rupert set out on a mission to bring it to the masses, to make it more accessible, and to make it feel relaxed and fun. He wanted to remove the loftiness, and the association it had with middle-aged mothers, drinking it whilst playing croquet on the lawn, or at a la-dee-da cocktail bar. He wanted to bring gin to a younger crowd who spent their time surfing, and having BBQs on the beach.

But he had absolutely no experience. He just knew he wanted something that tasted amazing, and something he could be proud of. Luckily, without the constraints of an old family recipe, or the creative block tradition can often bring, he was free to experiment. With just the Internet and a few books to hand, he slowly started creating batches.

In the same way that we approach and develop marketing and email campaigns, Rupert began to tweak the batches - making tiny amendments to the recipe, until it became perfectly unique, balanced, and nuanced. One day, he arrived at Batch No. 38: A characterful and intricate blend of ten botanicals, fusing juniper bite and cassia spice with fresh notes of Dorset elderberries, samphire and handpicked gorse flowers. The final fantastic product: Conker’s Dorset Dry Gin.

It’s still early days with the official launch set for February 2015, but having tasted some myself I can honestly say that it’s really, bloody good. It’s so refreshing and smooth, you can even forego the tonic - simply drink it over ice (mind how you go though).

The Conker Spirit website sums it all up rather nicely:

“No gimmicks. No fuss. Just top-notch small batch gin distilled in Dorset from British wheat spirit, and New Forest Spring Water”.